What is the Cost of Hiring a Tax Attorney?

Joe Valinho
Expert Contributor
Last Updated:
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You may need help from a tax attorney for resolving a variety of tax issues. It may be handling a complicated IRS audit, back tax resolution, communicating with the IRS, or representation before the IRS. When you begin looking for a tax attorney, one of the prime concerns you have is about the cost.

The Cost of Hiring a Tax Attorney

Just like a doctor charges you differently for different illnesses, similarly, there typically is no set fixed fee for a tax attorney. Depending upon how complicated or straightforward your tax problem is, a tax attorney can charge you from $200 to $400 and beyond per hour. The fee can be close to a thousand dollars an hour for very experienced and highly reputed tax lawyers. However, not all attorneys charge hourly. Some may charge a flat one-time fee, depending on the complexity of your case.

Another major factor that determines the cost of a tax attorney is the experience and qualifications he or she has. If you hire a tax lawyer who has little experience, you can expect to pay less. However, if your tax case is complicated, you will probably want a lawyer with expertise but expect to pay more.

Tax Attorney’s Fees: Hourly Fee

You will find that there are advantages and disadvantages with both ways an attorney charges their fees. A tax attorney charging an hourly fee may be a better option if your tax issue can be resolved quickly. You’ll be paying less since you will only need to hire him/her for a few days or weeks.

What is the Cost of Hiring a Tax Attorney?

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This is a good way to save your precious dollars, but one word of caution. You need to be sure that your tax problem will not take long to resolve. If your tax case drags on for a few extra days or weeks, you need to have the financial capability to pay your tax lawyer’s fee. Therefore, make your decision after considering the complete facts of your case and keep in mind the unpredictability that may occur.

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You can also ask your tax attorney the approximate time duration for the resolution. Since he or she is an expert, you can get a better idea of how much you’ll be spending on the service. If you can only afford to pay a certain amount in fee, be honest, and let the lawyer know it beforehand so that you and your lawyer can work it out before you hire them.

Tax Attorney’s Fees: One-Time Flat Fee

The one major benefit of a flat one-time fee is that you do not worry about the case taking more time to resolve than what you had estimated. Complicated tax cases usually take weeks to resolve. Sometimes, a case can take more time, especially if it goes to the tax court. Therefore, when seeking resolution for a complex tax problem, a one-time fee is a better choice.

However, tax attorneys usually charge a flat fee for simple tax cases where they are confident of getting an early resolution. For complicated tax problems that may require them to spend more hours working, they prefer to charge hourly.

Different tax attorneys will charge a flat fee differently based on the tax problem, their experience, and their expertise. Hiring help for an IRS audit, for instance, can cost you anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000 depending upon how much work is needed and how experienced the tax attorney is. Similarly, representing you before the IRS or the tax court can cost between $4,000 to $10,000 and above.

Simple Tax Problems

There are tax problems that may not take long to resolve. If you are facing a simple tax issue, you may need to spend much less on hiring the services of a tax attorney. Some of these tax issues include:

  • Simple IRS audit that only requires responding to IRS notices and communication with the IRS by mail
  • Setting up an Installment Agreement plan for a simpleback taxes case where no negotiations with the IRS, penalty abatement. etc. are needed
  • Counseling, where you only want guidance on certain tax matters

Complex Tax Problems

Some tax problems need more time and work to resolve. For these tax issues, a tax attorney may charge a higher fee;

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  • Comprehensive IRS audits where in-person talks with an IRS agent may need to be handled by your tax lawyer
  • Setting up an Offer in Compromise plan where you wish to achieve a reduction in your back taxes
  • Setting up an Installment Agreement where you try to get a reduction or abatement of IRS penalties or negotiate the terms of the agreement with the IRS
  • Appeals where your tax attorney will make a written appeal, disagreeing with the IRS’s claims
  • Challenging the IRS in a tax court

When facing these kinds of tax problems where you need representation, negotiations, back taxes reduction, etc., you need to research well to find a suitable tax attorney. Depending upon how much you are willing to spend, you may look for a more experienced or a comparatively newer tax lawyer.

To Hire or Not to Hire a Tax Attorney

If you find it challenging to afford hiring a tax attorney, you can do it yourself using free help. There are many resources available online that you can use. A variety of forums provide a platform to ask legal and tax questions from experts. If you have a tax attorney in your family or friends, you may take guidance from him or her and do the work yourself.

If you can pay a fee, you can inform your tax lawyer about your paying capacity at the start so that you may know if he or she is comfortable with it. You may also ask if you can only hire him or her for counseling.

Whatever your tax problem is, it can be resolved with the right help. Shortlist the best tax attorneys you find after your research, compare their fees and make your decision. You will certainly find the right tax attorney.

Joe Valinho
Expert Contributor
Last Updated: