Our new website is optimized for the most current web browsing technology. If you are using an older web browser, part of our website may not function properly as designed. Please consider upgrading your browser for an error free experience.
At Solvable, we care about your financial well-being and are here to help. Our research, articles and ratings, and assessments are based on strict editorial integrity. Our company gets compensated by partners who appear on our website. Here is how we get compensated.
At Solvable, we care about your financial well-being and are here to help. Our research, articles and ratings, and assessments are based on strict editorial integrity. Our company gets compensated by partners who appear on our website. Here
A tax attorney is a lawyer who has specialized training in the extensive U.S. tax code. in addition to the Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree that all American attorneys earn, tax attorneys may also obtain a master’s degree in tax law and/or have a background as a certified public accountant (CPA). If you have tax issues that relate to legal matters and/or are very complex, a tax attorney can advocate on your behalf.
The Role of a Tax Attorney
This type of lawyer is an expert in the laws and policies about taxation, including IRS guidelines and procedures as well as local, state, and federal laws that affect tax liability. They are knowledgeable about how these tax laws impact many aspects of life and livelihood, including but not limited to:
Estate planning and transfer.
All types of income.
Acquisitions of real estate, material property, and intellectual property.
The full range of business transactions.
While most tax attorneys serve as advocates and consultants, others provide litigation services. This means they have the ability and experience to represent you in court if a tax matter is unable to be settled through other channels.
Tax attorneys represent individual clients as well as non-profit organizations, businesses of all sizes, and government entities. They typically work for large firms, though they may also serve as in-house counsel or establish a private practice.
Although tax attorneys work in various capacities, they share an intimate knowledge and understanding of the complicated and ever-changing tax code, which allows them to help clients ensure they are in compliance.
Some aspiring tax attorneys opt to attend hybrid education programs that allow them to earn both a J.D. and an accounting or business degree in the same course of study. Others opt to take a more traditional route by attending law school to earn a J.D. and also completing a master’s degree in tax law.
Although the undergraduate degree for a tax attorney can be in any field of study, it’s most advantageous to major in accounting, business, finance, or economics. Before applying to law school, a student must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and apply for programs accredited by the American Bar Association. Most law programs are three years and include both foundational education in areas such as contracts, civil law, constitutional law, and torts as well as specialized courses on taxation and related areas. Students who finish law school earn a J.D. and must pass the state bar examination to practice law.
Attorneys who plan to represent taxpayers who are involved in IRS issues can complete the Enrolled Agent Program to become qualified to do so. This involves a three-part exam about taxation and the completion of at least 72 continuing education hours every three years. Enrolled agents (EAs) are able to represent clients in tax court as well as during official IRS proceedings.
Many tax attorneys go on to complete a Masters of Laws (LLM) program to gain specialized training in taxation. These programs typically last one year and can include courses on estate planning, business taxation, financial services, international business, and other relevant areas. Many LLM programs also require students to complete a research project or thesis before receiving their degree.
Within taxation, many tax attorneys further specialize in areas such as estate planning, business taxation, and tax fraud defense. These are just a few of the many reasons why you may want to hire a tax attorney.
If you expect to leave behind a large estate when you die, a tax attorney can help you minimize the tax burden on your beneficiaries and loved ones. In 2017, the threshold for a taxable estate is $5.49 million for an individual and $10.98 million for a married couple. Those who have an estate with assets exceeding this threshold will be subject to an estate tax of up to 40 percent. Prudent estate planning with an experienced tax attorney can help you keep your assets below this limit. Attorneys within this specialty can help you manage the tax implications of wealth, strategize about inheritance or estate transfer, advise you on establishing wills and trusts, and oversee the distribution of estate assets.
If you are starting your own business, the type of structure you choose will have serious tax implications. A tax attorney can review your business plan and financial goals to determine the most advantageous entity for your specific situation, whether that’s a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation. In addition, if your business is engaged in international commerce, a tax attorney can assist with contracts, tax implications, and other legalities.
If you need to be represented during official IRS proceedings, a tax attorney is familiar with the court system and can advocate on your behalf. This is true whether you or your business is subject to an audit, you owe back taxes you are unable to pay, or you are accused of a tax-related crime such as fraud. Your attorney can be trusted with the material facts of your case and is not required to divulge these details under oath, which means he or she can help you strategize about potential solutions. Many tax attorneys can represent you in U.S. Tax Court, the Court of Appeals, and even the Supreme Court. This professional can also help you appeal an audit if necessary. Tax crimes require the assistance of a tax attorney and may include tax evasion, in which you fail to file returns or pay taxes, and tax fraud, in which you misrepresent your income, claim fake deductions, or take credits for which you are not qualified.
If you owe past-due taxes that you are unable to pay, a tax attorney can help you make a settlement offer to the IRS and negotiate its terms. This can often include lifting liens and decreasing penalties and fees. If you need to attend an IRS administrative appeal or hearing, they can represent your interests in these proceedings.
Although many official programs are available for taxpayers who owe taxes they cannot pay, the requirements for these programs change frequently. A tax attorney is familiar with the regulations for these programs and can increase your chances to qualify.
One of the most common tax relief programs is offer in compromise, in which the IRS agrees to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount owed. Although this program helps approximately 25,000 taxpayers each year, tens of thousands more apply and are not accepted.
A tax attorney can help you structure an offer that meets IRS guidelines for acceptance and can negotiate with the agency on your behalf. This program is limited to those who are unable to pay the past due taxes in a reasonable amount of time even with a payment plan and for whom paying the amount due would result in an undue economic hardship.
The first step is to fill out the IRS Collection Statement (433-A) with the help of your attorney. This provides information about your credit, assets, cash on hand, investments, debts, anticipated future income, and basic living expenses. The attorney will gather and use this information to create a reasonable offer that is likely to be accepted by the IRS and can help you appeal their decision if necessary.
If you do not qualify for an offer in compromise, a tax attorney can help you negotiate a payment plan and administer the funds to make sure your back taxes are paid. He or she can also negotiate for the removal of fees and penalties if you can provide proof that you had a sound reason for not paying taxes on time.
If your partner is responsible for the tax liability, a tax attorney can help determine whether you qualify for innocent spouse relief, even if you filed a joint tax return.
If you want to sue the IRS for wrongful levy or wrongful disclosure, a tax attorney can advocate for your interests and represent you in court. Wrongful levy is when the IRS has erroneously seized your property to cover unpaid tax debt. Wrongful disclosure occurs when someone has revealed your private tax information to an unauthorized person or business. If you believe you have been the victim of either of these scenarios, it’s important to consult a tax attorney to strategize about next steps.
If you hire a tax attorney, you can give him or her power of attorney to work directly with the IRS on your behalf. That means they can negotiate, provide information, respond to all notices, and handle tax-related correspondence. While a CPA can provide tax advice, he or she cannot be granted power of attorney with the IRS.
The IRS has the power to place a lien on your property, which means it has the right over all other debtors to claim assets such as your home or vehicle if you do not pay your tax debt. If a lien is not resolved, it could progress to a levy, in which assets are actually seized. If the IRS has placed a tax lien on your assets, it’s important to consult a tax attorney before this situation progresses and you are at risk of losing your livelihood. Tax levies can affect everything from real estate to bank accounts to retirement funds.
Tax Attorney vs. CPA
Although some tax attorneys have a CPA background, these two roles are actually quite different. CPAs specialize not in tax law but in accounting, auditing, and tax preparation. If you have a serious tax issue, it may require the expertise of both a CPA and a tax attorney or an attorney who works in both capacities. Many law firms have both these types of professionals on staff.
A CPA can represent clients in tax court if he or she is registered with the IRS as an Enrolled Agent (EA). However, best practices established by the National Conference of Lawyers and CPAs require CPAs to recommend that their clients consult a tax attorney if they receive a notice of deficiency from the IRS. Often, this type of hearing takes place not in Tax Court but in Claims Court. It’s also important to keep in mind that unlike consultations with a tax attorney that are protected by attorney-client privilege, the information you share with your CPA is not necessarily confidential.
Hiring a Tax Attorney
Because tax attorneys tend to work in specialized practice areas, it’s important to find one who works in the specific area where you need assistance. Many tax attorneys provide free consultations, which gives you an opportunity to learn more about their experience. You should interview a few potential candidates before settling on a tax lawyer with the type of expertise you need. Questions that you should ask during a consultation include:
What type of education do you have?
How do you keep up with the constantly changing tax code?
Are you admitted to the state bar?
What are your specialty areas?
Have you handled issues similar to my situation before, and what were the outcomes?
How would you be able to assist in my case?
How much do you charge and what is your fee structure?
How long has your firm been in business?
Can you provide an estimate of my total fees?
If you find that an attorney does not specialize in the right practice area, he or she may be able to refer you to a trusted colleague who does.
Most tax attorneys require you to pay an upfront lump sum called a retainer as well as an hourly fee for their work. In rare cases, you may be charged a flat fee. It’s important to fully understand the payment structure; for example, in many cases, the initial retainer is nonrefundable even if you eventually decide to hire a different tax attorney.
If you have tax problems you haven’t been able to solve on your own, Solvable can help. We offer debt relief programs for taxpayers that include free tax debt evaluations with our partner organizations, education about tax and finance issues, and affordable solutions that will give you peace of mind and control over your financial life.
Solvable is a for-profit company that helps customers resolve their tax problems, but a free service for consumers. Partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable editorial reviews or ratings. We do not publish favorable (or unfavorable) editorial reviews or assessments at the direction of an advertiser or partner. We always work to put consumers first and do our best to provide value in meaningful ways, but our reviews are subjective.
How We Make Money
Solvable is compensated by some of the companies seen on our website. Most often, Solvable receives fees when one of our readers clicks, fills out a form, applies for, or receives a financial product from one of our partners. We also earn fees for capturing consumer stories and writing about them, displaying advertising, having our partners sponsor certain parts of the site, and writing content that may be relevant to our partner and their audience. This compensation may impact where products appear on this site, including article pages, comparison listings, the order in which they appear or if they will even appear on a given page, and our matching recommendations. Solvable has not written about, reviewed, or rated all financial products available to consumers.
In addition, we may be compensated in the following ways:
Referrals to consumers who use the online form or locator line that may provide expert answers to questions;
Marketing tax resolution, tax preparation, tax audit help and general tax assistance.
Referrals to services that help consumers with tax resolution, tax preparation, tax audit help and other tax issues.
We do recommend that you shop around and compare services and costs with other companies while performing your own due diligence, especially since people’s experiences with companies can change over time.
Free Solvable Services
The offers that you are matched up with are from companies or attorneys/law firms that we may receive compensation from. Based on our initial review of such companies or individuals, we feel comfortable introducing them to our readers. We won’t recommend something just because we’re offered payment to endorse or promote it. However, we do recommend that you shop around and compare services and costs with other companies while performing you own due diligence, especially since people’s experiences with companies can change over time.
We are not attorneys and we don’t provide legal advice. As always, we encourage you to do your homework and check out individuals and companies before you hire them. If you are already working with an attorney, we urge you to ask them your questions. After all, they will be familiar with your situation and the laws in your state.
We hope that you find Solvable helpful in your efforts to get a fresh start.
Personal Loans Advertiser Disclosure
The Personal Loan offers that appear on this site are from companies or affiliates from which solvable may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including for example, the order in which they appear or whether a lender is “featured” on the site). solvable does not include all Personal Loan companies or all types of offers available in the marketplace.
Personal Loan Providers determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval. You should review each Provider’s terms and conditions to determine which loan works best for you and your own personal financial situation. All reasonable efforts are made to provide and maintain accurate information. All rates, fees, and terms are presented without guarantee and are subject to change pursuant to each Provider’s or affiliates discretion. There is never a guarantee you will be approved for credit or that upon approval you will qualify for the advertised rates, fees, or terms that were shown.
Be sure to speak with your representative about the actual term and rate you may qualify for based on your credit history and ability to repay the loan. Lenders may charge an origination fee generally around 1% of the amount sought. Be sure to ask up front about all fees, costs and terms associated with each loan product. Loan amounts of $1,000 up to $35,000 may be available through participating lenders or affiliates; however, your state, credit history, credit score, personal financial situation, and lender underwriting criteria can impact the amount, fees, terms and rates offered. In some cases, lenders may require that you have an account with them already and for a prescribed period of time in order to qualify for better rates on their personal loan products. Ask your representative for details.
Credit Card Advertiser Disclosure
The card offers that appear on this site are from companies or affiliate offers from which solvable may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including for example, the order in which they appear). solvable does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.
Credit Card Providers determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval. You should review each Provider’s terms and conditions to determine which card works for you and your personal financial situation. Information is provided by the Credit Card Providers and is not a guarantee of approval.
All credit card rates, fees, and terms are presented without guarantee and are subject to change pursuant to each Provider’s discretion. All reasonable efforts are made to provide and maintain accurate information. There is no guarantee you will be approved for credit or that upon approval you will qualify for the advertised rates, fees, or terms shown.
Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in articles, marketing materials or otherwise are those of the author’s alone and/or solvable, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any Credit Card Provider.
See the online Provider’s credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the “Apply Now” button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the provider’s website.
Business Loans Advertiser Disclosure
Business Loan offers that appear on this site are from companies or affiliates from which solvable may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including for example, the order in which they appear or whether a lender is “featured” on the site). solvable does not include all Business Loan companies or all types of offers available in the marketplace.
Business Loans are those loans that are for commercial use and any property and/or proceeds from the proposed request will be used by the requestor for commercial purpose only and not for any personal, family or household purposes.
Most of our Business Funding Partners or affiliates, do not require collateral for business loans; however, please note that it is possible to be offered another product by the lender depending on your needs and if the underwriting requirements dictate the same. Traditional bank and SBA loans generally are known for collateral requirements.
There is no one-size fits all business loan. Rather there are several types that will likely be offered and or discussed with you upon completing your request. Business Funding Partners determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval, you should review each Partner’s terms and conditions to determine which business funding option works for your business’s financial situation. All reasonable efforts are made to provide and maintain accurate information. All rates, fees, and terms are presented without guarantee and are subject to change pursuant to each Partner’s discretion. There is never a guarantee your business will be approved for credit or that upon approval your business will qualify for the advertised rates, fees, or terms shown. Lender terms and conditions will apply and all products may not be available in all states. Ask your loan representative for details.
Student Loan Refinancing Advertiser Disclosure
Student loan offers that appear on this site are from companies or affiliates from which solvable may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including for example, the order in which they appear or whether a lender is “featured” on the site). solvable does not include all student loan companies or all types of offers available in the marketplace.
Potential savings may vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans you are seeking to refinance. Your overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans you are refinancing even if your monthly payments are lower. Variable rate options will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR (or other index utilized by the lender) rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates may be based on applicable terms and presence of a co-signer. Additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice and may not be available in all states or for all types of current student loans. Such changes should only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Lenders are required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The Lender you select is required to provide you with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before you accept the terms and conditions of your loan. solvable is not a lender or creditor, it does not offer, extend or alter credit terms. Only participating lenders can perform the full application and deliver the required disclosures, please ask your lender about rates, terms, fees, and potential discounts that may be available for each product.
Certain federal and private student loans may not be eligible for consolidation/refinance.
Certain consolidation/refinance plans may result in higher monthly payments or negative consequences (i.e. prepayment penalties).
Consolidation/refinance may lead to other negative results, such as loss of grace periods.
Loans in default generally cannot be consolidated until completion of a repayment trial plan so tell your lender if you are in default and determine relevant options (be wary of those asking for upfront fees as well)
Other options or programs may fit your needs (i.e. personal loan, debt consolidation and/or debt relief). Consult your financial and/or tax advisor prior to making any decisions.
Solvable is not a creditor as it does not offer, extend or alter credit; rather it is an online market lead generator that allows consumers to shop and compare rates, terms and costs associated with financial products such as mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, student loans, etc. solvable does not originate or fund any product it markets; rather it has a network of lenders or Partners/affiliates. You may choose to speak with one or more of these lenders or Partners/affiliates to determine what your actual terms and savings may be. Only a lender can provide you with a formal application for credit, your inquiry form here is merely an expression of interest and/or intent to obtain credit or assistance. You must discuss your actual credit situation and fill out the lender’s required documents prior to obtaining an extension of credit. Network lenders may not have the best or the lowest rates so you are encouraged to continue to shop and compare additional lenders, credit unions, local financial institutions, etc. to ensure you are truly getting your best deal for your situation.
You should contact your tax professional or other financial advisor to determine if you can actually realize savings by refinancing when it can extend the life of your current loan. You should ask the lender about all terms, rates, fees and costs associated with each product and if you will realize a net tangible benefit from the same. All initial estimated savings is done by trying to calculate what your rate may be; however, solvable does not have that information and cannot guarantee potential savings or that lenders will approve you for such product that would warrant those savings. Rates are not guaranteed and change daily. Lenders/Brokers/Dealers/Partners that perform the actual underwriting will have to determine if you meet their underwriting criteria which is unknown to solvable at the time of matching/offer/quote delivery. All amounts are estimates and examples only and do not represent an actual offer.
Congrats! You're One Step Closer To Resolving Your Tax Debt.