What You Need to Know When Seeking a Tax Lawyer & Reliable Tax Resolution Firm


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Clearing The Air: Why Some Tax Resolution Firms Have Bad Reputations

Some tax resolution firms have bad reputations because they are known for preying upon taxpayers facing IRS collection action. Many of these malicious firms have earned their bad reputations because they purchase the contact information of delinquent taxpayers and bombard them.

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Finding a Good and Experienced Tax Attorney: The First Thing You Should Know

The IRS allows three kinds of representatives to practice before it. These include:

  • Certified Public Accountants (CPA)
  • Enrolled Agents (EA)
  • Attorneys

How are CPA’s, EA’s, and Attorneys Different From Eachother?

CPAs and EAs are not trained in law. They cannot litigate. CPA’s are trained to audit financial statements, not in tax practice and procedure. Preparing tax returns is the domain of a CPA.  EA’s pass a test administered by the IRS. They have at best a peripheral understanding of tax practice and procedure—they know enough to be dangerous.

What Does A Tax Lawyer Do?

Tax attorneys are lawyers who specialize in the complex and technical field of tax law. Tax attorneys are best for handling complex, technical, and legal issues. A good tax attorney has the vital experience to handle your IRS issues. Issues with the IRS are usually quite complex and rarely have simple solutions.

If you have an issue with the IRS do not hesitate to hire a tax lawyer. Dealing with the IRS is not a task you will want to handle alone. A good, experienced tax lawyer can give you the best advice and help you each step of the way.

Why Should I Hire a Tax Lawyer vs. an Enrolled Agent?

Most importantly, a tax lawyer has been subjected to the rigors of law school, has been tested by the fires of advocacy, has “lived the law,” and is professionally accountable to the State Bar. Tax resolution practitioners, in contrast, are unregulated, of uncertain education and training, and cannot practice law or litigate.

Enrolled agents are not bound by an attorney’s code of professional responsibility, which proscribes, most notably, conflicts of interest. Moreover, everything a client tells a lawyer is protected by the attorney-client privilege—it is sacrosanct. It is inadmissible in court.  The lawyer cannot be compelled to divulge his client’s confidences and is forbidden by law and by the code of professional responsibility from divulging them.  In contrast, a tax resolution practitioner can be summoned to appear before the IRS, be placed under oath, and required to answer questions about the taxpayer.

Why Do You Need an Experienced Attorney When Battling the IRS?

Not getting professional tax help can be costly. To get the tax relief you need, you need to leverage the specialized knowledge that only an income tax attorney can provide. In many instances, retaining a professional and reliable attorney will often result in more affordable IRS payment plans and lesser tax penalties. Additionally, an experienced tax attorney can help you tremendously if you receive an IRS notice of deficiency. For more information on IRS deficiency notices, check out our post about what you should do if you receive one here.

Are Your Individual or Business Tax Returns are Being Audited?

You are not alone, the IRS conducts hundreds of thousands of audits each year. A tax audit doesn’t have to a frightening experience. Experienced tax audit attorneys can guide you through the process, respond IRS auditor requests, attend any in-person meetings and even negotiate an IRS settlement, if necessary. For more information about IRS audits, read our post about the IRS statute of limitations and how far back you can be audited here.

4 Factors to Consider When hiring a tax debt attorney:

  1. Is the professional an enrolled agent or tax attorney (you want a tax attorney)?
  2. Does the tax attorney have experience handling tax debt situations similar to yours?
  3. What types of tax debt help the lawyer offers, and if you agree with the potential solutions to your tax debt?
  4. Can trust the attorney and have confidence in the lawyer’s ability to help you?

Final Thoughts: Two Great Rules’ of Thumb

Experience is the father of Competence – You should definitely prioritize attorneys who specialize in IRS issues and controversies.

Credentials rarely lie – Ask your possible attorneys about their credentials. The attorney you want to hire ought to be licensed to practice law. If you think your case is particularly difficult, look for an attorney who is also a Certified Public Accountant.

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About the Author

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Dave Weishaus

Co-Founder, Tax Advisor, Business Consultant

Dave Weishaus, co-founder of Boxelder Consulting and Tax Relief, has over 20 years of small business consulting and tax advisory experience. He has a law degree from the University of Baltimore and completed undergrad from Johns Hopkins University with a focus on International Business and East Asian Studies. Now, Dave specializes in financial consulting, tax planning, and general administrative services. Dave’s favorite part of working at Boxelder Consulting is working with start-ups and sharing in the excitement of launching a new venture. Dave is the proud father of Moses, a gentle 200lb St. Bernard.

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