Time to Partner with a Tax Attorney
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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The chief advantage to hiring a tax attorney is to keep your case from being ruined. If you do not hire a tax attorney, you are exposing yourself to federal employees who may be friendly and sweet all right…but they are also more than willing to put the thumbscrews to tax miscreants. They will get you to talk about things you shouldn’t and to admit things that you think have no meaning. Then all of a sudden, you realize why they are considered experts and you are not. Suddenly they are not as “nice” as they first seemed. Why? Because they want your money.
The way to protect as much of that money as possible is to understand your situation. And the best way to fully understand many tax-related situations is with the help of a qualified tax attorney. If you are the object of IRS scrutiny, a legal expert can help you sort through the complex details of your problem and develop a plan for returning you to Uncle Sam’s good graces. In the early stages of a tax dispute, consultation with a tax lawyer may reduce or eliminate your tax problems before they get out of hand.
As things get complicated, a tax attorney can really earn his or her fee. Taxpayers often overpay their tax liability because the IRS has acted aggressively or inappropriately and there was no experienced tax lawyer to put on the brakes.
That’s because it is a tax attorney’s particular domain to research tax statutes and their legislative histories, from Treasury regulations and IRS rulings to court decisions surrounding the law. It’s a level of specialized know-how that you cannot expect form your CPA, bookkeeper, enrolled agent—or even a regular attorney who does not have a tax specialty.
If you are facing a quarrel with the IRS regarding an audit, a tax bill you cannot afford or a dispute over tax amount owed, seek qualified help. A tax attorney can also clear up issues around corporate, payroll, estate, property, capital gains, or personal income taxes and deductions.
As your agent, a tax attorney can:
- Protect you from IRS error, abuse, and intimidation
- Interpret your tax liability
- File an amended tax return
- Deal with an IRS lien or levy or help you negotiate an offer in compromise
- Manage corporate tax or bankruptcy issues
- Sort out personal income tax, property tax or bankruptcy issues
- Protect your assets by helping you identify and avoid potential tax risks
- Manage complex business transactions such as liquidations or mergers
- Communicate with the tax authority, know its regulations, and stay on top of the paperwork
Even if you want to handle a relatively simple tax issue yourself, a tax attorney can provide excellent consultation, assessing the soundness of your legal position and developing a strategy.
As your advisor, a tax attorney can:
- Give you feedback on laws relevant to your case
- Identify weaknesses in your legal position
- Catch costly errors that might be present in IRS calculations
- Draft legal papers
- Suggest when arbitration or mediation might be preferred alternatives to litigation
- And ultimately step in and represent you if you find that you are in above your head
A creative tax attorney will interpret your position and use established legal precedent to support a particular argument. He or she will uncover applicable “loopholes,” and identify conflicting statements or inconsistencies in IRS publications that can work to the benefit of his or her client. Even if the issue is uncomplicated, the decision to hire a tax attorney comes down to determining the potential reduction in tax liability and penalties, plus the value of the reduced hassle. If that dollar amount is less than you would expect to spend on a tax attorney, the answer is clear.