​ Do You Really Need A Tax Attorney?

Desireé Duffy  |

Taxes are probably weighing on your mind. After all, tax time is right around the corner and most Americans don’t even consider their tax burden until a few weeks before they file. Not to worry, your accountant will work it all out right? Well, sometimes yes and sometimes no. Taxes can get very complicated and beyond even the best accountant’s expertise.Time to bring in the big guns, the tax attorney.

Here are a few specific reasons why you might want to hire a tax attorney.

1. Difficult Financial and Legal Decisions

Tax settlement programs can be really tricky. Although a CPA may have some knowledge about how tax settlement programs work, they will not have a full understanding of the ins and outs of the various programs. A tax lawyer can step in and make decisions on your behalf because they have the necessary knowledge and training.

Did you know that tax laws can, and often do change yearly? Sometimes, tax laws and codes can feel like a complex maze that you will never be able to navigate. There are also many programs available that a taxpayer can use to settle or reduce the amount of tax liability they owe. Wouldn’t it be great to take advantage of these programs? The truth is, only an experienced tax attorney will know how what programs you qualify for, and how to determine the best program to use.

Improper advice can cost both your time and your money so consider your options carefully and choose wisely.

2. The Dreaded Audit

So, the IRS came knocking at your door and now you’re within the scope of a tax liability suit. Attorney-client privilege can provide a valuable safety net in these situations, primarily because your attorney is exempt from testifying against you. If your tax liability case goes to trial, and you have chosen to work with a CPA instead of an attorney for help, your CPA could actually be made to testify against you under penalty of law. All too often, taxpayers are the architect of their own demise simply by not taking advantage of attorney client priviledge.

3. Disputes With the IRS

Most tax disputes are typically an audit of either one or possibly several past tax returns. If the IRS notifies you of an audit, you should hire a tax attorney immediately. At this point the tax attorney will communicate with the IRS on your behalf. If you have experienced legal counsel they can help ensure that you don’t overpay as a result of your audit. They can also be present during your audit, and if necessary, help negotiate a settlement.

What happens if you ignore letters and warnings from the IRS because you’re scared or don’t know how to respond? Things get worse. The IRS will make threats of criminal charges for tax evasion. If you learn that you’re the target of an IRS criminal investigation, hire a tax lawyer immediately to protect yourself from possible jail time. Loss of assets is no longer the biggest problem that you have.

Your tax attorney should reassure the IRS that you’re taking its investigation seriously. He or she will work with the IRS to help you avoid criminal charges and represent you in court in the event that you are charged with a tax crime.

4. Forgot to File Your Taxes

One of the worst things you can do is forget to or intentionally not file you taxes.When you miss a year, or God forbid several, the IRS will at the very least want to know why.

You must be sure that your explanation is suitable and won’t lead to further issues, or raise audit red flags.A tax lawyer will step in and help explain the oversight to the IRS and negotiate the payment of back taxes on a reasonable timeline.

5. You Want To Set Up An Estate Plan

Are you preparing a will or living trust? Have you inherited assets from a close friend or relative? Just be prepared with the understanding that you will owe a share of that to the IRS. A tax attorney can help you determine exactly what your obligations are, including whether taxes have been prepaid.An attorney will also help with that estate plan to make sure that your money is protected and your wishes are carried out.


Above are just a few of the more common reasons why you might need to hire a tax attorney, but there are many others. If you are second guessing your tax filings, or find yourself in the scope of an IRS investigation, contact a tax attorney in your area. There’s just no good reason to take your chances.

DISCLOSURE: Desiree Duffy has no affiliation with this company.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.


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