The IRS is allowed to deny your newly applied passports through the US State Department. In addition, passport renewal can be denied; or an already active passport revoked. The IRS is able to do this if it has confirmed that the taxpayers holding, renewing or applying for passports owe the government substantial back taxes.
How is this possible?
These measures can be undertaken due to a provision in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 that gives the IRS leeway to make use of these consequences to ensure that individuals meet their US income tax obligations.
Who is affected?
US citizens working outside the country or who are just about to travel for work overseas may end up without valid passports. The passport is a vital document for living and working overseas, traveling abroad and- in many instances- the only means by which one can identify themselves and obtain residency abroad. Revocation, when individuals are already abroad, can therefore, be a huge inconvenience for them and their families.
What is the due process followed?
Certification of seriously delinquent debt is made by the IRS to the State Department. This constitutes money that has not been paid- and can be enforced by law (with the inclusion of interest and penalties)- by a person; and amounts to more than $52,000 (including penalties, interest and an annual adjustment for inflation). There needs to be a prior issued Levy and a filing of a federal tax lien notice; with all due process for collection under the law lapsed or exhausted.
What is Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt?
For unpaid taxes to be determined by the IRS as “seriously delinquent tax debt” to the State Department, normal investigation and processes of the collection must have been completed. Further, two notices require issuing before the rejection of passports or revocation may take effect. Individuals are required to make a call to the IRS within 1 month (3 months for those overseas) for the resolution of their account. Next, a contemporaneous notice to the individual to notify them of IRS certification must be sent to the State Department.
Adequate warnings are required to give a chance to affected individuals to sort out their back tax; which are sent by the regular mail using their last entered details. It is therefore important to regularly furnish the IRS with updated information.
What can I do as a taxpayer?
There are numerous choices at taxpayers’ disposal. First, individuals can choose to fully pay the taxes they owe. Second, one can pay the money by use of regular installments until the tax debt is fully cleared. Third, persons have an opportunity to reach a settlement with the Justice Department.
Fourth, people can negotiate and reach a consensus with the IRS where they can pay a reduced amount through an Offer in Compromise (OIC). This can be termed as the largest payable amount of money to the IRS in the least time possible. Finally, an individual can get into an IRS relief program. For instance some may decide to relinquish their US citizenship to be able to comply with their tax and filing obligations; thus getting relief for unremitted tax and their related penalties.
Is that all?
Some see this as a harsh measure to ensure the US tax obligations are met. Others are of the view that only imposing a limit on applications and renewals is not enforcement sufficient for effective collection of debt.
No one ever wants to have to use their insurance policy, but unfortunately accidents happen. When they do, you might be asking yourself “how do I make sure that I’m fully compensated for the damage that has occurred to me?”
Using a subrogation attorney could be the answer.
Subrogation means “to substitute one thing for another.” With an insurance policy this means that the person who suffered damage because of another person has the right to gain that compensation from the person who caused it.
So what does this mean exactly? Let’s say you’re in an accident and your insurance company completely covers you because someone else was at fault for causing this accident. Your insurance company may then try and retrieve payment from the person whose fault it was for the accident. In this way, the insurance company would be substituting what they lost and they’ve gained it from the other person.
However, this situation looks completely different if your insurance company says that your policy will not pay you for this accident, even though it wasn’t your fault. This is when the time may come for you to start looking into a subrogation lawyer. If your insurance company will not compensate you for the accident, then you will have to pursue the wrongdoer for payment.
Have Early Involvement With A Subrogation Lawyer
One of the key points to help you with your case is to contact a subrogation lawyer as early as possible. As soon as you know your insurance company will not be compensating your claim is when you should get in contact with the subrogation attorney. This is helpful because you will get set up with an attorney and then that company’s paralegals will begin to process your claim. You should also receive advice from the subrogation attorney’s office about if you will be able to receive compensation from your claim.
Subrogation Attorneys Won’t Miss Compensation Opportunities
With your claim, your subrogation attorney will be able to help you make your case as strong as possible. They will ask you questions to add details to your case that you may not have considered to be important previously. Many subrogation attorneys will also look at the scene once you notify them. They will question any additional parties that were involved in the accident or may have witnessed the accident. Once the lawyer arrives at the scene, they will gather any available evidence that they can find. They will also call up all of the appropriate experts to contribute to your case. They will also obtain any relevant reports, which can include fire reports or 911 tapes. Subrogation attorneys are kind of like personal detectives that are attempting to help you win your case (and win your compensation as a result).
Keis George has subrogation attorneys that specialize in helping everyday average people win their cases when they have been in an accident. If you need subrogation help, or if you have more questions about how a subrogation case works, check out their website.
Taxes are one of the things in life you can’t avoid. There are times in life when you owe the IRS money or you got audited.
You want to make sure that you have a good attorney by your side to handle any IRS situation. The IRS is making an effort to increase taxpayer compliance, which increases the chance that you may need an IRS tax lawyer.
Keep reading to find out how you can hire the right tax attorney for your needs.
IRS tax lawyers have different areas of specializations. Some specialize in areas where they help you manage past tax debt. They may help you with an offer in compromise or through a tax audit.
Another area of specialization is in foreign income and holdings. For all U.S. corporations and citizens, even if you live abroad, you’re required to fill out an FBAR to report foreign bank accounts that have more than $10,000 at any point in the year.
If you have one bank account at $5,000 and another one at $5,001, you need to fill out the foreign bank account form.
You want to make sure that your tax lawyer specializes in what you need help with.
Another important tip is to look for the level of experience an attorney has. The more experience they have in handling cases like yours, the more likely you are to have a positive outcome.
In some cases when dealing directly with IRS agents, attorneys may already have relationships with case managers. You also want to know the results they’ve had for their clients in these cases.
3. Client Communications
You have to make sure you have the right set of expectations when you higher an IRS tax lawyer. You should make sure that you have an attorney who regularly provides updates on your case, even if there’s no news.
You shouldn’t have to chase your attorney and wait days to get a response from them.
4. Billing & Payment
How will you get billed for your case? You should ask if it’s a flat fee or an hourly rate. If it’s an hourly rate, will you get billed for every email and phone call?
Be sure to ask about how they bill and when payment is expected.
5. Who Handles Your Case?
This is an important question to ask. You may be hiring a legal firm or attorney to address your tax issues with the IRS. You may find out later that the bulk of the work is being done by a paralegal.
You want to make sure that if you’re paying top-dollar for an attorney’s time and attention, then they better be heavily involved in your case.
Hire the Right IRS Tax Lawyer
How can you make sure that you hire the best IRS tax lawyer? You have to know what to look for. That starts by matching your needs with an attorney’s specialization and experience.
You also have to get a clear understanding as to how much you’re billed and who is actually working on your case.
If you want more legal tips, be sure to come back to this site often.
Getting a tax-related fiasco successfully resolved can be a complicated ordeal. Quite frankly, whenever the IRS is involved, you know that getting these problems fixed quickly isn’t really an option. And if you’re not an expert when it comes to taxes, you may even find yourself confused with the entire process.
So, what do you do, for instance, when you’re having a difficult time paying all your dues to the IRS? Are you struggling to find an alternative way to pay the rest of your taxes? Are you being threatened jail time, wage garnishment, or extra fines regardless of your unfortunate financial situation?
Fortunately, an experienced tax attorney may be able to help. Here are the questions you should be asking your tax attorney before formally electing their assistance:
1. What area(s) of tax law do you specialize in?
Knowing the types of tax law a tax attorney specializes in is critical. Tax law is complicated and wide-ranging, and thus, it’s vital to find a lawyer who is knowledgeable and skilled in the specific type of tax relating to your case.
In the United States, there are many different types of taxes including capital gains, property, income, estate, vice, employment, import, and much more.
2. What is your win to loss ratio?
Even if a tax attorney specializes in the tax law that relates to your case, it doesn’t automatically make them the right attorney for the job. Just as critical is knowing how well they perform in the courtroom when gauging whether or not they’ll be a good attorney for you.
Have they taken on several cases but lost most of them? Have they only had a few tax-related cases throughout their entire career? You can determine how well a tax attorney might be for your case by asking them about their win to loss ratio and inquiring them regarding how many tax-related cases they’ve taken on in total.
3. How long have you been practicing?
Time in practice does not always equate knowledge and ability in the courtroom. However, it’s often true that tax attorneys who have had a decade-long career are going to have more expertise and success than a tax attorney who has only been practicing for a few months.
4. How do you charge for your services?
The better, more experienced, and busier the attorney, the higher they may charge for service. Apart from how much they charge, knowing how and how often a tax attorney will charge is critical. Do they require flat fees? What’s their hourly rate? How expensive will any administrative costs be? What types of payment methods do they take?
5. Is my particular case something you could handle?
So, your prospective tax attorney specializes in the type of tax pertaining to your case. They also are successful in terms of how many cases they’ve won and have been in practice for a lengthy amount of time. Their services might also affordable on your pocket.
But a better question is: is your specific case something that they can handle and are interested in handling? Every case is different, and some tax-related cases may be too difficult for some attorneys. Thus, it’s always a good idea to ask a lawyer if they can take on your case with no complications.
Are you in the midst of a tax-related crisis? Get legal help now by reaching out to tax attorneys who never back down.
Tax matters can be complex, time-consuming, and confusing. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re in the middle of a tax crisis and are having difficulty paying the IRS what you owe them, not to worry! Talking to a lawyer with tax-related knowledge today may be the right move to properly get your issue resolved.
Let’s face it: no one looks forward to paying their taxes every year.
From doing impossible calculations to wondering why you’re having to part with so much of your paycheck, it’s easy to feel frustrated when tax season rolls around.
But sometimes, issues with your taxes go way beyond the standard amount of annoyance. You’re now facing new tax consequences that you didn’t expect. Perhaps you’re also being audited, or maybe the IRS has accused you of lying on your tax return.
You’re considering hiring an IRS tax attorney to help you through this challenging time.
But is doing so the right move, and does your current situation truly warrant the help of a legal professional?
Keep reading to find out when working with a tax attorney is the right move.
1. You’re Being Audited by the IRS
Even though the official auditing rate of the IRS has declined in recent years, some people simply get unlucky.
One of the biggest reasons why you should work with tax lawyers is if you’re being audited by the IRS. Hiring an attorney doesn’t mean you have “something to hide.” Instead, it helps you to protect your money and ensure that the amount that you do owe to the IRS is a fair one.
Legal representation means that you’ll likely be able to pay far less in tax debt that an audit uncovers than you would if you tried to handle things on your own.
An attorney can help you with things like installment payment agreements, offers in compromise, and develop a strong explanation of economic hardship.
Plus, facing an audit alone is incredibly intimidating. The right representation can help negate that stress.
2. You’re Facing a Criminal Accusation
It should go without saying that you need to hire an IRS tax attorney if you’ve been accused of committing tax fraud.
However, you might be surprised by the number of people who feel they can defend themselves.
Don’t be like them.
If you’ve been accused of willfully falsifying information on your tax return, withholding income, or claiming false tax deductions, you need an attorney.
This is especially true if you’re being accused of using a fake or stolen social security number, if you’ve failed to file your tax return, or if your business failed to report cash payments to employees.
Learn more on this IRS website page about other common examples of tax fraud.
And remember: saving a little money isn’t worth potentially years in jail and high fines that could easily destroy your financial future.
3. You’ve Opened or Acquired a Business This Year
Not all reasons for searching for a “tax attorney near me” online are bad ones.
Sometimes, you should work with a tax lawyer because doing so can help you to maximize your deductions.
For example, maybe you’ve bought a business this year.
In this case, a qualified tax attorney can help you to work out how depreciation allows you to make up the purchase price quickly.
If you’ve sold your business to someone else, you need an attorney to help you to get the maximum amount of capital gains. (This article by Property Capital Allowance helps you understand how to leverage capital allowances to your advantage.)
If you’ve opened up a business this year, it can be a bit tough to determine how you need to file and pay taxes based on the specific business entity you’ve set up.
An attorney helps you to understand your tax obligations when it comes to this new business, looks for deduction opportunities, and even helps you to navigate any international business you do when it comes to owed income tax.
4. You Owe Back Taxes to the IRS
Even hardworking people sometimes fall behind on their tax payments.
Maybe you were hit with an unexpected expense that made it impossible for you to pay the full amount you owed to the IRS. While you’re in better financial shape now, you’re still concerned that you won’t be able to pay the full amount owed.
This is yet another example of why you should hire a tax attorney.
They’ll ensure that you settle with the IRS for a fair amount — often, one that’s much lower than what you currently owe. You should certainly contact a tax lawyer if your back taxes have resulted in wage garnishment or bank account levies.
The same thing goes if you want to apply for financial hardship forgiveness, or if you need to settle payroll tax disputes.
Above all, working with an attorney means that you don’t have to worry about communicating with the IRS. Instead, your tax attorney can take care of all the correspondence.
Let an IRS Tax Attorney Handle Things for You
We understand that getting any kind of unexpected notice from the IRS can be frightening.
Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, it can be terrifying to think about the money that you might have to come up with.
That’s why the smartest thing for you to do is to work with an IRS tax attorney.
These professionals have tons of experience in working with cases similar to your own, and they can also tell you how to avoid tax complications in the future.
Looking for more information about what to look for in a tax attorney? Curious about how the legal process for tax fraud works?
Our blog is here to help.
Bookmark it to make sure you receive up-to-the-minute legal advice on taxes and countless other legal issues.
We all have to do our taxes correctly because the IRS forgives nobody. But what happens when you are faced with an IRS-related issue? From overdue taxes to overwhelming tax debt, there are plenty of serious tax-related matters that are very difficult to deal with. Fortunately, you can ask for help. Your taxes are your responsibility, but you can seek the assistance of a tax lawyer when things get complicated. But how do you know when it’s time to hire an attorney? Here are a few things that can tell you that the time has come.
You have overwhelming tax debt
It’s very easy to overlook taxes, but rest assured that it all catches up to you. Tax debt can quickly turn into an overwhelming amount, which will destroy you financially. To prevent that from happening, you have to take action. If you have large tax debt, you can sign up for an IRS fresh start program. Tax law specialists can help you pay off your debt in several installments, which will not drain you financially, rather than a huge lump sum payout.
You are facing an IRS audit
If you get an IRS audit notice, then it is best you seek professional assistance. The tax code is over 74,000 pages long, so your tax records are likely to need some fine-tuning before facing the IRS. This is the time to call a tax lawyer, who can help you through the auditing process, but who can also represent you should your case be transferred to tax court. Prevention is the best possible approach when it comes to IRS audits.
You are facing suspicion from the IRS
The main goal of the IRS is to make sure that businesses abide by the tax code. As such, they have to make sure that your taxes check out down to the last detail. Even if your business has done nothing wrong, it might exhibit a suspicious pattern, such as accelerated financial growth, and it will be closely monitored by the IRS. If you are facing IRS suspicion, then it is time to get a tax lawyer, simply because you may need a mediator in your further contact with the federal authorities.
You are facing tax-related criminal charges
If you are facing criminal charges related to your taxes, such as tax evasion, do not minimize the situation and get legal representation. Having a good attorney is your best chance at getting a positive outcome and avoiding serious fines (up to $250,000) and even jail time (up to 5 years in prison).
The benefits of working with a tax lawyer
Hiring a tax lawyer might seem like an unnecessary expense, but in the long run, it can help you steer clear of a wide range of tax-related issues. The best course of action is to prevent these problems before they get a chance to affect your life or your business. Working with a professional offers some invaluable benefits that will make a difference. Here are some of them:
Superior knowledge of the tax code
You may do your taxes religiously, but you are far from mastering the tax code. A specialist has a profound knowledge of it and will be able to spot out any irregularities, but also help you optimize your tax records. Moreover, should you be faced with a tax-related issue, a lawyer can use the tax code to your advantage.
Protection from intimidation
Dealing with the IRS can be a very time-consuming process and you are exposed to various intimidation techniques that their representatives might use. An attorney can shield you from all of these intimidation tactics and get you a positive outcome for your issues. Your attorney will act as in intermediary between you and the IRS, so you don’t have to deal with them directly anymore.
Assistance with filing returns
If you have to file tax returns, then your lawyer can help you submit the correct data to the IRS. Moreover, an attorney can help you file late returns, as well as the returns from this year. Should you need an extension for filing your returns, your lawyer can fill out the required paperwork and get your request in.
As you can see, there are several situations that may require you to seek professional help from a tax lawyer. If you are dealing with overwhelming tax debt or facing IRS suspicion or charges, then it is time to get yourself an attorney, who can use the fine details of the tax code to your advantage.
If nothing is certain except death and taxes, then tax lawyers will always be in demand. Unlike your typical lawyer, tax lawyers are not afraid of numbers. In fact, they’re great with numbers! On top of that, they juggle federal and state tax codes, which are super complex and change on a regular basis.
But what does a tax lawyer do during their career? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn about life as a tax lawyer!
How They Got Here
Some people know from the get-go that tax law is the way they want to go in their career, even as early as undergrad. With that in mind, many start their journey to their career by majoring in accountancy or business management. If they do well in undergrad, then they head off to law school.
Law school is a three-year process nearly every future attorney must go through in order to practice law. The first year is made up of required classes like Contracts, Torts, Property, Criminal Law, and Legal Writing. You get to choose most of your classes in the next two years, and some schools allow you to concentrate on a certain practice area, but that is not a requirement.
Tax Law LL.M
After you finish law school, you are free to take the bar and get a job working as a tax attorney. But if you want to amp up your resume, then spending an extra year getting an LL.M in taxation may be the way to go. You will want to be strategic about the law school in which you choose to get your LL.M because there are definitely some standout programs at select universities.
Once you complete your LL.M, you’ll be good to go for a career in tax law with a nice pedigree.
Work for a Law Firm
The majority of tax lawyers work in a law firm in a variety of capacities. Many tax lawyers land their positions in a law firm through the work they do as a summer associate during law school.
Tax lawyers who work for larger law firms are often put on retainer by large companies to handle their complex tax issues, including international tax law for multi-national corporations. These tax lawyers make sure that the corporation is in compliance with all federal, state, and international tax laws. In the event that the corporation violates a law or is audited, then the lawyer provides representation for them through any audit or investigation.
While many tax lawyers work for big law firms on behalf of corporations, a huge amount of them work on their own or as part of a small firm. They represent smaller companies and individuals in their dealings with state tax boards and the IRS.
In addition to hanging their own shingle and working with a low-income legal aid organization, tax attorneys may also be hired in a full-time position with a company, large corporation, or federal, state, or local government.
Help You Get the Most Out of Your Tax Return
Many individuals and companies employ both a tax attorney and a CPA or have them on retainer. Tax attorneys that work on behalf of individuals instead of companies make sure that complex tax returns are filed in compliance with applicable tax laws.
While that is incredibly important work, one of the biggest services they provide to their clients during tax season is reducing their overall tax liability as much as possible. This includes taking advantage of all possible deductions and making sure that clients get as big a refund as possible or a small tax bill.
For individuals with very high incomes, having a tax attorney on retainer is a must. The attorney assists their clients throughout the year in order to make strategic moves to reduce their overall tax liability.
Provide Tax Audit Defense
Lots of people never even think about hiring a tax lawyer until they’ve received a letter from the IRS informing them that they have been selected for an audit. At that point, individuals are typically referred by CPA or company that prepared their taxes to a tax attorney.
Tax lawyers who provide audit defense services are well-versed in how the IRS conducts its audits and know what to do to keep clients in their good graces. That doesn’t mean that, if clients intentionally or accidentally made errors or failed to include income on their tax return, they can get them out of paying the taxes clients owe. They can, however, minimize the financial hit their clients take or get them out of jail time.
Help People Work with the IRS on Back Taxes
Believe it or not, there are people out there who have not filed their taxes in years. This includes people who have straightforward tax returns and would have received a return if they had filed. The majority of these clients, however, failed to file in an attempt to dodge excessive tax liability that they can’t afford to pay.
The IRS, of course, doesn’t forget that they haven’t paid, and, in turn, files a tax return for them that does not include deductions or tax credits, and sends them a bill for what they owe. When people fail to pay what they owe, then the IRS takes steps to force people to pay, like garnishing income or placing a tax lien on their property. A tax attorney steps in in these situations and works with the IRS to get their clients on an affordable payment plan or reduce the overall amount owed.
What Does a Tax Lawyer Do? A Lot of Things!
Tax law is an incredibly specialized area of law with a broad array of potential employment opportunities. The majority of these positions pay handsomely, and tax lawyers are rated as the happiest in the legal field.
So, what does a tax lawyer do? They do everything from working for a law firm to working for companies to working for everyday people having issues with the IRS.
Want to learn more about becoming a lawyer or the ins and outs of life as an attorney? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the rest of our blog posts for everything you need to know about life in the legal field!
As a business owner, you’ll face a ton of challenges. One of the most common challenges is a lack of knowledge regarding filing taxes and managing finances.
This definitely isn’t something you want to wing or try and teach yourself. Your business can face serious penalties if you’re not filing your taxes in the correct way. That’s why it’s best to hire an attorney.
Read on to learn more about the other benefits of hiring an attorney to help you with your taxes. You’ll also learn what you ought to look for when you’re searching for the best tax attorney.
Why Hire a Tax Attorney?
Tax attorneys can provide you and your business with a lot of great benefits. The following are some of the main reasons why business owners choose to invest in the help of a tax attorney:
Understand the Tax Code
As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate at all times. There’s a good chance you don’t have several spare hours a week to dedicate to learning the U.S. tax code — nevermind the fact that it also changes on a regular basis.
If you’re not a tax expert, you need to have someone on your team who is. Tax attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the U.S. tax code and are paid to keep up with any changes that happen to it.
A tax attorney can help to protect your business from audits, intimidation, and potential abuse from the IRS.
If you want to have someone on your side who knows the law and knows what is and is not permissible, it’s best to hire a tax attorney.
Having one on your payroll can help to give you peace of mind if nothing else.
Get Help Filing Returns
Oh, taxes. They have to be filed every year, yet they always seem to take us by surprise.
If you aren’t looking forward to filing your tax returns as a business owner, why not bring on a tax attorney who can help with the process? They can work with your accountant to ensure everything gets filed in the correct way and submitted on time.
Protect Income and Assets
A tax attorney will ensure you don’t pay more than you should to the IRS each year.
They can also help to protect you from tax penalties and ensure that as much of your business’s revenue as possible remains in your business.
In the event that you do owe the IRS more than you can pay, a tax attorney will also help you set up installment plans and minimize the damage.
It’s also helpful to have a tax attorney on your team for help dealing with other lawyers or with representatives from the IRS. Your attorney can communicate with these individuals on your behalf and ensure you don’t accidentally say anything that could get you into trouble later on.
Tips for Hiring a Tax Attorney
If any of those benefits sound appealing to you, you definitely ought to look into hiring a tax attorney for your business. Of course, you also need to make sure you’re hiring the right person for the job.
Here are some tips that will help you vet potential candidates and find the right attorney for your business:
Ask for Recommendations
If you have no idea where to begin when it comes to hiring a tax attorney, reach out to others in your professional network.
Your accountant might be able to recommend someone, for example. The same might be true for other lawyers you’ve worked with in the past.
Consider Their Qualifications
Once you have a list of a few candidates, dig a little deeper to learn more about them. Find out where they went to school, when they graduated, and how long they’ve been practicing.
Run Your Own Background Check
Check with your state’s bar association to ensure the attorney you’re considering is in good standing. Your state’s bar association can let you know if there are any complaints against this attorney or if their license has lapsed or is suspended for some reason.
Find Out About Professional Affiliations
This isn’t necessarily a requirement. However, it can be helpful to have an attorney on your side who is affiliated with professional organizations like the National Association of Tax Professionals.
This shows a dedication to staying informed about the latest tax code changes. It can also be a sign that they have professional connections that could come in handy in the future.
Avoid Impatient Attorneys
Steer clear of attorneys who try to pressure you into working with them and signing a contract on the same day you meet them. They should be willing to let you take your time and consider all your options before making a decision.
Be Wary of Sales Gimmicks
Be wary of attorneys who use gimmicks to try and make themselves more appealing. Your attorney cannot guarantee a specific outcome, for example. Steer clear of these people and work with ones who are honest from the very beginning.
Schedule a Consultation
You can learn a lot about an attorney by scheduling a consultation with them. Pay attention to the way they behave during the meeting and the general vibe you get from them.
Consider the customer service you receive when you call to set up the appointment, too. Is it easy for you to geta hold of someone? Are you treated in a polite and professional manner?
Silver Tax Group also recommends working with an attorney that has people available to help on a 24-7 basis. That way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing help is always a phone call away.
Find the Best Tax Attorney Today
A tax attorney can be an invaluable addition to your business. The key, though, is to make sure you’re working with the best one.
Keep the tips listed in this article in mind as you begin your search for the best tax attorney and you’ll have a much easier time finding someone who meets your specific needs.
If you’re ready to start looking for a tax attorney, don’t forget to try our free search tool, too. It helps you to find qualified, credible tax attorneys (and other types of attorneys) in your area.
It’s a time of year that many Americans dread, avoid, and put-off: tax time. No matter how organized you keep your expenses, there’s a certain amount of stress that arises every time Uncle Sam comes knocking.
Some situations, of course, cause more stress than others. If you’re facing an IRS audit or have some sort of complicated income situation, you might want to seek some extra help. Ditto if you’re starting a new business.
A tax lawyer can help ensure that you’re doing everything properly. Tax laws can be quite complicated, but an experienced lawyer can walk you through the process with ease. How do you find the best attorney for you? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Start With Some Research
If you really want to find a tax attorney that will be a good fit for you, you’ll need to put a little bit of work in. Doing some research can help you find the right person and save you from trouble down the line.
First and foremost, you should ensure that a tax attorney is the best person to help you with your current problems. Tax attorneys can work for high rates, and there may be other professionals who can help you with basic tax issues for less.
If you’re simply looking for help planning or filing your taxes, you might not want to hire a tax attorney. If you need basic filing assistance or specialized advice, you might want to hire a different tax professional. If you have questions about cannabis tax planning, for example, that doesn’t mean you need to hire an attorney.
But if you the situation you’re in presents a high amount of risk (audits, new businesses) then you might want a tax attorney on your side.
A good place to start is by asking friends and colleagues if they have any personal recommendations. Many people have worked with tax attorneys before, and they might be able to point you towards a person they think is a very strong choice.
If your friends and family don’t have recommendations, try asking your accountant, banker, or other lawyers if you’ve worked with any. It’s more likely that these people will know and be able to recommend solid tax attorneys.
In a worst-case scenario, you’ll be able to search online and find solid options. But it’s nice to be able to get a personal recommendation that you can trust.
What Qualifications Should You Look For?
What makes a good tax attorney? How can you be sure the candidates you’re looking at will do a good job? There are a few ways to narrow the field down.
You’ll want to make sure the lawyer you’re considering is board certified. There are programs at the national and state level that certify lawyers to work. Lawyers working without board-certification should not be trusted.
The seal of board-certification should make you feel more confident that the tax attorney you are considering knows what they’re doing. It can be a smart idea to pick an attorney who has been certified for at least a few years. This amount of time means they’ll probably have a number of cases already under their belt and can use that experience to help your particular case.
Depending on your particular situation, you may want to find an attorney who has other qualifications. Some tax attorneys are also certified as public accountants, which may be helpful depending on your personal needs.
Some lawyers have had extra schooling and obtained extra degrees in the area of tax law. While it isn’t essential to take on this extra schooling, you may find that you want to hire a lawyer that has this extensive knowledge and schooling.
You can also go to a board’s website and search the records on the attorneys that you are considering. Here, you’ll find a list of any previous complaints or punishments made against the candidate in question. Finding an attorney with a clean record will help you feel more confident in your choice.
Conducting An Interview
Once you’ve whittled down your list to two or three prospective attorneys, it’s time to get in touch. Try to set up a consultation with the lawyers remaining on your list. Then gather the assorted documents you’ll need to explain your situation to an attorney.
When you sit down with an attorney, walk them through your needs and questions. Once they understand the situation, ask them about their experience with similar cases. Have them outline what they’ll be able to do in your particular situation.
When sitting with these people, gauge their attitude and level of commitment to your case. Trust your gut when it comes to the flow of communication: you might be seeing this person a lot, so you probably don’t want to hire someone you don’t get along with.
A competent and worthwhile attorney will be engaged in your discussion. They will likely ask you many questions and try to really understand your case. If an attorney fails to do this, they might not be a strong option. If you can find an attorney who feels invested in you and your case, you likely have found the right fit for you.
Hiring The Best Tax Lawyer For You
Tax laws can be complicated and navigating different legal situations can be highly stressful. Having a strong tax lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
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IRS issues can hit anyone at any time, and it is important to weigh all options available to you.
The only way one can do that is by simply learning what it means to fight the IRS alone or fighting the IRS with an experienced lawyer by your side. The following will help you understand the difference between these choices and help guide you to the one that works best for your needs.
Should You Get a Tax Lawyer?
Most of the time, people hesitate to hire a tax lawyer because they are not sure if they even need one. Figuring out if you need one starts with asking yourself a few questions; for example, does the IRS issue sound complicated, such as an audit?
Having legal representation means that any negotiation between you and the IRS is done through a lawyer who knows what to say to get penalties reduced or to find a compromise between the two. Keep in mind that some complex tax situations are going to require knowledge of not only tax laws but the language used by IRS bureaucracies.
A lawyer will be there to cut through the jargon and help you understand the proceedings of the particular problem you are going through. Keep in mind that misunderstandings could end up costing more money or prolong this tax problem. There are times when the IRS actually asks inappropriate questions that a good lawyer can shield the taxpayer from.
It is easy to see how a tax attorney can not only help protect the taxpayer but also reduce the time spent dealing with this particular issue. According to Patrick Cox from Tax Defense Partners that the “goal is not only to attempt to achieve tax debt relief and tax debt settlement at the lowest amount allowed by law, or a payment schedule that least disrupts your economic life but also to reduce your anxiety and stress.”
A tax attorney that does not attempt to do this for his or her client may not be the best choice.
Consider the following points when looking for a tax attorney:
- The professional should be experienced in the tax issue you are dealing with.
- There should be third-party reviews about the lawyer you are considering.
- Check for accreditation and degrees that fortify this lawyer’s capabilities.
- Find out how this lawyer is going to get paid for his or her services before hiring.
Can Taxpayers do Anything on Their own?
As valuable as a tax attorney can be to a person going through tax issues, some individuals still want to do something to stay in control of the situation. The following are some of the things a taxpayer can handle as long as he or she has enough time and knowledge:
A small mistake or a routine interaction with the IRS can be done without legal representation. Most of the time, things like a small mistake on a tax return can be addressed by simply having a conversation with the taxpayer’s preparer.
A taxpayer that needs an extension to complete a tax return can also take care of this particular problem without the help of a lawyer. The only thing that is needed is a simple Form 4868. The instructions are on the form itself and are pretty self-explanatory.
Another thing a taxpayer can do on his or her own is submit an “offer in compromise.” The IRS has set up this program for taxpayers who cannot pay or have trouble paying what they owe. In essence, the taxpayer is petitioning the IRS to allow them to pay what they owe but at a much lower rate. This action is not too hard to do without the help of a lawyer.
It is clear that there are a few steps that anyone can take without hiring a tax attorney.
Of course, there could be other small issues that could be taken care of without any tax law help, but it is important that the taxpayer is honest with him or herself in these matters. Keep in mind that depending on the taxpayer’s tax issues, a small mistake could have dire financial consequences.
Hopefully, some of this information makes it easier for taxpayers to figure out when they need a tax attorney and when they can afford to skip one.