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The Differences Between Tax Attorneys and CPAs

Sometimes it can be challenging to understand what a CPA is adept at doing and what tasks require the expertise of a tax attorney. Each one is an expert in dealing with taxes but in very different ways.

While a CPA is an authority at preparing your taxes and making sure they are submitted, tax attorneys are still needed in some cases. For instance, if the IRS determines that your tax submissions are inconsistent, or if you are dealing with an audit, you’ll want to have an expert Tucson tax attorney.

What CPAs Can Do

CPAs (or Certified Public Accountants) have a large amount of education to back them up. They must complete at least 150 hours of undergraduate courses before passing a strenuous examination. They are also required to complete continued education units every few years.

CPAs are experts when it comes to tax preparation. One thing to remember it is that every CPA is an accountant, but not every accountant becomes a CPA. Therefore, becoming a CPA is a much more challenging process than being a standard accountant.

Since a CPA has more education and experience, they are often the best choice for dealing with complex tax cases. In addition, they understand how to adhere to state and federal laws while providing you with maximum benefits and reducing your tax liability.

A strong relationship with a CPA can be useful if you want to build a tax plan and need support to stick to it. CPAs also often offer other services, such as general accounting, financial record review, health insurance selection, maximizing deductions, and business structuring.

What Tax Attorneys Are Capable Of

Tax attorneys are also invaluable to taxpayers while serving different needs than a CPA. For example, while CPAs might be competent to represent you in an audit, a tax attorney has lots of experience with tax agencies and handling the audit process.

Tax attorneys require a large amount of education before moving into their role. First, this expert gets a bachelor’s degree and follows that up with a Juris Doctor degree. The next step is studying for the state bar exam where they wish to practice. After passing the exam, their license is kept up to date through ongoing education.

Beyond that, a large number of tax attorneys decide to earn a Master of Laws in Taxation for additional specialization in the field.

A tax attorney specializes in tax payment law and provides services that are used in defense cases when facing an IRS audit. Tax attorneys will vary in their specialties, but all are experts in tax controversy and dispute resolution.

A benefit of choosing to work with a tax attorney is that they provide attorney-client privilege to protect your communication with them. This means that the attorney will not provide information to tax agencies that was provided to them in confidence.

As mentioned, a Tucson tax attorney can provide many tax services. Some of the situations where you might need a tax attorney include:

  • IRS tax collection and tax disputes including wage garnishments, bank levies and tax liens attached to real property
  • Tax audits by the IRS
  • International business transactions
  • Criminal tax defense
  • Reporting ownership of foreign bank accounts and corporations

Since CPAs and tax attorneys both work on taxes but have different roles, the professional who can help you may vary depending on your specific case. You might work with one for a certain situation and the other for something different. A CPA can be a great partner for everyday tax needs but might not be the right person for trouble with tax authorities.

Instead of pushing your CPA beyond their boundaries, consider working with an experienced tax attorney. Call the professionals at Guardian Tax Law to learn more and get the assistance and peace of mind you deserve.