Tax Attorneys can handle many areas of Tax Law. Some things Tax Attorneys can do are Tax Preparation, usually for more complicated trust , corporate or personal returns; Defend Taxpayers against IRS and State Audits; Defend Taxpayers against IRS, State and other government collection actions to seize or force Taxpayers to pay; Represent clients in Tax Court and/or criminal court for criminal cases.
There are so many things that Tax Attorneys can do it is important to find a Tax Attorney that is very familiar with what you need. A tax case can often involve more than one area of tax law and most Tax Firms do not try to do it all.
What should a Tax Attorney be able to do for taxpayers?
Perform a Financial Analysis
The heart of what can be done for taxpayers for IRS and State tax debt is the financial analysis. This process uses a taxpayer’s actual financial situation and facts and puts it through what the IRS and/or State will consider and not consider as expenses and income. This analysis can take 20 to 40 minutes depending on the complexity of the taxpayers financial situation. (This is usually accomplished in a free consultation, we provide a free Analysis without the high pressure sales pitch).
A Good Tax Attorney will review not only their current financial situation but also make recommended changes to help the taxpayer qualify for better results and to ensure the taxpayer avoids future tax issues.
Education is key – if your Tax Firm/Attorney is not continually educating taxpayers through the process to help make sure they know how to not owe again, they are not helping you long term. (We joke around that if we do our job right we don’t get repeat business because GTL educates our clients so they never need us again, in most cases, if they follow our advice).
Go over rights and options for Taxpayers
A good Tax Attorney will review your Rights and Options with you, the good options and the bad. Remember your case is YOUR CASE. You deserve to know all of your options and you can pick from a recommended list but if you are not given the pros and cons of different resolutions you cannot pick the best resolution for you. (I have had many times where the Resolution that I thought was best for a taxpayer turned out to not be what they wanted. For example if they wanted to purchase a home, need a security clearance, passport renewed etc.)
Negotiate Resolutions for Taxpayers
This is the process of turning Recommended Options that BEST fit a taxpayer’s needs and desires into reality. This requires experience and a determination to see cases through as far as possible using all the tools and options available in negotiation with the IRS. This can include Appeals, Taxpayer Advocate, Collection Due Process Hearings, etc.
In Summary, a Tax Attorney should provide a thorough analysis for taxpayers so they can choose the best Resolution for their particular situation, and then use their experience and knowledge to make that a reality.
How to pick the right Tax Attorney?
1) Have an initial consultation
A good Tax Attorney will be able to look at your case and tell you exactly what assistance you need in the initial meeting. The right Tax Attorney will be able to clarify what is going on with your case and lay out a clear path of how to proceed to best help you.
2) Pay attention to communication cues
The Right Tax Attorney will be clear and honest with you about their areas of expertise and refer you to other professionals that can serve you better in areas outside of their normal practice areas.
3) Be curious
Your Tax Attorney should strive to EDUCATE you. If you do not learn something in your initial consultation you are probably not talking to the right person. This is YOUR case, any good Tax Professional will educate you on your options and the pros and cons of each choice, but clearly let you decide. If you are feeling pressured to make a choice you are not comfortable with, I would get a second opinion.
4) Notice how you feel when talking to them
Talking to a tax attorney should NOT scare you into taking action. The Right Tax Attorney will be straight with you about the possible consequences but unless you have urgent notices or collection actions will not use pressure sales tactics to get you to hire then and there.
5) Ask questions
The Right Tax Attorney will encourage you to ask questions. It is very important that you understand what will be accomplished and how to get there. There will be details that only the Tax Attorney will understand but you should have a good idea of what is happening with your case and why.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts
Some of my staff tease me that I make taxpayers cry when they talk to me. The reason they cry is that they can finally let all the stress go that fighting the IRS causes. They can feel and know that their case will be handled competently and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There should be a plan to resolve all tax issues and give the taxpayer peace of mind. That peace of mind is why people sometimes cry after meeting with me and is what you should feel after meeting with the Right Tax Attorney.