Tax attorneys have expertise in the extremely complex and technical field of tax law. They are the specialists who handle all the legal issues related to tax litigations, tax relief, and any problems that may arise with the IRS, for example, any disputes with the IRS. In addition, they provide assistance in navigating through complex tax laws and codes and in documenting and structuring business entities. A tax attorney can also help in supervising business tax planning for the purpose of minimizing tax burdens through legal means. Also, they advise clients on financial, tax, and estate planning.
Tax attorneys can represent a client in the federal Tax Court or a state court. Additionally, they can represent a client in the Court of Federal Claims, Bankruptcy Court, or in the District Court. A tax attorney can also represent a tax professional who is a subject of injunction actions, violations, and other IRS enforcement proceedings.
How to know if a tax attorney is needed
Many a time, it is quite difficult to determine whether one needs to hire a tax attorney as they may seem unreasonably expensive. This is especially true if a CPA or any other tax professional has been hired to do taxes, accounting, and other financial tasks for an individual or a company. This may lead them to think about why they have to hire a tax attorney. The following are some of the instances wherein a tax attorney can help:
- When a person has a taxable estate and has to make complicated estate planning strategies. Also, they may want to file estate tax returns.
- When a person has just started a business, they may require legal counsel to devise the tax treatment and structure of the company.
- When a person wants to do business overseas, they may need assistance in drawing up contracts, and they may also need advice on tax treatment and other legal issues related to international business.
- When a person wants an independent review of their tax-related cases before the country’s Tax Court.
- When a person is planning to sue the IRS.
- When an individual is under criminal investigation by the IRS.
- Other instances of when the services of a tax attorney are required include the filing an appeal of any tax court decision and communicating with IRS officials. Additionally, a tax lawyer can help a business save money and take advantage of tax credits.
Apart from this, if a person’s or business’s tax returns are in the process of being audited, tax attorneys with expertise in audits can provide assistance by walking the client through the process of auditing. Also, they will respond to the requests of IRS auditors and attend any in-person meetings on behalf of their client. If required, they can also initiate negotiations for an IRS settlement.
How to look for a tax attorney
Hiring a tax attorney can be truly useful for a business, regardless of whether it is a small business, a mid-sized organization, or a big corporation. The function of a tax attorney is quite critical, which is why it’s important to find the right attorney who can work in the best interests of their client.
- Check the work experience: Often, lawyers with the most experience are the most competent. Also, attorneys who have specialization in dealing with IRS issues can be quite valuable as they know how the IRS works inside out. They have a unique perspective on how to manage problems related to tax as they have a lot of experience with the practices of the IRS and tend to interact with IRS officials on a regular basis.
- Check the credentials of tax attorneys: Before hiring a tax attorney, ensure that you go through their credentials. Check whether they have the appropriate license to practice law from the state’s bar. Also, they should have a minimum qualification of a Master’s of Law degree. An attorney with lesser qualification will surely cost lesser, but they may cost more in the long run if cases are not handled well. Additionally, a tax attorney who is a Certified Public Accountant can be extremely useful in dealing with all types of issues related to taxes. The Martindale-Hubbell directory is an extensive database that has all the background information of every lawyer across the country, and it can be checked when looking for a credible attorney.
- Do background checks: Ask around regarding the reputation of the tax attorney, check online reviews and testimonials, or go to the local bar association. All bar associations have records on misconducts and disciplinary actions that have been taken against every lawyer in the area. This is the best source to verify whether a lawyer is reliable or not.
- Consult professional legal associations: Some organizations like the National Association of Tax Professionals can be helpful in finding the right tax attorney. These associations have public lists of all the attorneys registered with them, and they also have directories on their official websites, which makes it easier to look for a tax attorney.