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What are Tax Lawyers?

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Tax Lawyers: Who They Are and What They Do

Tax lawyers are well-versed in tax law and have experience dealing with the IRS. For those who have a single income and only file a Form 1040 for their personal tax return, you are less likely to need a tax lawyer. However, anyone with a lot of assets, either personal, business, or both, will probably require the services of a tax lawyer at some point.

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From simple state tax disputes to larger federal government tax issues, tax lawyers can help you. Taxes can be confusing and complicated, and when the time comes for you to pay them, you may fall short. And you won't be alone, as thousands of U.S. citizens struggle to keep up with the ever-changing world that is paying taxes. Going into debt due to not filing or for unpaid taxes can be a miserable road to venture down. In fact, it's best to consult a tax attorney before you get into serious trouble with the IRS because:

  • Not filing and not paying taxes can result in penalties and interest charges
  • Not all tax changes are permanent
  • Your entire income isn't taxable
  • Tax refunds can generally be claimed within two years from the original due date of the tax return

These are the things tax lawyers have firsthand knowledge of so they can help you deal with the IRS.

Unfortunately, we don't all have the foresight or knowledge necessary to avoid tricky tax situations before they occur. This is where tax lawyers come into play, because your job is to run your business, not to memorize tax code. That's why having a tax lawyer on your side is important ; they'll do their best to ensure you get the most profits and pay the least amount possible in taxes, all while still staying within the law. These are some of the specializations tax lawyers have :

  • Audit representation
  • Delinquent tax returns
  • Offers in compromise
  • Tax lien relief
  • Wage garnishment removal

In addition to being familiar with federal tax laws, most tax lawyers also have an in-depth knowledge of the tax laws in your state. So no matter whether you have a tax lien against your property or you improperly filed your last tax return, a tax lawyer can help you solve your tax issues.

Tax Lawyers vs. Accountants and CPAs

You might be thinking that your accountant or CPA is capable of performing the same function as a tax lawyer, but this isn't quite the case. First of all, there's a difference between an accountant and a CPA. While accountants have a bachelor's degree in accounting, CPAs are required to achieve a certain amount of educational and work experience as well as pass an exam. They can provide you with services such as:

  • Filing complex tax returns
  • Helping with long-term tax goals
  • Doing monthly accounting
  • Creating a financial plan
  • Paying quarterly taxes

A CPA is a good person to have on your team. However, in some cases, tax lawyers are better equipped to handle your tax problems. They will have obtained a law degree as well as passed the bar exam in the state where they do business. Many will have also taken classes or earned degrees in accounting and finance. With their specialization in tax law and the ability to more easily communicate directly with the IRS, tax lawyers are better prepared to help you deal with legal issues that relate to your taxes.

Some of the ways tax lawyers can assist clients are:

  • Researching your case
  • Negotiating a tax settlement
  • Representing you in court as long as they have litigation experience
  • Helping you meet tax deadlines
  • Explaining complex tax laws in simple language

How do you know whether you need a CPA or a tax attorney? This will ultimately come down to your tax needs. If you have a complex tax return that requires a lot of forms but you aren't in trouble with the IRS, a CPA will probably work just fine for you. On the other hand, if you're in trouble or think you might be close to having problems with the IRS and your taxes, consider hiring a tax attorney.

When Are Tax Attorneys Necessary?

Everyone's individual tax situation is unique, which makes dealing with the IRS confusing and difficult. Tax lawyers have the skills and knowledge needed to effectively and efficiently communicate with the IRS for you, saving you time and frustration. Some people may want to attempt dealing with the IRS themselves to save money, but you'll soon find that this can end up costing you more money in the long run. When it comes to taxes and the IRS, it's best to leave it to the experts.

While tax code can quickly confuse most people, tax lawyers are well-prepared for finding a solution to your tax problem. Some of the reasons you should consult a tax attorney include:

  • You're being audited
  • You owe back taxes
  • You're setting up a will
  • You're starting a business
  • You're buying or selling a business
  • You're under investigation by the IRS
  • To protect your assets

Tax lawyers will be able to help you with any one of these things and more. Whether you're already in too deep with the IRS or you're just teetering on the edge of trouble, having the right tax attorney could take a lot of the stress out of your life.

Finding the Right Lawyer

No matter what type of lawyer you're looking for, there are certain criteria you'll want to consider before you hire someone. Knowing that your situation will be unique, you'll want to find a lawyer that:

  • Has the proper training: This means you want to find a lawyer that knows your problem and can prove they have the training to help you.
  • Is licensed to practice law in your state: A lawyer must pass a state bar exam in every state they wish to practice in, so make sure that the lawyer you hire has a license to practice law in your state.
  • Has at least some experience: While we all understand that on-the-job training is valuable and necessary, you don't exactly want the new guy representing your important (and probably costly) case. Try to find a lawyer with some experience that relates to your issue.
  • Is a good fit for you and your needs: It's true that some people just rub us the wrong way, so it's important that you find a lawyer you can deal with. You want them to be someone you can talk to openly and honestly to ensure you get your problems handled right.

Regardless of whether you're searching for a tax lawyer or a contract lawyer, these tips are sure to help you find the right person for the job.

Tax lawyers aren't necessary for every type of business or every tax situation, but what's important to keep in mind is that this type of lawyer specializes in dealing with the IRS. This means that if you have issues with your taxes and need someone to represent you or communicate for you with the IRS, you probably need a tax lawyer.


ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


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