How To Select a Tax Attorney | Gray reed
Understanding the IRS and the tax laws is very difficult and confusing. When a taxpayer has a tax controversy with the IRS, selecting a tax lawyer can be just as confusing and complicated. Not all lawyers are created equal when it comes to tax laws and representing clients before the IRS. Dealing with the IRS can be risky and confusing for someone, including a lawyer, if that person is not familiar with the IRS process. Clients who are looking for a tax attorney when they have issues with the IRS should be sure to select someone who understands this unique area of ââthe law. Challenging the IRS requires an attorney with particular expertise and experience.
Expertise and experience
The client should realize that, depending on what is at stake, the client may end up in IRS courts. The client should seek an attorney who specializes in tax disputes with the IRS and has experience in tax litigation. Since litigation with the IRS is different from a normal trial, even the most experienced attorneys may not have the experience required to deal with the IRS. The client should consider whether the lawyer has dealt with the same or similar issues. As a rule of thumb, a good tax lawyer can handle almost any tax issue, even if they haven’t dealt with one before. What clients should understand is that the IRS raises many different issues, and in many cases, it can be difficult to find a tax attorney who has addressed the specific issue. What the client is looking for is a tax lawyer who has extensive experience dealing with the IRS, and who is not afraid to challenge the IRS and fully represent the client.
Legal fees are always a concern when selecting a tax lawyer. Generally, legal fees for tax matters can be substantial. The client should realize that although a less experienced lawyer may be retained at a lower cost, the less experienced lawyer may not be able to meet the client’s goals or deal effectively with the IRS. Most likely, the less experienced lawyer, who charges lower fees, may take significantly more hours to resolve the issue than an experienced tax lawyer. Thus, the fees paid to the less experienced lawyer may equal or exceed the fees that would have been paid to an experienced tax lawyer, and the client may not achieve the desired results.
There are many ways to pay lawyers. Although paying by the hour is the most common, a flat rate may work better for the taxpayer. With a fixed fee, the client is assured that the fixed fee is the total amount that will be paid for the tax lawyer to handle the case. There are many creative ways for a client to pay legal fees other than hourly basis or fixed fees.
References and next steps
One of the most effective ways to find a knowledgeable tax lawyer is to check with others who have dealt with an experienced tax lawyer. Find out from these people what tax lawyers they have worked with or know by reputation. The customer must do an appointment with the tax advisor to explain the tax issue for which the client wishes to be represented. Most tax lawyers will charge for this meeting, and if they do, the client should expect to get good legal advice on the tax issue. If the first appointment is free, the client usually may not get good legal advice. Check with the tax advisor about the merits of the issues involved and what action the tax advisor would recommend.
There is no substitute for an experienced tax lawyer to challenge the IRS. If the lawyer works in other areas unrelated to tax, they are probably not the right lawyer for tax advice.