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Dealing with the IRS: 3 Things to Know About Choosing Your Tax Attorney

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You might think that the notice you received in the mail regarding your taxes is no big deal but in reality the first thing you need to be doing is finding yourself a tax attorney, because no risk is worth taking with the IRS.  When it comes to the IRS, even the smallest errors may cost you significant time, money, frustration, or even jail time.

But how do you know if the tax attorney you select is any good?  Here are three things you should be looking for in a tax attorney:

They Practice What They Preach

You want a tax attorney that specializes in, well, tax law!  Make sure that you ask your prospective tax attorneys about their experience, training, specializations, certifications, association memberships, and past dealings with the IRS.  You need a tax attorney that excels in knowledge, understanding, and interpretation of complicated tax codes, and one that has dealt in length with the IRS.  

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions!  Because…

You Are the Boss

Lawyers are, by nature, excellent orators.  They are experts at controlling conversations – and many use that skill when speaking with new clients.  Remember, while they are the expert, you are the boss.  Your tax attorney must be willing to help you understand what the IRS is requesting and explain in clear terms their strategy for representing you.  Any tax attorney that you contact should be open, honest, and patient with you during this difficult time.  If they’re not the one that is going to give you the peace of mind that this IRS situation is being handled properly, then you need to move on.

Bottom line, you need a tax attorney that you can trust.  If you need help selecting the right tax attorney, the American Bar Association can help.

The Price is Right

As with any service, the conversation always comes down to fees.  Lawyers are not cheap, especially the goods ones, but they should be transparent in their billing and fees.  Make sure that you have an idea of your budget and then make sure that the tax attorney you select will work within that budget.  Do they charge hourly or a flat fee?  Do they charge for mailing, photocopying, and filing?  Again, fees and payment is something that your tax attorney should be comfortable and open to speaking with you about.

One big red flag – if they ask for a huge fee upfront to take on your case, walk away.  Once they have your money, they may not be so inclined to work hard for you.

And there you have it – three important pieces of information to collect before choosing your tax attorney.  Not having a tax attorney is not worth the risk when dealing with the IRS; just make sure you take the time to double check that you have the right tax attorney in your corner.