Tax attorneys will help you challenge the value or the tax itself, and help you reduce your taxes through careful planning. Tax attorneys understand the interplay of different tax laws and regulations, and in planning strategies to minimize people’s tax liabilities.
Many tax laws are written by lawyers for lawyers, and as such are very difficult to understand. There are also many different types of taxes and tax laws–for example, income taxes, corporate and business taxes, death taxes, property taxes, estate and gift taxes, sales taxes, and international taxes. Sometimes taxes are based on an inflated or incorrect value the government has placed on an entity or activity.
A Tax attorney is a licensed lawyer who practices in the area of taxation. Some tax attorneys hold advanced degrees in taxation, such as a master of laws in taxation. While there are many other types of tax professionals out there, some unlicensed – like many tax return preparers and bookkeepers – and some licensed – like CPAs and Enrolled Agents. Ultimately, only an attorney can represent you in a suit for a refund, in an appeals court, or can negotiate on your behalf in a criminal case. For that reason, every other type of tax professional is limited in the scope of his or her experience and ability to represent and advise you in every potential problem with the IRS or local tax authorities.
Ultimately, taxpayers should be careful choosing who represents them before the IRS. Sometimes, a tax return preparer who was responsible for the problem in the first place can make the problem worse (and has a conflict of interest). Some bookkeepers and tax preparers falsely give the impression that they are CPAs or Enrolled Agents in order to enhance their credibility. Many CPAs can be adept at bookkeeping or internal audits, but have no knowledge of IRS procedure. Even worse, because they do not deal with criminal matters like some (but certainly not all) tax attorneys, some tax professionals may not anticipate – and take steps to avoid – potential criminal tax problems. Even with tax attorneys, many of them advertise that they handle criminal tax problems but have almost no experience in federal defense or prosecution.
Joseph Wilson is a former IRS attorney, former federal prosecutor, former California Franchise Tax Board Attorney, and a former attorney in a Big 4 accounting firm. If you need quality representation in any tax matter, feel free to contact the Wilson Tax Law Group at (949) 397-2292.