A tax attorney is a lawyer who specializes in legal issues related to taxes. For most people, the predominant tax area where an attorney may be needed relates to federal income tax. The role of a tax attorney should not be confused with that of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or other tax specialist, who is knowledgeable about how to prepare and file a tax return properly but would not have formal training or experience with legal matters.
There are a number of legal issues that may arise related to the filing of federal income taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but we will discuss some of the most common issues in this article.
Perhaps the most common reason for hiring a tax attorney is when you cannot afford to pay the tax you owe. As you likely know, income taxes must be filed by April 15 of each year. If you owe tax, the IRS expects you to pay the tax you owe at that time. While you can file for a six-month extension on the filing of your tax return, if you owe tax, the IRS still expects you to pay the tax you owe on April 15. Therefore, the only way to obtain more time in the paying of your income tax is to work within the IRS’ defined payment options.
There are two main payment options defined by the Internal Revenue Code: a payment plan and an offer in compromise. A payment plan is the paying of your full tax owed in several installments rather than as a lump sum. An offer in compromise is where you ask the IRS to accept less than the full amount of tax you owe, because if you pay the full amount, you would suffer some form of hardship or other issues.
For either type of payment option, a tax attorney can help you determine if your situation will qualify and prepare the necessary documentation that must be filed to the IRS.
One of the other main areas where a tax attorney can help is if you are audited. An audit is where the IRS, after performing an initial review of your tax returns, determines that there is some issue with your tax return. Issue can include the IRS needing to see additional documentation to support items noted on your return or a determination that you actually owe more tax than you originally calculated. A tax attorney can review the details of the IRS audit and help you prepare the appropriate response or perhaps negotiate a settlement for less than the requested amount of additional tax due.
Finally, a tax attorney can assist with criminal matters such as tax fraud, where you have intentionally mislead the IRS about your tax situation, or delinquent tax returns, where you have not filed your tax returns for one or more previous years. Criminal charges related to tax issues can be a serious matter. Therefore, you should seek the help of a tax attorney in either case rather than attempting to deal with the issue on your own.
How can I have a tax attorney contact me?
By completing the short form below, your information will be provided to a tax attorney who can contact you to review your tax issue in full. This initial consultation is free of charge, completely confidential, and does not obligate you to anything further. Therefore, rather than address your tax matters on your own, please complete this form today to get the help you need.