Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long is a consultation? Generally, one hour. In certain instances, a shorter consultation can be requested, and if needed, a longer one is always available.
  2. Do you charge for consultations? Yes, there is a consultation fee. However, if you retain me at the time of the consultation, the consultation fee is waived in favor of a retainer. You must pay the retainer at the time of consultation.
  3. How much is your retainer? It varies based upon  a number of different factors and your specific issues. Retainers have been as high as $10,000, and as low as $1,500. Your retainer may be more or less.
  4. What kind of factors go into calculating a retainer? Some things which impact the retainer amount include: matter type (audit, tax planning, etc.), amount of work needed, number of years covered (one versus many), and condition/existence of client records. These are merely examples; there may be other important factors to take into account depending upon your circumstances and needs.
  5. Do you work on contingency? No, I do not. Not only is it not feasible, it is a violation of the professional ethics code to do tax work on contingency. Work is billed on an hourly basis.  In some instances, it is possible to negotiate a flat fee. You must inquire about a flat-fee option at the time of the consultation.
  6. I don’t have a lot of money. Will you do my case pro bono? That depends upon how your matter compares to all of the other requests received for free legal assistance.  All requests are reviewed individually for both financial need and merit.  If you meet the federal poverty guidelines and are facing an extenuating circumstance (for example, your dilemma was created through no fault of your own), you may be eligible for consideration.  Our office website also provides links to valuable online resources to help you tackle the matter yourself.
  7. I just have a quick question. Can I call you? Unfortunately, quick answers tends to be bad ones.  Even something as simple as advising someone to “go” at a green light could be wrong if the attorney doesn’t know that there was an ambulance entering the intersection from the cross-street with its lights flashing.  Since there can be many factors which can affect any answer, I do not provide general legal advice to non-clients over the phone. If you believe you are facing a legal matter that is serious enough to discuss with an attorney, my assistant would be happy to schedule a consultation.
  8. Your office is in California, and I’m not. Can you still help me? Yes! I can represent anyone before the Internal Revenue Service. I am also licensed in Illinois, and have represented taxpayers there as well.
  9. I have a state tax issue. Can you help? Yes! I can prepare tax returns for any state.  For other types of matters, most states simply require that you grant me a limited power of attorney in order to act on your behalf. This is one form. There are certain instances where I would also need to work with local counsel on your matter, but these are rare and I will let you know if that is the case.
  10. I can’t get to your office. Do you do phone consultations? Yes! All you need to do is call or email my assistant (reach her at: to schedule your consultation. She will help you to determine what documents to send and when to send them in order to make your appointment as productive as possible. PLEASE NOTE: Phone consultations require payment by credit card.  Your card will be charged 24 hours prior to the consultation and the fee becomes non-refundable at that point.  If you need to reschedule or cancel, please let us know 24 or more hours before your consultation.
  11. Do you take credit cards? Yes we do – Visa and Mastercard. We do not accept American Express or Discover. We also take checks and cash.
  12. Where are your clients located? Although most of my clients are in California or Illinois, I have represented clients around the world.
  13. Around the world? Absolutely! I have worked with clients in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Switzerland, Australia and Canada. In short, if you owe U.S. taxes, I can work with you. And if you are a U.S. Citizen living abroad, I can definitely help you with your tax issues.
  14. I haven’t filed a tax return in a long time. Is it even possible to come clean without it completely overtaking my life? Yes it is. By acting as a go-between with the tax authority ( whether the Internal Revenue Service, Franchise Tax Board, Illinois Department of Revenue or some other tax body), I can make the process of getting caught up much easier. Keep in mind, too, that just because you haven’t heard from the government doesn’t mean that they’ve forgotten you. One recent client retained me, only to f ind that the IRS had already done substitute returns and sent collection notices – all to an address he hadn’t lived at in 10 years!
  15. How long will it take to resolve my matter? It depends. Some matters resolve quickly, others take months. How long yours will take depends on a number of factors, and can be discussed at your consultation. However, there is no guarantee that a matter will resolve in a particular time frame.
  16. I’m worried that it will cost me more to hire you than just pay the penalties I owe; how can I evaluate that before I hire you? During your consultation, I will identify areas where I think I can help reduce your tax bill; you can evaluate then whether or not you wish to retain me for further services.
  17. Why should I hire you/What is the difference between your services and those firms that advertise on TV that they can help slash tax debts for people who owe more than $10,000 in taxes? In reality, only about 20% of the applications that the IRS receives for Offers In Compromise (the IRS program that allows taxpayers to pay only pennies on the dollar to resolve their tax problems, which is what those ads are referring to) are accepted. The internet is littered with complaints about firms who ‘promised’ to ‘take care’ of a person’s tax problems, only to disappear after the taxpayer coughed up $3,500 or more. Meanwhile, the taxpayer does nothing (at the advice of the firm), and later finds the fines have doubled. Or, in the case of one taxpayer, winds up in jail (she was released after posting bond). I will give you an honest assessment of your situation, and do what I can to assist you, without making you promises I can’t keep.
  18. How do I schedule an appointment? By phone fax or e-mail! It’s easy – just go to the Contact page for details!