Why Hire A Tax Lawyer?
Why do you need a tax lawyer?
Not all tax professionals are created equal. While nearly anyone can prepare a tax return, not everyone can represent your interests equally if you’re audited.
Basically, all tax preparers can be divided into one of three categories: Unenrolled preparer (someone who is NOT a CPA, Attorney or Enrolled Agent), Non-attorney professionals (CPAs and Enrolled Agents) and Attorneys. Currently, in California and Oregon unenrolled preparers MUST have state certifications before they can prepare returns; other states do not have such requirements. However, state certifications do not change the limitations on a preparer.
Unenrolled tax preparers, are very limited in what they can do for you. Generally, the Unenrolled Preparer is limited to the examination function of the Service (generally the first step in the audit process), and only with respect to a return he or she prepared. Consequently, an unenrolled preparer cannot practice before appeals officers, revenue officers, and Counsel.Â In addition, an unenrolled preparer cannot execute claims for refund, receive refund checks, execute consents to extend the statutory period for assessment or collection, execute closing agreements, or execute waivers of restriction on assessment or collection of a deficiency in tax. If, after the audit, the IRS assesses a deficiency (tax due), the unenrolled return preparer will have to refer you to a CPA, an Enrolled Agent, or an Attorney.
A CPA or an Enrolled Agent (EA) can do everything an unenrolled tax preparer can. In addition, a CPA or EA can practice before appeals officers and revenue officers. However, a CPA or EA cannot represent you in Tax Court, or in any other court of law. You’ll need a tax lawyer for that.
A Tax Attorney can do everything a CPA or EA can do, as well as execute claims for refund, receive refund checks, execute consents to extend the statutory period for assessment or collection, execute closing agreements, or execute waivers of restriction on assessment or collection of a deficiency in tax. In addition, the Tax Attorney can represent you in both U.S. District Court, and Tax Court, as well as appellate courts. In other words, a Tax Attorney can represent you through the entire process â€“ from the initial audit all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. You have one person, not several, who knows your situation intimately and who can zealously represent your interests at all stages â€“ not just one or two.