Who likes to pay taxes? Not very many people. The ones who do so begrudgingly realize paying taxes keeps a person out of trouble. In some cases, the problems deriving from the decision to not pay taxes leads to more than being levied with interest and penalties. Criminal charges are possible under certain circumstances of not filing taxes or, worse, flat out attempting to defraud the government when submitting a tax return under penalty of perjury.
There are two professionals who are able to help people address their tax obligations in a timely and legal manner: a tax accountant and a tax attorney. Most people simply need an accountant to handle their affairs. Others may be better served working with both a tax attorney. Depending on the circumstances, working with a tax accountant and a tax attorney.
A Basic Question
Are there any specific instances in which it is best to consult with a tax attorney?
The obvious answer is when a serious legal issue arises, but this is not the only answer. The truth is a taxpayer may consult with an attorney whenever he or she feels it would be wise to consult with one.
The tax code is a complicated series of laws and regulations. To ensure compliance, speaking with an attorney could avoid a host of problems. Long before a tax return is due, a taxpayer could discuss a specific scenario related to the return to determine the proper way to complete an accurate filing. For example, the taxpayer may wonder if certain deductions are completely legitimate. An attorney would be able to answer the question based on a definitive understanding of the law.
Sometimes the best legal advice is advice on how to stay out of trouble.
Fighting the IRS
The IRS may conduct an audit and rule against the taxpayer. The IRS does not have the final word on its administrative decisions. The possibility does exist to challenge the IRS in court provided, of course, a legitimate legal basis to do so exist. Returning to the previous example of claiming a deduction, even though the taxpayer’s and the attorney’s interpretation of the deduction deems the claim to be legitimate, the IRS may disallow the deduction. The IRS’ decision can be challenged and done so in court.
Representing oneself in tax court would not exactly be the most effective way of litigating against the government. Not too many people are likely thinking about representing themselves in a court room. The early stages of dealing with a disagreement with the IRS could entail appeals and/or motions to reconsider. Any types of requests from reconsideration absolutely do need to be handled by someone with experience and expertise. Otherwise, the process could be botched making tax court the unavoidable last resort – a time consuming and costly last resort.
Working with an attorney can aid in avoiding a number of troubling tax issues and with dealing with ones that couldn’t be avoided. For these reasons and more, a tax attorney can be a valuable help.