According to study results, the majority of Americans dread taxes.
One of the reasons why most people get stressed at the mere thought of taxes is because the tax code is so intricate. The other is the legal/financial ramifications that can result from misreporting your income.
Whether you’re an individual in need of tax relief, a business owner trying to navigate various tax burdens, forming an entity, or simply trying to plan your estate, you might need the help of a tax attorney.
If you want to walk away a happy customer, it’s essential to choose a tax attorney who’s right for your needs.
Just like in criminal and civil law, tax attorneys specialize in different areas. Besides finding one that specializes in types of tax issues similar to your own, you also want a tax attorney who’s experienced, well-qualified, easy to communicate and get along with, and who can furnish you with a clear fee structure.
Not sure how to begin comparing your options for tax attorneys? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to choose a tax attorney.
Pick Someone Who Specializes in Your Industry
One of the steps in how to choose a tax attorney is to look for one who has specialized knowledge and experience in your industry or specific tax issue.
For instance, if you own a business in the cannabis industry, you’ll want to hire a tax attorney that specializes in cannabis verticals. They will be able to give you in-depth direction on everything related to taxes and cannabis and even guide you on things like cannabis inventory valuations.
On the other hand, maybe you’re simply looking for tax planning services for your personal finances. If so, you’ll want to work with a tax attorney who focuses on tax planning for individuals.
If you’re forming a new entity, and want direction as to potential entity types and tax compliance requirements, make sure the tax attorney you choose deals with these things specifically.
At the same time, take note that one firm may be able to provide all of these services and more. Large tax resolution and accounting firms like Polston may specialize in multiple areas and provide various niche services.
Smaller firms usually don’t have the human resources to provide such a comprehensive list of services. If you are dealing with a small accounting or tax resolution company, make sure they regularly deal with types of tax issues similar to yours.
Ask the Right Questions
One of the most important things to do when hiring a tax attorney is to ask the right questions. Here are a few key things to ask before you settle on a tax attorney.
What Tax Matters Do You Specialize In?
As we said above, it’s important to find a tax attorney that specializes in the right types of tax issues. Most tax attorneys are very transparent about what types of tax issues they handle, and will even turn you away if what you’re looking for isn’t in their wheelhouse.
If you’re unsure about a tax attorney’s area of specialization, ask them outright. At the same time, you can also ask them how many years they’ve been handling these types of tax issues.
Have they recently handled cases similar to yours? If so, what was the outcome?
Tax attorneys are bound by confidentiality agreements not to let out details of past cases. But, they may be able to give you a general idea of how they have saved previous clients money by reducing their tax burden or if they’ve handled a tax dispute recently that was similar to your own.
If yours is an involved tax issue, you might need to book and pay a consultation fee so you can explain your situation in detail. The tax attorney will then be able to decide if they are the best person for your specific case. If they are not, they might be able to refer you to someone or pass your case to a more experienced member of the firm.
How Many Years of Experience Do You Have?
Another question you might want to ask a potential tax attorney is how many years of experience they have. Both overall, and in dealing with the specific types of tax issues they currently handle.
Most tax attorneys disclose their years of experience in the field on their firm’s website. If you can’t find this information there, ask the attorney directly when they passed their bar exam and for their key career details after that.
How Frequently Do You Deal With the IRS?
As you might have gathered by now, no matter what type of tax issue you’re facing, you want an experienced tax attorney on your side. This can be especially important if you’re facing imminent consequences, such as penalties or a lien.
Reports reveal that over 60 million Americans’ taxes are so simple the IRS could process them automatically. But, if you have run into tax issues, rectifying them can be a complicated, stressful business.
A freshly qualified tax attorney might charge low rates, but the money you save might be a poor consolation prize if they prove unable to comprehensively deal with your case. The more experience a tax attorney has, the more chance they’ll uncover advantageous ways you can save on taxes, or be able to settle on a compromise with the IRS.
Seasoned tax attorneys are adept at dealing with the IRS. They know what channels to use, and are in a position to negotiate with the IRS on your behalf.
Here at Polston, we offer a comprehensive resolution service that includes working with the IRS in your place at every step of the way, including filling out and filing all necessary forms, and communicating promptly to all correspondence.
What Are Your Qualifications?
When summing up your options for tax attorneys, you should also check up on qualifications.
To practice, a tax attorney needs to have a J.D. (Juris Doctor) and a license. Lots of tax attorneys also hold a Master of Laws in taxation. Some tax attorneys are also certified public accountants.
If you’re unable to find this information on the firm website, be sure to ask the tax attorney about their qualifications during your initial consultation.
Look for a Clear Fee Structure
According to reports, 77% of people are anxious about their financial situation. If you’re watching your money closely, the last thing you want is to be hit by surprise costs when hiring a professional.
Therefore, look for a tax attorney service that offers a clear fee structure.
Tax attorneys typically charge either an hourly rate, flat fee, or work on a retainer basis.
The most recent data from the IRS shows that Americans owed over $114 billion in back taxes, interest, and penalties.
If you’ve fallen behind on your taxes, or are facing compounded penalties and interest, you definitely don’t want to add unpredictable, escalating tax attorney fees to the mix.
When asking about fee structures, check if there are any extra charges you’ll be billed for, such as administrator time or copies.
This will help you with accurately comparing attorney fees.
Here at Polston Tax Resolution & Accounting, we know how important it is for our clients to control costs.
After an initial consultation where our team familiarizes themselves with your case, we’ll discuss all alternatives with you and assist you in selecting a solution that fits your needs and budget.
Choose a Thorough Tax Attorney
We also advise that you choose a tax attorney who is thorough and able to come up with creative solutions.
The attorney you pick should be driven to provide thorough solutions for their clients and focused on uncovering every area of opportunity.
You don’t want a tax attorney who’s disinterested, and merely going through the motions, treating all their cases as routine.
Instead, you want someone who’s going to look at your case from every angle. Someone who won’t stop until they can implement a thorough resolution strategy that’s going to net you the best results possible.
Look for a Company That Offers Tax Attorney and CPA Services
Another valuable tip to employ when shopping for a tax attorney is to pick a company that offers both tax attorney serves and CPA, bookkeeping, and accounting services.
Why? Because these types of firms can usually offer a more cost-effective, holistic service.
Tax attorneys typically charge between $295 to $390 per hour, depending on experience levels. If you pick a firm like Polston that offers a full-scale service, you can rest assured that your tax attorney is only handling tax attorney responsibilities. Everything they don’t have to personally undertake is handed to the bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs.
This can save considerably on costs.
What’s more, it’s a lot more efficient for all of this to happen in one centralized team than over multiple independent parties and services.
For instance, let’s say you have a freelance bookkeeper who handles the data entry for your business. At the end of the year, you have an accountant look over your books.
If you run into tax issues, and then hire a tax attorney, they might waste valuable time going back and forth with the accountant and bookkeeper.
This fragmented approach could end up costing you far more than if you handed everything over to a full-scale firm that offers all the services you need under one roof.
Here at Polston Tax Resolution & Accounting, our team consists of over 100 attorneys, accountants, CPAs, financial analysts, case managers, and tax professionals.
Thanks to the diverse skill sets within our teams, we can address every facet of your tax issue.
Find a Tax Attorney With a Proven Track Record
Before you settle on a tax attorney, you should also look into their track record. Do they have a history of satisfied clients who’re happy with the outcomes they received?
One way you can evaluate a tax attorney’s track record is by reading online reviews. You can also check their firm’s website for client testimonials.
Curious to know about the experiences of past clients at Polston? If yes, you can read through our results page where we publish our client testimonials.
Choose a Tax Attorney You Get Along With
Finally, we’d also advise that you choose a tax attorney you get along with.
If your tax matter is relatively straightforward, such as setting up a simple estate plan, you won’t need to spend all that much one-on-one time with your tax attorney. However, it’s more enjoyable to work with someone that makes a good impression.
If you have an involved tax issue, you might need to spend more time communicating with your tax attorney. The last thing you want is to feel like the person who’s handling your case rubs you up the wrong way every time you deal with them.
Getting along with someone, even on a professional level, is often a matter of personal preference. But, it can also indicate something deeper.
For instance, if you don’t get along well with a specific tax attorney or accountant, it might just be that your personalities are at odds. Or, it could be that you’re picking up on subtle signals that they don’t really care about your case or value your business.
Either way, it always feels better to work with people you get along with.
Are You Ready to Choose a Tax Attorney?
Whether you’re facing an involved tax issue, forming a business entity, or undertaking estate planning, you want to make sure you pick the best tax attorney for your needs. One who is experienced, qualified, and thorough.
Depending on your case, you might also want to work with a tax attorney that has a team of professionals behind them. This can net you better, more comprehensive results, at a more cost-effective price.
Speaking of pricing, make sure you understand the fee structure before you choose a tax attorney.
If you’re in need of a tax attorney’s services, you’ve come to the right place.
Here at Polston Tax Resolution & Accounting, we specialize in providing comprehensive tax resolution services for our clients, along with bookkeeping and accounting.
If you select us for your tax resolution case, we’ll handle every detail from start to finish. We’ll communicate with the IRS on your behalf, and perform a comprehensive analysis so we can create a resolution game plan.
Would you like a free consultation? Contact us today.
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