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When Are Tax Attorneys Worth the Cost?

Closeup of a check to IRS for All My Money.
By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Sure, we'd all love to have an experienced tax lawyer look over our financial situation before we file our taxes. But let's be honest, most of us just end up furiously clicking through a TurboTax or H&R Block website just to make the April deadline.

But how much money are we losing by doing our own taxes? And when is it worth it to hire a tax attorney?

Past Performance

If you haven't filed your taxes in a previous year, or owe the IRS a substantial amount of money, you might want an experienced lawyer on your side. Navigating the notices, interviews, and the myriad tools the IRS employs to collect taxes on your own can be a daunting task, and a trained professional may be able to discover any errors and advocate on your behalf. And you probably don't need to be reminded that there can be serious penalties for cheating on your taxes, filing late, or not filing at all.

Current Changes

A lot can happen in a year. You may have used some of your 401(k) to put a down payment on the home, or rolled over an IRA when you changed jobs. You might've moved some money or assets to pay for a wedding or as part of a prenup, you may have child support or spousal support payments you didn't have last year. And while you can always click a box that says you bought a home, got married, got divorced, or changed jobs, but a good tax lawyer can tell you exactly how these decisions can have a ripple effect on your finances that some tax software might not account for.

Future Finances

With an eye on future tax law changes, experience with how to best structure ownership and assets, and knowledge of your finances, tax attorneys can also prepare you for what's to come. This is especially true if you're self-employed or own a small business.

Beyond finding all the possible tax deductions for a home office, travel expenses, and work supplies, you may also need guidance if you're freelancing or have a large variety of clients. And legal business structures can be too complicated for you or an accountant to figure out on your own. A good tax lawyer will be able to advise on all of your startup tax issues, including the tax liability for any and all employees you may have and how incoming venture funding or mergers can affect your taxes.

If any of these apply to you, you may need a tax lawyer rather than a CPA. Contact one in your area today.

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