Using a Tax Attorney
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 20, 2016
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While some taxpayers can easily file taxes on their own, others with more complicated finances and life events may benefit from the services of an accountant. Sometimes, however, an attorney is necessary, particularly when dealing with complicated self-employment matters or problems with the IRS. However, hiring an attorney can be a confusing endeavor for someone who has never worked with a lawyer before. This section includes an explanation of how to hire a tax attorney, how a tax attorney can help in certain situations, a sample tax attorney intake form, how to choose between a tax lawyer and an accountant, and more.
Hiring a Tax Attorney
The federal tax system is fantastically complicated and someone concerned about legal problems arising from their taxes may find themselves out of their depth. Hiring a competent and experienced tax attorney can be a major step in getting tax-related legal issues under control. The tax code is widely known to be the most complicated set of regulations in the entire legal system and an experienced attorney can help ensure that your personal and financial interests are best represented in proceedings.
A tax attorney will typically gather information about you, your tax status, the events that transpired leading up to your problem, and the details of the issue that has arisen. They will identify the options available to resolve your legal issues and discuss their merits. They can also give you some idea what to expect in the process and outcome of your situation based on their experience. An attorney can be an invaluable asset in reaching your most favorable outcome.
Interviewing a Lawyer
The first meeting between an attorney and a potential client is an opportunity for both parties to determine their expectations. Although you should devote attention to preparing and presenting the information and documents the lawyer needs to properly assess your case, you should also use this opportunity to learn more about the attorney, their qualifications, their expectations for the case's process and outcome, and other aspects that will help determine whether you will be satisfied or regret establishing the attorney-client relationship with a particular practitioner.
Asking some questions early help set expectations and prevent unpleasant surprises. Whether the lawyer offers free consultations, the cost if they do charge, and any time limits on initial consultation are important pieces of information to receive before a meeting even takes place. Similarly, it is best to determine early on the kinds of fee arrangements the attorney permits, whether fees are negotiable, and information about any additional legal fees and costs that are expected in the process.
Another important pre-consultation question would be to ask what kind of information the attorney wants to see at the consultation. By ensuring you bring the appropriate information with you it is more likely that the lawyer will be able to provide a thorough analysis and clearer determinations about the kind of outcome and expense that is likely.
The attorney's experience in similar cases and whether they limit their practice to a particular kind of law can help you determine the degree of confidence you can have in the lawyer's advice. This information may also inform your ability to compare pricing between attorneys.
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