As the new year begins and we approach ever closer to the fateful April 15 deadline, tax season is in full swing. Ideally, taxes should be simple matter of filing a return and paying what you owe. Of course, often it’s not so simple. If you have a complex tax situation, own a business, have an estate, or any other unusual tax situation you may need to call in help. If the IRS is auditing you, you may need representation. And if you owe back taxes or have other tax related problems you may need a lawyer who specializes in tax law.
What is a Tax Attorney
A tax attorney is a lawyer who specializes in the complex set of laws that deal with taxes. A competent tax attorney should be well versed in both federal and local tax law. Like any attorney, a tax attorney needs to have a law degree, called a Juris Doctor or a J.D., and to be a member of the state bar association where they are practicing. In addition, many tax attorneys have advanced degrees specializing in tax law. A Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in taxation is a good sign that you are dealing with an expert tax attorney.
Is a Tax Attorney a CPA
A tax attorney is not the same as a CPA. A CPA, a Certified Public Accountant, is not registered to practice law. The main goal of a CPA is to help you to manage your accounting and, within the context of taxes, to file your taxes correctly. There are other subspecialties within accounting, but in general a CPA is there to advise and keep you out of trouble.
A tax attorney is not in the business of figuring out your accounting. Instead, a tax attorney helps you work with the tax code to prevent or resolve issues stemming for your involvement with the tax system. A tax attorney is the first place to go if you are having trouble with the IRS or local tax authorities. However, that’s not the only reason to go to a tax attorney.
What Do Tax Attorneys Do
Tax attorneys are experts in tax law, and can help you untangle complicated issues you may have with the tax code. If you have any type of situation where tax laws may affect you in a different way than filing a simple annual tax return, you may have reason to seek out a tax attorney.
If you are setting up a business, a tax attorney can help you to set up your business in the way that is most beneficial to your tax filing status. Whether you set up your business as a corporation, an LLC, or even a sole proprietorship, how you arrange your business will have tax implications. A tax attorney can go over your business and help you determine the best tax structure for your unique situation.
If you do work internationally, a tax attorney can help you navigate the applicable laws. There are specific tax laws that deal with money made outside of the country. A tax lawyer can also advise on setting up international contracts and other matters that arise from doing business internationally.
Estate tax law is another specialty area for some tax attorneys. If your estate is worth more than a certain amount (as of 2017 over $5.49 million for a single person, or $10.98 million if you're married), when you die your heirs will have to pay taxes on any amount above the threshold. If you foresee having a tax obligation on your estate when you die, you may want to consult a tax attorney. A tax attorney can help you arrange your estate so that it does not hit the threshold, or so that the minimum amount of taxes is charged to your heirs.
Some Tax Attorneys are CPAs
There are tax attorneys who are also CPAs. These specialists can serve a double duty. While they are not going to be involved in preparing taxes as a regular CPA would, their accounting experience can extend their legal abilities. If you are facing a tax situation that involves both tax laws and a complex accounting situation, you will be best served by a tax attorney who is also a CPA.
One such attorney is Jeffrey S. Gartzman of The Gartzman Law Firm. Jeffrey Gartzman is an experienced tax attorney and a CPA. He has been helping clients with complex tax issues for thirty years, since 1988. Dale trusts The Gartzman Law Firm and can confirm that their pricing is very competitive based on their experience, reputation, and expertise. The firm offers a no-cost initial phone consultation. Or, if you want to come into the office, they offer a 60% discount on your first one-hour consultation. If you need a tax attorney, there is no reason not to call The Gartzman Law Firm.
Why Do You Need a Tax Attorney
In short, a tax attorney can save you a lot of time, money, and potentially disastrous effects on your life. The IRS does not deal lightly with individuals or businesses that it believes have broken the law. If you owe back taxes or committed some form of tax fraud or evasion, like intentionally claiming deductions or expenses you are not due, the IRS will come after you.
One of the first things the IRS will do is place a tax lien on you, which is basically a legal claim to all of your property and income. This happens automatically if you don’t pay your taxes in full within 10 days of a tax assessment. They may also file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien in the public record. This will notify your creditors that the IRS has claimed rights to all of your property and will negatively affect your credit score. It can also affect your business. If you have any kind of certification, you may not be able to renew that certification with a tax lien on you. If you have a career that is built on your reputation, a tax lien can be a terrible blemish on that reputation. A tax lien can only be released when taxes are paid in full along with all penalties, interest, and fees.
If your taxes are not paid, the IRS can act on that lien to seize your property and income. They can take your car, your home, and your assets. They can garnish your wages. They can even shut down your business and sell off the pieces. Anything the IRS seizes will be sold to help pay off what you owe them.
A tax attorney will represent you in all your interactions with the IRS. This includes interviews, negotiations, and any agreement made to pay your taxes in installments or other compromises. If you are working with the IRS in any way to resolve tax debt, you should absolutely have a tax attorney helping you and representing you. The time and money spent working with a tax attorney could save you much more time, money, and trouble caused by negative interactions with the IRS.
Find the Right Tax Attorney
If you need the services of a tax attorney to resolve issues with unpaid taxes or worse, finding the right tax attorney can mean the difference between a reasonable resolution and a destroyed life. So why gamble with your future? TrustDALE is proud to recommend the services of The Gartzman Law Firm. With 30 years of experience and proven success, you know that you are getting the best help available to resolve your tax issues. TrustDALE also considers customer service when making its recommendations. The Gartzman Law Firm is made up of real people who will treat you with respect. No question is dumb and no case is too scary. They have the experience and expertise to treat you right and get you the resolution you deserve.