How Do I Know When to Hire a Tax Attorney?

What does it mean for me to be listed before such a powerful agency as the IRS? What should I to do if I receive that dreaded letter announcing an audit from the Internal Revenue Service?

It is important to be careful when dealing with IRS tax issues because they are very sensitive and important. Even a slight error in the process can result in loss of time and money. This can lead to frustration and even end you up in jail.

Tax laws and legalities that are involved in tax settlement of IRS taxes can be complex. You may not even know what they mean. That is why you need a tax lawyer in Albany, NY just in case you are already asking those questions. 

IRS Tax Disputes

Audits of past tax returns are the most common way to resolve tax disputes. You should immediately hire a tax lawyer if the IRS informs you about an audit.

Your tax relief lawyer can help you communicate with the IRS on behalf of you, assist during your audit, and negotiate a settlement if necessary. Your audit will not result in you overpaying if you have experienced legal counsel.

Sometimes, taxpayers ignore warnings and letters from the IRS out of fear or because they don’t know what to do. The IRS might threaten to prosecute you for tax evasion if you ignore warnings and letters from them. You should immediately hire a tax attorney if you find out that you are the subject of an IRS criminal investigation.

When Should I Hire a Tax Lawyer?

If you are being audited by the IRS

Some IRS audits are routine. You will receive a letter from the IRS asking for more information and documentation to support any tax credits or deductions claimed on your federal tax returns.

An attorney is unnecessary in this instance. However, if you disagree with the decision of the auditor after a tax audit, you can appeal. In that case, you will need legal representation in this case.

A tax attorney may represent you in tax court or help you negotiate a settlement with IRS. They can also help you settle your tax debts for less. There are two options: an offer in compromise and penalty abatement.

The IRS is not always open to compromise, so you must have a compelling hardship story and prove that you have no assets or money. That is where a skilled tax lawyer comes in. 

A taw lawyer may be able to negotiate an Offer in Compromise on your behalf, which allows you to make a fresh start if you can’t pay your federal tax debt. The Streamline IRS Offer In Compromise program has clear criteria and is open to communication. The program is easy to manage for taxpayers. Those who are not eligible for the Streamline Offer in Compromise should hire a tax attorney to manage their IRS negotiations. The IRS has up to 2 years to reject or accept an Offer in Compromise.

If the IRS pursuing criminal charges

You don’t want criminal charges. For honest errors, the IRS won’t press criminal charges. These are reserved for tax evaders who choose not to file returns or conceal taxable income.

A tax attorney can help you if you have ignored IRS notices or are being accused of tax fraud. He or she may be able to help you reduce IRS penalties and keep you from going to prison.

You are looking for someone to help you communicate with the IRS.

It’s frightening to receive a notice from IRS. Although the IRS can send many forms letters, they often send “CP notices” to notify you that you owe more money. (CP is simply an IRS code). A tax attorney can help you if you are unsure about a notice, or if it is likely to become a larger issue.

Your tax attorney will ask you to sign IRS Form 2848. This gives them power of attorney (POA), to communicate with the IRS directly. The form 2848 does not give the attorney broad power to manage your financial affairs or make medical decisions. This is unlike a POA that is used for estate planning. The form states at the top that Form 2848 will not accept any other purpose than representation before IRS.

Questions for Your Tax Attorney

You are responsible for doing your research as a potential client before you hire a tax attorney to represent. Here are some questions that you might want to ask:

Which areas of tax law are you a specialist in?

A tax attorney should be able to focus on your specific situation. If you owe any back taxes on your payroll, hire a tax attorney who is skilled in business tax law.

How long have been you in practice?

A tax lawyer who has just graduated from law school may not be able to help you if your tax situation is very complicated.

Do you have any suggestions for me?

It is important to find out if your potential tax attorney can handle the type of case you have, whether it concerns complicated business interests, real property ownership issues, an IRS audit or another tax matter.

What are the best ways to charge for or bill services?

It is important to understand the fees that a lawyer charges you for their services. This will help you decide if you can afford them.

How will you keep me updated about my case?

When you call about your tax case, you need to know who you will be speaking to, whether it is an administrative assistant, paralegal, or another person.


The IRS is the largest debt collector in the United States. The IRS has almost unlimited resources to collect debts that taxpayers owe.

The power that the IRS has over your financial and personal lives makes it easy to feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the idea of handling your tax matters alone. You can get help quickly and with little to no loss of money or assets if you hire a tax attorney.

A good tax lawyer will diligently protect your assets and finances from seizure or lien. Your attorney can help you avoid having your wages garnished and your bank accounts taken over. Most importantly, you can have the peace of mind that allows you to get back to the business of life.