5 Questions You Should Ask a Tax Attorney
The new tax bill has created all kinds of changes and you know you need a refresher. On top of it all, you’re also up against some serious tax obstacles and you’ve decided to see a tax attorney, but who is the right match for your situation?
This is the season to schedule a consultation to find the right tax attorney and be certain that your plan makes sense for your current tax problems.
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Here are some of the questions you’ll need to ask your tax attorney.
- What type of tax law do you specialize in?
Tax attorneys can specialize in multiple areas of law, but not every tax attorney will specialize in the area that you need.
If you’re seeking an attorney to help you figure out how your new company should work out a plan that fully considers the consequences of the new tax bill, or you’re struggling with an audit, you should address upfront whether your tax attorney is prepared to handle your type of case.
You can base your assessment on whether they have specialized in previous cases that are similar to your case profile.
- What are your fees?
Arrange for several free consultations and find out if you can afford the tax attorney’s legal fees.
Not surprisingly, fees for attorneys can be significantly higher than those of other tax professionals.
It’s important that you receive an estimate of the potential costs of your case, so you can plan a budget and minimize billing disputes. Find out whether your attorney charges by the hour or a flat rate for the service you’re seeking, and get that agreement down in writing.
If you have a complex case, the attorney fees may very well be worth it in light of the alternative cost you would otherwise absorb.
- How long has your firm been in business?
You’ll want to get a sense of how long the attorney has assisted clients in cases that align with yours and the general reputation of the firm.
- Can you help me with my case?
This is a follow-up question after you have prioritized attorneys who specialize in IRS issues and controversies that are related to yours. See if you are in agreement with the tax attorney’s potential solutions to your tax debt or tax-related problem.
- Are you admitted to the state bar? What are your credentials?
Credentials, please! Ask your potential tax attorney about their credentials. They should be licensed to practice law by your state’s bar and have a Master of Law degree at minimum. Keep in mind that less qualified attorneys will have lower fees but may cost you more as the case drags onward.
Spend some time on the Internet and read reviews of potential attorneys. There are public lists for tax attorneys who are registered with organizations such as the National Association of Tax Professionals and Tax Law Association.
Take advantage of these tools whenever possible. It’s only to your benefit to know as much as you can about who you’ll be hiring.
This is not intended to be legal advice, financial planning or tax advice. Please contact a professional for further information.