Misconceptions About Tax Lawyers

Great Expectations: What Your Tax Attorney Can and Can’t Do for You

When individuals and small business owners get in over their heads with their taxes, they often contact a tax resolution attorney to help them square their problems with the IRS or their state government — and with good reason!

Most tax resolution lawyers have years of specialized training and experience working with clients just like you, but that doesn’t mean they can solve all your problems overnight. However, if you choose the right firm, they may be able to help you reduce or even eliminate your tax issues within a reasonable time frame. But it’s important to set reasonable goals from the start and follow your attorney’s instructions to the letter if you want them (and by extension, you) to succeed.

Keep reading to learn more about what you should and should not expect when hiring a tax resolution lawyer to resolve your tax problems.

Sorry, but a Tax Attorney Can’t Pay Your Taxes for You

Tax resolution attorneys work hard, but they can’t work miracles. That’s why it’s important to appraise your situation honestly and determine whether your expectations for an attorney are realistic.

For example, if you haven’t filed taxes in years or you’re facing an audit for evading taxes, you can expect all of the following: you will receive letters from the IRS; generally, you will have to pay some or all the penalties and interest on your account; and you’ll have to establish a zero balance with the IRS or State of Maryland or enroll in an approved payment plan to avoid further collection efforts. Things can get complicated in a hurry, so contact us today to learn more about avoiding or minimizing these collection efforts.

A good tax resolution lawyer can help you formulate the best plan to get out from under all this, but in the end, you will ultimately be the one who follows through on that plan. Your lawyer isn’t going to pay your taxes and related fees, and they certainly aren’t going to do your jail time if you’ve committed tax fraud or other criminal offense.

RELATED: When Should I Contact a Tax Representative?

Tax resolution lawyers are here to protect your rights, act as a buffer between you and the IRS or State of Maryland, and deliver quality legal resolutions for your particular tax situation. This might include things like negotiating an offer in compromise or proving doubt as to liability. Your attorney will work hard for you, but they will also expect you to remain in regular communication with their office, provide accurate and timely documentation and information, and follow their counsel throughout the legal process.

How a Tax Resolution Attorney Can Help

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can flip the conversation to a more cheerful discussion about what your attorney can do for you. And in most cases, it’s a lot.

Here are just a few of the things a quality tax resolution lawyer should be able to do for their client:

Handle All Communication With the IRS or the State of Maryland

By completing MD 548, you grant your lawyer power of attorney, which means they can handle all interactions with the IRS or State of Maryland on your behalf. For instance, if you are being audited, the auditing agency may want to meet with someone in person. If your lawyer has power of attorney stating they are an audit representative, they may handle all these meetings, which will cut down on the time you have to spend on this complex process.

Establish Attorney-Client Privilege

Once you retain a tax attorney to represent you, they cannot testify against you, and all your communications with them become confidential. Everything you say to your attorney is bound by attorney-client privilege and cannot be used to incriminate you (although certain exceptions do apply). The same cannot be said for CPAs or licensed enrolled agents.

Make Sense of Confusing Tax Documents and Statutes

Tax liability issues can be extremely confusing, which could lead to devastating mistakes if you choose to go it alone without the help of a tax attorney. The IRS and the State of Maryland are fond of sending dozens of notices full of language that is hard to understand and which often seems at odds with previous correspondence. A skilled tax lawyer can help eliminate the confusion and create a custom plan for you based on the information sent by federal and state tax agencies.

Also, the law imposes strict deadlines for many tax-related liabilities. Your attorney will understand these time restrictions and formulate a plan to resolve your issues in the appropriate time relating to each specific matter and/or notice. This often helps in avoiding certain fees and penalties, and ensures you take advantage of processes available to you as a taxpayer — including hearings, appeals, and special disputes that, if not responded to correctly and at the right time, can be detrimental to your tax case.

Set You on the Path to Future Compliance

Not only will your tax lawyer help resolve your past and current tax problems, but they can also advise you about how to avoid these issues in the future. However, it’s not always as simple as filling out your forms correctly or putting a check in the mail on time, especially if you are self-employed or operate your own business.

There are numerous things you can do throughout the year to ease the stress of tax season and avoid further issues with the IRS or State of Maryland, including:

    • Paying quarterly taxes (if required)
    • Keeping detailed and accurate records
    • Updating withholdings based on life events
    • Sticking to a strict budget
    • Creating backups of all records
    • Hiring an experienced and trustworthy bookkeeper

An attorney can help you understand these options better and figure out which of them will help you stay in compliance and steer clear of tax problems for good.

S.H. Block Tax Services Offers Personalized Representation for All Your Tax Needs

The attorneys and support staff at S.H. Block Tax Services have decades of experience helping Maryland taxpayers resolve their tax issues and re-enter compliance with the IRS and the State of Maryland. Our team knows how to negotiate favorable agreements and create customized strategies that help mitigate the financial strain of severe tax problems like audits, liens, levies, and garnishments.

Please call (410) 872-8376 or complete this brief form to schedule your free, no-obligations consultation. Statutes of limitations apply to several tax strategies, so please contact S.H. Block Tax Services today to begin crafting a plan that works best for you and your unique situation.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. Please read our full disclaimer here.

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