Dealing with taxes can be a daunting task. After all, that’s how they got Al Capone, right? The IRS is one federal agency that really means business. They have their act together. They will seriously toss you into a federal prison and throw away the key. Unlike the Department of Education, the Internal Revenue Service has teeth. And they are not afraid to use them.
I am not trying to frighten you. Being the sensible person you are, you are already frightened of them. There is almost a palpable sense of dread around tax time, even from those who are expecting a return. For some, handling taxes feels a little like handling dynamite. It is nerve-racking. But with a little care, we can get through it most of the time. For the other times, there are tax attorneys.
While I am sure some will be glad to do so, tax attorneys did not go to an extra one to three years of law school to help individuals fill out their yearly tax forms. The average person should be able to do it themselves, or with the help of the friendly neighborhood tax preparer. It is not always obvious when the time has come to call in a specialist such as Authority Tax Service.
Here are a few suggestions that may help:
Anytime you have to deal with the IRS
When you are facing someone with a sword and armor, you should have a champion equipped with a sword and armor fighting on your side. Regardless of childhood stories with which you might be familiar, do not show up alone, armed only with a slingshot. The IRS is not just an adversary; it is an army of adversaries.
You may be clever and well-prepared. But you are not clever enough or prepared enough. At that point, you need to fight fire with fire. They are armed with attorneys. You need to be armed with legal counsel. At that point, it is a little like a court preceding. You can represent yourself. But you may have a fool for a client. You can’t handle the IRS. Let someone fight for you who can.
When you are starting a business
The best time to call a tax attorney is before you get into trouble. Most of the time, trouble catches by surprise. In the case of starting a business, we know that it is a path overrun with potential trouble. There is no part of starting a business that should be taken lightly, especially for someone doing it for the first time. Those doing it for the second time already know that they should use a tax attorney. Look for a service like, again, the Authority Tax Service, which employs a veritable dream team of industry professionals, including Tax Attorneys, Ex-IRS Agents, and CPA’s to round out their overall expertise.
Simply figuring which type of entity label is right for your business is enough to keep you up at night. Every type has major tax implications. You can read about those implications, but only a tax attorney truly understands them and can explain them to you. Should you be an Inc. or an LLC? Neither is a bad choice. But one or both might be a bad choice for you. A tax attorney can help you sort it out.
When the job is too big for your CPA
Now that you have achieved some success, you have a Certified Public Accountant handling the numbers. That is a good step and you are doing the right thing. But that does not mean that you are out of danger. As a cautionary tale, you should take a look at a few situations where the CPA was not enough. Sometimes, the situation changes from a numbers issue to a legal issue. It is not necessarily your fault or the fault of your CPA.
It is a matter of knowing when to call in the tax attorney before matters get out of hand. It is a little like knowing when your nurse practitioner has reached the end of her expertise, and a specialist is needed. CPAs are good at what they do. But they are not tax attorneys. Knowing the difference can save a lot of grief down the road.
As an individual just filing your family’s taxes every year, you will probably never need a tax attorney. But the moment you get the first letter indicating that something is not right with your taxes, make sure you call in an expert while the problem is small.