When to Hire a Tax Attorney

Tina OremJun 23, 2021

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A tax attorney is a lawyer who specializes in tax law. Tax attorneys help people arrange their finances to optimize their tax situations, comply with tax rules and handle disputes with the IRS or other tax authorities. Some specialize in areas such as estate, international or business taxes.

Some situations may be especially suited for hiring a tax attorney.

A tax attorney can help you and handle the paperwork involved in minimizing estate taxes, transferring assets to family members, setting up trusts and other tactics.

A tax attorney may be able to help devise tax-smart strategies for starting, buying, selling or expanding a business.

If you have a tax dispute; want to sue the IRS, the state or a local tax authority over a tax matter; or if you want a hearing before the U.S. Tax Court, a tax attorney can help.

If you have an outstanding balance with the IRS or other tax authority that you want to negotiate or contest, a tax attorney may be able to help you pursue options such as:

Here are three things to check for.

In general, legal work isn’t cheap. According to a survey by Martindale-Avvo, a legal marketing and directories firm, tax attorneys charge $295 to $390 per hour on average. The attorney's length of experience can move the figure lower or higher.

The firm also has data showing 37% of people who use legal representation for taxes spend from $0 to $5,000, and another 14% spend $5,000 to $100,000. About a quarter have the work done pro bono, or free of charge, and 4% have it done on contingency (where the attorney receives a portion of the damages if any are awarded).

You might be able to get free or low-cost help from a tax attorney by visiting a low-income tax clinic, known as an LITC, in your area. These clinics represent people with income below certain levels and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent you in audits, appeals and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. LITCs can also help people respond to IRS notices or fix account problems. You can .

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