Taxation is an essential function that no business can ignore. If you are operating as a corporate entity, you must file and pay your tax obligations on time. Not doing so can get you in trouble with the IRS. You may face an audit, penalty or even a criminal investigation. The best way to handle these implications is by having a professional tax attorney to handle them. Since tax laws are complex and the regulations keep changing from time to time, things can get tricky. You cannot manage without a lawyer who has the right skills and experience. Further, you will need them to face the IRS on your behalf.
Now that you understand why you may need a tax attorney for your business, the next probable question would be about choosing the right one. After all, this is the professional you expect to get your business out of a major problem. So you should not settle for anyone but the best. What are the things that you need to consider while hiring a tax lawyer to represent your case? Would you prefer an independent practitioner or a law firm? The best way to start is by doing some research and preparing a list of prospects. Next, you need to consider certain factors while choosing one of them. Here are some tips to help you with your choice.
Check their domain expertise
Since you are specifically dealing with an IRS case, you cannot expect a divorce lawyer to handle it. Like medicine, law to has specific domains of practice and you need to find someone in the tax niche. Right from the time you start researching your options, prioritize professionals and firms that practice in the business taxation area. You can get even more niche-specific by choosing a lawyer dealing with the related field. For example, businesses dealing with payroll tax problems require an attorney who specializes in employment taxes.
Verify their experience and track record
While domain expertise matters a lot, you need to verify the experience and track record of the professional as well. In fact, hands-on experience with tax cases makes a lawyer capable of handling them better. Look for someone who has been around for some time and has handled cases similar to yours. Also, check their track record because the number of cases they have won definitely adds to their skills and confidence.
Validate their educational qualifications and credentials
While hiring a legal professional, you need to be very sure about the qualifications and credentials. It is wise to check the website of the firm or lawyer in the first place but the validation of their credentials is a must. Most of the legal tax professionals will make only the right claims but you should still check their profile with the local bar association to validate them. Someone with a master’s degree in taxation would be just right for representing you because they will have knowledge of both legal and taxation fields.
Ask about licensing and accreditation
Besides the qualifications and experience of the lawyer, another fact that you need to verify is their licensing. Confirm whether they are licensed to practice in the area. This is something that you must absolutely ensure because admission to the federal courts depends on the state-specific licenses. Even the best tax attorney may not be able to help you if they do not have the license for the state where your business is located. Having business accreditations is a plus because it adds to the trust factor.
Find out about their reputation
After you find everything about the professional profile of the lawyer, do give them a thorough reputation check. Ideally, the online reviews of the real clients will give you a fair idea about the level of services they offer. Check online and you will probably find several reviews that are genuine. Additionally, you can verify the reputation by asking them to share their client’s preferences so that you can cross-check personally. Checking recommendations from people you know is also a good idea because they will surely recommend the lawyers they trust.
Try to judge their communication skills
Even when you meet the legal professionals before hiring them for your case, you can try to judge their communication skills. An initial interaction is enough to get an idea about their skills. Can the attorney explain the tax jargon in a way that it becomes easy to understand? Are they willing to listen patiently and come up with well-planned solutions? What do they tell you about their communication norms once you onboard them? Will they be available on-demand or have a long-drawn appointment process? Do ask these questions to understand whether the lawyer or firm will be good enough for you.
Don’t forget to ask about their fees
The legal fee of the attorney is perhaps one of the most vital aspects of your decision. Ask them upfront about their fee structure so that you are sure that they fit into your budget. If you cannot pay them all at once, do check whether they provide an extended payment option. You can also discuss options for flexible payments to economize the services. Go through the fine print to understand everything about the fee and payment plans so that you are comfortable with them.
Hiring the right tax lawyer to handle your case is vital because they can make a difference between a penalty and a feasible settlement with the IRS. An affordable settlement can help your business to survive while a big penalty can literally drown it. Things can get even worse if a tax case results in criminal complications. So this is a risk that you should avoid in every way you can. Needless to say, you should collaborate only with the best lawyer who can save you from trouble. Even if you have to pay a little extra, you should do it without a second thought because a good lawyer can get you a favorable verdict even for the most complicated case.