Negotiating With the IRS: Hiring Tax Attorney vs. Yourself

“What will you do when the IRS comes knocking at your door?” is a question that every adult American keeps asking. Once you attain that legal age when you are no longer a minor, you must start paying taxes to the government. Unknowingly or knowingly, your name might come up with the IRS, and you find their agents at your door. What would you do?

Is it hiring an attorney to represent you? Do you represent yourself? Do you even understand the charges leveled against you? Which lawyer/ tax attorney will you choose? How do you also know you need one? These are just some of the perplexing questions one needs to ask to get an ideal solution to this type of dilemma. To help you out, here are some factors you should consider in deciding on who between an attorney and you are the best option for IRS negotiations.

Why do you need a representative?

According to the IRS, audits for any business operations aim at assuring compliance with the set tax laws. Their objective is to ensure that the amount on the tax reports is the actual amount on the ground. If their numbers and yours do not match, then an issue arises. In the case of omissions, errors, and other mistakes, it is essential to know which way to go, i.e. do you represent yourself or hire an attorney.


When to Hire an Attorney

If the IRS is auditing your business

Once the IRS notifies you of a pending audit, notify your tax attorney or find one and never represent yourself in such a case. Even though the review is for past tax returns from you, you must have the right representative; tax disputes arise very fast during an audit, especially if there are mistakes in the paperwork which can end up costing more.

Tax attorney negotiates with the IRS, and they come up with a better and much easier settlement. Some of these may include penalty abatement, installment agreement, or even an offer in compromise. However, offer in compromise comes in a rare occasion and the taxpayers have to provide proof for:

●  Their inability to pay what they owe in an agreed timeline with an agreed payment structure.

●  Doubt is in the amount you owe (tax liability).

●  Exceptional circumstances such as economic hardships, health issues, of financial difficulties such that you have nothing left for your daily expenses.


If you are facing IRS criminal charges

When the IRS accuses you of a tax crime, the situation is quite difficult, and the consequences can be severe such as going to jail. Therefore, facing such a condition on your own is impossible and it becomes necessary to involve a tax attorney. Some of the cases you might suffer from the IRS include tax evasion and tax fraud.

Initially, the IRS sends you several notices, and if you fail to pay or respond to the notices, then they come searching for you. If found guilty, the consequence is a court case with hefty fines or a jail term in the long run.


Easier and clearer communication


Tax language and word jargons may be hard for you to comprehend. For instance, the IRS sends CP notices all the time. Some come with numbers at the end of the letters e.g., CP 501, which represents a reminder to the taxpayer to pay a tax debt. These might be confusing, and you may end up failing to pay.

Avoiding such situations is only possible with a tax attorney. Have him conduct all of your IRS communications as they do understand the language well. Besides, it gives you time to relax and work on other projects.


Privacy and confidentiality

You may think that the IRS is out to get you. However, without the right representation, they might get you and place substantial tax bills, you may not be able to pay. Hiring an expert attorney like one from the Abajian Law group offers you the opportunity to prevent such a catastrophe from occurring.

IRS brings experts to your door. They know how to extract information from taxpayers, thus the need for a tax attorney. Attorneys reveal the necessary information only. You, on the other hand, may end up giving them extra information to use against you in a court of law.  


When to Do it Yourself



If what the IRS requires is regular tax paperwork

The IRS conducts regular checks on different businesses to ensure compliance with tax laws. If this is the case, hiring an attorney is a complete waste of time and money. You can go ahead and do the tax paperwork, i.e. fill out tax forms or filling out tax returns.


For minor mistakes  

Sometimes, you may think that all of your tax returns are complete. A notice notifying you of $2500 missing from your tax payment is a minor mistake that you can correct. However, if the omission or debt goes over $10,000, it is essential to involve a professional. If not, be sure you entirely:


● Know and understand tax laws applicable.

● Have all of the crucial information and documentation.

● Be able to appeal for any charges the IRS recommends for your tax returns.

● Know the implementation process of the appeals i.e., is it through the court, telephone, or correspondence?



Each negotiation tactic has its considerations that one must put into perspective. Therefore, you should assess your needs before deciding on whether to go at it yourself or to hire an attorney.


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