7 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Tax Lawyer

7 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Tax Lawyer
  • Opening Intro -

    Every individual and business needs to be regular with their tax filing and payments.

    If you fail to do so, you will surely face the wrath of the IRS.

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Don’t expect to steer clear because authorities keep a constant vigil on taxpayers. Your taxation issues may not be confined to late payments and penalties. You may even get into trouble when you get an IRS audit.

So what is the best measure to deal with the IRS? How can you save your business from huge penalties and litigation? Only a professional tax lawyer can help you deal with the situation because they know the nitty-gritty of tax laws and dealing with the IRS.

Now that you understand that you need to hire a professional when in trouble with the tax authorities, the next step would be to find a good one. This, however, is easier said than done because an inappropriate choice will make things just worse.

How do you decide that an attorney you have shortlisted is the best for you? The best approach is to have an initial consultation and ask a few questions to know and understand what to expect. Here are a few questions that you should ask a tax attorney before onboarding him or her.

Q1: How long have you been in the legal domain?

The experience of the attorney is perhaps the most critical factor to bear in mind before you hire them. Start by asking about the number of years in the domain and the number of cases they have handled during these years.

Don’t forget to check their track record because this will give you a fair idea about their expertise. Discuss your case thoroughly with them and verify whether they have represented similar ones.

Q2: Is there a specific type of tax law that you specialize in?

Tax laws are complex and there are different areas that require specialized expertise. The best approach is to find someone who has core skills in the area that pertains to your situation in particular.

For instance, you run a business entity that owes payroll taxes, it is best to hire a lawyer who deals in business tax laws. They will know how the law works and figure out a way to deal with the issue fast and effectively. Someone who has served clients from a similar industry would be a good choice.

Q3: Do you have a license?

Collaborating with a licensed professional is the best thing to do. It means that the lawyer is certified to practice in the state where your business is. At the same time, a licensed professional has to fulfill certain norms in terms of continuing education for retaining their license year after year.

This is a definite advantage as they will be up-to-date with the latest tax laws. While you can take their word on this, it is better to cross-check by accessing the IRS directory to verify whether they are listed.

Q4: Who will be looking after my case?

Since you will trust the professionals with your IRS case, you definitely need to know the person who will actually handle it. You would not want to pay for a lawyer but get the services of a paralegal.

If you are considering a law firm comprised of seasoned tax attorneys, do ask about the lawyer they will assign for your case. It is better to insist on meeting the professional in person in the first meeting itself. If you are not satisfied or comfortable with the lawyer assigned to you, feel free to ask for an alternative.

Q5: Will you provide references?

Ask the lawyer for the references of their clients and cross-check with them. Talking to real people is the best way to get a fair idea about the quality of services, reliability, and value for money that the lawyer delivers.

Besides checking first-hand references, look for online reviews as well. People usually post their reviews on the internet today and a majority of them are genuine enough to be trusted. Even if there is a shadow of doubt about the credibility of the attorney, do not hire them.

Q6: What are your fees and billing structure?

The skills and experience of lawyers matter but you cannot overlook the fact that their services cost good money. Do not forget them to ask about their fees because you need to know how much you will have to pay. Also, it gives you an idea of whether you can afford them or need to look for another lawyer.

Check whether they charge on an hourly or flat fee basis. Some lawyers also provide legal services on a retainer basis. To clarify details such as whether they will charge you for administrative support costs, copying, and postage. Also, you can find out whether they have flexible payment plans for clients who cannot pay the fees all at once.

other valuable tips:

Q7. What about the mode of communication and availability?

When you hire a legal professional, you will want them to be available whenever you need to get in touch. Make sure that you ask them about the mode of communication and availability on a regular basis and in emergencies. Ensure that you can connect with them around the clock on the phone and email.

Someone who is responsive is the best choice because you may need them anytime during the case. Find out whether they have an established policy to keep the client informed about the progress of the case. After all, you would not really want to collaborate with a lawyer who will keep you waiting for weeks for an appointment.

Having the right lawyer to handle your IRS case can make a great difference. They can save you from massive penalties and arrange for simplified payments of the taxes you owe. Therefore, it is crucial that you choose someone who is really good. Be sure that you ask these questions during the initial consultation so that you can fairly judge the suitability of the professional for your case.

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