The Difference Between CPAs and Tax Attorneys


Tax season can be a complex and hard time for both individuals and businesses. Whether this is your first time filling sophisticated taxes or you have let years of tax debts add up, you do not have to fret as there are professionals who help with these kinds of situations. There are several options when it comes to availing a professional for your tax needs. The most common choices are tax attorneys and certified public accountants or CPAs. Knowing which option is ideal for you depends on your unique goals and needs as well as your situation with the IRS. Tax debt is not a small issue and you need to protect yourself with the ideal professional. In this read, we are going to compare CPAs with Tax Attorneys.

What’s a Certified Public Accountant?

CPAs usually hold 5-year business degrees with not less than 150 hours of education. They ideally passed intensive certified public accountant exams and continue to do at least 120 hours of continuing education. A CPA is not the individual you would usually see at the average tax preparation chain like Liberty Tax or H&R Block. These are people who have undergone around 60 hours of training. A certified public accountant is more experienced and knowledgeable in tax preparation.

If you have sophisticated tax situations, you might want to hire a CPA to handle your taxes. For instance, if you are divorced, have children, own a business and have investments of a high net worth, you will want to spend more to hire a CPA to handle the taxes. The more money you deal with, the more a CPA can benefit you. Certified public accountants know how to abide by the law while maximizing your benefits and minimizing tax liability.

If you wish to build an ongoing relationship with a tax specialist, then hire a CPA. Finding a professional you can trust means availing the same individual year after year which makes the tax process easier. A CPA can be able to create a long-term tax plan and give you tips to stick to it. They can also help with monthly as well as annual accounting services.

What’s a Tax Attorney?

A tax attorney is entirely different from a certified public accountant, but they both help taxpayers. A tax attorney is a legal professional that holds a law degree. They have passed the bar exam and specialize in the legal field of taxes. While both tax attorneys and CPAs can represent your best interests when interacting with the internal revenue service, a tax lawyer is usually the best choice if you find yourself in trouble with the tax authorities like facing levies and liens.

A tax attorney is a lawyer who only deals with tax law. These specialists are well-equipped and trained to tackle legal tax issues such as helping with unfilled returns, settling back taxes, undoing property liens, stopping wage garnishment, and coming up with compromises with the internal revenue service. When in trouble, you should choose a tax attorney and not a CPA.

There are several types of tax attorneys to pick from and the right one depends on the kind of tax assistance you need. If you have problems with estates or trusts, for instance, you will want to hire a tax attorney who specializes in these areas. However, most tax lawyers usually have expertise in dispute resolution and tax controversy. Tax attorneys have years of education and training under their belts to up against IRS and other tax parties. They can represent you during IRS proceedings as well.

Picking the Right Tax Assistance

If you are on the fence about whether to choose a tax attorney or a CPA, you should consider the tax issue at hand. If you have to go through complicated business or personal taxes with an aim of reducing tax liability, then a CPA is your best shot. If you are receiving debt collection warnings, in trouble with the internal revenue service or involved in a tax controversy issue, then it’s best to hire a tax lawyer. If you need a lawyer, do not pick a CPA to save money. You will only end up getting into deeper trouble, which will only make the matter more expensive.

You might have to retain a tax lawyer if you are in a sophisticated case involving tax agents. If the IRS designates a revenue officer to your situation, it is a sign that you are close to getting a levy on your wages or bank accounts. In such a situation, avail a tax attorney to protect your rights and show you how to avoid trouble. Legal representation can be crucial in discussions and negotiations with the IRS if you are facing tax fraud allegations or if you owe taxes.

Another way that tax attorneys can be of assistance is with tax planning. If you want someone to create a tax plan that reduces your liability, you can entrust a lawyer with structuring your assets. A lawyer has more training in dispute resolution than a CPA. However, if you just need basic tax preparation and are not in trouble with the IRS, hire a certified public accountant or even an enrolled agent. The latter is similar to a CPA, but they do not have as much experience. You can hire an EA if you want to save some money and get the same results.

Both tax attorneys and CPAs can assist with financial decisions, tax planning and reducing tax penalties. Certified public accountants may have more expertise in the financial area of tax preparation, while a tax attorney can give legal advice in the face of potential tax problems or adversity. If you are facing a tax case and need legal representation, trust a lawyer. A lawyer can ideally work with you to solve cases that involve major tax debt or other complicated issues. If you are not certain who to hire between the two professionals, you can always schedule a consultation with a reputable firm. An attorney will talk to you at no cost or obligation, go through your case and give an honest recommendation between a tax attorney and a certified public accountant.

5 Tips to Jump Start Your Legal Career
The difference between a full tablet and a toy