When do you need a tax attorney?

Hiring a tax attorney isn't just for those in hot water with the Internal Revenue Service for offenses such as tax evasion. You may want to consult a tax attorney -- an expert in the complex world of tax law -- to help you understand and deal with any complex legal tax issue.

This could include the following scenarios:

  • You owe more than $10,000 to the IRS.
  • You want to bring a lawsuit against the IRS.
  • The IRS is investigating you.
  • You think you've committed tax fraud (or you know you have).
  • You disagree with a tax decision by the IRS.
  • You are starting a business and want advice on structuring your new company (i.e., sole proprietorship, LLC or corporation).
  • You are involved in business overseas and need legal advice.
  • You are preparing your estate plan or are filing an estate tax return.
  • You are dealing with a tax issue that you don't understand.

Tax attorneys should -- at the minimum -- have a Juris Doctor, or J.D., degree and be admitted to the state bar. Ideally, you should select an attorney who has advanced tax law training (with a Master of Laws degree).

To start your search for the right attorney, ask a few trusted advisers, such as your accountant or banker, for a recommendation, or check your local bar association chapter.

If you can't afford to hire a tax attorney -- and need one -- you can get in touch with one of many tax clinics available throughout the United States that provide free or low-cost legal advice. You can get a full list of tax clinics through the IRS in Publication 4134.

News alert Create a news alert for "taxes"


Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Our tax expert Kay Bell provides resourceful tips and advice to help you stay prepared for filing.


Connect with us