I need help. I havent filed taxes in 5-7 years. Im not sure what to do. Should I get a tax lawyer or an accountant to help me?

Asked over 1 year ago - Clearwater, FL

I am self employed and do just odd jobs and collect scrap to earn money and i want to get my finances in order

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Gregory Herman-Giddens

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If your income is low enough, you may not owe any income tax, but self-employed persons must pay self-employment tax on all earned income. I agree that generally accountants charge less per hour and a good accountant should be able to help you get things straight.

  2. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Accountants aren't as expensive as tax lawyers, and unless there's an audit, an accountant should be able to help you catch up.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to... more
  3. John B. Reilly

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with the other lawyers who have answered this question and would add that if you should have reported income and paid taxes but have now come forward before an audit or investigation has started you will have a good chance to avoid criminal and other penalties. And you will sleep better at night! Good luck.

    These are general thoughts - they not intended as legal advice - so you need and should contact an Attorney for... more
  4. Jonathan Hackworth


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with my colleagues, an accountant would be a great place to start. My business partner, Jeff Blumenauer, has worked with folks in similar situations to what you are currently dealing with. Our office is located in Tampa. If you would like to discuss your case with us, please do not hesitate to contact our office immediately. My direct line is 813-830-2261. We are available for a free case consultation.

    This answer does not, nor is it intended to, create an attorney-client relationship or constitute attorney... more
  5. Ronald J Cappuccio


    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sorry, but you should definitely meet with a tax lawyer. Lawyers have attorney/client confidentiality. Accountants do not and can be forced to testify against you in a criminal tax matter. The attorney can review your documents. If you are self-employed, you will definitely owe tax. In that case the tax attorney will hire the accountant to maintain confidentiality. If you are an employee with normal withholding, most likely the taxes due would be smaller and the attorney may just simply have the accountant prepare the returns.

    In any case, DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE about this until you have met with a tax lawyer.

    I hope this helps.

    Ron Cappuccio

  6. Ronson Joseph Shamoun

    Contributor Level 2


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally, you are required to file a return if you meet certain income requirements. If you are required to file a return, the IRS may file an SFR (Substitute for Return) on your behalf and assess you accordingly. When they do so the assessment may be more than what you actually owe. It is best to file all the necessary returns and deal with the liability through an installment agreement, OIC or if you qualify placing your account on currently not collectible.

    Although a tax attorney is more expensive than a regular accountant, however like my collegues have mentioned there are benefits to having a tax attorney represent you, one being confidentiality as well as experience working with the various taxing agencies. Once or if a liability is accrured you would need to deal with them and a tax attorney would be better suited to negotiate installment payments or an OIC.

  7. Christopher Michael Larson


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I would call and touch bases with a tax attorney. You may end up having them prepared by a CPA, but there is a larger overall strategy that should be coordinated by the tax attorney.

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