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Should I hire a tax lawyer or the IRS agent fishing?

Miami Beach, FL |
Filed under: Tax law

I'm being audited by IRS, I have hired a CPA; however , prior to hiring CPA and calling to inform agent of CPA, the IRS agent is making remarks about my parents " oh they have money " .. Whether do or not has no baring on my being audited, even if they loaned me money. So, should I hire a lawyer or just let CPA do job? Can they target retired parents just like that?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

Is not worth speculating what the IRS agent even meant by that off-hand comment as it could have been a veiled threat or possibly a silly comedic comment to break the ice...or he was just jealous that your parents could loan you a lot of money. I suggest you let the CPA act as your barrier and have no further conversations with the Agent ... your CPA will keep you informed as to the avenues of attack the auditor is focusing on. IRS Agents are used to seeing a taxpayer bring in a CPA to handle an audit but if you introduce a tax lawyer to the equation it may make the Agent think you are nervous over something that he has not yet found and may make him stick around longer or he may even take offense that you are trying to intimidate him by using your financial resources. Think it through as no deficiency has been issued or proposed yet so I recommend you take a deep breath and let it run its course.....your CPA can tell you if a tax lawyer will be necessary.

My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.

Ronald J Cappuccio

Ronald J Cappuccio

Posted

As a tax lawyer, I have represented business clients for over 30 years. In fact, in larger audits, the Revenue Agents expect a team from the business lead by the tax attorney with the help of the outside CPA firm and in-house controller or CFO. The problem with CPAs handling tax audits alone is they are typically not as trained or skilled in negotiations and the adversarial process.

John P Corrigan

John P Corrigan

Posted

I am a lawyer and CPA and was a senior tax manager at Deloitte and Touche before I came out of law school and was tax counsel for 2 public corporations so have a lot of experience in this area since 1982. The asker is not a large corporation so do not see the relevance in your comment?

Ronald J Cappuccio

Ronald J Cappuccio

Posted

I represent many small businesses and even individuals. Tax Lawyers have a much different education and perspective than CPAs. In fact, many of my NJ State and IRS audit clients are referrals from CPAs.

John P Corrigan

John P Corrigan

Posted

So based on your comment, CPA's are at least smart enough to know when to bring you in for the assist when it is beyond their skill and education. In all candor Ron, I am not sure what you are trying to prove here with this dialogue so suggest we move on as it is not really productive as far as I can tell and professionals can have differing views as seems to be the case here.

Posted

The answer depends on the amount at controversy with the IRS and whether you are willing to pay higher fees than for most CPAs. If you decide to hire an attorney then you should hire a tax attorney even though that attorney may have higher hourly fees than some other attorneys.

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Posted

Absolutely hire a tax lawyer. Something is wrong when an IRS Revenue Agent makes such a statement about your parents.

You can still keep your CPA, but he will need to technically be hired by your tax lawyer.

Good luck!
Ron Cappuccio
WWW.taxes.com

If you do not like this answer or disagree, please look at one of the other answers provided. It is not necessary for you to try prove this answer is "wrong" or something with which you do not agree. This is a free service for you based on limited facts. Nevertheless, many times you need to consult an attorney with the details to get actual advice specific to your concerns. Do not put too many details in your questions or comments because this makes the information public and could hurt you. Government Regulations contained in IRS Circular 230 regulate written communications about Federal tax matters, including e-mail, between us and our clients. This is another attempt by the government to limit your rights and to extend the control of government over individuals and businesses. Nevertheless, such communications are either opinions or other written communications. This is not an opinion. It is other written communication and was not written to be relied upon, by itself, to avoid any tax penalties. In order to receive assurances of protection from tax penalties from a written communication, you should get an opinion letter. If you would like to discuss an opinion letter relating to any matter, please contact me and I will explain what is involved and what it will cost.

Posted

You'll want to go with the professional you have confidence in but would strongly encourage that you at least get a second opinion on the matter from a tax attorney. The things you're describing do not make sense and should not be occurring. You need someone to handle some serious advocacy for you.

Good luck.

Evan A. Nielsen is licensed to practice law in California and handles federal tax matters throughout the U.S. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for a particular matter. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult an attorney.

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