Most U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and businesses pay federal taxes when they make a certain amount of income. Our tax system is infamously confusing and daunting. Questions abound as well as mistakes. Mistakes or alleged mistakes, however, can lead to tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Knowing what tax law is and how the rules apply in your unique situation is the first step to avoiding problems with the IRS.
At the Law Offices of Trent Nichols, our tax lawyer in Texas will answer your questions and help ensure your taxes are strategically and properly handled. If an issue does arise, we will advise and represent you accordingly. Contact us today at (361) 594-5004 in Shiner or at (361) 798-3217 in Hallettsville to schedule a consultation and get your tax situation in order.
What Does a Tax Lawyer in Texas Do?
A tax lawyer gives individuals and organizations legal advice in relation to their tax obligations. They specialize in understanding tax liabilities across a range of scenarios, including individual and corporate income, business transactions, property transfers, and inheritances.
Tax lawyers typically:
- Explain their clients' obligations under the various federal and state tax codes
- Advise clients on how to comply with their legal obligations while also minimizing their tax burden
- Represent clients when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Represent clients in court on tax-related matters
Taxation law is a complex area that benefits from financial and accounting knowledge.
How Do I Know if the IRS is Auditing Me?
If the IRS intends to audit you, they will notify you in writing by sending a letter to your last known address. They will never contact you by phone or email to do so.
The IRS may continue to conduct your audit via mail by sending questions about specific aspects of your return and requesting further documents. Alternatively, the IRS may ask you to attend an in-person interview at a local or regional IRS office or your home, place of business, or accountant's office.
How Do I Know if the IRS is Criminally Investigating Me?
Unlike an audit, the IRS does not send a notice when it starts a criminal investigation. However, there are several signs that may suggest your case is being criminally investigated.
You may be under criminal investigation for tax fraud or other crimes if you become aware that, for example:
- The auditor on your case contacts witnesses without telling you or your lawyer
- The auditor shows a heightened interest in a certain aspect of your return or closely reviews your financial records multiple times
- Your bank advises you that your records have been subpoenaed by a government agency
- The auditor stops replying to your calls or emails, as the matter has been passed to a criminal investigator
- You are contacted by the IRS's Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
If you are concerned that you may be the subject of a criminal investigation by the IRS, you should speak to a tax lawyer for further advice and to prepare for it.
What Rights Do Taxpayers Have in Texas?
As a taxpayer, you have several rights in relation to both federal and state taxes. These rights are referred to as Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), which are:
- The right to be informed
- The right to quality service
- The right to pay no more than the correct amount of taxes
- The right to challenge the IRS's position and be heard
- The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum
- The right to finality
- The right to privacy
- The right to confidentiality
- The right to retain representation
- The right to a fair and just tax system
Your right to engage an authorized representative to represent you in your dealings with the IRS includes the right to retain a tax attorney, and it is in your best interests to do so.
Can I Settle a Tax Dispute with the IRS?
Settling a tax dispute with the IRS is typically in your best interests, depending on the facts and circumstances. A settlement often involves one of the following methods:
- An offer in compromise
- An installment plan
- Relief for an innocent spouse
- A release from wage garnishments
Every option is not suitable for any tax dispute. A tax attorney can help you make sure you opt for the right solution. Keep in mind, too, that if you can successfully settle a tax dispute, you can avoid litigation, which can be more costly and time-consuming.
Can I Appeal a Tax Decision in Texas?
The IRS has an internal appeals mechanism called the Independent Office of Appeals. If you wish to challenge an officer's tax decision on a legal basis, you can ask the Office of Appeals to review the matter.
If you're unable to resolve the matter or don't wish to appeal to the Office of Appeals, you may also have the right to appeal to the Tax Court or other federal courts, depending on the nature of the decision you're appealing.
How Long Does an IRS Appeal Take?
Most IRS appeals take anywhere from nine months to one year before an IRS appeals audit is heard. Because it takes so long, many taxpayers attempt to settle their tax case before the appeal.
If you are already involved in a case, you can check your IRS appeal status by calling the IRS, but if you retain a tax attorney, they will manage the case for you so that you do not have to figure these things out on your own. It can be a stressful experience, and many people who address tax disputes pro se get lost in the system and make an already stressful situation more stressful.
Can a Tax Attorney in Texas Negotiate a Repayment Plan?
A tax attorney can help you try to negotiate a repayment plan with the IRS. If the IRS agrees, this allows you to pay your tax in manageable monthly installments, rather than all at once.
If you're unable to repay the full debt even in installments, a tax attorney can also help you negotiate an offer in compromise with the IRS. This allows you to finalize your debt by paying less than what you owe.
How Can a Tax Attorney in Texas Help You?
A tax lawyer can help an individual or corporation in more than one way. Aside from the experience and knowledge, our tax attorney benefits clients through:
- Comprehensive tax planning
- Smart tax preparation and filing
- Meticulous case research, which is particularly important when the IRS is investigating
- Effective communication, including communication directly with the IRS for negotiation and settlement purposes
- Negotiations for tax settlements
- Representation in court
Through these and other legal services, we aim to help our clients save money in terms of what they would have paid the IRS without the benefits and hard work of our tax lawyer.
Can a CPA Offer the Same Help as a Tax Lawyer in Texas?
Neither a certified professional accountant (CPA) nor an enrolled agent (EA) can offer the same type of tax services as a tax lawyer can provide. CPAs and EAs can prepare taxes and offer some limited tax planning services, but they generally are not equipped with the training necessary for complex tax legal matters and cannot provide legal advice. Likewise, they cannot represent you in court.
How Much Will a Tax Attorney Cost?
There are many factors that go into the cost of an attorney. Some factors include:
- Whether the tax matter is for an individual or business entity
- The experience of the tax attorney (e.g., a tax specialist versus a general practice attorney)
- Whether it is a federal or state tax issue or both
- The location (e.g., New York City versus Jasper, Arkansas)
- The type of tax issue (many tax disputes are simple to resolve, while others may require considerable resources)
- Duration of the representation
Your attorney fees and costs will also be determined by how payment is made – does the attorney charge an hourly rate or a flat fee? Both types have their own pros and cons.
More likely than not, you will be paying anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Always consult with an attorney first to get to know their skill level and inquire about their rates.
Contact a Tax Attorney in Shiner and Hallettsville Today
Taxes cannot be avoided, but through solid planning, they are manageable. It is best to get tax help today to avoid problems, disputes, or penalties tomorrow. Contact our tax lawyer in Texas by using the online form or calling us at (361) 594-5004 in Shiner or at (361) 798-3217 in Hallettsville to schedule a consultation.