September 17, 2011 by msquaredlaw
We love accountants. They are our homeboys. However, would you hire your wedding planner to help you with your divorce? I didn’t think so.
It is true that any “tax professional” can represent you before the IRS. That includes tax attorneys, accountants, CPAs and what the IRS calls enrolled agents.
Your accountant is highly skilled at preparing your tax returns and knowledgeable about IRS regulations. He discovered deductions that saved you tons of money. He doesn’t get angry (well, maybe he does just a little) when you show up to his office with a box full of crumpled up receipts the day before your tax return is due and answers the phone when you call him at 2 a.m. in a fit of panic because you dreamt that he forgot to remit your payroll taxes this quarter. He knows all the ins and outs of your business and is a trusted confidant. He knows all your secrets…
A Little Thing Called Attorney-Client Privilege.
Hmm… let’s talk about something you may have heard of called the Attorney-Client Privilege. Only conversations with attorneys are protected by the attorney-client privilege, which means that, in general, any information you share with your tax attorney cannot be used against you or disclosed to a third party (such as the IRS, the Florida Department of Revenue, or in a court of law). There is no such guarantee with your accountant – the one who knows all your secrets and is a trusted confidant. Oh and guess what?! The IRS can subpoena (i.e., force him) to testify against you in court. Umm….yeah.
We Have the Code and Know How to Use It.
The Internal Revenue Code that is. Your tax attorney (at least the one you really want to hire) should have a specialized degree called an LL.M. (Masters of Law) in Taxation that provided him with the necessary education and training with regard to researching and analyzing the tax laws in relation to your specific factual circumstances. This “super power” differentiates an attorney from an accountant/CPA/enrolled agent.
The Art of War.
Most tax controversies involve a significant amount of negotiation. Attorneys are educated and trained in the art of negotiation, and to advocate on behalf of their clients. Your tax attorneys are prepared to step into your shoes and be your eyes, ears and voice. Stay home watching HGTV/Bravo or whatever is on your DVR while we deal with that nasty IRS agent. We know what to do. We know what NOT to do.
Besides, what if you really want to fight the IRS tooth and nail and the matter ends up in court? Your tax attorney would obviously be your go-to guy.
Geez, Just Call Us Already.
If the IRS is chasing you and you’re overwhelmed… If you are forced to take an Ambien each night because you can’t fall asleep worrying that the IRS is going to put a lien on your house, garnish your wages and levy your bank account… DON’T CALL YOUR ACCOUNTANT. CALL US.