A tax attorney is a terrific asset to have when dealing with the IRS. Nevertheless, we live in a do-it-yourself culture, and some people might think that they can negotiate effectively on their own behalf without having to pay an attorney. Before going the DIY route, taxpayers should consider some of the following pitfalls people routinely fall victim to when representing themselves.
Pitfall #1: You Don’t Understand the Tax Code
The IRS regularly makes mistakes, and before you can negotiate effectively you must understand whether you actually owe the government money. On closer inspection, it might turn out that you don’t owe the IRS anything. Unfortunately, IRS law is enormously complex and regularly changes, so learning it yourself isn’t realistic.
Without expert legal advice, you might automatically assume that you owe the amount the IRS claims—or you might wrongly think you don’t know anything. Both of these assumptions are wrong. Only a qualified tax attorney can review your tax history and determine what you actually owe.
Pitfall #2: You Can’t Negotiate Effectively With the IRS
The IRS sometimes accepts less than it is owed in something called an “offer in compromise.” The IRS doesn’t always accept an offer in compromise. Instead, they will only accept less than the amount owed in one of three situations:
- There is a genuine dispute as to what you owe. For example, the law isn’t clear.
- There is doubt whether the IRS can fully collect the amount you owe. For example, you have income and assets less than the amount you owe the IRS.
- The IRS believes paying the full amount would create an economic hardship or would be unfair because of exceptional circumstances.
Each of these situations requires detailed knowledge of tax law. For example, “exceptional circumstances” is a vague category that might include the taxpayer’s physical or mental disability, but only a tax attorney can fully research which circumstances the government is likely to accept. Georgia tax attorney Jeff Cohen has extensive experience in IRS law and can help clients make a strong case to the IRS.
Pitfall #3: You Might Say Something You Shouldn’t
Tax fraud and tax evasion are criminal charges, and anything you say can be used against you later in court. If you one or more agents show up at your door, it’s in your best interest to pick up a phone and call a tax attorney. It’s not unusual for taxpayers to make their situation worse for themselves by accidentally saying something they shouldn’t.
As an added benefit, anything you say to your attorney is confidential, meaning your attorney can’t be forced to testify against you in court. This confidentiality affords you peace of mind and allows you to be completely honest with your attorney.
Call a Georgia Tax Attorney Today
When dealing with the IRS, you need to be extra careful, so you shouldn’t go it alone. If you have an IRS law problem, call Jeffrey L. Cohen, Attorney at Law, for a Free Phone Consultation at 404-937-1414 or visit us on the web to complete an online form.