When is a Tax Attorney Necessary if You Owe Back Taxes?

If you owe back taxes, maybe you think you need a tax attorney, but that’s not necessarily always the case. Just like hiring a traditional accountant to try to resolve your tax debt might not be the best choice, hiring a tax attorney, who doesn’t specialize in tax resolution might be the same thing.

When you owe the IRS back taxes, it’s best to have the correct tax relief firm representing you so you can get the best result possible. Don’t try to face the most brutal collection agency on the planet by yourself. You’ll be sorry you did.

In this article we discuss some of the differences between a tax attorney and someone who specializes in tax relief and IRS negotiation.

Note: If you already have a tax problem and owe more than $10k to the IRS or state but can’t pay in full, contact our firm today. We help people find tax relief, file years of unfiled tax returns, and sometimes settle their tax debt for a fraction of what’s owed www.mytaxcoaching.com/relief.

What Do Tax Attorneys Do?

Tax lawyers help businesses and taxpayers with many tax related issues such as;

  • Legal issues pertaining to taxes
  • Corporate tax matters
  • Starting up a business and entity formation
  • Taxable estate matters
  • Tax controversy and tax negotiation (only if a tax resolution specialist too)

Tax attorneys work on both the state level and the federal level. Though some tax attorneys might be able to negotiate with the IRS to settle your tax debt, not all tax attorneys specialize in tax controversy and resolution.  Many also lack experience in these areas.

The largest and most important difference between a regular tax attorney and someone who is a tax resolution specialist, (who’s a CPA, Enrolled Agent or attorney), is regular tax attorneys  specialize in transactional tax planning.  Their work generally includes minimizing taxes on a go-forward basis.   A tax resolution specialist is someone who can help resolve your back tax issues on amounts already owed, or will be owing, to the IRS/State.

It’s imperative to ask what type of tax matters they handle before engaging a tax attorney to solve your tax debt. Most CPAs and Enrolled Agents, who are tax resolution specialists too,  can be just as effective as an attorney that has experience in tax resolution matters.

Are tax attorneys accountants?

The short answer is no.

They both work with taxes, yes, and they both have a background education in accounting, however tax attorneys focus on the legalities of taxes, and their goal is to help you understand and navigate legal matters as they relate to taxes.

They do not generally help you to prepare your tax returns unless they specialize in tax relief and specifically assist you in catching up on years of unfiled tax returns.

Also, while tax lawyers are always legally bound by confidentiality policies, accountants and CPAs are not bound by the same rules because they are not all subject under the same laws.

Common Reasons for Hiring a Tax Attorney

Common reasons why people seek out the assistance of these professionals include when:

  • They need legal tax advice for business purposes
  • They are confronted with complex or criminal IRS matters.
  • They are dealing with estate-related issues.
  • They need to file a suit against the IRS.

You can consult a tax attorney either before you run into any problems in order to avoid any potential problems in the future or after a problem has already arisen, in which case they will help you to sort things out and get you back on the right track and where you need to be.


It’s important to note that only experienced firms like ours are equipped to handle tax debt cases since negotiating with the IRS requires specialized skills that often fall outside of the scope of most conventional firms.

Our firm specializes in tax problem resolution. We have CPAs, EAs and attorneys who can represent you before the IRS. We serve clients virtually so don’t hesitate to reach out.  If you want an expert tax resolution specialist who knows how to navigate the IRS maze, contact our firm today and we’ll schedule a no-obligation confidential consultation to explain your options to permanently resolve your tax problem. www.mytaxcoaching.com/relief