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Should you use an accountant or a tax attorney for tax issues?

Generally speaking, no one really wants to deal with tax issues; whether they are figuring out what exemptions may apply given one’s tax bracket or dealing directly with the IRS on a Notice of Lien, it may be difficult to determine who is better equipped to help with your problem: an accountant or a tax attorney.

Both are skilled in interpreting the U.S. Tax Code. Also, tax courts allow attorneys and qualified accountants to represent clients in cases. The training and knowledge of a tax attorney may be helpful in preparing for litigation. At the same time, an accountant may be better suited for financial planning in order to avoid the problems that would lead to a date in tax court. 

As such, the use of a tax attorney or an accountant may depend on your individual needs. If, for example, you simply need guidance on simple issues such as tax preparation or incorporating a small business, perhaps a qualified accountant will suit your needs.

Conversely if your question involves potential litigation and/or liability issues, perhaps a tax attorney will be better. As we noted earlier, attorneys are specially trained to respond to legal notices involving tax claims as well as litigation. After all, the notion of privilege between attorneys and clients may serve well in these situations.

If you can’t decide whether you need an accountant or a tax attorney, there may be no harm in using both. This may be especially pertinent if you own a business, are dealing with multiple trusts or properties.

The preceding is not legal advice. 

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Law Offices of Robert T. Leonard, APC

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