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How do you know if you need a tax attorney?

Tax attorneys are lawyers who specialize in the complex and technical field of tax law. According to this article from, you definitely need a tax attorney if:

  • You have a taxable estate, need to make complex estate planning strategies, or need to file an estate tax return.
  • You are starting a business and need legal counsel about the structure and tax treatment of your company.
  • You are engaging in international business and need help with contracts, tax treatment, and other legal matters.
  • You plan to bring a suit against the IRS.
  • You plan to seek independent review of your case before the US Tax Court.
  • You are under criminal investigation by the IRS.
  • You have committed tax fraud (such as claiming false deductions and credits) and need the protection of privilege.

But what if you’re already mired in tax debt and can’t afford to hire an attorney? Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) represent low income taxpayers before the IRS and assist taxpayers in audits, appeals and collection disputes. These clinics, which are operated by nonprofit organizations or academic institutions, can also help taxpayers respond to IRS notices and correct account problems.

Another option is to seek assistance from a referral system operated by a state bar association, a state or local society of accountants or enrolled agents, or another nonprofit tax professional organization.

Debt settlement companies are not law firms and cannot provide legal advice. However, debt settlement can be a part of your solution to tax debt. Debt settlement means that your debt is negotiated down to a reduced amount and paid off in a lump sum. Settlement is a good choice if you have more debt than you can pay off within two to three years or are experiencing a financial hardship that has you falling behind on your monthly payments.