CPA vs. Tax Attorney

You are facing a difficult and stressful tax situation.  Do you need a tax attorney?  Do you need a CPA?  You can pick a CPA or tax attorney to represent you before the IRS. However, it is important to pick a tax professional experienced in dealing with IRS problem cases.

CPA or Tax Attorney – Who has the Experience?

Schools don’t offer a college class called “How to Fight with the IRS.” You will get better representation from a CPA who deals with the IRS daily over a tax attorney that provides estate tax planning.  A CPA handling IRS issues daily will know the ins and outs on dealing with the IRS.  Make sure you pick someone with a comprehensive background on IRS tax problems.

Compare the education and testing requirements to become a CPA to the requirements to become a Tax Attorney.  Both had a difficult path to obtain a license.

Attorney-Client Privilege

CPAs have limited client-attorney privilege for civil tax matters.  There is no privilege for criminal tax matters.  Attorney-client privilege is important if you committed a criminal tax act.  If you committed a criminal tax act, then you need a criminal attorney, not a tax attorney.

Criminal attorneys do not practice tax law.  Criminal attorneys will hire a CPA or tax attorney to provide tax law assistance.  This may include tax law analysis and forensic accounting.  ALG Tax Solutions has been hired for criminal tax cases.  We have experience working under some of the top criminal attorneys in Michigan.

Criminal Tax Acts

Generally, most cases of failing to file your tax return, under reporting your income, or claiming excess deductions are not criminal. An example of a tax crime is if you knowingly filed a tax return showing income of $100,000 but you actually collected $500,000 under the table. “Knowingly” is highlighted because the IRS has to prove willful criminal intent to evade taxes or commit tax fraud.

If the IRS is pursuing you criminally, you will know it. Your case is handled by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CID). The IRS investigators are federal agents.  They are trained in law enforcement techniques and tactics. The IRS federal agents will present a business card with a large gold badge on it. If there is a federal agent assigned to your case, seek legal counsel immediately. On the other hand, call a CPA or tax attorney if you did not file tax returns for the last 5 years.  Just because you have not paid your taxes, it does not mean you are a criminal.