If you find yourself in need of a tax attorney, you’re past the point of messing around. Taxes are serious business, and you can’t afford to hire someone that is incompetent, doesn’t know the law, or isn’t going to be able to help you make the best of the situation. Accordingly, there are some specific things you should look for from a tax attorney, as well as some very specific questions you’ll need to ask during the search process.
The first thing you want to look for in an tax attorney is the appropriate education. A tax attorney must have earned the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, and they also have to be admitted to your state bar. These are the bottom line requirements for practicing law in most states. Beyond that minimum requirement, many tax attorneys may have a LL.M (Master of Laws) degree, with a specialization in taxation. That’s the kind of tax attorney you want to hire, if there is one in your area. You might also consider choosing a lawyer who has a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) credential, if your tax situation is particularly complex.
Ideally, you’ll find a tax attorney who’s been around the block a time or two. You want someone who’s had real-world experience dealing with cases like yours. If the attorney is new to your type of case, they might have a harder time navigating the rough waters of the courts and the legal system.
Get all of the details
On top of the lawyer’s resume you want to as some very specific questions when you’re considering a particular tax attorney. These include:
- Have you been admitted to the state bar?
- What type of law do you specialize in?
- How much is your fee?
- What are all of the possible costs involved in my case?
- Can or will you take my case?
- If you can’t or won’t take my case, can you refer me to an attorney who will?
While you can’t guarantee that your tax attorney will help you win your case, you can maximize your chances by being diligent about the selection process.