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The Benefits of Retaining a Tax Lawyer vs Negotiating your own Settlement

24th November 2009
By Roni Deutch in Taxes
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Although taxpayers have the right to negotiate directly with the IRS, it is often a good idea to hire a professional, such as an attorney, to represent you in the negotiations. However, there are some instances where a taxpayer may be better off working directly with the IRS.

Knowledge and Experience
The biggest reason to consider hiring a tax lawyer to negotiate a tax debt settlement with the IRS is because of the knowledge and experience they bring to the table. Tax attorneys may spend years studying the IRS tax code and honing their negotation skills. They usually have experience in successfully helping taxpayers resolve their debts. Negotiating a settlement will require a lot of knowledge of complicated IRS laws and tax codes. Therefore, if you are going to do it on your own, then you will need to spend a decent amount of time researching tax law before you begin. You might even want to purchase a few books on tax debt resolution so that you can be as familiar as possible with the process.

Another reason to consider hiring a tax attorney is the convenience it brings. Not only can negotiating with an IRS agent be stressful, but it also requires a lot of work. In order to qualify for most tax settlement programs, you will need to present the IRS with full financial disclosure and convince them you cannot afford to pay for basic living expenses in addition to a tax payment. Compiling all of this data, calculating the correct expenses, and presenting a case to the IRS is a very complicated process, and can easily take weeks of effort to complete.

The only exception is if you are trying to get placed on a Streamlined Installment Agreement, which does not require a financial disclosure as long as the taxpayer's debt is under $25,000 and they intend to repay the entire tax liability within five years. Therefore, if you meet the conditions for a Streamlined Installment Agreement then you may be able to negotiate your own settlement. However, if you are hoping to qualify for an Offer in Compromise or a standard Installment Agreement then you might want to consider speaking with an attorney.

IRS Communications
When you hire an attorney the IRS will need to direct collection efforts to the attorney. However, if you are going to negotiate your own settlement then you will need to communicate directly with the IRS. Meaning you will need to respond to their letters and calls, which can be scary and confusing.

Probability of a Mistake
Unfortunately when you are dealing with tax debts, a small mistake can quickly turn into a big mistake. If you are working with a tax resolution law firm, then it is likely either a lawyer or legal assistant will catch all potential mistakes. However, if you are submitting your own financial disclosure and make a small miscalculation then you could end up with a payment plan that you cannot really afford.

The Tax Lady Roni Deutch and her law firm Roni Deutch, A Professional Tax Corporation have been helping taxpayers across the nation find IRS tax relief for over seventeen years. The firm has experienced tax lawyers who can fight IRS tax liens on your behalf.
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