Taxes are a complex process no individual or business in the United States can ignore. From income tax to corporate and franchise taxes, it’s important that you are aware of how the different legal processes of each work so that you can avoid potential issues like audits.
Because paying your taxes can become complicated quickly, hiring an experienced tax attorney, like one of our lawyers at Coggins Law, can help to make the process much less overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know about tax attorneys in California, their fees, and what they can do to help you.
Attorney Fees in California
Tax lawyers typically charge their clients using one of two main kinds of fees:
- Hourly RatesMost attorneys charge their clients by the hour. However, the rates they charge will heavily depend on the services you need, where you’re located, and the reputation of your tax lawyer. As of 2022, the average tax attorney charges around $200 to $400 an hour.
- Flat Fees
Occasionally, you may be able to negotiate a flat fee as payment to your attorney. A flat fee is a one-time payment that is not affected by the hours that the attorney puts in. A lawyer most commonly agrees to a flat fee when they know the service will be relatively simple and quick, for example, in traffic ticket cases.
How Much Does a Tax Attorney Charge in California?
Different legal tax services vary in price based on their complexity and how long they take, as well as the expertise of your attorney. Because of this, prices can change with each lawyer you talk to. On average, you can expect to see prices around:
- Installment Agreements: $750 to $1,500+
- Simple IRS Audit: $2,000 to $4,000
- Complex IRS Audit: $5,000+
- IRS Appeals: $5,000 to $7,500+
- Tax Court Litigation and Representation: $10,000+
- Offer in Compromise: $3,500 to $6,500+
What Does a Tax Attorney Do?
A tax attorney is a specialized professional experienced in both general and tax law. They can assist individuals and business owners alike in a variety of ways, including:
Help You File Taxes
Filing your annual taxes can be intimidating, especially if you’re a business owner. A tax attorney can not only help you file your taxes, but they can also assist you in preparing to file by giving you the correct documents, drafting them with you, and going over all other legal aspects you should know. Plus, tax lawyers have a great deal of experience in this area of law, allowing them to help you optimize your taxes as much as possible.
Represent You During Tax Disputes and Audits
If the IRS finds issues with the taxes you filed, you or your business may potentially face an audit. When this occurs, an IRS agent will come and do a personal review of all of your finances from the past few years. Auditors are often known as being forceful and persistent, sometimes even crossing boundaries. This makes having an experienced attorney critical; they can not only represent you throughout your audit, but they can defend you and ensure the auditor is behaving properly.
Help You Form, Buy, or Sell a Business
In addition to helping businesses file and keep up with their taxes, tax lawyers can also help you form, buy, or sell a business here in California. Because all of these actions will have some effect on your taxes, working with an attorney will ensure that whatever transaction occurs is legal and that you handle the taxes properly. If you’re forming a business, your attorney can work with you to make certain you are aware of the different tax responsibilities you will be taking on.
Provide Legal and Financial Advice
Whether you’re looking to optimize your return on income taxes or you’re trying to lower your overall tax liability, a lawyer can provide you with legal and financial advice unique to your situation. Because many tax lawyers were former accountants and sometimes even IRS agents, they can offer expert advice and help you find solutions that work best for you. When it comes to your finances and taxes, it’s best to work with a professional who has experience.
Q: Can a Tax Attorney Negotiate with the IRS?
A: Yes. One of the many duties of a tax attorney is negotiating with IRS agents and representing clients during IRS audits.
Q: What Does an Auditor Look for In an Audit?
A: An auditor assesses your finances, including your income and expense records from the past few years, to look for any issues or discrepancies. Their overall duty is to validate the accuracy of the taxes you filed, so they will thoroughly evaluate all of your financial records to ensure everything is truthful and legal.
Q: What Is the Difference Between a Tax Lawyer and an Accountant?
A: While both a tax lawyer and an accountant are experts in taxation, a tax lawyer handles the legal aspects of the process, whereas an accountant deals with the financial side of things.
Q: When Should I Hire a Tax Attorney?
A: There are a variety of circumstances in which you may find yourself needing a tax attorney. If you’re being audited, opening, buying, or selling a business, need assistance with filing your taxes, are facing criminal charges, or haven’t filed your taxes in years, then you should seek a skilled attorney.
Coggins Law: Northern California Tax Attorneys
When it comes to tax issues involving the law, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced tax lawyer who can help your case. At Coggins Law, we are committed to assisting our northern California clients through their business and tax issues. Our firm was established by an accountant-turned-attorney who was tired of seeing tax companies take advantage of their clients. That’s why we are devoted to helping taxpayers find solutions that work.
To learn more about what Coggins Law may be able to do for you and your tax case, contact us today for more information.