Finding and choosing an IRS tax lawyer is simple; just Google "tax lawyer" and pick one from the many IRS tax lawyers online... at your own risk. If only it were that simple. The best way to find a good IRS tax lawyer is to combine your extensive searching with solid research on the lawyers' credentials and reputation. You've probably already seen how many IRS tax lawyer websites there are on the internet, all of them desperately competing for your business. From flashy fonts to regal photos, each of these firms could be helpful, but they could also be more of a hindrance to you. How can you decide which IRS tax lawyer to choose when faced with so many options?
Do not judge by any appearances when it comes to finding a good IRS tax lawyer, unless your lawyer appears in an alleyway drinking out of a brown bag. Appearances are often deceiving, as are claims of excellence. The following will help you find a reputable, effective IRS tax lawyer.
- Cast a wide net at first, searching for IRS tax lawyers in your area.
- Ask a trusted lawyer for advice. First of all, if you know a good lawyer, don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation. It is possible that an IRS tax lawyer exists in that firm, or that the lawyer can suggest a tax lawyer in a different office. Lawyers will often be able to recommend colleagues whom they respect. A trusted colleague of a trusted lawyer is a trustworthy lawyer. Not only that, but your lawyer friend will not want to damage the professional relationship you two share.
- Yellow pages. Online, you can look in your local yellow pages for "tax lawyer." You can also peruse the entries in the book itself.
- The phone book should have given you a pretty extensive list of reputable IRS tax lawyers in your area, but you can always do a wider search online for others. There's no harm in searching extensively; you can find local and national IRS tax lawyers through your favorite search engine. Another online method is to explore the free services of a site like Lawyers.com, which has a search tool for locating IRS tax lawyers in your area.
Remember, none of these searches alone will ensure satisfaction. As stated earlier, you must do further research in order to make a truly educated choice of IRS tax lawyer.
- Not all lawyers specialize in tax law, but you'll want the guidance of just such a specialist. The problem is that some IRS tax lawyers did not receive as thorough an education in tax law as others. It is recommended that you find an IRS tax lawyer who earned a Master's law degree specializing in tax law (LLM in Taxation), or a lawyer who earned a separate degree that involved extensive tax coursework. Diplomas don't lie; ask about an IRS tax lawyer's education before making your decision.
- Contact the American Bar Association. Does the IRS tax lawyer enjoy good standing with your State Bar Association? Make sure IRS tax lawyers are licensed. Their standing with the Bar Association can speak volumes about their level of professionalism. For example, if an IRS tax lawyer's office has moved and the Bar Association has not received updated contact information, you should look elsewhere; such professional oversights are generally indicative of larger patterns. If there are questionable issues surrounding the IRS tax lawyer, then choose someone else.
- You have a friend in the Better Business Bureau. Contact this bureau to check for any complaints leveled against your potential IRS tax lawyer.
- Sometimes former clients will have waived normal privacy rules, allowing potential customers to approach them as references. Hearing their accounts of the lawyer's service can help you decide which IRS tax lawyer to choose. There is no harm in asking the IRS tax lawyer for a reference, but keep in mind that one will not always be available. The absence of references does not mean that the IRS tax lawyer deserves your suspicion.
- Does it seem like the lawyer will try to take every possible penny from you? Be frank in discussions with the IRS tax lawyer; ask about the hourly rate or total fee, and see how the lawyer responds to your attempts to do some of the grunt paperwork yourself. If the IRS tax lawyer complains or is reluctant to let you fill out simple paperwork and forms, you should continue your search for a trustworthy lawyer. There's no reason for the IRS tax lawyer to do paperwork that you can complete. The goal of having an IRS tax lawyer is to aid in those areas in which your knowledge will not suffice.