As a CPA in Nevada, I understand that there can be confusion about whether you need a lawyer or a CPA to deal with the IRS. The truth is it depends on the experience level of the certified public accountant. Let me explain the basic process, and when an attorney may be needed.
It all starts with the IRS finding something wrong with your taxes. For example, I have a client who is being audited for 2007. The reason he is being audited is that a revenue agent came across his taxes and noticed that every deduction that he took for 2007 was the exact same dollar amount that he took in 2006. This was a red flag because the revenue agent knew it was impossible that he had spent exactly the same amount on mortgage interests and property taxes.
Once the IRS has flagged you as having a problem with your taxes, there are two main course of action. The IRS will bring it to your attention and they will offer you an assessment. This value will be what they think is the amount you actually owe them. If you decide to pay this amount then you are done. However, if you do not think this is right then the process begins.
At this point, you need to hire a certified public accountant to help you fight the IRS. An experienced CPA in Nevada will understand all of the tax laws and do everything they can to come to an agreement with the IRS. However, if your case moves to tax court you should hire an attorney.
An attorney will have a better understanding on when to push and when to pull back in court. They are more familiar with the court process and are more likely to reach an agreement. With that said, an experienced CPA can take you all the way through the battle. If the court case is focused solely on tax opinions and tax positions, than a certified public accountant should be able to represent you.
If an attorney is needed, it is important to remember that your CPA will be working for you the whole time. Just remember that your CPA will know when and if you need an attorney. When in doubt do not be afraid to ask questions and ask your certified public accountant in Nevada to explain the process to you.
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