When starting a business, buying real estate across border, or moving abroad, you have to deal with complex tax regulations. Dealing with taxation isn’t simple without the help of an expert. Whether you’re being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service or need a cross-border tax plan, hiring a professional tax lawyer is the best option. Hiring a tax professional is a smart decision because these tax experts provide a range of services. A tax lawyer makes sure that you comply with the tax laws and prevent IRS audits or penalties. Moreover, they have knowledge of the U.S. & Canadian tax system to help you avoid double taxation and ensure that you avail every available deduction opportunity. Hiring a tax lawyer is a good choice but finding the right professional can be tricky. This is because not all tax preparers are the same. You could find professionals with several designations such as certified public accountants, enrolled agents, tax lawyers, and more. It is normal to get confused about how to hire the right one.
How to Choose the Right Tax Professional?
Before you start looking for a tax specialist, you should first consider your specific needs. For instance, Canadians buying US real estate may land into legal troubles, especially if they pass away. In this situation, you need a real estate lawyer to create a cross border trust. Whether you need cross-border tax planning or estate planning, make sure to find a specialist.
You can find hundreds of professionals with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). However, just because a professional is licensed to offer services it doesn’t guarantee their expertise. Professionals differ from each other based on their levels of skills, education, pricing, and expertise. You may need a tax lawyer for two purposes- tax planning or handling tax controversy. Whether you want to minimize tax liabilities or handle an IRS audit, here are some tips to choose the right tax lawyer.
- Schedule a Meeting
Based on factors like credentials and services offered, you need to shortlist a few genuine-looking tax law firms. You can learn more about their experience and reliability by reading online reviews and checking the rating. However, to get a clear idea, always fix a meeting because nothing beats a personal conversation. You should start looking for a professional during tax season. Whether you schedule a phone call, video conference, or in-person meeting, always be ready with your questions. You need to get answers to questions such as how many years of experience you have in cross-border taxation, what steps you take to keep your data secure, how many clients you have, do you charge a flat fee per form or an hourly rate, etc. The answers to such relevant questions will help you narrow down the options.
- Compare Fees
Choosing a tax lawyer based on the lowest fee isn’t the right choice. Price alone shouldn’t be deciding factor. However, if their fee is out of budget, there’s nothing much you can do. So, get quotes and compare fees to shortlist those who offer reasonable prices. Tax professionals provide a range of services such as handling IRS audits, litigation, representation before the IRS, and tax debt resolution, along with estate planning, corporate tax, real estate tax, tax planning, and more. Their fee could depend on the type of services you need.
- Check Red Flags
Not all tax preparers are legitimate. Even if the professional is licensed, you should look for some red flags that indicate the person is incompetent or unreliable. The most common warning sign is something that sounds too good to be true. Someone making extraordinary promises should raise a red flag. Another issue could be refusing to sign the returns they file. You should also avoid those who don’t have any permanent business address or official website. In the event of an IRS audit, you need to make sure that the preparer will be easy to find.