Tax Attorney and CPA
Oakland is one of the largest business trade centers in Northern California. A large amount of cargo passes through ports in Oakland every day.
This can create some challenging tax situations for businesses in the Oakland area, as their income sources may be from elsewhere in California, across the United States, or from international sources.
When you are facing an especially tricky tax situation, we have the deep and varied experience on our staff to handle it. We fully understand state and federal tax regulations, and we know exactly how to apply them to the unique domestic and international tax situations you may face throughout the year.
And should you be facing an audit, we are ready to stand by your side and navigate you through the meetings with the IRS, FTB, CDTFA & EDD.
We have the ability to handle any kind of Oakland tax services you require, including tax planning, compliance and tax controversy representation. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today to schedule a 10-minute call with an experienced Tax Attorney. Whether you need help with your domestic or international tax compliance, you’re facing an audit, or you need domestic or international financial planning services with tax implications in mind, we are ready to help.
The Best Tax Attorney in Oakland
With a bustling population of over 400,000 residents, Oakland is one of the largest and busiest centers of trade in the San Francisco region. It’s also one of the largest ports in the country, with tens of billions of dollars in cargo passing through the port each year. But while the city of Oakland may be an economic powerhouse, even its most affluent residents can face intense financial pressures due to the unintended consequences of state or federal tax regulations and civil / criminal tax enforcement.
Supported by over 20 years of experience, the Oakland tax attorneys and CPAs at the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing are dedicated to helping local residents and business owners resolve their tax issues efficiently. With tax offices conveniently located in downtown Oakland near Lincoln University and the historic Fox Theater, we provide state, federal, international, civil and criminal tax defense, personal, and corporate tax services to individuals and business entities throughout the Oakland region.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Tax Attorney vs. a CPA
Tax issues can be extremely complicated and can involve multiple different facets. Sometimes, it might not be clear whether your interests would be best served by hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or a Tax Attorney. While each has a unique skillset, they also overlap in many areas related to the filing of tax returns and issues related to IRS audits. In order to give yourself the broadest range of knowledge, education, and experience, your best bet when looking for tax advice is to retain a skilled dual licensed Tax Attorney and CPA like those at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing.
Advantages of Hiring a CPA
CPAs are considered the best of the best in the field of accounting due to the broad knowledge they acquire from their education, including training in auditing, tax laws, bookkeeping, and business law, planning and strategy. They go through an extensive licensure process, where they must complete the necessary education and pass a difficult exam, among other requirements. Aside from basic accounting functions related to your taxes, they can help you keep the type of clean and complete records required to minimize the damages caused by an IRS audit, and can help you fill out and file your tax returns and related forms accurately and completely. CPAs are also skilled at keep or interpreting your financial records to identify problem areas that need improvement and save you potential headaches down the line.
Advantages of Hiring a Tax Attorney
Tax Attorneys are, first and foremost, Attorneys, meaning they have graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, and fulfilled the multitude of other requirements for licensure as an Attorney, such as taking continuing education courses each year. Unlike a CPA whose focus and skill will be in the area of preparing and filing tax forms and compiling and keeping records, a Tax Attorney’s focus will typically be on dispute resolution and keeping or bringing you back into compliance with the law. They will be superior and indispensable at providing representation during adversarial proceedings, such as an audit or especially during a criminal tax investigation because they are intimately familiar with Tax Law and your rights and obligations under it as well as the use and implementation of the best defenses to willful and non-willful tax violations.
Perhaps the most crucial advantage of hiring a Tax Attorney as opposed to a non-attorney CPA is the attorney-client privilege. This privilege applies to all conversations between you and your Attorney during your legal representation, as well as to employees in the office of the attorney like a paralegal or an accountant / CPA. If a Kovel letter is issued, the attorney-client privilege will apply to any accountants brought in to consult on your case provided they did not prepare or provide tax advice on the tax returns at issue and they are assisting your attorney to provide a legal service. This privilege is broad and will typically prevent an Attorney or someone working under their control from revealing privileged communications with the authorities without your permission or being forced to testifying against you like the CPA that prepared the returns at issue often is.
Accountant-client privilege is nowhere near as broad or sacrosanct. For this reason, you often hear stories of CPAs who realize they could face criminal tax charges for aiding in preparing a fraudulent tax return, flipping on their clients and turning state’s witness against them. They have their own reputation to preserve. With an Attorney, this is almost certainly not going to happen if they did not prepare or provide tax advice on the returns at issue. Anytime potential criminal tax liability might even remotely be an issue, speaking with a Tax Attorney under the attorney-client privilege is always the way to go.
Our Skilled Dual Licensed San Jose Tax Attorneys and CPAs Offer the Best of Both Worlds
There are numerous advantages to hiring a dual-licensed Tax Attorney and CPA to consult regarding tax planning and any potential tax issues that have or could arise. However, it can be time-consuming and prohibitively expensive to engage two different firms for advice regarding the same subject. For this reason, our experienced Dual Licensed San Jose Tax Attorneys and CPAs at the Tax Law Offices of David. W. Klasing offer you the best of both worlds for a reasonable price. Our committed tax professionals have simultaneously licensed Tax Attorneys and Certified Public Accountants and bring with them the wealth of education, experience and judgment that comes with it. We can both help you organize or reconstruct your records and file your domestic or international tax returns and offer skilled tax controversy representation if you are dealing with a federal of state audit or criminal tax investigation.
California, Federal, and International Tax Services in Oakland, CA
At the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing, we have earned a reputation for taking on the challenging, cutting-edge cases that other practices or tax attorneys in Oakland turn down. Our founder, dually-certified California attorney-CPA David W. Klasing, has more than a decade of experience as a public auditor, affording our tax team unmatched insight into strategies the government uses to examine, investigate, and penalize taxpayers. Combining our encyclopedic knowledge of state and federal tax regulations with an aggressive, proactive approach, we deliver effective tax controversy representation, planning and compliance services.
From tax planning and preparation, to tax audit representation, to criminal tax defense, our zealous team of attorneys and accountants is here to answer all of your questions, compile and analyze your financial records, prepare you for interviews and court proceedings, and negotiate with tax authorities like the IRS, Franchise Tax Board (FTB), and California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) on your behalf.
We understand that no two taxpayers are dealing with an identical scenario, which is why we offer a wide breadth of services tailored to your individual needs. Tax services we offer in Oakland include:
- Business Tax Services
- Business Entity Selection and Formation
- Business Succession Planning
- Business Transactions
- International Tax Services
- FBAR and FATCA Compliance
- Tax Services for Expats and Non-Citizens
- Voluntary Disclosure Programs
- Civil and Criminal Tax Audits or Investigation and IRS Appeals / Litigation Representation
- BOE, CDTFA, EDD, FTB, and IRS Tax Audits
- FBAR Audits
- Payroll Tax Audits
Oakland Tax Audit Defense Lawyers
Audits occur when one of the federal or state agencies charged with assessing or collecting taxes believe there may be incorrect information on a tax return filed and want to examine your books and records more closely. There are four major types of audits that may be conducted in Oakland, and our attorneys can help you navigate each of these.
IRS Audit Representation
If you receive an audit notice from the IRS, this means that they are looking at some sort of issue they believe exists on your federal tax return. This could be related to your business tax return or your personal return, or quite often, both. The audit can go back up to three years and longer in limited circumstances. There are three different types of IRS audits.
The first is a correspondence audit. You will receive a letter from the IRS asking for further records and documentation and all contact between you and the auditor will be by mail, email, or phone. If you do not have all the documents requested, your books are a mess, or your fudged the numbers, you may not be able to settle this yourself, and all too often you will need the help of an experienced tax lawyer and staff of CPAs in reconstructing the necessary records and navigating the audit process to keep things civil and solely about money.
An office audit is when the IRS asks you to come into one of their offices with your books and records so that they can look through them in person. It is wise to have a tax lawyer help you prepare for this appointment and accompany you the IRS to ensure your rights are protected. Its and even better idea, if the attorney can arrange it, not to attend this audit yourself. Up to 70% of communication is nonverbal and you do not want your body language to send a conflicting message with your spoken word.
A field audit is considered the most serious audit and is usually reserved for situations where the IRS is considering major civil or criminal tax penalties. This will ordinarily include a comprehensive face to face interview. They will attempt to come into your home or office to look through all your books and records. They will also try and jibe your standard of living back against your history of reported income. As soon as you learn a field audit is to occur, it is vital that you contact a knowledgeable tax attorney.
California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Audit Representation
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is responsible for audits related to your California income tax returns. These audits will usually have to do with suspected underreporting of the income you made from various sources or overstated deductions. The FTB is also informed of the results of any federal audit will either open their own audit or will piggy-back off a federal audit and send you a bill for what you owe to the state based on the results of the federal audit along with additional penalties for not voluntarily amending.
There are some instances where the FTB will conduct their own audits into California specific issues, like whether you are properly claiming state residency. Note that even if an IRS audit shows that you do not owe money to the federal government, it is possible that you owe money to the state because of differences in tax law at the state level. A tax attorney can help you understand issues unique to the state and work out a payment plan with the FTB if you do indeed owe.
California Employment Development Department (EDD) Audit Representation
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) is generally concerned with conducting audits related to businesses paying the proper payroll taxes. Businesses are required to withhold payroll and income taxes out of their employees’ checks and remit them to the proper government agency. If you fail to take the money out or fail to send it where it is supposed to go, you could be charged back taxes and associated penalties.
Many audits by the EDD are related to whether an individual should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. Employers are required to withhold payroll and income taxes for their employees but not for independent contractors who work for them. The EDD will often challenge the classification of an individual as an independent contractor who they believe should be classified as an employee. The process for determining this is complex and an experienced tax lawyer can help you work to attempt to prove that you have been classifying workers correctly or achieve damage control where you have not.
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) Audit Representation
This type of audit ordinarily applies to businesses. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) conducts audits related to sales tax issues. This could be your business failing to charge proper sales taxes or charging them and failing to remit them to the state government as required. The CDTA will request to look at all your books and sales records to see if they match what has been reported.
They have also been known to send undercover officers into businesses to see if you are charging sales tax properly especially where you run a cash-based business and are suspected of cash skimming or using a zapper program. This type of audit can easily turn into your worst nightmare. These can be some of the most complex audits and will require you to provide an abundance of records as well as to explain your business practices. An experienced tax attorney can help prepare you for dealing with the CDTFA and ensure that everything is filed in a timely way. For example, if the original auditor closes the case and sends a Notice of Determination that you owe money, you must file a petition to challenge this within 30 days or risk the Notice being final.
- Tax Debt Relief
- Innocent Spouse Relief
- Offers in Compromise (OIC)
- Tax Planning and Preparation
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Estate Planning
- Tax Preparation
Whether you are a longtime resident of Oakland, are a local business owner, or recently moved to Oakland from another state or country and aren’t certain of your filing obligations, turn to the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing for comprehensive personal and business tax support. To arrange a reduced-rate consultation, contact the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing online, or call our Oakland tax office at (510) 764-1020.