San Francisco Tax Attorney and CPA
Tax situations can be challenging in the simplest situations. But if you are facing an unusual tax situation in San Francisco, you may be downright baffled as to how to proceed.
Both business and individual taxpayers may have uncommon tax situations in San Francisco. You may need help with income earned overseas, payroll taxes, or business succession planning with taxes in mind.
Or you may have an especially challenging tax situation, such as notification of a federal or state audit. Maybe you have seen your tax situation change significantly before, during or after a divorce.
Hiring a tax attorney who has the ability to understand tax laws and tax code at both the federal and state level can give you the peace of mind you need to handle whatever difficult tax situation you are facing. We even can help you with tax calculation if you are involved in cryptocurrency.
When you’re ready to discuss your tax situation, schedule a 10-minute call with an experienced Tax Attorney by contacting the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today. We offer multiple tax services in San Francisco as dually licensed Tax Attorneys and CPAs.
Table of Contents
- International Tax Lawyer and CPA
- What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Dually Licensed Tax Attorney and CPA?
- Services Provided by a CPA vs. a Tax Lawyer
- Employment, Business, and Payroll Tax Attorneys
- Tax Audit Defense Lawyers
- Tax Audit Appealing Services
- Criminal Tax Defense Lawyers
- Tax Lawyers for Businesses and Individuals in San Francisco
One of the Best Tax Attorneys in San FranciscoThe San Francisco Tax Lawyers and CPAs at the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing combine over 20 years of legal experience assisting businesses and individual taxpayers with the full spectrum of state, federal, and international tax matters, ranging from employment and payroll tax to divorce tax issues to general tax planning and tax preparation to criminal defense in felony tax cases. Whether you need to defend your innocence, prepare for a tax audit, or simply get help making sound financial decisions for your family or your company, look to our full-service California tax firm for zealous professional support. To book a reduced-rate initial consultation, contact our San Francisco office at (415) 287-6568 or (800) 681-1295, or contact us online to book a consultation.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Dually Licensed Tax Attorney and CPA?
Tax issues, especially those involving businesses, can be extremely complicated. When faced with a tax problem, tax planning or when trying to file your taxes correctly, you may wonder whether it best fits your needs to hire a Tax Attorney or to hire a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). These two types of professionals offer very different, but often overlapping, services to the taxpayer. Your strongest possibility of successfully resolving your high stakes tax controversy or legally minimizing your tax liability is combining the best of both worlds by hiring a dually licensed Tax Attorney and CPA like the professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing, who can provide an unsurpassed comprehensive level of service due to our team’s extensive experience and focused backgrounds and in depth education in both of these professional fields.
Services Provided by a CPA vs. a Tax Lawyer
A CPA is a professional trained in the field of accounting who is licensed through, among other things, having a required educational background, met an experience requirement and passed a rigorous course of exams. CPAs are considered one of the most trusted and versatile types of financial planners because of their extensive educational background, which includes training in auditing, taxation, bookkeeping, and business planning, business law and strategy. CPAs can assist you with year-round record-keeping as well as with tax preparation services. They can be useful in staving off potential issues with the IRS or state taxing authorities before they occur.
By way of comparison, a Tax Lawyer is broadly trained in the law, and specifically in the complex field of Tax Law. They must go through the rigors of law school and pass the bar exam before being licensed. While a CPA might focus more on managing your records and preparing the forms required for your returns, a Tax Lawyer’s focus will be more on long-term tax and business planning, compliance and short-term dispute resolution. For example, although CPAs are technically able to represent you in an audit, a Tax Lawyer will typically have much more power and skill via specialized training into your constitutional rights and rules of evidence and will be indispensable where it comes to advising you of what to say and not to say to protect your rights and legal interests from potential eggshell audit and their associated criminal tax ramifications.
One of the vastly advantageous benefits offered by a Tax Attorney that does not apply to a CPA is the attorney-client privilege. Under the robust attorney-client privilege that exists in the legal profession, attorneys are almost always barred from speaking about anything told to them by their clients during their representation of them without first obtaining their client’s permission. Sometimes, your attorney will also bring in a consulting accountant who can receive derivative attorney-client privilege through a Kovel letter, and who can help them with more accounting-specific issues that arise. A Kovel letter is unnecessary where an accountant, EA or CPA is directly employed by a Law Firm that is providing a legal service to a client.
Accountant-client privilege, meanwhile, is far weaker, and it is not unheard of for a CPA who realizes that they are in trouble to turn on their client and become a witness against them, especially where they prepared the tax returns that are at issue. If you are concerned about the potential for criminal tax liability, which can occur in cases where you willfully failed to report income, failed to file tax returns, claimed deductions or credits for which you were not eligible, or other forms of tax fraud, being represented by a Tax Attorney is tremendously more advantages than choosing a CPA, EA or CTEC certified tax professional, especially where they prepared the tax returns at issue.
A Dually Licensed Tax Lawyer and CPA Offers You the Best of Both Worlds
If given a choice between consulting with a CPA or a Tax Lawyer, it is usually best to go with the Tax Lawyer, as they offer you greater protection and more skill in the area of successfully resolving legal disputes with the IRS. However, Tax Lawyers can still lack many of the accounting skills most helpful to those filing complex returns and attempting to reconstruct tax records. As such, the best option is to retain an experienced dually licensed Tax Attorney and CPA like those at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing. Our tax professionals have education, licensure, and experience in both practice areas. We can help you properly file your domestic or international taxes before any issues occur and also deal with any problems with the IRS or State Taxing Authorities that may already exist, including guiding you through a tax audit while minimizing or mitigating the potential for criminal tax liability, minimizing the assessment of additional tax penalties and interest being or helping you avoid an audit or criminal tax investigation by enrolling you in a domestic or offshore voluntary disclosure program.
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International Tax Lawyers & CPAs in San FranciscoThe United States is unlike most nations in that tax is imposed on the basis of citizenship rather than residence. Even if you physically reside in San Francisco, you may nonetheless be subject to international tax and info reporting requirements if:
- You maintain bank accounts in a foreign country, including business accounts, checking accounts, and savings accounts.
- You earn or store income in a foreign country, including cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) stored in foreign wallets/accounts. Our Bitcoin tax lawyers have extensive experience in this area of tax law.
- You own an interest in an offshore business entity.
- You have offshore rental income.
- You received an offshore inheritance.
- International FBAR Lawyers
- OVDP Lawyers (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program)
- Tax Lawyers for Expats
San Francisco Employment, Business, and Payroll Tax AttorneysBusiness owners must exercise greater caution than the average taxpayer, not only when quarterly tax forms and payments are due, but throughout the year. Strategic tax planning can set a business up for success – and lack thereof can doom the business to failure. Serving corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, non-profit organizations, religious or clerical organizations, and limited liability companies (LLCs) throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, our business tax attorneys and business transaction lawyers can assist your company or organization with:
- Business Succession Planning
- Entity Selection
- Payroll (FICA, Trust Fund) and Employment Tax Issues
- Tax Havens for Companies
San Francisco Tax Audit Defense LawyersBusinesses or individual taxpayers may be chosen for an audit, or “examination,” by federal tax authorities like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and/or state tax authorities like the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), which performs similar functions as the IRS, but operates at the state level. There are many reasons a taxpayer or entity can be selected to undergo a tax audit, ranging from innocuous causes like random selection to serious issues like suspected tax evasion. No matter the underlying cause of an IRS tax audit or FTB tax audit, it is vital to be represented by an experienced tax attorney who understands how to negotiate effectively while guiding and protecting the taxpayer throughout the audit process. Our IRS tax attorneys provide audit representation in San Francisco for all types of state and federal examinations, including but not limited to: < br/>
Appealing an IRS or FTB Tax Audit in San FranciscoIf you disagree with the result of an FTB, CDTFA, EDD or IRS audit – for example, if the FTB intends to propose a tax assessment after auditing you and finding that you owe additional payments to the state of California – you may challenge or “protest” the results with written materials, which must include a detailed explanation, supported by factual evidence and information, discussing why you feel the auditor’s findings were inaccurate or inappropriate.
IRS Audit RepresentationThe IRS is tasked with dealing with any issues related to federal taxes. Audits can be related to your federal income tax return or taxes paid on your business and quite often both simultaneously. There are three different types of IRS audits that might occur: a correspondence audit, a field audit, and an office audit. A correspondence audit will be conducted entirely through written communication, phone, and emails. Typically, the auditor will be looking to verify or substantiate some sort of information on your taxes. If you have preserved your financial records, you may be able to satisfy this audit by simply supplying the IRS with the documents backing up the tax position they are challenging. However, if you do not possess these documents, or you fudged the numbers under audit, you need the services of a tax lawyer to avoid incurring civil or criminal penalties.
An office audit will involve the taxpayer being called into an IRS office to work through any issues. You should have all your financial documents prepared to bring to the office audit, including receipts, bank statements, and personal and business tax returns. You should always have a tax lawyer appear alongside you for an office audit if you have serious concerns about what was claimed on the return under audit. A field audit is the most serious type of audit and will involve the IRS coming to your home or place of business to examine the documents in question. This type of audit is usually reserved for a situation where a civil or criminal penalty is likely to apply and thus you should engage the services of a tax attorney as soon as you learn a field audit is to occur.
Remember that 70% of communication is nonverbal and auditors are trained to read body language. Where possible its best to have your attorney appear on your behalf.
California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Audit RepresentationThe California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) enforces the state’s income tax laws. The FTB may conduct their own investigations regarding issues that are unique to California’s income tax laws or may bring a challenge based on their assessment on your level of compliance. For example, there may be issues if you recently moved to California regarding when you became a resident and when you started owing taxes to the state. The IRS and the California FTB have different rules, for example, regarding net operating losses. As such, you may sometimes owe large debts to the FTB even if you are not found to owe anything to the IRS. An experienced tax attorney can work to resolve any issues associated with such an audit before they become problematic. They can also help negotiate an installment plan if you are in fact found to owe money to the FTB.
California Employment Development Department (EDD) Audit RepresentationThe California Employment Development Department (EDD) deals with issues related to the state payroll tax. Every employer is required to take payroll taxes out of their employees’ checks and hold the money in trust to eventually turn over to the appropriate state or federal agency. Payroll tax issues can come up in federal audits in addition to audits by the EDD. If you are not taking the appropriate amount out of your employees’ paychecks or failing to turn the money held in trust over as required, you could face civil or criminal penalties.
Most of the issues in these audits relate to disputes about whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. Payroll taxes are not required to be taken out of checks paid to independent contractors. There are a variety of ways that the state calculates who is and is not an independent contractor. An experienced tax law attorney can help gather evidence to show the EDD you have properly classified workers as independent contractors. Note: with the recent passing of AB5, worker classification audits are on the rise.
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) Audit RepresentationThe California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is tasked with auditing any issues related to the payment of state sales taxes. This can be an issue related to your business failing to charge a proper amount of sales tax or charging the sales tax and not properly remitting it to the state. If the CDTFA believes that your business is underpaying sales taxes, they will request to look at your books and other documents and compare the information in your business records to the amount of sales tax revenue remitted to the state. A California sales tax audit can become your worst nightmare if you have been underreporting cash sales.
An experienced sales tax attorney can help you collect the proper documents and communicate with the CDFTA on your behalf. Once the audit is complete, we can challenge any issue we see at the exit interview with the auditor and their supervisor. If the CDTFA closes the case and sends a Notice of Determination, you need to file a petition within 30 days to challenge it. If the petition is not filed in a timely manner, you will be required to pay whatever amount they have determined you owe.
Unfortunately, this process is seldom simple or straightforward. On the contrary, the appellate system poses many challenges for taxpayers who wish to dispute the results an FTB, CDTFA, EDD or IRS audit, making dependable, knowledgeable representation essential. If you think the results of an audit are incorrect and wish to dispute the findings, ask us about IRS appeals representation in San Francisco. We can walk you through the process for appealing an audit and act on your behalf throughout, ensuring you file the appropriate paperwork, meet all legal deadlines, and satisfy other criteria for making a robust appeal. We stand ready willing and able to litigate a Federal or California tax issue, where it becomes necessary, but in our experience most issues can be settled before an expensive trial.
Criminal Tax Defense Lawyer in San FranciscoThough tax crimes are nonviolent in nature, offenders are nonetheless subject to some of the nation’s harshest criminal penalties. Many tax offenses are felonies prosecuted in federal court, which typically hand down longer sentences and greater fines than courts which function at the state level. To provide an example, the federal statute for tax evasion establishes a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, in addition to fines as great as $100,000 for individuals. Moreover, criminal fines can be compounded by IRS restitution orders, which can cost thousands or even millions of dollars depending on the nature and severity of the offense. Finally, a tax-related conviction could saddle you with a permanent felony record, which may make it difficult or impossible to find employment, obtain loans, rent at certain properties, purchase or own a firearm, travel abroad, or take advantage of life’s other opportunities. The criminal tax defense attorneys at the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing represent defendants charged with misdemeanor and felony tax crimes, including CPAs and tax preparers. Our tax evasion attorneys can protect your rights, prepare you for court hearings, manage your legal documentation, and fight to reduce your penalties if you have been charged with tax evasion, offshore tax evasion, willful failure to file a tax return, payroll tax fraud, making false statements, or other tax crimes.