We represent clients from all U.S. and International locations regarding Federal Tax and California Issues.
Other than dental appointments and visits to the DMV, few calendar events provoke the same degree of dread, concern, and anxiety as an upcoming tax audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB), Employment Development Department (EDD) or the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA formerly known as the BOE). While dismissing this fear is easier said than done – particularly for taxpayers who have never been audited before, and are therefore unsure of what to expect from the process – much of the uncertainty can be allayed by hiring a competent tax audit defense attorney. Of course, obtaining effective audit and appeals representation can do far more than simply set the taxpayer’s mind at ease. Perhaps more importantly, an experienced tax attorney can afford the taxpayer several benefits that would be lost or diminished were the same taxpayer to choose merely a CPA or EA for their representative or, worse yet, merely self-represented. If you, your spouse, or your business has been selected for an IRS, FTB, EDD or CDTFA audit, read on to learn why hiring a tax lawyer is in your best interests – and why failing to do so can place you in needless (and serious) financial jeopardy, at a minimum, or is worse case scenarios, additionally put your liberty and career at risk.
Nowhere does the U.S. or California Tax Code mandate that taxpayers must obtain representation when undergoing an IRS or California tax audit. The absence of a legal requirement for representation, coupled with concerns about the potential cost of hiring an attorney, may lead taxpayers to seriously consider self-representation, which is also known as “pro se” representation (from the Latin translation meaning “for oneself”).
While this may seem like a pragmatic response on the surface, there are several reasons why pro se representation can be an extremely dangerous method of complying with an IRS, FTB, EDD or CDTFA audit. Even representation by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – who is, after all, a highly skilled and knowledgeable tax professional – can be risky. In order to understand why – and conversely, to understand the benefits of representation by a tax lawyer – it is necessary to understand some key information about (1) the possible consequences of lacking representation, and (2) how CPAs, EAs and CTEC certified tax preparers differ from tax attorneys.
To begin with the latter point, CPAs, EAs and CTEC certified tax preparers and tax attorneys play very different roles in the audit process. While both are highly qualified to handle a wide array of complex issues related to tax planning and preparation, attorneys afford their clients several advantages over CPAs, EAs and CTEC certified preparers in the context of an IRS or California tax audit, egg shell audit or criminal tax investigation:
If you still need convincing, simply consider our first point: heightened potential for serious mistakes in the absence of legal representation. If you are not represented by an attorney during your audit, you will place yourself at far greater risk of the following:
In turn, you will place yourself at far greater risk of receiving a costly tax assessment – or worse, will place yourself on the radar of the Justice Department or California Attorney General’s office for potential criminal tax prosecution.
As should now be amply clear, an IRS, FTB, EDD or CDTFA audit can have disastrous consequences for the unguarded taxpayer. In the interest of penalty mitigation, legal protection, and simple peace of mind, it is critically important to consult with an IRS tax audit lawyer – ideally at the earliest possible stages of the audit process. For a reduced-rate tax audit consultation, contact the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing online or call us immediately at (800) 681-1295.
Also, we’ve expanded our offices! In addition to our offices in Irvine and Los Angeles we now have offices in San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Panorama City, Oxnard, San Diego, Carlsbad, Bakersfield, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento. You can find information on all of our offices here.
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