When faced with an impending tax resolution case, nothing is more important than hiring the right tax resolution specialist to handle your situation. While seeking relief, negotiating settlement terms, and attempting to prevent future issues are all time-consuming and stressful, they become exponentially more difficult when you attempt to do it on your own.
By law, you are allowed to represent yourself in front of the IRS. However, it’s a dangerous path to walk with no legal experience or in-depth understanding of the IRS. A Certified Tax Resolution Specialist or tax attorney is worth her weight in gold. What to Look For When searching for a tax specialist or attorney, there are a number of things to keep an eye on. Follow these tips for best results:
- Assess qualifications. Your tax expert needs to meet certain qualifications to be considered. One of the first steps to choosing a tax representative is asking for a resume that includes an educational background and professional affiliations. He or she should be a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist (CTRS) or qualified tax attorney. If he or she falls in the latter category, are they a member of the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers, Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or local Bar Association?
- Understand costs. With a tax resolution specialist, you usually get what you pay for. Instead of searching for the cheapest specialist, go for quality. You don’t want an expert that takes shortcuts or ignores important issues. You need someone that’s going to put in the time to learn about your case and develop an effective defense.
- Look for experience. One of the most important characteristics to look for is experience. How long have they been in business, who have they represented in the past, and what sort of ongoing professional development do they participate in? IRS tax laws are constantly changing and an inexperienced representative may not possess the ability to adapt.
- Specialization. The amount of specialization a tax expert has can tell you a lot. Do they work in a dozen different areas of tax law or are they focused on one or two niches? More focus usually means more value.
- Future oriented. A good tax specialist doesn’t only care about your current situation. They will use your present situation to better prepare you for the future. This ensures you achieve permanent tax relief instead of just escaping a current problem.
- Avoid guarantees. Unfortunately, searching for a qualified tax expert is made more difficult by the presence of slimy “specialists” that make outlandish claims. For example, if a tax resolution specialist offers you a guarantee of any type – you should walk away. Nobody, no matter how skilled, can make accurate guarantees regarding the IRS.
- Read reviews. Thanks to the availability of information on the internet, you can search for client reviews and ratings before choosing a tax expert. This gives you actual information to work from, as opposed to biased material found on a company’s site. Sites like the Better Business Bureau and other credible sources also provide valuable insights.
- What’s unique? There are thousands of tax experts at your disposal and most of them are carbon copies of each other. When looking for someone to represent you against the IRS, ask what makes them unique. What’s their value proposition? Good firms will have unique software solutions, proven strategies, and personalized approaches.
- Actual representation. The large majority of your case – and quite possibly the entirety of it – will be handled remotely. This means emails, phone calls, and filings will dictate the outcome. However, in some situations, you may need actual physical representation. Is the tax expert you are considering willing to provide this?
- Detailed outline. There is a difference between guaranteeing an outcome and outlining a specific course of action. Ask your potential representative what they plan on doing for you and what results can reasonably be expected. This provides peace of mind and proves competency.
Be Cautious When Choosing While a forthcoming tax resolution case insinuates you are in a sticky situation, going with the wrong tax expert can make things worse. An inadequate or dishonest “expert” can put you on the wrong side of the IRS (in a deeper hole) and require additional work in the future. On the other hand, a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist can be your best friend. There are thousands of firms claiming they can help you navigate your tax resolution case, but you can’t trust everything you hear. Ignore the noise and focus on these 10 tips for a better shot at tax relief.