Experienced Tax Debt Lawyer
Tax Law

Experienced Tax Debt Lawyer


Dealing with tax debt can be an incredibly stressful and challenging situation. If you owe back taxes to the IRS or state tax authorities, the accumulating interest and penalties can quickly become overwhelming. However, a knowledgeable tax debt lawyer can provide the help you need to resolve your tax issues and get your finances back on track.

Understanding Tax Debt

Before hiring a tax debt lawyer, it’s important to understand what constitutes tax debt. Essentially, it refers to any unpaid taxes that you owe to tax authorities like the IRS or your state’s department of revenue. This unpaid debt typically accrues interest and penalties the longer it remains unpaid.

Some common examples of tax debt include:

  • Unpaid income taxes
  • Outstanding payroll taxes if you are a business owner
  • Failure to fully pay self-employment taxes
  • Unpaid property taxes
  • Tax penalties and interest

Tax debt also includes situations where you file your tax return but cannot fully pay the amount due. Filing your taxes on time is crucial, but if you know you cannot immediately pay the full tax bill, be sure to still file and then work with a tax debt lawyer on payment options.

Why Hire a Tax Debt Lawyer?

Trying to negotiate tax debt on your own can be complex and risky. A qualified tax debt lawyer brings important experience and knowledge to protect your rights. Key reasons to hire legal counsel for tax debt help include:

Tax Code Expertise

Navigating IRS rules, regulations, and procedures is no easy feat, even for tax professionals. The guidance of a tax debt lawyer well-versed in tax codes can prove invaluable. They know applicable deductions, exemptions, penalties and more that could reduce what you end up owing.

Avoid IRS Mistakes

Unfortunately, IRS errors do occur. From misfiled payments to inaccurate penalty assessments, having an experienced tax debt lawyer review your case can help spot any mistakes and ensure the tax amount the IRS claims you owe is substantiated and valid. Getting these mistakes corrected early is vital.

Negotiation Support

Tax authorities like the IRS are often more receptive to negotiate with a tax debt lawyer than directly with the taxpayer themselves. Plus, attorneys have experience negotiating IRS tax settlements, through options like:

  • Offer in Compromise – Settling tax debt for less than the full amount owed
  • Installment Agreements – Paying off tax debt slowly over several years
  • Currently Not Collectible status – Pausing IRS collection efforts if you demonstrate financial hardship

A knowledgeable tax debt lawyer knows what types of relief are available and can craft a strong negotiating strategy and settlement proposal on your behalf. Their direct communication and persistence is key.

Avoid Future Tax Issues

Resolving your outstanding tax debt is priority number one. But a tax debt lawyer also provides counsel to prevent tax problems from occurring again down the road. They can assess what led to the unpaid taxes, such as poor record-keeping or changed financial circumstances, and recommend solutions personalized to your situation.

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Key Services a Tax Debt Lawyer Provides

If you decide moving forward with a tax debt lawyer is the best path for your tax resolution, below are some of the key services top attorneys offer:

Audit Defense

If you receive notice you are being audited, a tax debt lawyer can step in to handle communication with the IRS or tax authority on your behalf. They can gather supporting documentation about deductions, income, or other issues being questioned to prove accuracy and legitimacy during the audit.Representation during this stressful process can relieve burden.

Tax Litigation

In difficult cases, the IRS may assess civil penalties or pursue criminal prosecution in tax court. An experienced tax debt lawyer can defend your case in litigation, arguing against penalties by proving reasonable cause or demonstrating penalties assessed are inappropriate or disproportionate to the offense. Outcomes in court often still require paying taxes owed, but a favorable ruling can waive or reduce penalties.

Tax Preparation Support

Proper tax preparation is important for avoiding tax debt down the road. If you have a complex financial situation or trouble fully understanding tax forms, rules and documentation requirements, consider consulting a tax debt lawyer for planning assistance. They can help ensure you claim eligible deductions, provide advice tailored to your situation and answer questions on confusing aspects like estimated quarterly payments. This support can prevent headaches at tax time.

Other Legal Needs

In addition to tax debt and IRS matters, many tax debt lawyers handle other related legal needs that often accompany tax issues. This includes foreclosure defense if property taxes are delinquent, bankruptcy filings due to tax debts contributing to overall financial insolvency and resolving state tax authority debts for unpaid unemployment taxes, payroll taxes or state income tax. Handling these interconnected legal issues together streamlines the resolution process.

Warning Signs You Need a Tax Debt Lawyer

If any of the below describe your current situation, seeking help from a qualified tax debt lawyer is likely your best option:

  • You owe $10,000 or more in back taxes
  • Tax debt is causing extreme emotional distress or marital problems
  • The IRS has levied your bank account or wage garnishments
  • You received Notice of Intent to Levy from the IRS
  • The IRS placed a tax lien on your property
  • You missed an important filing deadline with tax authorities
  • The IRS rejected your own attempts to resolve tax debt
  • You received an IRS Notice of Deficiency and disagree with the IRS’ proposed tax bill
  • You failed to file payroll tax returns for your small business

Tax debt lawyers have experience successfully handling even the most distressing tax situations. The sooner you enlist help after receiving notices from the IRS or state taxing authority, the more effectively they can protect your rights and work to resolve the tax debt.

Questions to Ask Prospective Tax Debt Lawyers

As you vet potential tax debt lawyers to handle your unpaid taxes, asking the right questions is key:

  • How many years have you been practicing tax law? Look for at least 5-10 years experience.
  • What is your track record success rate resolving tax debt cases? High rates indicate greater familiarity negotiating IRS settlements.
  • Do you represent clients before the IRS and state tax authorities? Experience with both is useful.
  • What tax resolution strategies do you commonly employ? Ensure they align with your situation.
  • Will you be the main attorney working on my case? Understand who specifically supports you.
  • What support staff assists on tax cases? Paralegals, other tax experts?
  • What are your fees and billing structure? Get cost estimates in writing.
  • If audited, do you represent clients in tax court? Confirm full scope of services.
  • Can you provide client endorsements or reviews? Verify quality assistance.

Costs to Expect When Hiring a Tax Debt Lawyer

According to the American Bar Association, average attorney fees for tax matters range from $200-$500 per hour. However, tax debt lawyers often structure fees based on services provided or set fixed fees for certain stages in the tax resolution process. Common arrangements include:

  • Flat project fee: Single lump sum cost for handling entire tax debt case
  • Hourly billing: Fees based on hours worked, often with retainer
  • Monthly retainer fee: Fixed regular payment for ongoing tax debt work
  • Contingency fee: Percentage of tax savings achieved as fee

Be sure all agreements detailing project scope, rates, fee structure and payment expectations with a tax debt lawyer are formalized in an engagement letter or contract. Read terms closely and ask questions before signing.

While legal expertise often comes with higher price tags, the cost is well worth it given the peace of mind and tax savings a tax debt lawyer provides by resolving IRS issues. Compare rates and fee structures across several attorneys before deciding.

Choosing the Best Tax Debt Lawyer for Your Needs

As the above outlines, the guidance of a proficient tax debt lawyer can make all the difference when facing IRS collections, audits, penalties and other tax problems. But not all tax resolution attorneys possess the same experience and track record getting clients the best outcome.

Be sure to thoroughly research credentials, specialized tax knowledge and client reviews when selecting legal representation. Official certification from the American Bar Association or American Society of Tax Problem Solvers demonstrate a tax debt lawyer’s proficiency resolving IRS matters.

Additionally, reach out for consultations with a few top contenders. This gives you greater opportunity to explain your situation, vet capabilities, assess communication styles and ultimately determine who best instills confidence handling your tax debt case.

With the right tax debt lawyer as an ally applying their IRS and tax code expertise to your situation, you have an accomplished partner to finally put your tax problems behind you. Relief from tax debt feels within reach, enabling you to step into a financially stable, stress-free future once again.


  1. Dealing with Tax Debt. Internal Revenue Service. 
  2. Reasons to Hire a Tax Attorney. FullService Tax®. 


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