When it comes time to file your taxes, do you know who to turn to for help? Do you need a CPA or a tax lawyer? Although both professions deal with taxes, there is a big difference between the two.
Tax attorneys and CPAs can both assist with a variety of your tax needs, yet there are distinct limitations to what roles they can play on their own. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the key differences between CPAs and tax lawyers, so you can be sure to choose the right professional for your needs.
What is a CPA?
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional who has met the education and experience requirements set forth by their state's Board of Accountancy. CPAs are licensed to provide a variety of accounting services, including tax preparation, auditing, and financial consulting.
What Does a CPA Do?
A CPA can perform a variety of tasks, including preparing and filing taxes, auditing financial statements, and providing financial consulting services. While certified public accountants are not required to have a law degree, they must complete extensive coursework in accounting and tax law.
What is a Tax Attorney?
A tax lawyer is an attorney who specializes in tax law. Tax lawyers must have a law degree and must pass the bar exam in order to practice law. In addition to completing coursework in tax law, tax lawyers also have extensive experience working with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other tax authorities.
What does a Tax Attorney Do?
Tax lawyers provide a variety of services, including representing taxpayers before the IRS, negotiating settlements with the IRS, and preparing tax returns. In addition to helping taxpayers resolve their tax problems, tax lawyers also provide advice on how to avoid future tax problems. Tax attorneys are especially helpful with tax planning because they can minimize your tax liability over the years by structuring your assets.
The Differences Between a CPA and Tax Attorney
While both CPAs and tax lawyers provide valuable services, there are some key differences between the two professions. Here are a few of the most important differences:
CPAs must complete extensive coursework in accounting and tax law, but they are not required to have a law degree. Tax lawyers, on the other hand, must have a law degree and must pass the bar exam in order to practice law.
CPAs must have experience working in the accounting field, but they are not required to have experience working with the Internal Revenue Service or other tax authorities. Tax lawyers, on the other hand, must have extensive experience working with the IRS and other tax authorities.
CPAs can provide a variety of services, including tax preparation, auditing, and financial consulting. Tax lawyers, on the other hand, primarily provide legal services, such as representing taxpayers before the IRS, negotiating settlements with the IRS, and preparing tax returns.
If you're looking for help with your taxes, it's important to choose the right professional for your needs. If you need help preparing your taxes or need advice on tax law, a CPA is a good choice. If you're facing a tax problem or need legal representation before the IRS, a tax lawyer is the best choice.
When You Should Use a CPA VS When You Should Use a Tax Attorney
There are a few key factors to consider when deciding whether to use a CPA or a tax lawyer. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
If you need help preparing your taxes, a CPA is a good choice. CPA's can help you understand the tax laws and ensure that you're taking advantage of all the deductions and credits you're entitled to.
CPA's can provide financial planning and are a great resource for those seeking a comprehensive tax plan to help with professional and personal financial issues.
If you need legal representation before the IRS, a tax lawyer is the best choice. Tax lawyers have the experience and expertise necessary to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
Sometimes You Need Both
If you're facing a complex tax issue, such as an audit or a collection action, you may need both a CPA and a tax lawyer. In these cases, the CPA can help you prepare your taxes and the tax lawyer can represent you before the IRS.
Unlike CPAs, who are skilled in managing financial records and preparing tax returns, the tax attorney is more planning and dispute-oriented; meaning they are primarily trained to help minimize a business' tax liability through the structuring of assets or to represent them through tax-related litigation.
Both CPAs and tax attorneys offer tax planning advice based on current tax law, with the goal of reducing your overall tax liability. Both professionals have continuing education requirements that ensure they are up-to-date on current tax topics and changes in tax law.
No matter what your specific needs are, it's important to choose the right professional for the job. If you're not sure whether you need a CPA or a tax lawyer, it's always a good idea to consult with both before making a decision.
How much do CPAs and Tax Lawyers Cost?
The cost of a CPA or tax lawyer varies depending on the services you need and the experience of the professional you choose.
CPAs typically charge by the hour, with rates ranging from $100 to $300 per hour. Tax lawyers typically charge by the hour or by the project, with rates ranging from $200 to $500 per hour.
Tax debt isn't a small matter, so hiring the right professional for your tax needs is essential to make sure that you don't fall behind with tax payments and filing.
When choosing a CPA or tax attorney, it's important to compare rates and services to find the professional that best fits your needs.
How to Choose Between a CPA and Tax Lawyer
When it comes to choosing between a CPA and a tax lawyer, there are a few key factors to consider.
First, think about the specific services you need and whether a CPA or tax lawyer can provide those services.
Next, consider the experience of the professional you're considering and make sure they have experience handling cases like yours.
Finally, compare rates and services to find the professional that best fits your needs.
Speak to an Experienced Tax Attorney Today!
At Damiens Law, we are experts in numerous tax concerns ranging from personal to business. With our expertise, we can help you make the decision that is right for you.
If we feel that you would be best served with a CPA in the area, we are more than happy to recommend you to one of the CPAs that we know would be the best fit for the job.
We care about our clients getting the help they need that best fits their circumstances. Schedule a consultation today, and let us help you make the decision on whether a CPA or tax attorney is best for you.
Call (601) 957-9672 or click here to contact Damiens Law today.