Most people need to hire a good tax attorney a few times during their lives, often during an audit or due to a disagreement over the details of the calculations. The laws that govern taxation are highly complicated, so it is important to find a specialist with a great deal of experience and expertise to make sure that the case is resolved properly. It can be hard for people without legal experience to find the right attorney, but there are a few techniques that make it easier.
1- Get Referrals
You probably know somebody who has been in a similar position before, especially if you run a small business and keep in touch with other business owners. If that is the case, you should ask around and get referrals to tax lawyers in your area. Your colleagues will be able to tell you about their experiences, which will help you find an attorney that will be a good personal fit and has experience dealing with whatever legal problem you are facing at the time.
2- Check Their Background
You should take the time to do some research on every attorney that you are considering, starting with their background. The easiest way to start is to find out which law school they attended, so you can see if it has a reputation for producing good legal professionals. You should also see if they have been involved in any high-profile disputes in the past, which can give you some insight into their experience and their history of success. You probably will not be able to get a complete picture of the attorney’s skills with this method, but it is an excellent place to start and it can help to narrow down your options.
3- Find a Specialist
Tax law is both broad and complicated. It is possible to specialize in a specific part of the field, and it is usually a good idea to look for one of those specialists. That will make sure that the attorney has as much experience as possible with cases like yours. If you cannot find a specialized attorney that focuses on your type of case, it is usually best to pick a generalist over a specialist in a different type, since the generalist is most likely to have experience with your problem.
4- Look for Continuing Education
Laws naturally change over time, and none of them change faster than the tax code. That means that good attorneys need to focus on continuing education in order to stay up to date with the latest changes. When you are speaking to a potential attorney, you should ask what they do to stay up to date on the most recent adjustments to the tax code. Each attorney will have their own way of educating themselves on the changes, and you should generally favor the options that seem to put the most effort into staying up to date.
5- Research Fees
Some legal professionals prefer to get paid by the hour, while others receive payment by the case, or even make their payment contingent on getting a good result for their clients. You should research the price that each attorney charges before you make your selection. It is not always a good idea to pick the cheapest option, since the best attorneys generally charge more for their services than their less-skilled counterparts, but you should keep the size of the case in mind when you are choosing. Look for an attorney that offers a good value relative to their skills, and try to avoid paying huge fees to hire help in a relatively small dispute.
6- Seek Personal Compatibility
It is vital to remember that your attorney will be your partner throughout a fairly stressful process. You need to be able to work together, which means that personal compatibility is an important concern. You should look for a tax attorney that makes you feel comfortable and explains things in a way that you find easy to understand. This is the most personal part of the search, and the only way to do it is to meet with several different choices so you can get a feel for how they operate.