You may be curious about whether or not you should contact you CPA or a tax attorney, if you are currently in over your head with the IRS. A Certified Public Accountant should know the ins and outs of various financial planning documentation and the impacts of your financial decisions, including those that are associated with taxes. You should know the differences if you need help.
They are primarily trained in maintaining and business records. In order to practice, a CPA has to pass a rigorous four-part accounting exam and put in substantial hours of study in accounting. Not every CPA will prepare taxes and so the lack of knowledge or experience about the altering tax codes can put you at a disadvantage if you are currently facing a problem. You should hire a CPA for overall tax strategy or financial strategy for divorce, retirement, your personal business, asset management, financial estate planning, out of state tax returns and external audits to review and validate your financial accounts.
A tax attorney, however, is an attorney who is thoroughly experienced in the complex field of tax law. They are responsible for understanding various aspects of the IRS tax code, particularly in areas related to tax disputes, trusts, estate planning, and business law like payroll tax issues.
A tax attorney has to pass the state bar exam for licensing and obtain a juris doctorate. Some may also obtain certification as a public accountant. An attorney can represent you before the IRS for collections, appeals and audits and a CPA can as well. A tax attorney, however, has the additional benefit of attorney-client privilege, meaning that your tax lawyer is exempt from being compelled to testify against you in a court of law, should the issues arise to this level. Having an attorney to assist you with existing concerns over tax obligations can be extremely beneficial when you need this attorney-client privilege and want the extensive experience they also offer due to their years of practicing in this field.