Should an Accountant or Tax Attorney Help With My IRS problems?

When the IRS is knocking on your door for unpaid taxes, you want help – and fast! While it is tempting to call the CPA you are familiar with, a qualified tax attorney might be a better choice.

How Do CPAs and Tax Attorneys Differ?

A CPA has a bachelor’s degree and has passed a qualification exam to hold the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. They provide their clients with monetary advice and help manage their finances. They routinely prepare financial statements and income tax returns for their clients.

IRS Tax attorneys hold a bachelor’s degree as well as an advanced degree in law. They specialize in complex legal issues such as property liens, penalties, and lawsuits. They research tax code and law authority, and use that knowledge to advise their clients on solutions for their unique tax circumstances.


When you are working with a tax attorney, you have the protection of attorney-client privilege. What this means is that your attorney will never be required to testify against you. Your CPA does not have this privilege. If you use your CPA for your IRS problems, there could come a time when they are forced by law to speak against you.

Tax Negotiation

Dealing with the IRS is complicated and there are many factors of the tax code that can be debated. A tax attorney will generally have superior settlement skills over a CPA as negotiating is a key part of their training and day to day activities.


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