Determining whether a tax attorney has the necessary experience to handle your case can be difficult.
It is important to consider the tax attorneys experience. At a bare minimum, the practitioner should have worked for the IRS in some capacity. This may include working for the IRS as a revenue officer, revenue agent, or attorney. There is simply no substitute for this type of hands-on IRS experience. Clients should be wary of hiring a tax attorney who does not have this experience for IRS problems.
Education is also important. Unfortunately, there are a number of individuals holding themselves out as tax attorneys who have no formal education whatsoever. There are other tax practitioners who have a general education that does not include an education in taxes or tax law. For example, almost all attorneys will have a Jurist Doctorate (JD) degree, which is a general law degree. Most law schools do not require students to take a single tax course to earn this degree. Recognizing this limitation, a few attorneys will go on to earn a Masters of Law (LLM) with a specialization in taxes or tax law, which is an advanced law degree focusing on taxes or tax law.
This combination of experience as an IRS employee and education is essential. If you are paying for a tax attorney, you should insist your tax attorney have this background.
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