How Does A Person Choose Between An Attorney and a CPA For Representation
in An IRS Audit?
The first thing you need to decide is whether you want someone to represent
you at all. We’ve talked a little bit about that. Right away, you
want somebody to step in between you and the auditor. There are many other
people out there. What I tell people is, “If you hire me, I will
deal with the auditor. You can go back to living your life, to running
If the auditor pushes it, they can summons the taxpayer to appear at an
audit, A summons is like a subpoena. But with most audits that I handle,
the auditor doesn’t talk to the taxpayer. I serve as the go between.
If that sort of thing is important to you, then you might want to consider
hiring someone. If you’re not quite sure what to do, particularly
if your records are not what they should be, you definitely want to consider
hiring somebody to help you with that and to talk about those issues I
mentioned before related to documents.
You want to look at the level of experience somebody has, obviously. The
more you’ve done this, the more you can anticipate the potential
pitfalls, but different types of clients have different types of problems.
I’ve seen pretty much all different types of clients, and I know
if somebody runs a business that has a lot of inventory, then that’s
going to have some potential problems versus more of a service-oriented
business, or if someone has a lot of investment income, so the sort of
experience the representative has is important.
Then finally, of course, what category, do you want; an attorney versus
a CPA versus an enrolled agent? The main advantage of having the attorney
is you do have that much wider scope of privilege, so you can feel more
comfortable talking to your attorney because you don’t have to worry
about some things that may fall outside of the very limited privilege
that you would have with an enrolled agent or a CPA.
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