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Frequently Asked Questions of a Tax Attorney


To talk to a live person from the IRS, representatives are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday local time. The following are IRS phone numbers:

  • Individuals 1-800-829-1040
  • Businesses 1-800-829-4933
  • People with hearing impairments 1-800-829-4059 (TDD)
  • Exempt organizations, retirement plan administrators, and government 1-877-829-5500 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time)

Before you call the IRS

If you owe more than $10,000.00 to the IRS or the IDR it typically makes sense to hire a qualified tax lawyer. A tax attorney knows how to handle the IRS or the IDR and will act in your best interests. In addition, you will never have to talk to the IRS. If the IRS has contacted you, call us at 1-877-447-7529 or email us, we can help. There is no cost or obligation to get in touch with us and your initial phone consultation is absolutely free.

 

 

 

If you owe more than $10,000.00 to the IRS or the IDR it typically makes sense to hire a qualified tax attorney.  A qualified tax attorney knows how to handle the IRS or the IDR and will act in your best interests.  A qualified tax attorney can sometimes save you money which further justifies hiring a lawyer. When you hire a lawyer, you will never have to talk to the IRS which often relieves the stress and the anxiety that people frequently feel.  Further, talking to the IRS without the advice of counsel is not a good idea because you are letting “the wolf into the hen house.”

Patrick T. Sheehan & Associates, Attorneys at Law, P.C., has been in business since 1991. Mr. Sheehan is a former IRS attorney and his practice is dedicated to the resolution of tax problems with both the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to find a good tax attorney, although they are out there.  Like any major decision, it is important that you carefully research the attorney that you intend to hire and don’t fall for false promises. Set forth below is a guide to assist you when hiring a tax attorney.

Beware of Tax Scams!

There are a lot of so-called tax resolution companies that promise to solve your tax problems.  In deciding who to hire, including Chicago tax attorney Patrick T. Sheehan and Associates, we strongly urge you to keep the following guidelines in mind:

Unsolicited telephone calls from tax firms

Have you received a telephone call from a tax representation firm at home or at work? If so, the caller is acting in an unethical fashion known as “ambulance chasing”. CPAs, attorneys and persons authorized to practice before the IRS are strictly prohibited from contacting potential clients via telephone. If you have received a telephone call from a tax representation firm, it means that they are acting in an unethical fashion. You can report these individuals to the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility at opr@irs.gov. Some contact from tax representation firms is permitted but is typically limited only to mail that is marked as a legal advertisement. Telephone calls from tax representation firms are unethical and are strictly prohibited. Hang up the phone and do not hire that firm.

Research a tax resolution firm before hiring

An Internet search will often reveal that many large tax resolution firms have numerous complaints related to their poor service. No matter which firm you hire, we suggest you research that person or firm using Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines. If the person is a lawyer or a CPA, also research the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). We also encourage you to perform a search on Patrick T. Sheehan and Associates. Your research will help you make the best decision as to who to hire. About half of our clients have hired somebody else prior to hiring us. Unfortunately, those taxpayers have lost many thousands of dollars and many months of time. Don’t make that mistake.

There is no set answer as to the cost of tax attorney’s fees in any given case. There are a number of variables, including how aggressive the IRS is being and the cooperation of you, the client, with us. The complexity of the case is also a factor in the cost of attorney’s fees. Chicago tax attorney Patrick T. Sheehan and Associates have affordable rates for every taxpayer.

There are a number of tax resolution firms that offer a flat fee no matter what services they promise to provide to you. In our experience, firms that work on a flat fee basis lose interest in your case as it becomes more difficult because they are no longer making money. Would you continue to go to work every day and work just as hard at your job if you knew you were no longer being paid for your services? For this reason flat fees should generally be avoided.

This is a very difficult question. If the pending audit changes will affect this year’s tax return it may be advisable to wait until the audit has concluded before you file for this year. Sometimes there are urgent reasons why you must file this year’s tax return even though the audit has not yet concluded including loan applications, car loans, mortgage refinance and student loans.  In that event, you may need to file an amended tax return after the audit has been concluded. If you can wait to file this year’s tax return until the audit has been concluded, don’t wait too long. Any refund listed on this year’s tax return may be barred by the refund statute of limitation if the tax return is not filed within three years of the due date plus any extensions.

The first thing you should do is to call a qualified tax attorney who will assist you with evaluating the strengths and weaknesses in your case. Also pay attention to the deadlines listed in the letter and be sure to not miss any deadlines with the IRS. The worst thing you can do is to contact the IRS directly. Anything you say can be treated as an admission against you.

The IRS has three years after the filing of a tax return to audit that return and levy additional taxes. If 25 percent or more has been left out of gross income claims, that statute of limitations increases to six years. If you fail to file any tax returns, the IRS can assess those taxes against you at any time.

Learn more about IRS statutes of limitations 

This is a scam intended to steal money from you. The IRS does not directly accept credit cards. Write down the person’s name, badge number and telephone number. Also write down the telephone number listed on the Caller ID. These types of calls should be reported to the IRS.

Yes. However, a request for an extension must be filed with the IRS by April 15 of the year following previous tax year. Deadlines extensions are generally made until Oct. 15.

Learn more about filing a tax return extension

The IRS often reaches settlements for unpaid taxes through what’s called an Offer in Compromise. While not every unpaid tax liability is eligible for an offer in compromise, those that are will generally receive them.

Learn more about who is eligible for an IRS Offer in Compromise

Although there is no set answer for how long you should keep your tax returns or corresponding paperwork, we recommend that you keep your tax return paperwork and the underlying documents for a minimum of seven years.  If you purchased real estate or other items with a basis, such as stocks and bonds, it is advisable to keep your tax records for a much longer period of time, typically seven years after the sale of the asset.

The IRS can keep or delay your refund for the following reasons:

  • You have unpaid taxes from previous years
  • You have unfiled taxes
  • You are in bankruptcy
  • You are under audit

Learn more about why the IRS can keep your refund

The short answer is the IRS has 10 years from when the tax was assessed to collect it from you. While the IRS may not be able to collect from you after that period, the 10-year deadline can be extended through an IRS Offer in Compromise.

Learn more about IRS time limitations

Yes. Under the IRS Whistleblower program, those that turn in tax cheats are eligible for rewards based on the amount of unpaid collected taxes.

Learn more about the IRS Whistleblower Program

Access to your file is supposed to be strictly limited only to IRS personnel working on your case. The IRS has set up protocols specifically designed to prevent IRS employees from “browsing” the tax information of others unless they are specifically assigned to work on that case. If an IRS employee is caught “browsing”, that employee is subject to termination and criminal prosecution.

Innocent spouse relief provides taxpayers relief from additional tax they owe if a spouse or former spouse failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits. The two different types of innocent spouse relief are Separation of Liability and Equitable Relief.

Read more to see if you qualify for innocent spouse relief

Yes. If the IRS serves a levy on your bank, they can can seize your entire account up to the amount you owe in unpaid taxes. You have 21 days to obtain a release of levy.

Learn more in our case study

An IRS Notice of Deficiency is an extremely important document that should never be disregarded. The Notice of Deficiency is sent by certified mail with return receipt requested. The intent of the Notice is to inform you that you have unpaid taxes, which include penalties and interest.

Learn more about an IRS Notice of Deficiency

When a corporation has certain unpaid federal taxes, the IRS attempts to collect Trust Fund tax, non-Trust Fund tax, penalties and interest from the corporation. If the corporation can’t pay the unpaid taxes or in a timely manner,  the IRS can use the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty against the owners, officers, directors, shareholders or other responsible individuals.

Learn more about trust fund recovery penalty

This is undoubtedly a scam. If you are being criminally prosecuted by the IRS, the IRS does not call and tell you that you are being prosecuted. These calls are typically made in the evening, long after the IRS has closed for the day. If the threat of criminal prosecution is also coupled with a request for your credit card number, the call is certainly a scam. Write down the person’s name, badge number and telephone number. Also write down the telephone number listed on the Caller ID. These types of calls should be reported to the IRS.

Are you talking to a licensed attorney or to a salesperson? Different types of people work on cases before the IRS including attorneys, CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers and enrolled agents. There are even individuals representing taxpayers who are not licensed to practice before the IRS. Verify the credentials of the individual or firm you hire and be sure they are licensed to practice before the IRS. Although there are exceptions to every rule, we strongly recommend staying away from unlicensed accountants, bookkeepers and/or enrolled agents. In our experience, these people deliver an inferior level of service. Many out-of-state tax firm chains use salespeople to entice you to use their services where you are represented by overworked, underpaid and inexperienced staff. At Chicago tax attorney Patrick T. Sheehan and Associates, only a licensed attorney will work on your case.

Beware of tax resolution firm guarantees

There are some tax resolution firms that “guarantee” a positive resolution to your case. Unfortunately, it is unethical for an attorney or one licensed to practice before the IRS to guarantee any outcome in any case. Although guarantees are certainly appealing, one can never guarantee the outcome of any case with the IRS. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Beware of tax resolution firms offering flat fees

There are a number of tax resolution firms that offer a flat fee no matter what services they promise to provide to you. In our experience, firms that work on a flat fee basis lose interest in your case as it becomes more difficult because they are no longer making money. Would you continue to go to work every day and work just as hard at your job if you knew you were no longer being paid for your services? For this reason flat fees should generally be avoided.

 

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Chicago Area Tax Attorneys

Chicago Tax Attorneys

314 North York Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126

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