We’ve been discussing in our last couple posts the risks of DIY tax filing and the relative benefits of working with tax professionals to file tax returns. As we pointed out last time, both CPAs and tax attorneys have special competencies in handling tax filing. Information shared with a tax attorney is typically privileged, though there are ways privilege can be waived.
Correcting inaccuracies in tax filings is a particularly important area to work with an experienced attorney, because of the potential risks involved. While it isn’t necessarily that difficult to file an amended complaint to report omitted income or correct improper deductions, it can result in more problems if the amended complaint is inaccurate due to a failure to thoroughly examine the extent of the inaccuracies.
Not only could there be potential civil fines and costs attached to filing an incorrect amended complaint, there could also be potential criminal liability, depending on the circumstances. A skilled attorney can help avoid such problems by ensuring a thorough investigation of the inaccuracies is done and that everything is properly filed.
Another example of when it is important to work with an experienced tax attorney would be when there are inaccuracies in tax filings related to international transactions. Tax issues surrounding these transactions can get rather complicated and can raise various legal questions for which it is best to have the insight of an attorney. An attorney can also be important in cases where a taxpayer is contemplating a potentially contestable tax strategy.
None of this is to say that tax attorneys are better than CPAs in handling tax filings, but only that taxpayers should understand the respective competencies of these professionals and proceed accordingly.