IRS Tax Lawyer

What is a Tax Lawyer?

The roles of an IRS tax lawyer in Hanover, MD are diverse and can be difficult to explain to prospective clients and even lawyers.  Many tax lawyers focus on particular aspects of the Internal Revenue Code or limit their representation to specific types of matters with the IRS.  While this is sometimes by choice, other times it is necessary as the issues relating to taxes can be far-reaching and beyond the expertise of any one individual.  For instance, some tax lawyers may only specialize in ERISA matters as these involve a complicated cross-section of tax laws and labor laws relating to pensions and profit-sharing plans.  Other tax lawyers may specifically practice in federal tax matters as opposed to state tax matters.  And yet other tax lawyers may restrict their practice to specific transactional matters involving, for instance, corporate mergers and acquisitions, tax-free exchanges of real property, or a host of other highly-focused areas.  Bottom line:  Not all tax lawyers are appropriate or capable of handling every tax issue. 

Even within the Office of Chief Counsel – the “in-house counsel” for the Commissioner of the IRS – there are more than a dozen different functions with IRS tax lawyers focusing on specific types of tax matters.  For instance, IRS tax lawyers within the National Office may focus solely on matters affecting Corporations (CORP), matters affecting Employee Benefits (EEE), matters affecting Financial Institutions and Products (FIP), and many others.  On the other end of the spectrum, many other IRS tax lawyers serve in field offices where they solely litigate tax matters related to large businesses and international matters (LB&I), small businesses and individuals (SB/SE), and tax-exempt or governmental entities (TEGE).  The delineation of roles within the IRS underscores the need for specific expertise in a particular area of tax law.

With that said, the tax lawyers at Crepeau Mourges have broad experience in both tax controversies and tax planning matters.  While we do not typically engage in ERISA matters or tax planning matters related to publicly-traded corporations, we have the skills necessary to assist with most tax issues facing our clients.  Our advice has guided clients through complex tax disputes with the IRS, the Comptroller of Maryland, and other state taxing authorities, through identification and resolution of issues relating to international and domestic tax planning, through criminal tax investigations initiated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS, and many others.  We handle tax planning, tax controversies, and the many tax matters that cannot easily be categorized.  And, if we are not able to handle a tax matter satisfactorily, we draw on our many connections formed through years of practice in order to guide clients to another skilled professional.  If you have a tax problem with the IRS or generally need tax advice, a consultation with the tax professionals at Crepeau Mourges is a good step towards resolution.

A Tax Lawyer is Not…

A tax lawyer is not typically involved in the preparation of taxes or bookkeeping.  While some tax lawyers are fully capable of preparing tax returns, these ongoing requirements are usually best left to tax accountants as they may have more hands-on experience with filing requirements or the particulars of an ongoing tax client.  In some circumstances, it may be necessary for a tax lawyer to advise or consult with a tax accountant or CPA concerning specific issues that arise in the preparation of a tax return.  Those issues might be novel, technical, or beyond the comfort level of a tax preparer.  A knowledgeable tax lawyer has the tools to identify the issue, perform research, and advise as to the propriety of a particular position.  Further, Hanover, MD IRS tax lawyers will frequently issue tax opinions and similar memoranda to support positions taken or to be taken in tax filings.

While individual situations may justify preparation of a tax return by a tax lawyer (e.g., if the tax lawyer has specific knowledge of a situation or if it is ancillary to some ongoing representation), there are good reasons why this does not generally occur.  From a practical perspective, tax preparation and bookkeeping generally does not justify the cost of a tax lawyer.  Tax lawyers are expensive.  When given the opportunity, it is best to use limited financial resources where they produce the biggest benefit for the client.  In most situations, a skilled tax preparer or bookkeeper can produce the information necessary for a tax filing. 

Furthermore, where a matter may involve potential issues on a tax return, there are legal reasons for a tax lawyer not to prepare the tax return.  For instance, if a tax lawyer prepares and signs a tax return on behalf of a client, the ability to claim evidentiary privileges with respect to work product may be destroyed.  On the other hand, with proper planning, a tax lawyer may be able to work with a tax preparer or accountant to broaden the application of the privilege.  If it is possible that a tax return may be selected for audit or has potential issues, this approach can be invaluable to a client.

While the tax lawyers at Crepeau Mourges are fully capable of preparing sophisticated tax returns on behalf of our clients, we always put our clients’ financial interests first.  That means that, for most individuals, we will assist in the selection of an appropriate tax preparer or bookkeeper to ensure future compliance.  We do this to save our clients money and to allow us to focus our efforts on other critical parts of a tax matter.  The tax lawyers at Crepeau Mourges have worked with many tax professionals and will outsource work, where appropriate, in order to benefit our clients.

Tax Planning Versus Tax Controversy

Aside from a focus on certain areas of tax law, many tax lawyers consider themselves to be either tax planning or tax controversy lawyers.  Much like the reason for focusing on certain parts of the Internal Revenue Code, many tax lawyers are uncomfortable with, or incapable of, keeping up with the many changes to the substantive and procedural rules that affect taxpayers.  They are simply more comfortable staying within their narrowly defined field of practice.  While there is good reason for doing this, the tax lawyers at Crepeau Mourges have significant experience in both tax planning and tax controversies and believe that a holistic approach provides greater value to our clients.

At its core, tax planning can be described as the analysis of one’s current or potential financial situation and proactively making decisions in order to minimize associated taxes.  While many taxpayers may not be in a situation where tax planning is necessary, for others, proper planning can save substantial amounts of money and can avoid costly penalties and litigation associated with mistakes.  Other transactions may only be justified with proper tax planning.  In past engagements, the lawyers at Crepeau Mourges have advised clients in the following situations:

·   Formation, dissolution, mergers, and acquisitions of businesses and nonprofits

·   Complex profit-sharing/retirement plans and related transactions

·   Commercial lending and other financing arrangements

·   Real estate financing and acquisitions

·   Gift and estate planning

·   Employment and independent contractor arrangements

·   Structuring joint ventures and partnerships

·   Tax and regulatory compliance planning for foreign accounts and assets

·   Cross-border transactions (FIRPTA, FATCA, GILTI, transfer pricing)

·   Assistance in legislative and regulatory developments

·   Multistate due diligence relating to variety of taxes

On the other hand, a lawyer dealing with tax controversies involving the IRS or other state tax agencies defends positions, decisions, or actions taken with respect to tax filing and payment obligations.  Tax controversy lawyers assist clients, from a reactive standpoint, in handling different types of tax audits, administrative appeals, and litigation.  Again, the goal in these cases is to limit the exposure of an individual or business to additional tax, penalties, and interest proposed by the IRS or other similar agencies.  Tax controversy lawyers also frequently assist lawyers in structuring affordable payment arrangements after a liability has been assessed.  Techniques to minimize the impact of tax issues may include stopping collection action (such as levies, liens, and garnishments), arguing for the abatement of penalties, applying for amnesty programs to take advantage of favorable payment provisions, and negotiating installment agreements, Offers in Compromise, or other resolutions.  The tax lawyers at Crepeau Mourges have employed all these procedures in the past and have achieved favorable results on behalf of many clients.

How the Tax Lawyers at Crepeau Mourges Can Help You

The tax lawyers at Crepeau Mourges draw on decades of experience in a diversity of tax matters.  Over the years, we have litigated a significant number of matters against the IRS and obtained favorable results.  Some of our clients have achieved full concessions from the IRS.  Their results likely would not have been obtained without our zealous advocacy, comprehensive knowledge, and experience in tax litigation. 

We have also represented many clients faced with civil tax audits, criminal tax investigations, and collection matters.  With our advice, taxpayers have successfully defended positions taken on their tax returns, have avoided criminal referrals, and have executed collection strategies that collectively saved them many millions of dollars.  Crepeau Mourges takes great pride in helping taxpayers to make the best of a bad situation and to get back moving in the right direction. 

Aside from our successes in tax controversies, we have helped many other clients to minimize taxes and to avoid a tax controversy in the first place.  The tax lawyers at Crepeau Mourges have helped businesses plan for commercial lending transactions, acquisitions of businesses and property, entering into new business opportunities throughout the country, and to minimize the many federal and state taxes businesses encounter.  Similarly, the lawyers at Crepeau Mourges have assisted individuals in tax planning related to cross-border transactions, structuring and proper reporting of gifts and bequests, maximizing the availability of deductions, credits, and non-recognition provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, and a host of other situations.  In our opinion, the ability to defend or assist in the defense of a position or plan in the United States Tax Court – should that be necessary – gives greater confidence to our clients and helps them to maximize legal benefits provided by the tax code.

If you have an issue or question relating to either tax planning or a tax problem, call the IRS tax lawyers in Hanover, MD at Crepeau Mourges today.  We offer no-cost initial consultations and are here to put our unique focus and knowledge to work for you.