Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA October 15, 2020 9 min read

How to Hire a Tax Attorney to Represent You in an IRS Audit

If you are looking for a tax attorney to represent you in an IRS audit, we encourage you to contact us for a consultation. We have a long track record of successfully defending our clients in IRS audits. 

We have a really good measure of technical skill at the firm, can deal with situations that are extremely complex, and can make simple audits go away very quickly. The strategy and the thought and effort that we put into the preparation work tends to yield very positive results for our clients.

In addition, our team has had a lot of experience with the higher levels of the IRS. We have been in the tax court and we have dealt with the IRS appeals office multiple times. As a result of that, we are very comfortable moving through the tax procedure chain and dealing with IRS examinations at all levels.

There is a certain strategy to an audit because an audit and a tax return will ultimately tell a story. The question that you have to ask yourself is who is going to tell that story? Is the auditor going to tell the story or are we going to tell that story? 

The good news is that as you get out in front of an audit and put the investment into the preparation, you can usually save yourself a lot of time, money, and headache as well as mitigate any penalties that are associated with the audit.

Now, obviously, that is a case-by-case basis, but we have a long track record of results. We are really good at advocating on our client's behalf and we are really good at getting people out of audits for less liability than they would have going it alone.

How Much Will It Cost to Have Brotman Law Defend Me in an IRS Audit?

How much is it going to cost?  It depends a lot on why the return was selected for audit and the level of complexity around the return. When a prospective client comes to see me with a tax return that is under audit, my immediate questions are about the nature of the return, how it was prepared, and who the auditor is.

A lot of times, because I have experience dealing with a lot of the auditors, I have a good amount of familiarity with what group they are in and who their managers are. Certain groups of auditors tend to go after certain things, such as fraud examination or complex examination that could yield criminal investigative referrals.

If I look at a return and see the name of an auditor in one of those two categories, my level of scrutiny goes up. However, in most cases, auditors are usually pretty straightforward. You gather the documents that are requested. You present them along with the return and as long as there are no errors, you should be in and out pretty seamlessly.

Yes, there is a reason why the return got audited but as long as you have your substantiation and it matches what you have on the return, then you do not have a problem. In those cases, audits can be pretty low-cost. I can have one of our paralegals organize a return in the way that we would like to present it and have one of our senior attorneys or myself just knock it out.

However, more often than not, particularly with field audits, things get a little more complicated. When we are dealing with businesses or we are dealing with partnerships or we are dealing with situations that are not exactly perfect, then a lot of the focus turns to damage control. Damage control can drive costs.

When clients ask me about cost, I tell them two things. Number one, my firm operates on the efficiency principle. I run a small business; I understand the pain that business owners go through. If I were dealing with an audit and hiring a tax attorney, I would want somebody looking out for my best interest.

I built a firm around solving tax problems as efficiently as possible — not just to provide the lowest-cost solution, but to deliver the most value to our clients. When we approach an audit, I am looking to mitigate a client's cost by spreading the cost of their representation across varying levels of staff.

Expect to Pay From $3,500-$10,000 Per Tax Year

From an estimate standpoint, what I would tell you is that most audits average between $3,500 and $10,000 per tax year we are dealing with. That is a big spread and the reason for that spread is because there are a lot of issues that tend to pop up in an audit.

Audits that are more serious are on a higher end. Most people, assuming that we can get them organized and well-prepared, can usually stick to the lower price points. There are a lot of ways that taxpayers can help their own situation and contribute to the work product to make our life easier.

Ultimately even on the lower end, I would recommend that you have a tax attorney to serve as a mouthpiece in an audit because generally the investment that you are going to make is going to yield some result.

The Three “Legs” of Any Audit

Audits are driven principally by three things. Number one is decisions. If you are able to make clear and organized decisions on an audit, it will go a long way to cutting down cost. Number two is documents. To the extent that you have documents that are well- organized and presented cleanly, you can reduce your cost.

Number three is bureaucracy. I do not have any control over the bureaucracy that the taxpayer may face. I cannot control the audit assignments, for example. The good news with bureaucracy, particularly with tax professionals, is that we have a course of dealing with the auditors.

If I have not worked with an auditor directly, then I have probably worked with their manager or I have a relationship with that office in some way, shape, or form. Those relationships during the context of the audit are very valuable. An auditor is not going to sandbag the relationship that they have with me and risk that they may see me in future cases.

Yes, we tend to run into the same people over and over again. That helps keep the auditor in check when dealing with a professional versus dealing with a taxpayer. 

Schedule a Consultation

If you have any questions regarding this, come see us for a consultation.

If you want to, I can review your facts specifically. I can review the audit and I can recommend your best course of action. Ultimately, IRS audit defense is a marathon and not a sprint. It is my job not only to defend you in the audit, but to help you conserve resources and allocate those resources appropriately.

If I did not do that, I would not be doing my job. That is the best thing I can tell you in terms of cost and in terms of preparing you for the task of hiring a representative to defend you in an audit.

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Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law

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