Chapter 07

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

What to Look For in 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 individuals and business owners in IRS audits.

At Brotman Law, we have an excellent measure of technical skills at the firm and you’ll find the team very down-to-earth and personable. We are highly experienced in handling audit situations that are complex and time consuming, but we can also make simple audits go away very quickly.

The strategy, the thought, and the effort we put into preparation 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 it.

Obviously there is a case-by-case basis, but we have a long track record of positive results. We really are good at advocating on our client's behalf and 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? Much depends 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, I have three immediate questions:

  1. What is the nature of the return?
  2. How was the return prepared? 
  3. Who is the auditor?

Because I have experience dealing with many of the auditors, I have lots of familiarity with the groups they belong to and who their managers are.

Certain groups of auditors tend to go after certain things. For example, fraud examination is one such thing, a complex examination that could yield criminal investigative referrals is another.

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.

Gather the documents that are requested, 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 up.

When clients ask me about cost, I tell them two things:

  1. My firm operates on the efficiency principle. Because 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.
  2. 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.

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Expect to Pay From $3.5K to $10K Per Tax Year

From an estimate standpoint, most audits average between $3,500 and $10,000 per tax year. I know that is quite a big spread. The reason for the spread is there tend to be unforeseen issues that pop up in an audit.

In addition, audits that are more serious will cost more to dispute. Most people – assuming that we can get them organized and well-prepared – usually stick in the lower range.

There are also a myriad of ways that taxpayers can help their own situation and contribute to the work of collecting the needed paperwork, making our work more clear cut and lessening the time spent by my team.

Even if you are on the lower end of our cost structure, I still recommend that you have a tax attorney to serve as a mouthpiece in your audit. The investment you make is going to yield a result that would be more difficult to obtain without one.

The Three “Legs” of Any Audit

Audits are driven principally by three things: 

  1. Decisions. If you are able to make clear and organized decisions on an audit, it will go a long way to cutting down cost. 
  2. Documentation. To the extent that you have documents that are well-organized and presented cleanly, you can reduce your cost.
  3. Bureaucracy. Unfortunately, I do not have control over the bureaucracy that a taxpayer may face. For instance, I cannot control the audit assignments.

The good news is – particularly for those who hire tax attorneys – we all take a course in dealing with 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. They know that there is a pretty good chance that they will see me in future cases.

In my profession, we tend to run into the same people over and over again. This helps keep the auditors in check who are used to dealing with tax pros versus dealing directly with the taxpayer.  

Schedule a Consultation

If you have any questions about what you’ve read thus far, come see us for a consultation. If you’d like, we can review your facts and situation specifically. I can assess the audit and recommend what I believe would be your best course of action.

Ultimately, an IRS audit defense is a marathon, not a sprint. When we work together, it is my job to defend you in the audit, as well as 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 clearest picture that I can give in terms of cost and preparing for the task of hiring a representative to defend you in an audit. 

Give Brotman Law a try. We’ve fought it out in tax courts for our clients and won. This is what sets us apart from other law firms, surpassing what your CPA, tax preparer or even your CFO can provide.

If you need a law firm that is experienced in handling IRS audits from the simple to the complex, call us. We know the ropes and we won’t break the bank.

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