CPA Vs Tax Attorney
Even though the April 15th tax deadline is now behind us, you may still have taxes on your mind. Possibly you owed a large amount and couldn’t pay it? Or maybe you filed an extension because you weren’t prepared to file your tax return. Or worse, maybe you owed money the last couple years but haven’t filed the returns because you don’t have the money to pay the taxes?
Whatever the reason is, your tax problem is not gone, and it probably has caused many sleepless nights and lots of worry and pain thinking about it.
The trouble is taxes are ongoing and unavoidable, and if you own a business or are self-employed, things can get very complicated. By having an experienced tax pro in your corner all year round such as a CPA or EA, you can ensure guidance all year so there will be no surprises at tax time.
The question is who can best represent when you get into tax trouble, a CPA or Tax Attorney? There is no doubt a Tax Attorney can be a huge help in certain instances. Tax attorneys are great if your tax troubles turn criminal and you end up in Court. But when it comes down to it in most cases a CPA or EA is better equipped and trained to handle your tax challenges. Keep on reading to find out why.
The price is right
Price always matters in cases like these. The last thing you want is to spend a fortune to sort out taxes which are about to break the bank. You would only find yourself stung with two significant bills that way. That’s why it’s first worth mentioning that, in general terms, a CPA or EA should be more affordable in the long-term. That should come as no surprise when you consider the differences between these services. A tax attorney tends to offer a short yet intensive legal service. As such, they’re more liable to charge more for brief periods. By comparison, a CPA or EA is a more long-term solution, and you should thus pay less for their services upfront. Of course, there are competitive attorneys out there, and there can be exceptions to this rule. In general terms, though, you will always end up paying less for a CPA or EA.
The experience you need
As mentioned, a tax attorney will hold a law degree. That’s great for legal worries, but it isn’t necessarily what you need for help with your tax situation. By comparison, you should find that most CPA’s or EA’s have exactly the experience you need. A verified professional in this field should hold a five-year business degree. They should also have completed a CPA-specific exam which requires 80 hours of continuing education every two years. This ensures that any CPA or EA is right up to date with matters of tax. That makes them the ideal candidates for easing you through the returns process.
The budding relationship
Relationships can also make a massive difference to how a tax professional can help you. That’s because, over a year or more, they’ll come to learn your spending and earning habits. They’ll develop an idea of how much you make, and how best to ensure that your taxes don’t sting you at the end of each period. Sadly, developing a relationship won’t be in the cards if you turn to a tax attorney. As mentioned above, they offer a far more condensed and short-term service. An attorney could work with you for a few months to clear up a specific issue, but you may well struggle to develop the ongoing relationship you need. By comparison, a CPA or Ea can offer you services year in and year out. That ensures they notice those habits and do best by your taxes every year.
In reality, working out which service would be best all depends on your unique needs. In the majority of cases, though, a CPA or EA is sure to serve you better than a tax attorney.