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Firm FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Help
  • Can a taxpayer really prevail against the IRS?
  • Why should I hire a tax attorney instead of another tax professional?
  • What's the difference between a tax attorney and a tax resolution company?
  • If a promise to solve my taxes for just "pennies on the dollar" sounds too good to be true, is it?
  • Is there more than one way to solve my tax problems?  Will I have options?
  • Do I have to deal with the IRS once I engage a tax attorney?
  • What do I have to do to get help?
  • Can I afford your services?

Can a taxpayer really prevail against the IRS?
Unprotected by a tax attorney, a taxpayer leaves himself or herself exposed to the full arsenal of the IRS.  With its power to seize your bank account and paycheck and ruin your credit, the IRS has an enormous advantage over the average citizen unaware of his or her rights and all available legal options.  With a tax attorney on his or her side, a taxpayer can prevail against the IRS.  The IRS prefers to deal with the taxpayer alone, because a tax attorney has the greatest success in restraining the heavy hand of the IRS and eliminating or reducing back tax debt.

Why should I hire a tax attorney instead of another tax professional?
We view other tax professionals - accountants and enrolled agents - as our allies in the fight against the IRS.  Tax attorneys, however, are the only tax professionals who legally protect all your information as confidential through the Attorney-Client Privilege.  In a criminal prosecution, your accountant or enrolled agent can be forced to testify against you; a tax attorney cannot.

Tax attorneys are the only tax professionals trained to defend you using all your legal options.  In addition to representing you at every level of the IRS, only tax attorneys can advocate for you in the federal courts that handle tax controversies.  Tax attorneys have the training and experience to negotiate and aggressively represent you before an IRS Revenue Officer or Agent, an Appeals Officer, or a federal or state judge.

What's the difference between a tax attorney and a tax resolution company?
Tax resolution companies are businesses where you often deal with a "consultant" or "representative" who does not have the legal training or experience you need.  Your initial contacts often are with a trained telephone salesperson who will subject you to high-pressure sales tactics.  Tax resolution businesses often over-promise and under-deliver.  Because people with tax problems are already stressed, these sales tactics work.  

As a glaring example of abuse, in August 2010, the California Attorney General filed a $34 million lawsuit against Roni Deutch, accusing her firm of misleading consumers by falsely promising to reduce tax debts to the IRS.  The Attorney General alleged that the firm takes large, up-front payments with little or no help in reducing tax bills.  (To read the Complaint, click here.)  

Deutch allegedly spends $3 million a year on advertising, using false testimonies from clients who claim her firm saved them thousands of dollars in tax debts.  Three clients who appear in one advertisement still owe the IRS the full amount of their taxes plus interest and penalties, alleged the Attorney General.  As part of their sales tactics, the Attorney General said that telephone representatives claim a 99 percent success rate in dealing with the IRS.  In reality, the firm reduces only 10 percent of its clients' tax bills.

In another troubling example from June 2008, 18 states sued J.K. Harris, a national tax resolution firm, for deceptive advertising.   J.K. Harris aired a national TV ad campaign promising consumers it can settle consumers' debt with the IRS for "pennies on the dollar."   The states and the tax resolution firm agreed upon a settlement in which the firm agreed to stop misleading consumers about its services and to pay $1.5 million in restitution."This company took advantage of people who paid for tax assistance and, in some instances, profited by taking their money and not giving them any help at all," said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. "This agreement will ensure that this firm is honest with its clients and provides refunds if they are unable to assist them."  (Click here to read more.)

Tax attorneys, in contrast, are highly trained professionals who have attended at least three years of law school after college, and often have earned an advanced degree in taxation through more years of study.  Attorneys in general, and tax attorneys in particular, must adhere to the highest ethical standards, ever careful to represent the truth and avoid taking advantage of their clients. Tax attorneys must follow the professional ethical guidelines of the state that licenses them, as well as, the IRS.  

Tax attorneys may or may not charge more than tax resolution companies, but no matter their fee, tax attorneys give personal attention to their clients.  At the heart of the tax attorney's craft lies a detailed understanding of complicated tax law and regulations and each client's unique situation.  Tax attorneys do not operate like factories with an assembly line of workers.  Tax attorneys value the time with their clients to learn about the client's personal situation.  With that knowledge in hand, tax attorneys devise a strategy that works for the individual, solving his or her tax problems and protecting his or her assets.

If a promise to solve my taxes for just "pennies on the dollar" sounds too good to be true, is it?
Yes.  Please read the immediately preceding section which describes abuses in the marketplace where tax resolution firms have over-promised and under-delivered.  One national tax resolution business advertised it could settle liabilities for "pennies on the dollar" and was sued by 18 states.

Obtaining a negotiated settlement, what is called an Offer in Compromise, has become more difficult than ever.  Government statistics show that the IRS rejects more than 75 percent of all Offers in Compromise.  Three out of every four taxpayers are turned away.  To succeed, an Offer in Compromise must comply with complicated IRS regulations, procedures, and guidelines.

Attempting an Offer in Compromise without a tax attorney could be extremely dangerous.  Under IRS guidelines for an Offer in Compromise, you must reveal all your finances, including your income and assets.  If your Offer in Compromise is rejected, the IRS has the information it needs to seize your bank accounts and paycheck.

The IRS evaluates your financial information to determine your ability to pay.  Even though the process is complicated and takes into account numerous calculations, described simply, you must offer what the IRS would get if the IRS seized your assets and received monthly payments over four or five years.  A qualified tax attorney who knows the law, pays attention to detail, and has successfully negotiated settlements for others can make the crucial difference between a reasonable settlement and rejection from the IRS or State.  

Is there more than one way to solve my tax problems?  Will I have options?
As tax attorneys, we do not take a cookie-cutter approach to your problem.  We listen carefully to what you have to say, analyze the details of your situation, and consider all available legal options to resolve your tax problems.  We discuss with you the pros and cons of each strategy.  We can solve tax problems in more than one way.  We want to make sure, though, that the solution we decide upon works best for you and your family.
 
Do I have to deal with the IRS once I engage a tax attorney?
Once you hire a tax attorney you no longer have to deal one-on-one with the IRS.  You can go back to your life knowing that an experienced, knowledgeable advocate is dealing with your problem.  In addition to relieving the stress and pressure of dealing with the IRS, hiring a tax attorney gives you another huge advantage.  Because tax attorneys understand how information can be used against you, they protect you from needlessly revealing details not required by the law and which the IRS may use against you later on.

What do I have to do to get help?
Call STS Tax Law at 1-800-TAX(829)-6183 or complete our Contact Form.  When you call, you'll have the opportunity to speak with a tax attorney, not a "consultant" or "representative." And when you call, we will never employ high-pressure sales tactics to collect a fee.  Our goal is to improve your life and give you a fresh start by solving your tax problems and protecting your assets.  Our tax attorneys listen to understand your tax problem and discuss how we work with our clients.  We work hard to please all of our clients.  Give us a call today and take the first step toward a better future.

Can I afford your services?
As tax attorneys, we are dedicated to solving your tax problems and protecting your assets - at a price you can afford.  Our fees are fair and affordable so that you can get the assistance you need.  We recognize that the financial situation of our clients is compromised.  To be part of the solution and not the problem, we offer fairly-priced legal fees payable over the time we represent you. 

Because the facts and circumstances of every client differ, legal fees differ as well.  We offer a free and confidential tax debt analysis so we have enough information about your case to determine our fee structure.  Unlike many lawyers, we do not charge large initial retainer fees. Nor do we set a large fixed fee where you pay more than the amount of legal work necessary. We typically offer our services at an affordable rate with modest retainers.  That way you pay as you go, for what you need, and get our legal expertise at a fair price.

Our fees are based upon value.  We solve your tax problems and give you the personal, legal attention that will make a difference in your life.


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