How Much Does a Tax Attorney Cost?
Tax attorney costs vary, but you need to consider experience as well as price.
Tax attorneys can help with a wide range of tax problems, and they're the only tax pros who can represent you in Tax Court (other than Enrolled agents and CPAs with a USTCP designation with some restrictions). But if you've never worked with one, you're probably wondering how much tax attorneys charge. Tax attorney fees vary widely — from $500 to $10,000 or more.
The cost depends on the complexity of your situation, the time required, and the tax attorney's fee structure. To get a quote, contact a tax attorney directly. Most tax attorneys start with a free consultation. Then they can explain their fee structure and give you an estimate of the cost.
This guide provides an overview of tax attorney rates and what to expect if you contact a tax attorney. Then, it covers alternatives to hiring tax attorneys if you want to save money.
Types of Fees and Tax Lawyer Rates
When you ask, "How much does a tax lawyer cost?" you also need to find out how they assess their fees. Most tax attorneys charge flat fees or hourly rates. Here's an overview of these popular fee structures.
Flat-fee pricing for tax attorneys
A tax attorney may charge a flat fee for each of the services they provide, or they may charge a flat fee that covers all of their services. For instance, one tax attorney may charge a fee for filing unfiled returns and another fee for submitting an offer-in-compromise application. Another attorney may charge a flat fee that includes both of those services and anything extra that you need. Flat fees vary based on the situation's complexity, and generally, a full financial analysis will happen before estimating the flat fee cost.
Hourly tax attorney cost
In other cases, tax lawyers charge by the hour. Tax attorney hourly rates vary drastically. But on average, they tend to be $200 to $550 per hour. If you hire a tax attorney who charges by the hour, they can tell you how much their rates are.
Whether a tax attorney charges a flat fee or by the hour, individual tax resolution cases cost $3,500 to $4,500 on average. For businesses, the average tends to be $5,000 or $7,000. However, depending on your situation, you may pay more or less than these averages.
When You Should Hire a Tax Attorney
You should contact a tax attorney if you're overwhelmed with unfiled tax returns, unpaid taxes, or IRS collection actions. Tax attorneys can help you deal with liens and levies, negotiate with the IRS, and apply for tax relief programs. They have extensive expertise with tax laws and IRS programs. However, you can also hire other tax professionals such as Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and enrolled agents (EA) to help with these issues.
You will likely need a tax attorney if the IRS investigates you for tax crimes. They can also offer you attorney-client privilege, which you don't get with other tax professionals. Check out this post to learn more about when to hire a tax attorney.
Tax Attorney Cost Based on Service
How much does a tax attorney charge? Well, the IRS program you apply for will affect how much the tax attorney costs. Here is an overview of the average tax attorney fees for different types of IRS services.
Keep in mind, however, that these prices are average. They may be higher or lower, depending on your situation.
How Much do Tax Attorneys Charge for Installment Agreements?
On average, tax attorneys charge $2,500 to $3,500 to set up IRS installment agreements. The cost varies based on the complexity of your situation. For instance, if you owe more than $50,000, you may have to make a financial disclosure, and that can drive up the total tax attorney cost. Similarly, the number and complexity of your unfiled returns also affect the cost.
What Is the Tax Attorney Cost for Partial Payment Installment Agreements?
Partial payment installment agreements cost $3,500 to $5,000 on average. They typically cost more than regular installment agreements because the application process is more detailed. With a partial payment installment agreement, you make monthly payments for a set period of time, and then, the IRS eliminates the rest of your debt.
Offer in Compromise
How Much Are Offer-in-Compromise Attorney Fees?
The average tax lawyer rates for an offer in compromise range from $4,000 to $7,500. An offer in compromise lets you pay off your tax debt for less than you owe. This program is complicated and has low acceptance rates. For best results, you should hire a tax attorney who has experience with offers in compromise.
How Much Does a Tax Lawyer Cost for an Audit?
Tax lawyers charge $2,000 to $3,500 for a straightforward audit, but for a more complex audit, the cost can be $5,000 or more. Generally, business audits cost more than individual audits, but it also depends on the complexity of your return.
Earned Income Tax Credit (ETC)
How Much Do Tax Lawyers Charge to Help With ETC Audits?
The earned income tax credit (ETC) is one of the most commonly audited tax credits. The IRS audits ETCs at a significantly higher rate than it audits tax returns in general.
If the IRS adjusts your return after reviewing your ETC claim, a tax attorney can help you contest the changes. Tax attorney rates for ETC help vary, but they're often less than the cost of a full audit. You can get a quote by contacting a tax attorney.
What Is the Tax Attorney Cost for Penalty Abatement?
Tax lawyer rates for penalty abatement can range from $250 to $1,000 or more. Some tax attorneys charge a base rate for penalty abatement plus a percentage of the fees they remove. If you hire a tax attorney for penalty abatement, make sure that their fees aren't higher than the penalties you need to be removed.
These are just some of the services you can access from a tax attorney. When you contact a tax lawyer, they can go over the options for your situation and answer your questions about how much tax attorneys charge. Before selecting a tax lawyer, you may want to get a few quotes from a few different professionals.
But keep in mind that fees should not be your only consideration. You also have to ensure the attorney has the experience you need.
How to Find an Affordable Tax Attorney Near Me
After asking, "How much does a tax attorney cost?", most people's second question is, "How do I find an affordable attorney near me?" To find a local attorney with affordable rates, talk with friends or family. Or look for local listings in your area.
Use TaxCure to search for a local attorney in your area for a more practical approach. We host a directory of tax professionals from all over the country. Using our site, you can search for tax attorneys and other tax professionals based on their experience with your particular tax issue. You can also narrow your search to ensure the tax attorney has experience with your state tax authority. Remember, you don't necessarily need a local tax attorney. You just need an affordable tax attorney with the right experience. You can meet virtually if the tax attorney isn't close to your home.
What to Consider When Hiring a Tax Attorney
If you're hiring a tax attorney, you need to consider their experience and customer reviews. Also, compare their fees to the costs of other tax attorneys. To ensure you hire the best tax attorney for your situation, consider asking the following questions.
- Are you experienced with my tax issue?
- Where are you licensed to practice? Can you help clients in my state?
- Who will work on my case? What are their credentials? Are they tax professionals?
- Do we have client-attorney privilege?
- How much do you charge? Do you charge a tax attorney hourly rate or a flat fee?
- What is your billing process?
- How will we communicate? What should I expect from this process?
- What tax resolution program do you recommend for my situation?
- Do you have experience with that type of tax resolution?
- Do you have reviews from other clients?
While talking with different tax attorneys, keep in mind that there are no "special programs." A tax lawyer cannot connect you with a special IRS program that isn't available to other attorneys. They can only help you apply for existing programs. If a company claims that they are the only ones who can help you apply for a certain program, it's simply not true.
However, experience is certainly a defining factor. A tax professional with a lot of experience in a certain area may be able to get you a better resolution than someone without experience. This is true even if they're dealing with the same IRS program.
Alternatives to Hiring a Tax Attorney
A tax attorney is not your only option. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents (EAs) can also represent you in front of the IRS. There are also tax resolution firms, and many people take care of their own tax issues. Here is an overview of what to consider with each of these alternatives to a tax attorney.
CPAs and Enrolled Agents
CPAs and enrolled agents can handle the same issues as tax lawyers with the exception of tax crimes and Tax Court. In some cases, these tax pros are less expensive than the cost of a tax attorney. But it depends on the situation. You may want to talk to a few different professionals as you narrow down your choices.
Tax Relief Companies
Tax relief companies often employ tax attorneys. Although they have the right credentials to represent you, the attorneys at these companies cannot offer you attorney-client privilege. Unfortunately, some of the larger national tax relief companies are also notorious for overcharging for subpar services.
This industry has a lot of consumer complaints, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises consumers to avoid these companies. In most cases, you get better help and better prices if you work directly with a company where you know the professional that will be handling your case.
Do-It-Yourself Tax Resolution
You can take care of problems on your own, but a tax professional is an investment if you're dealing with a complex situation. They can help you avoid errors. They negotiate with the IRS. Their experience enables you to get a better resolution.
If you're thinking about tackling your own tax problems, here are some signs you should take a DIY approach:
- You're comfortable dealing with your tax problems on your own.
- You understand the tax resolution options.
- You owe less than $10,000.
- You don’t question the amount owed and can afford to pay it over time.
- You don't have any unfiled returns.
- You're dealing with individual income tax rather than business taxes.
- The IRS has not issued a lien or put a levy on your assets.
- The IRS isn't garnishing your wages.
- You're not facing tax crime charges.
- You don't need to go to Tax Court.
On TaxCure, we have published detailed pages on tax solutions and resolution options. If you want to handle your own tax issues, you can find the information you need and links to IRS forms on our website. Note, however, that the complexity of certain tax problems is outside the scope of what we can cover online. You should contact a tax pro if you're dealing with a complex tax concern.
How to Get Quotes From Multiple Tax Attorneys
Using TaxCure, you can easily get quotes from multiple tax attorneys. On this site, you can search for tax professionals based on their experience with certain tax issues or tax agencies. You can also narrow down your search so that you only see tax attorneys in the results.
Once you've searched on TaxCure, you can read different attorneys' profiles, see client reviews, and more. Then, you can contact as many tax attorneys as you like to get quotes. Our directory of tax professionals makes it easy for you to find a qualified, affordable tax attorney in your area.
Free Consultations From Tax Attorneys
Most tax attorneys offer free or no-cost consultations, and you should take advantage of this offering. During your free consultation, you briefly explain the issue. Then, the tax attorney gives you an overview of the options and answers your questions about how much a tax lawyer costs.
Free consultations can be a great way to get quotes from multiple tax attorneys. More importantly, these meetings give you a chance to learn more about the tax attorney's experience so that you can choose the right professional for your situation. Outcomes for audits, offer-in-compromise applications, partial payment plans, and other services can vary drastically depending on the tax pro's experience.
Get Help From a Tax Attorney Today
To get help now, search for a tax attorney today. Then, call for a free consultation to learn more. You don't have to deal with the IRS on your own. You can get trustworthy, experienced, and affordable help by searching for a local tax lawyer on TaxCure today.