Should I Hire A Tax Attorney?
If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, you probably need a tax attorney. Brentwood-based Brian T. Boyd explains that this need also extends to those with a taxable estate or who are under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. We recently sat down with Boyd to pick his brain about the topic. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: We appreciate your willingness to talk with us today. We have many readers who are confused about the difference between an accountant and a tax attorney. Could you please start by explaining this?
Brian T. Boyd: An accountant is an individual that knows all things finances. They will have the tools and education to keep business’s books straight. A tax attorney can help a Brentwood business owner by consulting on the legalities of financial actions.
Q: Do all business owners need to have a relationship with an attorney that specializes in taxes?
Brian T. Boyd: Yes. For the most part, this legal professional won’t be involved in day-to-day operations like an accountant. Instead, they can help create a sole proprietorship or corporation and provide expert legal counsel on tax and some select non-tax concerns. A tax attorney is also a good person to have on retainer if you plan to do business internationally.
Q: So you are saying that a business that sells to consumers in another country should have access to a tax attorney?
Brian T. Boyd: Yes. There are many subtle nuances to having money exchange hands across international borders. An accountant will not have the legal expertise to ensure these transactions follow the letter of the law.
Q: Is a tax attorney ever needed for people who do not own businesses?
Brian T. Boyd: There are situations when an individual might want to create a relationship with a tax attorney. In Brentwood, for example, which is a historically high-income area, some homeowners will have a taxable estate. A tax attorney can protect any heirs by formulating an estate-planning strategy that reduces the amount of taxes due upon the property owner’s death. Currently, estates valued at $5.6 million (or $11.2 million for married couples) or higher are subject to a 40 percent estate tax on values above these thresholds. Further, anyone involved in litigation with the IRS will greatly benefit from the experience of a tax attorney.
Q: With so many lawyers advertising their services, how can a consumer know which attorney is right for their situation?
Brian T. Boyd: First, confirm that the attorney is admitted into the state bar. Their website will have plenty of information on their areas of expertise – if it does not, that is a good sign to continue searching. Cost is another factor to consider, and the attorney should have up-front pricing and provide an estimate based on information available.
Q: Are there options for people who cannot afford the services of a tax attorney?
Brian T. Boyd: Brentwood residents may have access to free tax help through clinics sponsored by the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Many local senior centers offer tax help for the elderly. Those seeking tax assistance setting up a business will most likely have to pay out-of-pocket.
The Law Office of Brian T. Boyd, PLLC offers an expansive selection of services for local business owners. From assistance setting up new corporations to fighting through civil litigation, Boyd and his staff have the experience and expertise their clients need to succeed.