If you have tax debt and have to deal with the IRS, you have the ability to represent yourself. However, typically self-representation is not the best option and won’t produce the results you’re hoping for. In fact, it’s commonly thought that the IRS wants those with unpaid back taxes to go it alone in order to use their famous intimidation tactics. 

Instead of putting yourself in the line of fire, hire a tax attorney to help with your tax issues and to represent you in the US tax court. Many people who are dealing with tax debt are afraid to hire an attorney because of the perceived cost. They wonder what it costs to hire a tax attorney and imagine that legal fees are going to be excessive. 

Hiring a tax attorney can be a game-changer when it comes to your back taxes. Don’t let worries over costs keep you from getting the help you need. Here’s everything you need to know about the cost of hiring a tax attorney

Negotiate Yourself or Hire a Tax Attorney?

When you have to deal with the IRS due to an audit, an appearance in front of the US tax court, or another tax debt issue, you may be wondering whether it’s a good idea to represent yourself. While there are positives and negatives of both options, hiring a tax attorney to help with your case might be the best bet. 

Tax attorneys are professionals with deep knowledge of tax law and the inner workings of the IRS. They are able to see past the tactics of the IRS and can prevent taxing agencies from bullying or taking advantage of you.  These experts are most likely to handle your case with the utmost professionalism and will be able to help you obtain favorable results. 

The most common reason people opt for self-representation instead of hiring an attorney is the cost. Getting tax representation can be costly and many people with tax debt aren’t in the financial place to pay for it. 

Tax attorneys typically charge an hourly or flat fee. They also have set costs for different types of representation. That’s why the amount that you will pay will depend on the specifics of your situation. 

Every tax attorney prices things differently. In order to determine what the cost of representation for your case will be, you’ll need to talk to an attorney and ask for their fees and pay structure.

Most attorneys will offer a free discovery call in order to discuss the specifics of your case and determine their fees for taking your case. During this meeting, you will determine whether the tax attorney is right for you and your case, as well as how much you will be charged if you hire them. 

Since every tax attorney has different fees, it’s important to speak with them before you choose one to help with your needs. You will develop a better understanding of what you can expect and determine whether the estimated costs are right for you or not. 

Potential Tax Attorney Fees 

Most tax attorneys’ fees are either a flat rate or hourly. Here’s what you can expect from each:

Flat Rate Fees

Some tax attorneys charge a flat rate fee for IRS legal representation. This option is usually offered by the attorney if they believe the case is simple and can be easily settled in a short time. If an attorney offers a flat rate option, you and the attorney will agree upon a rate ahead of time. This rate will be honored and additional fees will not be incurred based on the time the attorney spends on your case.  

Hourly Fees

Most tax attorneys charge by the hour. These fees will vary depending on the attorney, however, on average you can expect to pay between $200-$400 an hour. If you are hiring a top-of-the-line, very experienced tax attorney, you should expect to pay $1,000 per hour or more.  

There are positives and negatives to both flat rates and hourly fees. When you have to pay a flat rate, you are aware of your costs ahead of time, making it easier to budget and plan. However, with an hourly rate, you could end up paying less, depending on how quickly your case is settled. Unfortunately, if your case is more tricky and requires a great deal of time from your tax attorney, you could end up paying a whole lot more. 

If hiring a tax attorney seems costly, you can talk to the attorney about a payment plan. Many tax firms offer payment plans for legal fees, making it easier for those without the ability to pay in full right away to hire representation for their tax debt. 

Potential Costs of Hiring a Tax Attorney for Various Issues

There are many types of tax issues that could arise for a taxpayer. While they could deal with them on their own, they are more likely to receive favorable results by hiring a tax attorney. Typically, tax attorneys charge based on the specifics of the case, including the tax issue. 

While all attorneys will have their own fees, there are some basic averages that you can consider when deciding whether hiring a tax attorney is right for you. 

  • Offer in Compromise– $3,500-$6,500
  • Penalty Abatement- $1,000-$2,500
  • Installment Agreement- $750-$1,500
  • Simple IRS Audit- $1,000-$3,500
  • Complex IRS Audit- $5,000 or more
  • IRS Appeal- $5,000-$7,500
  • US Tax Court Litigation- $10,000 or more

Be aware that the tax attorney you hire could charge more for each service. These costs are based on averages. Make sure and talk to the attorney and ask for their specific fees before you hire them. 

Self-Representing in Front of the IRS

If you decide to forgo hiring a tax attorney in favor of self-representation for simple issues such as an installment agreement or a basic audit, you may be able to obtain positive results. These are easier issues to handle and if you are knowledgeable, you may not have any trouble. However, if your tax debt issues are more complex and are headed to the US tax court, you will most likely want to hire a tax attorney to represent you. 

While the cost of hiring a tax attorney may seem intimidating, it’s important not to be scared away. Talk to the attorney to see what type of payment plan you can work out in order to obtain the most experienced representation out there. Oftentimes, a favorable result depends on the right representation. In those cases, you can’t afford to not hire a professional. 

When Should I Hire a Tax Attorney

If you owe back taxes to the IRS, you may be worried about hiring a tax attorney. You know that you already owe money to tax authorities and you can’t figure out how you’ll be able to afford an attorney, too. 

While there are some simple cases that may not require outside representation, you will want to make sure and get professional help if you have a more complex issue. You can likely take care of your tax debt issue on your own if you:

  • Don’t have unreported income
  • Owe less than $50,000
  • Have not been contacted by the IRS
  • Are not self-employed
  • Can take the time to learn how to self-represent

On the other hand, if your case does not fall into these categories, you will want to hire a tax attorney to help. Find a tax attorney for representation if you: 

  • Have been contacted by the IRS and have an agent assigned to your case
  • Owe more than $100,000 to the IRS
  • Are self-employed or a small business owner
  • Have unreported income or any tax fraud indicators
  • Have undisclosed foreign accounts
  • Have complicated finances
  • Feel intimidated by the IRS
  • Won’t be able to learn how to successfully handle your case yourself

IRS Tax Relief Network

If you are looking for a tax attorney to represent you in your dealings with the IRS, look no further than the IRS Tax Relief Network. The experienced professionals are ready and able to help you with your tax debt. They will help you determine the best course of action for your case and will be able to effectively represent you in front of the IRS. 

The tax attorneys at IRS Tax Relief Network are skilled in negotiation and tax law. They will help you get the results you need. Contact for a free consultation and pricing information. We’ll help you through this so you can move on.