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Shouldn’t I Use an Attorney to Represent Me?
If you have a desire to pay more money, by all means hire an attorney to represent you before the Internal Revenue Service. However, EAs and CPAs have the exact same practice rights before the IRS. Some attorneys attempt to scare clients into believing that only an attorney can protect their rights. So, let’s look at the facts.
Attorney-client privilege was extended to EAs and CPAs in the IRS Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998. Except for criminal cases, EAs and CPAs now stand on equal footing with attorneys. By all means, if you are involved in a criminal matter, you should only see an attorney to protect your legal rights. However, 99.99% of all taxpayers do NOT fall into that very small category.
Neither attorneys nor EAs or CPAs have attorney-client privilege with respect to the preparation of tax returns.
My position is that any tax professional that has to scare you into believing that only they can give you adequate representation is not worthy of your business. EAs and CPAs can do everything that an attorney can within the administrative functions of the IRS including Offers in Compromise, payment agreements, trust fund cases, penalty abatements, etc.
More important than the professional designation is the job that professional can do. Ask yourself if you want someone representing you that has testified on Capitol Hill and that media regularly asks to comment on the IRS.