There are 3 types of approved IRS tax practitioners.
- CPA; or,
- Enrolled Agent.
All 3 designations are approved to represent taxpayers before the IRS. There is ABSOLUTELY no different treatment or distinction made by the IRS regardless of designation.
Unfortunately many tax resolution firms have capitalized on the tax practitioner distinction by selling the false claim that you want to be represented by an attorney. An Attorney is provided the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS simply because they are licensed attorneys. There is no special education or specific training that an attorney must take to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Often times, many of the large tax resolution firms will hire an attorney simply for advertising purposes. It is very common for the attorney at large resolution firms to be nothing more than a figurehead. Many of them do not actually work the tax resolution client files at all. This was the case with the Tax Offices of Roni Deutch, Freedom Tax Relief, Taxmasters, JK Harris, Signature Tax Relief, and Optima Tax Relief.
The only tax practitioner who is required to have actual working knowledge of the IRS to earn their credentials are Enrolled Agents. An enrolled agent must pass a rigorous exam administered by the IRS. This exam covers all forms, publications, and extensive knowledge of IRS rules and procedures. This is why you will find that most tax resolution firms use enrolled agents to actually negotiate and truly represent their tax resolution clients.
Even CPAs have more direct education and training in regards to actual tax representation than attorneys. The CPA exam is 14 hours long and tests the competency of accounting. Many tax resolution firms hire CPAs to prepare tax returns, handle client bookkeeping and company accounting and billing.
It is unfortunate that so many taxpayers have been led to believe that an attorney is required to represent them before the IRS. It would be even worse for those taxpayers who bought into the myth to find out that the attorney never worked their file and that they were charged much more than they would have had they just hired an Enrolled Agent or a CPA.