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What is an IRS Debt Attorney?

Alexis W.
Alexis W.

An IRS debt attorney may be an attorney who works for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to sue people who owe back taxes or who have participated in tax evasion. Alternatively, an IRS debt attorney may represent a defendant who is accused of tax fraud by the government, helping the defendant fight the lawsuit and prove his innocence. IRS lawyers who represent defendants may also help their clients negotiate a payment plan or settlement with the IRS.

The Internal Revenue Service is the government agency in the United States responsible for collecting income tax payments. All individuals who earn income in the United States are required to file a tax return with the IRS. Almost every individual who earns money in the US is also required to pay taxes, with the exception of those who earn very low wages.

The Internal Revenue Service logo.
The Internal Revenue Service logo.

Some people, however, do not fulfill their full obligation to pay taxes. These individuals may neglect to file a tax return entirely. They may also under report their income, not disclosing cash payments or the full amount they owe. Some others may overstate expenses, overstate losses, claim dependents they don't have, or otherwise engage in behavior designed to reduce their tax burdens and avoid paying what they legally owe.

If an IRS identifies a person it believes willfully neglected to pay taxes, the IRS may employ an IRS debt attorney to bring a case in tax court. All tax cases related to federal tax evasion or underpayment are brought in federal court. A person who willfully did not pay his taxes may be subject to fines or jail time on the basis of these federal court proceedings.

A person who is sued by the IRS will also want to hire an IRS debt attorney. The attorney can help the defendant explore his legal rights and understand the potential risks of the lawsuit. The IRS debt attorney can also help the accused defendant mount a defense, proving his innocence or at least his lack of criminal intent to defraud.

IRS debt can be very difficult to cope with for many. IRS debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy and the IRS can garnish wages, put a lien on a home or take other drastic steps to collect money owed. An IRS attorney representing a defendant can help the defendant negotiate with the IRS to pay less back taxes to reduce the total amount owed.

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    • The Internal Revenue Service logo.
      The Internal Revenue Service logo.