If it appears that you need to hire a representative to help you against the IRS there are many options. Who you choose will be a process of elimination. There are generally 3 types of persons who can represent you before the IRS: Attorneys, CPA's & Enrolled Agents.
An Enrolled Agent generally is an expert in preparing tax returns and can address minor issues, such as a Return Error. They often have experience with bookkeeping, sales and payroll taxes. They are invaluable to maintain an accurate set of books for an on-going business and to prepare accurate returns for the various governmental entities.
A CPA has gone through the ordeal of obtaining an accounting degree and being "certified" by the State as being competent to handle all matters of accounting, financial planning, cost accounting and auditing. They often handle large business transactions and forecast planning. They have knowledge of business accounting beyond simple bookkeeping. Many CPA's are also CEO's and CFO's of major corporations. They have knowledge of large enterprises, but not necessarily Individuals.
A Tax Attorney has endured 3 years of law school to get a Juris Doctor degree and has passed the State Bar exam allowing him or her to represent you before Courts and administrative agencies. Many Attorneys have also obtained a Masters of Laws in Taxation (LLM) degree from accredited Universities. This gives the lawyer a special expertise in IRS procedure, administrative agency law and Tax Court processes. The lawyer is adept at handling personal and business Audits, Exams, Appeals, Tax Court and US District Court.
So, if you want a bookkeeper to prepare your books and tax returns, please see an Enrolled Agent or the bookkeepers at TaxHelpReturns. If you need some business financial and accounting planning advice a CPA is perfect.
But, for most of the problems with the IRS a Tax Attorney is best because the procedures are unique and require specialized processing. As such, Audits, Appeals, Collections and all other advocacy should be advanced by a qualified Tax Attorney.
And, you will find that because of the attorney's expertise in procedural matters that the cost will be less expensive!
Be Warned: Any "representative" who gives you a "free" consultation is obviously going to try to convince you to pay them a lot of money, without regard to your welfare.
J. David Hopkins, JD LLM