CPA vs. Tax Attorney: A CPA-attorney Discusses Differences

bigstock-Versus-letters-logo-White-V-a-95116688-2.jpgSome certified public accountants help businesses structure transactions and some attorneys prepare income tax forms. The lines between the two professions can blur but a CPA-lawyer says it is important to understand distinctions that separate the two groups.

The Florida attorney and accountant says in some cases, a CPA will attempt to represent a client or give legal advice in areas best left to lawyers.

He said one area of obvious disadvantage to the client is when a CPA discovers that a past tax return failed to report unreported income or failed to accurately report deductible expenses. In those situations, the matter should be referred to an experienced tax attorney, but sometimes the accountant will try to fix the matter himself or herself by filing an amended return.

"That can be dangerous," the attorney-accountant said.

He notes that an amended return is an admission that the original return contained misstatements about income or deductions. Once filed, it also chains the client to the revised statements about income, expenses and taxes owed. He adds that one element of tax evasion is income omission or claiming deductions to which you are not entitled.

Handled improperly, these admissions could in some cases result in prosecution. He says that in most situations, a voluntary disclosure will not result in charges, but it is a situation best handled by an attorney experienced in tax controversies; who understands the risks involved in prematurely filing an amended return.

“By getting a written legal opinion from a reputable tax attorney, the accountant and client can insulate themselves from being penalized,” the lawyer-accountant said.  The tax lawyers at Robert J. Fedor, Esq have the experience working with all parties involved in controversial, confusing, and criminal tax matters.  

Contact Robert J. Fedor, Esq.