The most important skill of a tax lawyer is the ability to use negotiation to reach an agreement with disparate parties. A tax lawyer can sit with your adversaries, define the point of disagreement, and resolve differences on your behalf. Negotiation is a skill that all of us would benefit from having, but that ability to negotiate is a talent as well as a learned skill, and most of us simply do not have it.
Above anything else, good negotiations require good communication skills. A tax lawyer must listen to you and your concerns, listen to the IRS and their concerns, research your problems, and then bring all parties together in some sort of agreement. He must be able to communicate the different positions within the dispute, and then be able to discuss possible solutions which would benefit all parties involved. Everyone must leave the table feeling as though they have won something: it must be a win-win, or a negotiation does not work. Since emotion can be such a large part of a dispute, a tax lawyer has to be able to defuse anger, fear, arrogance, or any other emotion which threatens to derail a possible solution.
Skill, Experience, and Tax Knowledge
When entering a dispute which requires negotiation, such as an IRS audit, a tax lawyer has to have skill, experience, and knowledge to first define the issues, then explore various possible outcomes. He has to know the possible solutions to the tax issue, and what would be best for his client. Then, he has to convince the IRS that his solution will also be the best result for their case. Bringing the two parties together in agreement is his goal throughout what, at times, can be very heated exchanges. At times, he has no discretion because the IRS and their rules. However, knowing tax court rulings can help a tax lawyer to find possible alternatives to an arbitrary IRS decision. In many cases, a tax lawyer can work with both client and the IRS to come to a more workable conclusion than was first presented.
Once a tax lawyer, representing his client, is able to get the IRS to consider his proposal and perhaps counter offering another possibility, the bargaining begins. This phase of negotiation is critical, for the tax lawyer must appear open to suggestions, never allowing his opponent to lose face, yet maintaining a strong presence at the table. When face-to-face, his body language can indicate strength to his opponent, but a wise tax lawyer never appears arrogant and unwilling to discuss the issues. He shows that he is prepared to work with the other party to find a good solution for both.
An Efficient Negotiator
A good negotiator will never waste the time of his client or his opponent. His entire work ethic is to efficiently solve the problem of his client. He realizes that he cannot force the IRS to do anything, but he can convince them through his skills. He is goal-oriented, always remembering the client he works for. This is the type of tax lawyer that you, the taxpayer, needs when facing the IRS. You need someone who is persuasive and not afraid to take on the IRS.
Jeff Fouts, a tax lawyer, is one of the best negotiators. His skill in creating agreements, his knowledge of tax rulings, and his experience in all aspects of tax law and representation serve his clients splendidly. If you are having tax issues, consult with Jeff Fouts for he is a man with solutions.