Johnson Tax Law P.C.
101 5th St E Suite 910
Saint PaulMN 55101

Johnson Tax Law P.C. FAQs

Do you offer free consultations?

No. We charge $300 for a one-hour consultation. We make an effort to screen contacts so that only people who seem to need a tax attorney are scheduled for a consultation.

After the consultation, do I need to retain you?

Many times the consultation itself is sufficient to clarify the issue raised, or answer the tax question posed. We cannot, however, provide legal advice during the consultation, but merely provide thoughts and strategies as to the situation. Legal advice on which the client can rely is provided through retention of the attorney beyond the consultation.

What are your retainer fees? And what are retainer fees?

A retainer fee is a deposit for future fees. 
In almost all cases, our firm performs work only with a retainer in place, at least at the start of the case. The required initial retainer varies depending on the foreseen scope of the work, but the initial retainer is in most cases between $3,000 and $10,000. We do occasionally perform work for a $1,000 retainer if the foreseen work primarily involves researching tax records to find out what is going on. The initial retainer is generally higher for an entry of appearance in an existing court case or to file a new court case, and in criminal matters.
After submission of the retainer, the hourly rate for work performed is $300/hour, which is charged against the retainer as the work is performed. There is a lesser hourly rate for any paralegal time incurred on the case.

Do you perform work on a flat-fee basis?

We almost never perform work on a flat-fee basis. A flat-fee in when work is performed for a one-time agreed upon fee for a particular task or result, or representation in a particular matter, without respect to hours of work performed.

Do I need a tax attorney?

If you are wondering if you need a tax attorney, you likely need a tax attorney, or at least you need a consultation to consider whether you need a tax attorney.

Can an accountant handle my case just as well?

In cases where retention of a tax attorney is advisable, simply – no, an accountant is not the answer. Accountants are wonderful people and talented professionals, and they excel at ‘crunching numbers’, tracking inventory and depreciation, preparing tax returns and financial statements, etc. But an accountant is not trained in matters of procedure – if your case involves an ongoing dispute with the federal or state tax authorities, including audit or collection matters, an accountant is not trained to address the various legal and procedural issues you face. Unfortunately, many accountants’ market themselves as able to handle tax procedural issues merely on the basis that they have ‘worked with taxes a lot&rsquo.
Even with respect to the correctness of a tax position, a tax attorney is better able than the accountant to provide conclusive and well-supported advice – the tax attorney is trained to analyze the background statutes and law, including case law, in order to judge the correctness of a tax position.
There are certain things an accountant absolutely cannot do, such as represent you in a U.S. or Minnesota Tax Court case.

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If I retain a tax attorney, is there a role for an accountant on my case?

In many cases, yes. The accountant, at more reasonable fees, can be utilized for preparing and filing returns and performing necessary tax computations.

Do you prepare and file tax returns?

We do not regularly prepare and file tax returns for the current tax year. An accountant is the proper professional for that role. We do handle cases involving multiple years of unfiled prior tax returns as these cases require procedural and legal expertise, although the actual return preparation and filing may be performed by an accountant.

How long will my case take?

It depends, but in cases involving multiple years of unfiled tax returns, or active disputes with the tax authorities, the client should be prepared for the fact that the case unfortunately may take months to complete with a good result. We sometimes have to say to clients, “It took years to create this situation, it may take many months or years to fix it.

Do you handle Offer-in-Compromise claims?

Yes, in the right situation, but more importantly we offer the overall judgment and experience as to whether the Offer-in-Compromise program is the correct solution for your tax issues. There are better options in particular circumstances. Unfortunately, many ‘tax resolution’ companies lack this judgment and experience and seem to put taxpayers through that program when it may not be the best solution.

Do you handle bankruptcy cases?

We do not directly file bankruptcy cases. However, we do consider whether bankruptcy is the proper solution to a case, and when it is we refer the case to attorneys that work with bankruptcy cases. On bankruptcy cases, we often perform a support role to ensure that tax issues are handled properly.

Do you handle tax lien issues?

Yes, we routinely handle property issues involving tax liens.

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