23837 Sarda Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Call: (818) 842-5927
Fax: (818) 845-6031
Dick Norton, EA, FATP
Tax Resolution Specialist
 National Association of Enrolled Agents California Society of Enrolled Agents
Home About Representation Consultation Preparation Tax Issues Self-Help FAQs Engagement Contact

Attorneys and Tax Professionals who perform legal, accounting and financial services, including

  • tax audit and collection representation and resolution before the Federal and State taxing authorities,

  • tax return preparation,  and

  • tax consulting services  

require clients to sign an Engagement Letter.  This is a form of contract that defines our mutual responsibilities, the nature and scope of the services to be provided, the fee, and terms of payment for those services. 

For preparing your tax returns or providing you with consulting services, the Engagement Letter  is the only document that you (and if your are married, your spouse) need to sign.  The Engagement Letter is a PDF Document that I can E-mail (as an attachment), fax, or mail to you.  Once signed and dated, you can mail it back to me, fax it or scan/e-mail it.  I will keep your information private and secure.

In order to represent you before the tax agencies, you (and your spouse, if you are married and we are dealing with a joint return or joint liability) also will need to sign a Power of Attorney (in addition to the Engagement Letter) authorizing me to represent you before the tax agency.  The tax-specific power of attorney is only valid for communicating with the IRS or state tax agency.  The power of attorney premits the IRS to discuss your case or situation with me, and vice-versa. The power of attorney is only required for representation clients.

Your Power of Attorney is an official document that I submit to the IRS or state tax agency.  I will either e-mail, fax or mail that document to you with the Engagement Letter, or hand it and the Engagement Letter to you to sign if we are meeting to discuss your case.

For me to prepare the Engagement Letter, please e-mail,  fax, or mail me your (and your spouse's, if applicable):

  • full name as typically shown on tax returns or official tax documents

  • your home address,

  • home, work, mobile, and fax phone numbers,  

  • the tax form (e.g., 1040 for individual, 1120 for corporation, 1041 for trust/fiduciary returns, etc),

  • the tax years (or tax periods) for which you need my services,

  • and your E-mail address for our communication.

For the Power of Attorney, I will also need for you (and your spouse, if applicable),

  • Social Security Number, and

  • date of birth.

I will prepare and E-mail the Engagement Letter (and Power of Attorney, if required) to you.   The Engagement Letter and the Power of Attorney will be PDF documents.   Once you receive the Engagement Letter (and Power of Attorney, if included), please review them carefully and contact me if you have any questions.  The power of attorney must be letter perfect.  Neither the IRS nor state tax agencies accepts powers of attorney that have cross-outs or white-outs. 

It is important to sign, date, and return the Engagement Letter (and Power of Attorney, if included) quickly (ideally, within 7 days) so as not to delay the start of our engagement.  If you have any questions, please contact me by e-mail or telephone (see my contact page) as soon as possible. 

As soon as I receive the signed and dated documents back along with the applicable deposit or retainer, I can begin working on your returns, perform consulting work, or begin representing you before the specific tax agency or agencies for which you need my help.


I understand that prospective clients want to know what it will cost them to get the help they need.  I provide a general discussion of fees below that should be helpful.  Of course, you can always call me for a more detailed projection.  I do offer clients a variety of methods for making payments - cash, check, credit/debit card, PayPal, Zelle, and Venmo.  


My fee schedule is broken down into four categories:

  • Tax Return Preparation

  • Consultation

  • Representation

  • Expert Witness (litigation)

Tax Preparation

My fees for preparation of federal and state income tax returns are based upon the volume of data to be analyzed and schedules required to accurately report your income and expenses.  Wage earners generally require fewer schedules, so the cost for those returns is typically less than the more complicated returns that report businesses, rentals and/or significant investment transactions.  I will be pleased to E-mail you an estimate for preparing your federal and state income tax returns if you furnish me a copy of your last filed return along with any significant changes in your financial transactions for the year of preparation. 

For individuals who live in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, or San Gabriel valleys and because of age or disability have difficulty getting to my office in Santa Clarita, I do offer in-home return preparation.  I do charge a reasonable travel fee to cover my gas expense and time on the road.  My mobility challenged clients appreciate the personal service and convenience that in-home tax preparation offers them.


My fees for representing individuals, partnerships and corporations before the Internal Revenue Service (for an IRS audit, IRS collection or an IRS appeal of either division's determination), and the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) are based upon an hourly rate plus any out-of-pocket expenses such as for travel.  

Like most professionals, I do require a reasonable retainer.  The amount of the retainer will depend on the type of representation (collection, audit or appeal) as the anticipated work involved varies among those categories of representation.

Offers in Compromise

All IRS and State Offers in Compromise (a process whereby we propose to resolve or settle your IRS or State tax balance for a percentage of what is owed) are handled on an hourly rate basis.  With hourly billing, the more time and effort my client is willing to put into the required tasks, the less it will cost for the entire process.  Clients appreciate the opportunity to reduce representation costs by doing as much of the work as possible under my guidance. 

If you are considering filing an OIC, it is very important that you retain a representative intimately familiar with the OIC process who will be able to present your OIC case as persuasively as possible.   Please be sure to read the material on this web site that discusses Offers in Compromise in more depth. I have had excellent results in getting client OICs accepted. 

As mentioned in several places on this website, there is no charge for my initial e-mail consultation for discussing your potential qualification for an Offer in Compromise - providing that you have completed and submitted the OIC questionnaire.  Please read the Consultation page for more information on this. 


In addition to consultation concerning OIC qualification (discussed above), I offer limited free initial phone consultation for answering general questions regarding an audit or collection notice you just received and general options you have.  For instance, you just received a Notice of Intent to Levy (letter CP504) from the IRS, and you want to know what it means, and what likely will happen next.  

Please understand that free consultation does NOT include giving you specific guidance on how you can protect your assets or assessing your chance of prevailing on an IRS, FTB or other tax agency appeal given your specific financial situation.   

Office consultation to discuss your specific tax controversy does require a minimum of one (1) hour prepaid fee before our meeting.  You can either make the electronic payment or mail a check or money order to reserve a time.  Additional blocks of 30-minutes each can be purchased as needed.  Please E-mail or call me for more details.

Additional telephone or e-mail consultation time beyond the time purchased, if needed, is available at my standard hourly rate payable in additional blocks of 30 minutes.  Office consultation is billable at 1/10 of an hour increments (after the initial 1-hour block) at my standard rate. 

Just to recap, my initial e-mail consultation exclusively for evaluating your potential qualification for an Offer in Compromise - doubt as to collectability (once you have completed and submitted the Offer questionnaire)  is free.   Any discussion of other aspects of your case (such as challenging your underlying liability, audit strategies, asset protection, appeals, installment agreements, etc)  would be considered a formal consultation engagement, or as an integral part of our representation engagement. 

Expert Witness

My fees for testifying as an IRS expert witness depend upon the nature of the case, the location of the trial and other variables that need to be discussed.  If you are an attorney, plaintiff or defendant involved in litigation and are in need of an expert in matters relating to IRS tax law or procedures, please contact me and we can discuss your case and the potential value of my testimony.

With our years of experience, we firmly believe that time-based fees are in the best interests of our clients and our firm.


Dick Norton

Tax Resolution Specialist


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Updated 1/8/24