What might be considered an unconventional philosophy, Anthony Parent, IRS Medic Founder and partner at Parent and Parent, LLC, believes that aside from his credentials it’s his empathy towards the IRS and the agents he works with daily that help make him and his tax law firm a success. “We put ourselves in the shoes of the IRS—the agents are getting it from tax payers who are very sensitive.
Another side that people miss is that if you think about how much the IRS regulates people, just think how much they regulate their employees,” he laughs. “No one ever listens to the IRS employee—we respect the position that they’re in and because of that they’re really willing to help us out in ways that they’re able to and that can make all the difference and can lead to a different solutioon
Founded in Connecticut in 2006 by the father and son team, David and Anthony Parent, IRS Medic focuses solely on helping individuals overcome tax issues whether its audit representation, bankruptcy, reducing penalties and interest, and more. They opened the firm five years ago after graduating law school together. “My dad went to law school with me when he was 59 years old. We took federal income tax together—he helped me get an ‘A’,” he laughs.
Prior to law school, David Parent worked for the state of Connecticut in the city of New Haven. Anthony notes that it’s his father’s experience working in a bureaucratic environment that instilled in him the right way to get things done bypassing the overly aggressive approach and choosing to build relationships with agents to get better results for his clients. In no time, they realized they had found their niche and began developing a system and philosophy that Anthony says gets the best results every time.
“We approach things differently. We believe a client’s tax problem was caused by something bad happening in their life—a series of mistakes or some bad things happening that they didn’t have the greatest control over,” he says. “A tax problem is a symptom of lack of control. You know, it’s ‘Oops, I made a mistake.’ We get these people to never have to get in this place again.”
Parent should know. Making mistakes is a big part of why he’s in the business of law. At the age o f16, Parent got himself into a sticky situation. And while he doesn’t discuss the details, he admits he made a big mistake and was in the wrong. “I was arrested at 16 and I deserved it and there was no disputing it. I felt like the world’s biggest dirt bag. My parents hired an attorney for me and I realized this guy’s on my side. This attorney was powerful and I thought he was really cool, and I started to realize I wasn’t so bad,” he says. Even though his case ended up being discharged, he says it was a life-changing experience. “To be the person who knows they did something wrong, I know how low that feels. I help my clients walk through the steps and let them know they don’t have to feel that way. I tell them, ‘Here are the steps; let’s not lose sleep over it. Let’s go.’”
It’s that encouraging manner and go-getter attitude that resonate so well with his clients leading them to want to stay involved with the firm even after their case is closed. “A lot of clients appreciate the fact that we have no airs, none of the hourly rate nonsense, are down to earth and focused on solving their life. And they really like the relationships. We have clients who’ve had attorneys their whole life and wished we practiced other areas of law,” he says.
In the beginning, Parent did practice other types of law. While in law school, he envisioned himself advocating for “the little people as a great public defender, conducting criminal trials and appeals” something as a child he would practice with his brother playing “courtroom drama.” In law school he won a case in a clinic and as he puts it was quite proud of himself but after graduation could not find a job despite his qualifications.
So, he went out on his own but to his dismay encountered multiple challenges. “When I went out on my own I had bad cases, failures, working insane hours, and was getting nowhere. I was pounding my head; cases would explode. The client was not happy, I wasn’t happy, nobody was happy,” he says. He adds that after partnering with his dad and delving deeper into tax law he realized he had come full circle. “My whole goal was to fight for the little guy and the best surprise is that’s what I do every day.
What I’ve learned is that there are no more important rights that affect more people than fighting against the IRS,” he says. “It ends up being the right thing for me.” Doing the right thing is important to Parent—it’s why he can’t stand to see people littering—and it’s one of the reasons why after only five years his firm is one of the biggest tax law firms in the state. Clients love that they can meet with Parent and his team face to face in the firm’s 1900’s Victorian home and be reassured that the firm has established relationships with the IRS and its agents.
And sticking with their more non-traditional style, IRS Medic charges a flat fee where other tax law firms bill by the hour. “We developed a system to get the best results. Over the last five years it’s become more sophisticated. Now we can easily manage expectations and give our clients a fee immediately. They have their guarantee that it’s all I’m going to charge,” he says.
As someone who has an affinity for the non-traditional, Parent is venturing into a new specialized tax issue called voluntary disclosure. “We have been delving into exotic stuff with the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Act. A lot of people have missed the deadline and we are trying to help them,” he says. “It’s an interesting piece of law with a lot of nuances and a specialty that a lot of firms don’t deal with it. With this it’s not just an accounting issue there’s also a criminal aspect to it.”
He emphasizes that if someone has a tax issue they consult a professional tax lawyer rather than a national non-lawyer firm or worse, a friend. He calls it “the curse of a favor.” “It really takes a special skill set and someone who does a large volume of it because things change. We have 300 open cases and 300 tests of what’s happening. If you’re not doing that volume, than you don’t have the knowledge we learned in a case yesterday that we’re applying today,” he says.
Parent is taking that skill set and his experience and applying it in a new book. Still working on a title, the book presents Parent’s unconventional take on taxes and the tax law. Not one to shy away from controversy, he laughs when he says, “The book is about tax law and how it’s the law but its focus is why the tax law is unconstitutional.” He breaks his thesis down as such: the federal government only has power granted to the states and the states have power granted by the people. Regular people aren’t permitted to look into an individual’s financial records so how did the IRS get this power that the people don’t have? He also believes that the more taxes a government gets, the more debt they get into. And while his book defends his case, it also presents a solution—one that Parent admits might not be the most popular.
“You start thinking about what an incredible invasion of privacy it is. It’s important we get rid of tax. The solution is a proposed flat fee of $8000 no matter what your income,” he says. He explains that while the book will dig deeper into the tax problem and his proposed solution, he’s still working on it and realizes that if his solution were to come to fruition, he’d be out of a job. “I hope I’m put out of business, I’d love it. The system would have to collapse but there are far too many entrenched interests,” he says. In the meantime, Parent will continue to focus on battling the system in pursuit of resolution and redemption for each of his clients. “People don’t care about the IRS, They care about how their life is destroyed by the IRS. People feel shame, fear and wonder how they’re going to get through this, how it’s ruining every part of their life,” he says. “I think a lot of firms treat tax issues as a legal problem but we treat it as people’s lives.”