There's a modern day expression that refers to "talking heads." These are people who talk a lot but don't really say much. These can be people in meetings or television analysts. Talking heads may be educated and competent in their fields, but they lack the ability to convey useful information.
You can certainly hire a local talking head for help settling tax debt. But if you do, don't be surprised at the results. The IRS is an interesting combination of fact and fiction. They use your tax returns as fact and then often interpret rules and regulations in their favor in a fictional manner.
It takes a lot more than a talking head to negotiate with the IRS. A negotiator must be able to present the facts in an indisputable manner. A tax representative must also be able to sway the IRS agent to make a decision in your favor. This is not easy and is not a job that just anyone is able to handle.
When you need help settling tax debt, the problem should not be left in the hands of someone without specific negotiating experience. The tax laws are very complicated and these complications filter down to the forms and calculation. A tax negotiator understands the system and is able to work with the IRS to come to agreement on how to settle your tax debt in a way that does not traumatize your financial life.
One of the problems with talking heads is they often deal in generalities. When you need help settling tax debt, generalities won't suffice. You need serious resolutions based on the current tax law and tax rules.
A tax negotiator is only able to be effective by keeping abreast of the changes to the rules. When someone attempts to negotiate with the IRS and makes it clear they are not familiar with the process, the IRS will naturally rule in a way that benefits the agency's collections. What you really want is someone who will fight for you using knowledge and familiarity with the negotiation process.
In other words, you want someone who will make sure that any help settling tax debt you receive results in lower taxes, a reasonable settlement or a fair opportunity to pay off back taxes due.