Los Angeles Tax LawyersSophisticated Guidance and Advocacy for Los Angeles Taxpayers
The Ben-Cohen Law Firm is dedicated to assisting our clients with civil and criminal tax controversy matters against the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice, Franchise Tax Board, and other taxing authorities. Our firm provides our clients with all of the benefits of a large law firm while sparing our clients the financial burdens that come with retaining a large firm. Our firm has the knowledge and capabilities of a large practice, and our Los Angeles tax lawyers continue to remain focused on personalized service, offering the close relationships, individual attention, and communication that only a boutique firm can deliver.
What distinguishes our law firm from other firms is a combination of many critical elements, including:
- Comprehensive understanding of tax procedure and the tax controversy process,
- Extensive experience dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (both Civil and Criminal Investigations divisions), the Department of Justice, and California Franchise Tax Board, and
- A proven track record of successfully litigating unresolved taxclaims.
Whether the client our firm represents is an individual or a business organization, we know that it is about the people – us as your attorneys and you as an individual or an officer of an organization – and the relationships we build together that help us provide you with outstanding legal representation. In this partnership, communication and mutual respect are paramount, and we strive to deliver that level of service to each of our clients. You can also trust us to provide you not only with regular communication but also with clear, straightforward answers that give you the information you need, without excessive legal “background noise.” At the Ben-Cohen Law Firm in Los Angeles, our experienced tax attorneys use our in-depth knowledge of the law to help our clients meet their strategic needs and goals.Tax Audits
An audit requires a taxpayer to explain their expenses and deductions while describing their income sources. The IRS can conduct a tax audit by mail or through an in-person interview. We can assist you with the audit process as well as any ensuing dispute with the IRS or California Franchise Tax Board.Criminal Tax Audits
These audits are also known as eggshell audits because they can result in criminal liability. The IRS has increased the rate of these audits in recent years. If the agent conducting the audit finds a problem with compliance, they may make a referral to the Criminal Investigations Division of the IRS. Our Los Angeles tax attorneys are experienced in criminal tax audits and can work with an accountant under a Kovel agreement to help you resolve the situation. (A Kovel agreement involves extending the attorney-client privilege from your attorney to an accountant.) We will seek to prevent a referral to the Criminal Investigations Division, while also limiting or preventing penalties for civil fraud.
Criminal charges brought by the Tax Division of the Justice Department should be taken seriously. These may be based on a failure to file a tax return, a failure to report all income, false statements, false tax returns and other documents, or overstated deductions, among other crimes. Meanwhile, the criminal investigations program that forms part of the California Franchise Tax Board handles cases related to false returns, failing to file returns, or refund fraud. We can help you fight the government’s case at every step of the way so that you can avoid the devastating consequences that can result from a conviction. For example, cooperating with the authorities can help a taxpayer avoid an indictment in some cases. However, anything that you say in these situations can be used against you, so consulting a tax attorney in the Los Angeles area is a critical step to take.Tax Appeals
Taxpayers who are unsatisfied with the results of an IRS audit can appeal the outcome to the IRS Appeals office in their area. The goal of the Appeals division is to promote compliance with the tax code by resolving these disputes fairly and avoiding the need for litigation. An Appeals officer will try to settle your case at a conference. They will assess the chance that a court will agree with the IRS upon review and adopt a position accordingly. If you do not reach a settlement at a conference, or if you want to bypass this process, you can bring your case to federal court. We can also assist you with appealing the outcome of a California Franchise Tax Board assessment by filing a written protest and bringing your case to the State Board of Equalization, as well as a state court if needed.Tax Litigation
If you cannot reach a reasonable resolution to a tax dispute, going to court may be necessary. Our Los Angeles tax lawyers can represent you against the IRS in the U.S. tax court as well as trial court and appellate court. If your dispute arises from a California Franchise Tax Board assessment, we can help you develop a strategy and prepare for a hearing before the State Board of Equalization. Pedram Ben-Cohen can bring insights to tax litigation from his previous experience with two international tax defense firms, as well as the Tax Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He will try to obtain a favorable settlement if possible while remaining ready for administrative hearings and trials.Employment Taxes
The distinction between an employee and an independent contractor can be challenging to understand. The IRS and the California Employment Development Department use a 20-factor test to determine which designation applies. Sometimes the IRS or the EDD will decide that an employer has inappropriately classified an employee as an independent contractor. As a result, they may pursue tax assessments and retroactive penalties from an employer that failed to withhold employment taxes for that individual. Sometimes the employer can avoid these assessments and penalties by passing the reasonable basis test, the position test, and the tax return test under Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978. We can help you argue that your business satisfies these tests.Residency Audits
A taxpayer may be subject to a residency audit by the California Franchise Tax Board. Whether they are a resident, a part-time resident, or a non-resident will affect the amount of their tax obligation. This process may take years to complete and may involve documents related to a taxpayer’s home or lease, travel documents, employment agreements, bank statements, credit card statements, and voter registration information. A residency audit may also involve matters related to a taxpayer’s income, deductions, and credits. We are experienced in the complexities of this process and can fight for you to achieve the best possible outcome.Tax Collection Defense
If you need to fight an assessment of a deficiency after a tax audit, the tax lawyers at our Los Angeles firm can guide you through the collection defense process. You may be able to request a reconsideration of your audit. If the IRS does not grant a reconsideration, which is at its discretion, you may have other arguments that you can make. Perhaps the IRS violated the statute of limitations for assessment or the statute of limitations for collection. Or perhaps you can make an offer in compromise or arrange for an installment payment agreement. You can also file a due process appeal, which will pause collection efforts and provide for an independent review of the collection.Consult a Knowledgeable Tax Attorney in the Los Angeles Area
We recognize that, to a client, his or her case is the only case. We seek to give each client the diligent, determined legal assistance they deserve, and to do so as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible, an aspect in which our size places us at a distinct advantage.
Our commitment to service is only part of the picture. Even the best client-care skills would be useless without substantial legal acumen to accomplish a client’s needs and objectives. The Ben-Cohen Law Firm offers its clients exactly that degree of skill, bringing to bear tax controversy experience on a wide array of sophisticated and sensitive tax issues, as is necessary to ensure that the work we do for our clients is of the highest quality. Founding partner Pedram Ben-Cohen is an attorney and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), as well as a Certified Taxation Law Specialist, certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
We understand that sometimes even the most knowledgeable and savvy businessperson can make mistakes when it comes to tax issues. That is why we are here: to assist our clients with creative solutions to minimize their tax exposure. We are also here to anticipate potential issues, and to take preventative steps before they become serious problems. If you have a tax issue, or if you need to seek advice about avoiding tax issues, contact the Ben-Cohen Law Firm. We are ready to help you navigate through any obstacles that you may be facing and build a sturdy financial future. Call us at (310) 272-7600 or complete our online form to set up your appointment with a tax lawyer at our Los Angeles firm.