At the Ben-Cohen Law Firm, we have substantial experience helping clients with civil and criminal tax matters. We represent taxpayers against taxing authorities such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Justice, and California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). Our Beverly Hills tax attorneys have the knowledge and abilities of a larger firm, but we provide the more personal attention of a boutique firm to each client’s case. Our firm has a proven track record of success on both federal and state levels.Tax Litigation
Tax disputes start with an audit, which is the mechanism by which the IRS or FTB reviews a tax return to determine whether the agency agrees with the income, expenses, and tax payments reported on a return. An audit may result in the agency proposing no changes, the agency proposing adjustments with which the taxpayer agrees entirely or partially, or the agency proposing adjustments with which the taxpayer does not agree at all. Sometimes there is a dispute, but not all tax disputes must result in litigation. Often, it is possible for taxpayers to negotiate with the agency to achieve a resolution to the dispute without litigation. However, in some cases, it is not possible to resolve the matter informally. It is crucial to retain an experienced Beverly Hills tax attorney who understands the complicated tax laws and rules, and who also has litigation skills.Tax Appeals
If you are audited by the IRS and are unhappy with the outcome, you may want to file a protest with an IRS Appeals office, which is supposed to conduct an unbiased review and resolve the dispute without litigation. The Appeals officer sets the case for a conference to explore the possibility of settling the dispute. The officer will be looking at the likelihood that the IRS' position will be upheld by a court. In addition, the Appeals officer can weigh the hazards of litigation, both to the IRS and taxpayers, to propose a settlement offer. If the conference does not resolve the case to your satisfaction, you may move on to court. Moreover, once a tax dispute is adjudicated at the trial level, a party that disagrees with the outcome has a right to appeal that decision as well.Criminal Tax Matters
Closely related to criminal charges is the eggshell audit, which is actually a civil IRS examination in which there is potential criminal exposure. In some cases, the agent finds no criminal issues, or the agent finds that there are some concerns but decides not to proceed with a criminal investigation. In other situations, a case might be referred to the Criminal Investigations Division of the IRS. In certain cases, if you are represented by an experienced tax attorney and litigator, it may be possible to contract with an accountant such that the attorney-client privilege also covers your accountants. Without what is called a Kovel arrangement, the accountant might be compelled to share sensitive, potentially damaging information.
The IRS often pursues criminal cases in which it believes that a taxpayer has underreported income, fraudulently overstated deductions, filed false income tax returns, failed to collect or pay employment taxes, conspired to obstruct the IRS, or made false statements to the IRS. The FTB pursues similar types of criminal charges at the state level.
If you are pursued by the Criminal Investigation Division, the IRS must provide approval for the case to be sent for prosecution. At each step, you have the opportunity to explain misunderstandings or establish why the government is incorrect about its position. It is important to have an experienced Beverly Hills criminal tax attorney at your side to maximize the chance that the matter is resolved without prosecution.Consult an Experienced Tax Attorney in Beverly Hills and Beyond
Beverly Hills was originally a ranch where lima beans were cultivated, but it was incorporated in 1914 by investors and has become the home of many high-asset individuals and families since that time. It consists of about 35,000 residents with a median household income of about $90,000. If you are concerned about tax litigation, tax appeals, offshore assets, employment taxes, voluntary disclosures, or other tax matters, the Beverly Hills tax lawyers at the Ben-Cohen Law Firm may be able to advise or represent you. Contact us online or at (310) 272-7600 for an appointment with an IRS audit lawyer or assistance with another tax matter.