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Experienced Tax Attorney in the Los Angeles Area

At the Ben-Cohen Law Firm, our principal is both an attorney and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This allows clients struggling with tax issues to obtain legal advice from an individual who has an in-depth understanding of tax returns and how the IRS reviews them. Mr. Ben-Cohen represents clients in federal civil and criminal tax matters, including litigation, appeals, audits, voluntary disclosures, offshore matters, and collection defense. In addition to federal representation, he provides representation before the California Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department. Mr. Ben-Cohen has significant experience representing out of state clients in California residency audits. If you are struggling with an audit or another tax issue, a Los Angeles tax lawyer at the Ben-Cohen Law Firm may be able to assist you.

Criminal Tax Defense

Tax crimes are taken seriously by federal and state governments. Many federal tax crimes involve an element of willfulness. Under Title 26 U.S.C. § 7201, anyone who willfully tries to evade or defeat a tax is guilty of a federal felony. Among other penalties, a conviction under this section may result in imprisonment for five years for each offense, a maximum fine of $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for corporations, or both. A willful failure to file a return, provide information to the IRS, or pay a tax is a misdemeanor under Title 26 U.S.C. § 7203. Each offense is punishable by a maximum of one year imprisonment, fines of up to $100,000, or both, plus the cost of prosecution.

Criminal Tax Audits

Some civil IRS examinations have the potential to ultimately result in a criminal investigation. These are also known as eggshell audits because the taxpayer may face serious consequences and should tread carefully to avoid them. Eggshell audits often arise when a taxpayer under-reports income or over-reports deductions. If an IRS agent who conducts this type of audit finds a criminal issue, he or she will decide whether or not to refer the case to the Criminal Investigations Division of the IRS. If the case is referred, criminal prosecution may result. By enlisting a knowledgeable tax attorney at the Ben-Cohen Law Firm, you can improve your chances of keeping an eggshell audit within the civil examination process and shielding yourself from criminal prosecution, as well as avoiding or minimizing any civil fraud penalties that may be imposed.

Representation in Civil Tax Matters

Civil tax matters include audits, collection defense, and offshore assets. Whether they occur by mail or in person with a review of your records, tax audits can be very stressful. Representation before the IRS by an experienced attorney and CPA can make the experience easier. We also handle protests before the IRS appeals office, as well as before the United States Tax Court and federal courts, if the outcome of an audit is unfavorable.

We can provide both substantive and procedural defenses to audits. One procedural defense involves the statute of limitations period. Under Title 26 U.S.C. § 6501, the amount of any tax imposed by the IRS must be assessed within three years after a taxpayer files a return. However, there are exceptions to this limitations period. For example, if the return is false or fraudulent, or if a return is not filed, there is no statute of limitations. Furthermore, the statute of limitations period is extended from three years to six years if a taxpayer grossly underreports income.

Tax Appeals

The IRS has an appeal system to allow taxpayers who disagree with the IRS examiner to settle their matter without going to court. However, if you do not want to appeal within this system, you can take your case to tax court. A local appeals office handles appeals of tax decisions reached by an IRS tax examiner, which means a different person will handle your appeal than the person who handled your audit. One significant difference between an appeals officer and an IRS tax examiner is that an appeals officer can take into account the hazards of litigation to settle your case. The IRS examiner cannot take such hazards into account at the audit level. This distinction can lead to reasonable settlements at Appeals without going to court.

If you skip the IRS Appeals system, or you disagree with the determinations made at your Appeals conference, you can bring your case to the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, or the appropriate U.S. District Court.

California Residency Audits

Many people vacation or spend part of the year in California without becoming a full-time resident of the state. Residency has a substantial impact on the amount of a taxpayer's obligation under California law. The California Franchise Tax Board periodically conducts residency audits to examine whether a taxpayer is staying in the state for only a temporary or transitory purpose, or whether the taxpayer is staying in California for a long-term period or indefinitely. This is a critical distinction because only people who are in the state indefinitely or for a long-term period have a tax obligation under California law. An extensive range of documents may be requested during this lengthy, complex process, and it is important to seek legal representation to ensure that your rights are protected and that auditors maintain confidentiality in handling your personal information.

Consult a Knowledgeable Tax Lawyer in Los Angeles

Tax law is intimidating to most people. It is a complex and nuanced area that even sophisticated business people have difficulty navigating. If you are facing a criminal or civil tax dispute, or filing an appeal, you should consult an experienced Los Angeles tax attorney at the Ben-Cohen Law Firm. In addition to being a CPA, Mr. Ben-Cohen is a Certified Taxation Law Specialist who is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Contact Mr. Ben-Cohen and his staff at (310) 272-7600 or via our online form to set up an appointment with an audit attorney or explore your options regarding any other civil, criminal, or appellate matter related to tax law. We assist people throughout Los Angeles County, including in Santa Monica, Malibu, Venice, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Burbank, Pasadena, and Sherman Oaks.

Client Reviews
I approached Mr. Ben-Cohen regarding a pending case with the State of California and my small business. During a time that was quite stressful, I found Mr. Ben-Cohen to be the perfect person to represent me and my company. He communicated with me in clear terms so that I understood everything that was taking place in a timely manner. He treated my situation with the type of candor you only find in a consummate professional and successfully negotiated a deal with the State of California that far exceeded my expectations. I found him to be kind, efficient, sensitive and nothing short of brilliant. I consider myself fortunate to have met him and highly recommend his services. I will not hesitate to use his firm in the future should a need arise. Google, We Care Spa
I am an international tax advisor and have worked with Pedram on more than a dozen difficult and challenging cases. Pedram's clients and fellow advisors highly respect him because he has an uncanny ability to quickly identify and work diligently to resolve his clients' issues. Pedram is pragmatic in his approach. He is transparent with his clients and dedicated to getting to a fair and reasonable outcome. I have attended an IRS Appeals conference with Pedram and would want no other attorney on my side. Pedram is extremely passionate in his work and representing his clients. He is also enjoyable to work with and develops very good relationships with his clients and fellow advisors. I highly recommend Pedram for any tax controversy work. Avvo, Curt
Top Drawer Tax Fraud Lawyer. Pedram got me out a CI jam I thought I would not resolve. He is also fair and reasonable with his billing. I interviewed 4 top Tax Fraud Lawyers in LA and went with Pedram...Glad I did! Google, Michael Jeppson
Pedram Ben-Cohen at Ben-Cohen Law Firm, PLC is one of the most incredible, creative, and caring attorneys I have ever dealt with. He gave us hope but also gave us the reality and worst case scenario. He fought for us tooth and nail. The attention and time Pedram put into the case was like no other. He charged us more than fair and was very reasonable in every aspect. He is not the kind of attorney that charges for every minute. I liked him very much not only as an attorney but as a person because he is very honest, is true to his integrity, and is dedicated to his clients. He loves what he does and has the passion to protect and defend his clients, which totally shows in his work and our outcome. We originally hired another attorney from a famous firm who basically did not give us much hope on our case . That is when we came to Pedram who won our case in a short amount of time and got us the outcome we were looking for. Because of Pedram and his creativeness, willingness, and dedication, he got us our favorable outcome. He is our go to attorney for sure, without a doubt. Avvo, Anonymous
A few years ago I had a major tax problem and I was looking for the right professional tax lawyer. I interviewed at least five experts and all of them were very professional. I am very picky. When I met Mr. Pedram Ben-Cohen, it took me no more than five minutes to decide that he was the one, and I was absolutely right with my intuition. He is very professional, knowledgeable, smart, and knows his job perfectly. In addition to all of his professional skills, as a person he is very friendly, pleasant, ready to help, and took care of me like I was his own family. I referred and recommended him to friends and family with tax problems and will continue to do so warmly to anyone. I know that he is able and will do his job the best way for his clients. He is my personal tax lawyer and expert and will remain so. Google, Shlomo Kattan
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