A taxpayer was audited by the IRS for his personal income tax returns. At the time, the taxpayer was represented by his CPA. In connection with the audit, the IRS interviewed the taxpayer for approximately seven hours. The IRS also requested bank statements of the taxpayer’s foreign bank accounts. The taxpayer, however, did not possess any to provide to the IRS. Thereafter, the IRS issued a summons ordering the taxpayer to provide testimony and a myriad of documents. Concerned about his situation, the taxpayer retained Ben-Cohen Law Firm. Attorney Pedram Ben-Cohen advised taxpayer to make his best efforts to obtain documents from the foreign banks.
After numerous unanswered requests to the banks made by the taxpayer and Ben-Cohen Law Firm, the IRS filed a petition in Federal District Court to enforce the summons ordering the taxpayer to testify and provide the requested documents. Ben-Cohen Law Firm filed a response to the petition arguing that the taxpayer had substantially complied with the summons and that he did not possess any additional documents sought by the summons. The IRS submitted a reply reiterating its argument that the taxpayer had not complied with the summons. It then prepared a summary of the additionally requested documents and its reasoning for requesting each document. In response, Ben-Cohen Law Firm filed a brief invoking the taxpayer’s Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination as to the act of producing the documents.
Result: The Assistant United States Attorney emailed the attorneys at Ben-Cohen Law Firm stating that the IRS carefully considered taxpayer’s Fifth Amendment claim and authorized the U.S. Attorney to dismiss the summons enforcement proceeding. A joint stipulation dismissing the petition to enforce the summons was filed and the Court granted the stipulation to dismiss. The IRS subsequently audited the taxpayer and considered assessing willful FBAR penalties of at least $100,000 per year for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 against the taxpayer. Attorney Pedram Ben-Cohen zealously advocated for the taxpayer and closed the case with no FBAR penalties.
- A reputable financial advisor was audited and was not represented by Ben-Cohen Law Firm at the time. The examiner referred the financial advisor’s case to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.
- A successful realtor engaged in a 1031 exchange, which was challenged by the IRS. The IRS sent the realtor a notice of deficiency claiming she owed $1,975,870.
- A corporation was under examination by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) regarding three tax years. The corporation's unsophisticated CPA had prepared the tax returns incorrectly and included a $1.1 million shareholder loan on the books. At the time, the corporation was not represented by Ben-Cohen Law Firm.
- A corporation was under examination. After the audit, the government proposed a tax liability of $818,096. At the time, the corporation was not represented by Ben-Cohen Law Firm.
- A retired taxpayer faced a tax liability of $742,312 after voluntarily disclosing her interests in foreign assets as part of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP).
- Taxpayer’s late husband opened an account at Bank Leumi, Israel during the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The account was never reported to U.S. authorities. Taxpayer’s husband passed away and Taxpayer began receiving letters from the bank providing that her foreign account information may be turned over to the IRS.
- A successful dentist was under audit by the IRS. The dentist substantially underreported the income from his dental practice over a period of years. Taxpayer had huge unexplained deposits in his bank accounts that he did not properly report as income on his tax return. This was a classic eggshell audit.
- A prominent Texas businessman was served with a subpoena in connection with a criminal investigation being conducted into Taxpayer’s foreign account at Credit Suisse, Switzerland.
- Taxpayer owned a secret foreign account at UBS, Switzerland. Taxpayer received letters from the bank providing that Taxpayer’s account information may be turned over to the IRS.
- The accountant of a successful Los Angeles based real estate partnership mistakenly included a foreign person as a 10% partner of the partnership. In reality, the real estate partnership never had any foreign partners and it was owned 100% by U.S. persons. The IRS began levying the rental income of the real estate partnership for alleged withholding taxes owed on the foreign partner’s share of partnership income.
- Taxpayer participated in his employer’s retirement plan. Taxpayer’s employer was acquired by another company, at which time, the employer’s retirement plan was terminated, and Taxpayer received a distribution check representing his retirement savings. In order to exempt the distribution from being subject to tax, Taxpayer was required to rollover his distribution check into another retirement account within 60 days of receiving the check. Taxpayer did not timely rollover the distribution check and received notice from the IRS that his entire retirement savings was being taxed.
- Taxpayers were U.S. citizens of Greek descent who established residency in Greece. In Greece, Taxpayers established companies to manufacture and sell mountain sports equipment and apparel. Taxpayers owned several foreign accounts in Greece with high balances. Taxpayers, on the advice of another law firm, entered the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. Subsequently, Taxpayers were kicked out of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program because their attorneys did not cooperate with the Revenue Agent assigned to Taxpayers’ case.
- Taxpayers, husband and wife, were in the middle of a divorce, and the IRS audited their tax returns. Husband was a musician and his income was reported on IRS Form Schedule C (Profit or Loss From Business). Wife was a W-2 employee and properly reported all of her wage income. The IRS Agent proposed significant adjustments to Taxpayers' tax return. All the adjustments related to Husband's music business.
Result: Within 41 days after the financial advisor retained Ben-Cohen Law Firm, Attorney Pedram Ben-Cohen convinced the IRS Criminal Investigation Division to drop the case.
Result: Attorney Pedram Ben-Cohen filed a U.S. Tax Court Petition challenging the IRS’ proposed changes. The IRS conceded that there was (1) no deficiency in income tax due; (2) no failure-to-file penalty due; and (3) no accuracy-related penalty due. In addition, the realtor was entitled to a deferred loss of $44,703.
Result: After Ben-Cohen Law Firm was retained, our attorneys responded to the FTB's Information Document Requests and represented the corporation before the FTB. The examination concluded with no adjustments and no penalties.
Result: Once Ben-Cohen Law Firm was retained, Attorney Pedram Ben-Cohen filed a U.S. Tax Court Petition and closed the case with a total liability of $64,697, saving the client $753,399.
Result: Attorney Pedram Ben-Cohen advised the taxpayer to opt out of the OVDP and represented her during the subsequent audit. The examination concluded with no adjustments and no penalties.
Result: Ben-Cohen Law Firm represented Taxpayer in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. Pedram Ben-Cohen negotiated with the IRS Agent and IRS Technical Advisor to reduce Taxpayer’s offshore penalty from 25% to 5%.
Result: Ben-Cohen Law Firm represented the dentist during the examination. Pedram Ben-Cohen (1) prevented the audit from spreading to earlier and subsequent years, (2) convinced the agent not to refer the case to IRS Criminal Investigation, and (3) closed the audit without assessment of civil fraud penalties.
Result: Ben-Cohen Law Firm represented Taxpayer during the criminal investigation and responded to the subpoena. Pedram Ben-Cohen convinced the DOJ attorney handling the investigation to close the investigation and decline prosecution.
Result: Ben-Cohen Law Firm advised Taxpayer to file amended returns and delinquent FBARs (a quiet disclosure). Subsequently, Taxpayer was audited by the IRS and Pedram Ben-Cohen closed the examination with no FBAR penalties assessed.
Result: Ben-Cohen Law Firm represented the real estate partnership during the collection dispute. Pedram Ben-Cohen worked with the local Taxpayer Advocate to (1) immediately release the levy, (2) fully refund the taxes (plus interest) incorrectly assessed against the partnership, and (3) correct IRS records to reflect that the partnership does not have any foreign partners.
Result: Ben-Cohen Law Firm represented Taxpayer during the correspondence audit. Subsequently, Taxpayer received a notice of deficiency. Pedram Ben-Cohen filed a Tax Court Petition and concurrently sought a ruling from the IRS waiving the 60-day rollover requirement. Pedram Ben-Cohen was successful in obtaining the ruling and Taxpayer’s retirement savings was not taxed.
Result: Taxpayers engaged the Ben-Cohen Law Firm to represent them in connection with the examination of Taxpayers’ foreign accounts. Pedram Ben-Cohen closed the examination with no FBAR penalties assessed.
Result: Wife engaged the Ben-Cohen Law Firm to represent her in an innocent spouse claim. Pedram Ben-Cohen filed an administrative innocent spouse claim with the IRS. The claim was denied. Subsequently, Mr. Ben-Cohen appealed the innocent spouse claim to IRS Appeals. IRS Appeals granted wife partial innocent spouse relief. Finally, Mr. Ben-Cohen filed a petition with the United States Tax Court and the IRS granted wife's innocent spouse claim in full.