The United States tax system is based on a voluntary compliance model. This means that individuals and businesses are responsible for determining their own tax liabilities and voluntarily paying any taxes reported owed. From time to time, taxpayers find themselves in disputes with the IRS or the United States over the correct amount of their tax liabilities (these disputes are known as tax controversies). Our firm represents individuals and businesses involved in tax controversies with the IRS, the United States Department of Justice, and various state departments of revenue.
Our firm's founder, Attorney Jordan D. Howlette, spent several years as a trial attorney in the DOJ's Tax Division, where he litigated a wide variety of civil tax cases in federal courts throughout the country on behalf of the United States. We leverage Mr. Howlette's experience to provide clients with superior legal services in resolving their tax matters. Contact us to discuss your specific circumstances and legal needs with an experienced tax attorney.
Tax Practice Areas
Tax Refund Litigation
Taxpayers generally have three years from the date they file a federal income tax return to request a tax refund. If the IRS denies or fails to act on the request, taxpayers can sue the United States in federal court to obtain a judgment for the refund amount owed. There are many strategical considerations involved in refund litigation, which is why having an experienced, competent litigator can make a big difference in the outcome of the case. Contact us to speak with an experienced tax litigator and learn how we can help.
Civil Penalty Litigation
There are more than 140 penalty provisions contained within the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS assesses penalties against taxpayers for a variety of reasons, the more common of which relate to: (1) not filing a tax return; (2) not timely paying federal income taxes; and (3) not timely paying employment taxes. There are several penalty relief options available to taxpayers, but they often require navigating a complicated administrative process or litigation in federal court. Contact us to discuss the details of civil penalty matter and learn how we can be of assistance with seeking relief.
Tax & Penalty Abatement Requests
Taxpayers may seek an abatement of taxes and penalties with the IRS by following a very specific set of procedures. The IRS can reevaluate tax and penalty assessments if the taxpayer submits material information not previously considered when the tax and/or penalty assessments became final. We can assist with filing these abatement requests with the IRS. Contact us to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable tax attorney.
Taxpayers with assets held in foreign countries may be required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) annually with the U.S. Treasury Department. Penalties for not filing an FBAR can be as high as $100,000 or 50% of the balance in the undisclosed account at the time of the violation. These are substantial penalties that can be challenged through a specific administrative process with the IRS or litigation in federal court. We represent taxpayers who have incurred these FBAR penalty assessments, and we make every effort to reduce or completely eliminate the assessment amounts. Contact us to discuss the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your FBAR situation.
Tax Promoter Injunction Actions
The United States Department of Justice files injunction suits in federal court to prohibit individuals and businesses from promoting abusive tax schemes and arrangements. These suits are often complex and multi-faceted, and should only be handled by an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. That's where we can help. We provide defensive legal representation to individuals and businesses involved in tax promoter injunction suits, and we fight tirelessly to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. Contact us to discuss your matter with an experienced tax litigator.
Federal Tax Lien Enforcement Suits
If you owe taxes to the IRS or a state department of revenue (SDOR), they can file a lien against your personal residence and any other property you own. The IRS or SDOR can then levy (or seize) your property to satisfy the debt. Alternatively, the IRS can ask the United States Department of Justice to file a lien enforcement suit in federal court to force a judicial sale of your principal residence or any other property that could satisfy the tax debt. We have extensive experience litigating these types of cases and will fight vigorously on your behalf. Contact us to learn how we may be of assistance.
IRS Administrative Appeals
Taxpayers have the right to appeal most IRS collection actions to the IRS Independent Office of Appeals (IOA) within a finite amount of time. The IOA is separate and independent from the IRS Collection office and it is generally prohibited from engaging in one-way communications with the IRS Collection office or any other IRS offices. The two main procedures available to taxpayers to appeal IRS collections actions are Collection Due Process (CDP) and Collection Appeals Program (CAP). Both the CDP and CAP have specific rules and processes that taxpayers must follow to adequately pursue a claim on appeal. We represent taxpayers in CDP, CAP, and other appeals before the IOA. If you've been the subject of an adverse IRS action, contact us to discuss your appeal rights and legal needs.
Lien Priority Disputes
Courts look to state law to determine whether tax liens attach to certain property held by taxpayers, and then look to federal law to determine the priority of competing liens asserted against the property. When a lawsuit involves a federal tax lien, there are a unique set of rules that govern whether the tax lien trumps or is subordinate to other lienholders. We have the necessary knowledge and expertise to meaningfully advise on and handle lien priority disputes involving federal tax liens. Contact us to discuss your specific situation with an experienced tax attorney.
Offer-in-Compromise (OIC) Requests
An Offer-in-Compromise (OIC) allows eligible taxpayers to settle their tax debt with the IRS for less than the full amount owed. This may be a viable option for taxpayers who are unable to fully pay their tax liabilities or those would incur a significant financial hardship by doing so. Taxpayers should consider all payment options prior to submitting an OIC, and consult with an experienced tax attorney who can advise on the best options based on each taxpayer's specific facts and circumstances. Contact us if you would like an experienced and knowledgeable tax professional to assist with submitting an OIC to the IRS.
Installment Agreement (IA) Requests
An installment agreement is a payment option available to taxpayers that allows them to pay down their federal tax debt over a period of time rather than immediately paying the full amount owed. The IRS will generally approve or deny a taxpayer's request for an installment agreement within 30 days of submitting the request. Contact us if you need assistance with submitting a payment plan request to the IRS or if you would like to speak with a knowledgeable tax professional about other payment relief options.
Other Tax-Related Matters
We handle several other tax-related issues, from requesting discharges of federal and state tax liens to defending individuals and businesses in suits to enforce IRS summonses. Contact us to discuss your specific tax issue and to determine whether we may be of assistance.