Tax Controversy Practice

There are several aspects to this area of practice:


From the most routine to extremely sensitive and complex audits, we represent clients who need effective and efficient representation delivered in a very professional, yet practical manner. Appeals conferences, when necessary, are pursued with a focus on protecting the client and preserving all rights and remedies should litigation in the Courts become necessary. 

We represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service, the California Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and the City of Los Angeles.


Here the focus is on protecting the legal rights of the client, using all legal and ethical tools available to pay the tax which is owed in as reasonable a manner as possible – most especially striving to mitigate penalties and the unpleasant enforced collection techniques available to the Government to the extent possible. 

What can you do when you cannot pay the Government? Actually, you only have 5 strategies available to you:

  1. Pay the tax – this includes a plan to pay-in-full within 120 days. 
  2. Propose an Offer-in-Compromise – a contract between you and the Government to pay less than the full amount. But unlike what you may have heard on late-night television or the radio, this is NOT a “pennies on the dollar” approach. 
  3. Installment Agreement – payment over time until either the tax is paid-in-full or the statute of limitations for collections “runs out.”
  4. Uncollectible Status – sometimes all we can do is convince the government that you are presently uncollectible. The IRS will designate a taxpayer’s account as “currently not collectible” under certain circumstances, removing the account from its active inventory. Having an account placed in uncollectible status allows the taxpayer to remain current in tax compliance without worrying about enforcement action and allows a taxpayer to recover from a financial setback. The IRS may designate an account as being in uncollectible status for the short or long term. All cases are unique—the facts and circumstances dictate the outcome.
  5. Bankruptcy —– yes, under the right circumstances, taxes MAY be discharged in bankruptcy!

As you might imagine, each of these strategies are mired in complex procedures and fraught with traps for the unwary or the uninformed. OUR JOB is to protect and preserve your rights and get you every “bite at the apple” possible to get you the best result possible. 

But you as the client MUST be realistic, and you must approach this with the correct attitude of contrition and cooperation to have the greatest chance of “success.” We will be successful if your expectations are realistically matched to the complexity of your situation. Collection defense is largely a series of human interactions and therein lies the rub. 

Innocent Spouse Representation

What does an “innocent spouse” look like? In our experience, an innocent spouse can be either a former husband or a former wife, although wives are generally more often the “innocent spouse.”

While there are variations, the classic “innocent spouse” [the “Requesting Spouse”] is one who signed a tax return with his/her spouse [the “Non-Requesting or ‘NR’ spouse”] but had no clue what was in that return either because the Non-Requesting spouse would not discuss the tax return or the Requesting Spouse was too afraid to ask. Sadly, these cases often include issues of domestic violence, intimidation, and abuse. 

 Other cases may involve situations where only the Non-Requesting Spouse was involved in a business venture and it would be inequitable to have the Requesting Spouse liable for the tax. 

These cases depend to a great extent upon the facts and circumstances, and if you believe you may be an “innocent spouse,” we encourage you to ask!

Tax Litigation

We work with local Tax Attorneys should litigation in the Courts become necessary. For law firms, we are available to act as the “Kovel Accountant,” when privilege is needed and the services of an Accountant are adjunct to the services of an attorney. The accounting work becomes cloaked in the attorney work product privilege [See United States v. Kovel, 9 AFTR 2d 366, (296 F2d 918), (CA2), 1961]. You can obviously select your own attorney to represent you.