Tax Controversies and Litigation

    Tax controversies come in many varieties, from audits to administrative appeals, from trial court to appellate court, from pre-tax disputes to post-tax refund claims. Whether involving federal or state tax, income, gift, excise, sales or property tax, we have the experience and depth to handle your tax controversy with unparalleled effectiveness. We represent individuals and business entities in all types of tax controversies with state, local, federal, and foreign governments. We have thorough experience in all facets of tax controversies and litigation, enabling us to offer pragmatic solutions to tax problems. While we believe the best way to resolve tax controversies is to avoid them, we recognize that isn't always possible.

    For example, we have significant advocacy experience in administrative proceedings before the IRS, including at the District, Appeals, and National Office levels. We are prepared to litigate any tax matter before every possible tax venue, including the United States Tax Court, United States District Courts, United States Courts of Appeal, Court of Federal Claims and the Supreme Court. Our litigation team has an exceptional track record and has achieved landmark victories in tax matters against the IRS, the United States Department of Justice, and the California Franchise Tax Board. Robert Wood has over thirty years of experience with tax cases before various taxing authorities, even including appellate tax litigation.

    We represent clients at every administrative level, in a varied mix of state, federal and foreign judicial forums, and in an extremely wide range of disputes with taxing authorities. We draw on our depth of experience to tailor each representation to meet our clients objectives. We regularly represent clients through the audit process, in fast-track (and standard) Appeals procedures, before the Appeals Division of the IRS, and in trial and appellate litigation. We look to achieve unsurpassed results at all levels of tax practice, from examination to collection. 

    Representations include:

    • Eliminated a substantial sales tax assessment in a joint representation on behalf of both the buyer and seller after the close of an asset acquisition.

    • Successfully represented the taxpayer before the IRS in an income tax examination over the treatment of a more than $10 million recovery for racial discrimination in the aerospace industry ($3.7 million assessment reduced to zero).

    • Obtained a favorable settlement for an auto dealer and its owners in a multi-tiered IRS income tax audit and Tax Court case involving domestic and foreign entities, a bankruptcy, etc., which had consumed nearly three years before we were engaged as new counsel.

    • Obtained a settlement in the IRS Appeals Division over a capitalization issue for a supermarket chain resulting in no change to the tax returns.

    • Successfully contested a levy in United States District Court.

    • Successfully settled a casualty loss case before the Franchise Tax Board involving a foreign owner's California oceanside property.

    • Represented a successful dot.com pioneer in a tax audit over large stock losses.

    • Obtained a no charge determination by the IRS involving a personal injury exclusion.

    • Obtained favorable resolutions with both the IRS and Franchise Tax Board involving personal injury allocations.

    • Represented many investors and businesspeople in the tax planning and tax compliance methods and opportunities associated with moves from high tax states or countries to low tax states or countries.

    • Represented the taxpayer in the appeal in Pennsylvania of Peaco v. Commissioner, 48 F. App'x 423, 90 A.F.T.R. 2d 2002-6813, 2002 USTC P 50,707 (3d Cir. Decided 9-27-02).

    • Won by unanimous decision of the five-member California Board of Equalization an $800,000 California franchise tax dispute involving a law firm's recognition of income on contingent fee personal injury litigation (Appeal of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer, Case No. 118821 (California State Board of Equalization, 11-12-02)).

    • Advised 175 women about tax alternatives concerning settlements of over $500,000 each in a nationally-publicized class action against the federal government, after 25 years of litigation in the federal and United States Supreme Courts.

    • Represented the taxpayer in the settlement of an environmental dispute arising out of post-September 11 cleanup adjacent to the World Trade Center.

    • Successfully argued before the California State Board of Equalization an appeal of sales taxes involving custom design fees.

    • Successfully argued before the California State Board of Equalization an appeal of sales tax involving sales for resale by a diamond merchant.

    • Protested the application of large New York estate taxes to the estate of an elderly woman who moved from New York state shortly before her death.

    • Won an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which the court struck down as invalid a long-standing IRS regulation.

    • Successfully settled several large cases with the Appeals Division of the IRS.

    • Negotiated several installment payment arrangements with the Collections Division of the IRS, including one involving more than one million dollars in delinquent payroll taxes.

    • Recovered a refund, on a contingent fee basis, of previously assessed and collected penalties.

    • Won an appeal for two wholesale produce companies before the California State Board of Equalization, reversing assessments of sales tax on fruits and vegetables consumed by animals at the San Francisco Zoo.

    • Successfully represented a major Guam real estate developer in a $30 million dispute with the Guam Department of Revenue.

    • Successfully represented a multi-billion dollar international courier service in a $50 million California unitary tax dispute.

    • Negotiated penalty abatement and an installment arrangement for an international financial services company with over $1 million in payroll tax liabilities.

    • Won an appeal of property tax assessments covering wind turbines and electrical transmission equipment on behalf of several alternative energy companies.

    • Successfully contested before the IRS National Office in Washington the denial of a foreign reinsurance company's tax exempt status.

    • Negotiated a favorable settlement between a large law firm and the IRS Appeals Division over the manner in which departing partners interests were repurchased.

    • Successfully contested the California Franchise Tax Board's revocation of the tax exemption accorded a labor union's building association.

    • Obtained a California income tax refund on behalf of a South Korean corporation, the world's largest steel company.

    • Negotiated a settlement of payroll tax liabilities, preventing the closure of a century old multi-location family owned retailer.

    • Successfully represented individuals and business entities in a variety of IRS and Franchise Tax Board collection matters, including offers in compromise and installment agreements.

    • Represented a large regional shopping center developer before property tax authorities.

    • Successfully represented several former Iranian nationals in a dispute with the California Franchise Tax Board over the tax effects of governmental expropriation of commercial real estate in Iran.

    • Negotiated a favorable settlement with the IRS on behalf of a multi-billion dollar government contractor arising out of a large corporate acquisition.

    • Represented an alleged embezzler in negotiating a favorable closing agreement with the IRS over the amount of income arising from alleged criminal activity.

    • Successfully represented an individual in federal and state refund claims.


    References available on request.