Federal & State Tax Audits, Collections & Appeals
Our experienced and competent attorneys at the Law Offices of A. Lavar Taylor handle all types of major collection matters involving the IRS, the FTB, the CDTFA, and the EDD, both administratively and in the courts.
We work extremely closely and collaborate with our clients to develop an optimal strategy for dealing with unpaid tax liabilities. These situations involve taxes that are owed to more than one tax agency and when the taxpayer is considering filing for bankruptcy. Our client representation in this area includes:
- Representation before the IRS Collection Division for individuals and businesses who owe taxes to the IRS including income taxes, payroll taxes, penalty assessments, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, and other types of tax liabilities
- Representation before the Collection Divisions of the FTB, the CDTFA, and the EDD for individuals and businesses who owe taxes to one or more of these tax agencies
- Representation of individuals and businesses before the IRS Office of Appeals relative to collection activity including, CDP appeals involving challenges to proposed levy action and the filing of Notices of Federal Tax Lien
- Equivalent hearings involving challenges to proposed levy action and to the filing of Notices of Federal Tax Lien
- Collection appeals process (“CAP”) hearings involving challenges to proposed or existing collection action
- Representation of individuals and businesses in Tax Court in Collection Due Process appeal cases
- Representation of individuals and businesses in collection suits in U.S. District Courts
- Representation of potential “responsible persons” where the IRS, the CDTFA and/or the EDD are seeking to hold a person personally liable for employment taxes or sales and use taxes owed by a business
The firm also has extensive experience in representing individuals, shareholders, partners, members, corporations, LLC’s, partnerships, estates, and others in administrative and quasi-judicial tax appeals, including appeals arising as the result of audit activity. The firm handles these types of audit appeals involving both the IRS and state tax agencies including:
- Administrative appeals before the IRS Office of Appeals arising out of income tax audits, employment tax audits, estate and gift tax audits, excise tax audits, and other types of tax audits. This includes the use of Fast Track Settlement, Fast Track Mediation, Post-Appeals Mediation and similar types of programs offered by the IRS
- Administrative appeals in income tax matters before the Franchise Tax Board Protest Unit
- Administrative appeals in income, sales and use tax matters before the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration hearing offices
When a taxpayer has an unpaid tax liability, the IRS and California tax agencies have numerous tools which they can use to collect unpaid taxes including:
1. Tax Levies or Order to Withhold
The IRS and California tax agencies have numerous tools they use to collect unpaid taxes. One of the most dangerous of these tools the IRS uses is a tax levy and an Order to Withhold (“OTW”) is used by California tax agencies. The IRS and California tax agencies can use a levy or OTW to attach or seize almost any type of asset including bank and brokerage accounts, wages, commissions, motor vehicles and other assets. The laws that exempt one’s property from collection actions of ordinary creditors, often do not apply to the IRS or California tax agencies. Under certain circumstances, even retirement accounts, and other assets one would think are “exempt” from the reach of creditors, may be subject to collection action by the IRS and/or California tax agencies.
Both the IRS and California tax agencies sometimes levy the assets of a third party in an effort to collect taxes owed by the original taxpayer. Third parties who own property that has been levied or seized, to collect taxes owed by another party, have the ability to challenge the levy action. This is known as a wrongful levy claim or a wrongful levy suit. Our highly competent attorneys have the expertise to handle both administrative wrongful levy claims and wrongful levy actions brought into the courts.
Our team of attorneys have extensive experience in successfully representing individuals, shareholders, partners, members, corporations, LLC’s, partnerships, and estates, and minimizing the risk of levy action and seeking a modification or release of levies and OTWs.
2. Tax Liens
The filing of a Notice of Tax Lien gives public notice of the unpaid tax liability to third parties and prevents taxpayers from selling many of their assets to third parties, without getting permission from the tax agencies. The filing of these notices can adversely affect a taxpayer’s credit rating and in certain cases, they can destroy a taxpayer’s ability to conduct business.
Sometimes the IRS and/or California Tax Agencies will file Tax Lien Notices against third parties in an effort to collect taxes owed by the original taxpayer. This is often done if the IRS or California taxing agency is claiming the third party is the nominee, alter ego, or transferee of the original taxpayer. Our firm has years of successful experience in dealing with these types of situations and advises third parties on how to effectively handle these types of Notices of Tax Lien.
Our attorneys are extremely knowledgeable in this area and we represent individuals, shareholders, partners, members, corporations, LLC’s, partnerships, estates and others who may be affected by the filing of a Notice of Tax Lien ( by the IRS, the FTB, California Department of Tax and Fee Admiistration, or Employment Development Department). In certain situations it may be possible to prevent the filing of a Notice of Tax Lien. In other situations, it may be possible to obtain a withdrawal of a Notice of Tax Lien or to challenge the filing of a Notice of Tax Lien administratively or in court. We effectively advise taxpayers on how to deal with potential and existing Notices of Tax Lien filed by the IRS and California tax agencies.
On the other hand, the taxpayers have numerous tools to utilize to address the unpaid liabilities, such as:
1. Collection Due Process
A Collection Due Process appeal (CDP) is a powerful tool that can be used to challenge proposed or existing collection action taken by the IRS. There are two types of Collection Due Process appeals. The first type involves a challenge to proposed levy action by the IRS and the second involves a challenge to a Notice of Tax Lien which has already been filed. There are strict, short time deadlines for filing these types of administrative appeals and both types of appeals are initially heard by the IRS Office of Appeals. If the matter cannot be resolved with the Office of Appeals, it can be taken to Tax Court and, if necessary, to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
An administrative Collection Due Process appeal offers taxpayers a chance to raise any procedural errors they believe the IRS has made, and provides them an opportunity for to come to an agreement with the IRS, based on how to resolve the unpaid tax liability.
Under certain circumstances, a taxpayer may also challenge the amount of taxes or penalties owed to the IRS. If the taxpayer fails to request a CDP appeal within the strict, short deadline for requesting a CDP appeal, the taxpayer may be eligible for an “equivalent hearing.” The determination of the Office of Appeals in an equivalent hearing, however, may not be challenged in Tax Court.
Our firm handles all types of CDP appeals, both administratively and if necessary, in the Tax Court and the Courts of Appeals.
2. Installment Agreement
We also successfully represent clients in all types of collection matters before the IRS, Franchise Tax Board, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and Employment Development Department and we find solutions to our clients’ tax collection problems.
One possible solution, available to taxpayers who owe money to the IRS and/or California tax agencies, is an installment agreement. Under an installment agreement, taxpayers make fixed monthly payments and monthly payment amounts are determined using the financial information provided to the tax agency. Installment agreements allow taxpayers to avoid disruptions caused by levy action and other unexpected enforced collection action.
Each agency has its own rules and practices that determine when they will allow a taxpayer to enter into an installment agreement. We successfully assist individuals, shareholders, partners, members, corporations, LLC’s, partnerships, estates, and others who seek to resolve their outstanding tax liabilities through an installment agreement.
3. Offer In Compromise
We also represent clients in all types of collection matters before the IRS, Franchise Tax Board, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and Employment Development Department, and help our clients find solutions to their tax collection problems.
One possible solution available to taxpayers, who owe money to the IRS and/or California tax agencies, is an Offer in Compromise (“OIC”). An OIC allows a taxpayer to settle their unpaid tax liability by paying less than the amount owed and this solution typically requires a detailed financial disclosure by the taxpayer. Each tax agency has its own rules and procedures that govern when a taxpayer will be allowed to pursue an OIC and how much the taxpayer will have to pay, if they chose to enter into an OIC.
Our skillful and strategic attorneys assist individuals, shareholders, partners, members, corporations, LLC’s partnerships, estates, and others in determining whether or not pursuing an OIC is an appropriate strategy.
4. Uncollectible Status
Our firm represents clients in all types of collection matters before the IRS, the Franchise Tax Board, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and Employment Development Department and helps them find solutions to even their most tax collection problems.
One possible solution available to taxpayers who owe money to the IRS and/or California tax agencies is having the tax liability placed in uncollectible status, sometimes referred to as “hardship” status by California tax agencies. This is a temporary solution that stops collection action and allows the taxpayer to avoid intrusive and disruptive collection action. The tax agency in question typically requires detailed financial disclosures before placing an account in uncollectible status. The tax agency will generally review the account after a certain period of time to determine whether the taxpayer’s financial status has changed.
Our team of experienced attorneys assist individuals, shareholders, partners, members, corporations, LLC’s partnerships, estates, and others in determining whether they are eligible to have an account placed in uncollectible status and if they are eligible for this alternative.
International Taxation Legal Expert
“I wholeheartedly give my highest recommendation for Lavar Taylor, Esquire, for both his legal acumen and his client relations’ skills. Mr. Taylor handled a complex, international tax matter for my family over the course of several years from start to finish. What impressed me the most about Mr. Taylor's legal work, was his ability to meticulously explain arcane tax law and its implications upon my family's case. My family and I would retain Lavar Taylor again without hesitation.”
“I hired Lisa Nelson and her firm to address a complex tax situation with the IRS in which the IRS was claiming I owed greater than $250,000. Lisa and her team quickly cut through the red-tape that is ever-present when interacting with the IRS. Lisa was successful in petitioning the IRS to review their agent’s action and the IRS quickly agreed with Lisa’s written appeal and that the IRS agent was indeed incorrect in their ruling, which saved me $250,000 in taxes.”
Wonderful Customer Service
“Lisa Nelson was amazing! She helped us and just gave us the assurance that everything will be OK. She kept in contact with us and told us she will keep us updated on everything that was going on with the IRS and she did! We were never disappointed! We are so happy with her work and I will recommend her to everyone!”
“Lisa Nelson was professional and competent with our legal matters. Her responsiveness exceeded my expectations and the results of the case were very satisfactory. If I would describe Lisa in three words, it would be accountable, results-driven, and enthusiastic. Lisa clearly knew what she was responsible for and had the skills, knowledge, and sufficient influence to carry out her responsibilities. She maintained her focus on priorities and accurately predicted the anticipated consequences of our case. Lisa's deeply rooted enthusiasm for details gave me a sense of confidence that we had selected the right person to handle the job.”
Solved My Issues
“I have worked with a couple of tax attorneys with the same issue, all of them were chop shop style with no customization. Further, you could never get a hold of anyone. Jonathan Amitrano gets back to me with in a couple of hours at the most, and most importantly solved my issues while making me feel like things are being handled properly, which they were.”
Fantastic Case Resolution
“Lisa Nelson was able to help my client with a Casualty and Theft Loss disallowance who had been assessed $60,000 in taxes and penalties. My client was extremely happy and relieved that the tax lien was lifted and the balance was reduced to zero. Lisa was very personable, informative, and responded in a timely manner and we were very grateful for her assistance.”
Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Success
“I highly recommend Jonathan T. Amitrano and the Law Offices of A. Lavar Taylor. Jonathan assisted me and my family with a very complicated Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program submission. Jonathan was an excellent advocate and was able to limit my civil tax exposure and eliminate my criminal tax exposure.”
Best Lawyer Ever
“Lisa Nelson is simply the best. I found her on Avvo to help me navigate through a complex IRS situation. My first contact with her was amazing, as she was so very nice and professional. The communication and support was exceptional and I could not have asked for anything better. She provided absolutely sound advice that later helped save me thousands of dollars. I’m so grateful for her representation, as she is hard worker, great communicator, and provided me updates late in the day and weekends. She is extremely intelligent and very knowledgeable. There is no other attorney would ever use then Lisa for future tax law advice.”
He Became A Real Friend To Me
“Jonathan Amitrano is one of the best lawyers I have met during my tax audit process and he became a real friend to me during the process. Jonathan communicates very effectively and is always reachable, and more importantly, he exceled in preparing and presenting my case to IRS auditor. This process resulted in a “win-win” for the whole audit process and the parties involved.”
Excellent Legal Counsel And Results
“Fortunately, I was put into contact with Lavar Taylor who after speaking with me stated that the IRS was wrong on every count in what they were accusing me of and that the actions by the IRS were unreasonable and egregious. In a series of letters and document submissions, Lavar convinced the IRS they had no case and the IRS attorney moved for dismissal of all charges. Lavar provided impeccable advice, guidance and defense. That he is eminently qualified goes without saying. He is both skillful and understanding, making his services all the more valuable. I am deeply indebted to him for his advice and counsel.”