Tax codes and regulations can be complicated. Even an innocent mistake can lead to hefty penalties for noncompliance with federal and state tax laws and regulations.
Having a knowledgeable San Francisco tax lawyer on your side can make all the difference if you are facing a tax controversy. Contact Business Estate & Tax Attorneys, P.C., today at (415) 745-3045.
Common Reasons for Tax Litigation
Individuals or businesses may face tax controversies for many reasons, including the following:
- Audit issues – Disputes often arise during an audit, especially if the IRS or state tax auditors believe you have failed to provide required information about your income and expenses, leaving you exposed to back tax liabilities and penalties.
- Large tax debts – Owing large sums of money to the IRS can lead to litigation especially if you are unable to pay the amounts due.
- Deficiency disputes – If you or your business disagree with a deficiency notice, your only recourse may be tax litigation including seeking administrative remedies that may be available to you.
- Tax refund disputes – If you believe you have overpaid taxes, you may need to initiate a claim for relief with the IRS or state tax officials to secure the refund you claim you deserve.
- Tax fraud – Allegations of tax fraud can quickly lead to criminal charges if the government believes that you or your business violated tax code provisions that also carry criminal penalties. A conviction for tax fraud can carry significant financial consequences and may even result in a prison sentence.
- Corporate tax problems – Corporate taxation can be incredibly complex, even for businesses that employ their own accountants and financial experts. Businesses are audited at higher rates than are individuals, and companies must typically collect and present significantly more documentation and information than do individuals who also undergo tax audits. As a result, corporations often benefit from meticulous tax planning in order to reduce the risk of costly and time-consuming tax litigation.
What to Expect in Tax Litigation
Most tax litigation matters involve either deficiency actions, where state or federal tax officials claim you or your business owe taxes, or refund actions, where you claim that you are owed a refund for taxes already paid. At Business Estate and Tax Attorneys P.C., our experienced tax lawyers can help with both.
In tax litigation, you will likely need to pay the tax amounts you are alleged to owe. As a general rule, you cannot contest a deficiency action or seek a refund until you have paid the taxes the government claims you owe.
Deficiency actions are filed in U.S. Tax Court against the IRS. Refund actions against the IRS may be filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims or your local U.S. District Court. However, if you have received a deficiency notice or if you have initiated a refund claim against the IRS, you must first exhaust your administrative remedies before the agency before you file suit in court.
If you have received a deficiency notice from the state or are seeking a refund of state taxes, you can file an action in the California Office of Tax Appeals. If you are not satisfied with the decision you receive, you can file suit in state court.
If it becomes necessary to pursue tax litigation, you are allowed to argue your case to an impartial judge rather than the agency that has already ruled against you.
Alternatives to Tax Litigation
You may choose to pursue tax litigation by filing appeals with the state tax boards, the U.S. Tax Court or a federal District Court. In addition, our San Francisco tax attorneys can help you explore alternatives to tax litigation including participation in mediation or arbitration of your tax dispute with state or federal auditors. Using alternative dispute mechanisms can sometimes lead to an administrative settlement with the IRS or state tax officials.
How a San Francisco Tax Litigation Attorney Can Help You
If you find yourself or your business in a tax controversy matter or face the prospect of litigation, Business Estate & Tax Attorneys, P.C., can help by:
- Assisting you through the audit process, including responding to state or federal tax officials’ requests for documents and information.
- Reviewing and advising you when you or your business receives a deficiency notice.
- Helping you determine when you may be entitled to a tax refund.
- Ensuring that deficiency or refund petitions are properly filed so that you do not lose important rights and legal options.
- Defending your rights and interests if you are accused of tax code violations or charged with criminal tax fraud.
Contact Business Estate & Tax Attorneys for Help
Schedule a free case evaluation today with one of our tax lawyers in San Francisco at Business Estate & Tax Attorneys, P.C. You have nothing to lose but the worry and concern that accompanies any federal or state tax problem.