Tax Dispute Services and Solutions

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Sideman & Bancroft offers clients unparalleled experience and depth in handling both civil and criminal tax-related cases. Established by firm co-founder Richard J. Sideman, a nationally recognized expert in tax controversies, the Tax Group includes tax lawyers who are former federal prosecutors from the Department of Justice Tax Division and former IRS attorneys. With their extensive and rich experience, our San Francisco based tax lawyers have established the firm’s national reputation for skillful resolution of complex tax disputes. The group’s tax lawyers have earned high rankings nationally as well as for the San Francisco area in the annual “Best Law Firms“ report by U.S. News.

In addition to a history of close interaction with government organizations, each partner has a strong record of accomplishment in civil and criminal disputes. Tax controversies are their singular focus. Our tax lawyers represents an array of clients from individuals to businesses to trusts and estates. In matters involving income taxes, employment taxes, estate and gift taxes, sales and use taxes, and property and other local taxes, one of our most important functions is to alleviate the intimidation that many clients experience when faced with a tax controversy.

Business Clients
Individual Clients & Families

Areas of Concentration

Federal Civil Tax Controversies

Our tax attorneys represent taxpayers in all phases of federal civil tax controversies. During IRS audits, we deal directly with IRS agents and also work behind the scenes to strategize with other professionals who may be interfacing with agents. If a matter is not resolved at the audit level, we handle administrative appeals with the IRS to obtain highly favorable settlements—and many times full IRS concessions—for our clients. Where matters still cannot be resolved through administrative appeals, Sideman's tax attorneys represent clients in litigation in the United States Tax Court, federal district courts and the Court of Federal Claims, all of which hear federal tax disputes. When warranted, we handle appeals of tax cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as well as other appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.

For clients addressing collection disputes with the IRS, we negotiate suspension of collection actions, installment agreements and offers in compromise. We address problems with liens and levies and wrongful collection actions as well as more serious jeopardy assessments, which we have successfully defeated. We also handle collection due process and equivalent hearings and associated litigation. In addition, we represent clients with innocent spouse claims.

Our tax attorneys handle all types of federal civil tax disputes, including income, employment, estate and gift taxes, and partnership proceedings. We have been active in representing clients in listed and reportable transaction (tax shelter) cases. We also handle preparer penalty and other penalty cases, including civil fraud penalties. In employment cases, we represent clients in responsible person or trust fund penalty matters. We have extensive experience with disputes over interest, including interest suspension and abatement issues. We also represent clients in summons enforcement matters and have resolved numerous cases involving foreign bank account reporting issues.

California and Other State Tax Disputes

In addition to an active federal tax practice, the Tax group addresses a wide variety of state tax controversies surrounding income, employment, sales and use, property, and other local tax matters. As in the federal branch of the practice, we counsel clients through audits, administrative appeals, litigation and collection matters with various state tax agencies, including the Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department. In addition to regular income, employment, and sales and use matters, we handle tax shelter cases, amnesty-related matters, and individual and trust residency disputes.

Criminal Tax Matters

When the federal or state government pursues more serious criminal action, Sideman's tax attorneys actively defend these matters. Our criminal tax practice includes handling investigations, trials, plea negotiations, sentencing and appeals. We also represent witnesses in criminal tax matters. Our significant experience in criminal tax cases, including our prior work as federal prosecutors, makes us particularly qualified to represent clients in these matters.

Tax Planning

The considerable experience and skill of our tax attorneys gives Sideman & Bancroft particular expertise in federal and state tax planning for individuals, families, partnerships, limited liability companies, trusts and corporations. Our attorneys apply their knowledge not only to the tax issues facing our clients but also to related business and personal issues. Clients call on us to provide tax counsel for corporate restructuring and corporate and partnership reorganizations, real estate acquisitions and dispositions, structuring of business or asset acquisitions, structuring of other domestic and foreign business transactions, and tax-deferred exchanges. We regularly help clients living outside the country minimize the tax costs of U.S. investments.

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Tax Experience

  • Represented the estate of a winery owner in the U.S. Tax Court, prevailing against the IRS in a valuation case
  • Represented taxpayers in securing a multimillion-dollar refund of interest from the IRS based on IRS delays
  • Defeated an IRS jeopardy assessment and levy against an individual
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