Bryan C. Skarlatos | Kostelanetz & Fink LLP
For more than thirty-five years, Bryan C. Skarlatos has represented corporations and individuals in sensitive matters, many of which involve negotiation or litigation with government agencies. He has significant experience in federal and state tax audits, appeals and litigation, criminal tax investigations and white collar criminal prosecutions. Mr. Skarlatos also has an active practice providing tax and estate planning advice.
Mr. Skarlatos is nationally and internationally recognized for his work representing taxpayers in civil audits, criminal investigations and voluntary disclosures. He has handled hundreds of voluntary disclosures involving both domestic income and foreign assets and he counsels corporations and individuals from around the world on how to come into compliance with U.S. tax law.
Mr. Skarlatos has been an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law for nearly twenty years where he teaches a class on Tax Penalties, Prosecutions and Procedures. He has developed an expertise in handling high stakes tax cases that could involve penalties or other sensitive issues. He is often retained by corporate taxpayers to evaluate the strength of tax positions for tax and financial reporting purpose and to advise on potential remedial actions, including corporate voluntary disclosures.
Mr. Skarlatos has been recognized by Super Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in New York and in Best Lawyers in America where he was named “Lawyer of the Year” (Tax Litigation, New York) in 2014 and 2017. He is also ranked Band One of Chambers USA: Americas Leading Lawyers for Business, which has described him as having a “smart reassuring presence with insight into the government…extremely knowledgeable and very well connected to the various tax authorities…Clients applaud him as being exceptionally brilliant at coming up with great outcomes.”
Mr. Skarlatos is often retained as an expert in tax reporting standards and tax penalties by professionals, firms, and taxpayers accused of violating those standards. Mr. Skarlatos has been hired as an expert on criminal tax issues by a state prosecutor’s office and a foreign government. He has also testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee as an expert on tax penalties.
Mr. Skarlatos is also very experienced in tax whistleblower matters and represents both taxpayers accused of wrongdoing by whistleblowers as well as whistleblowers themselves in claims before federal and state tax authorities. Mr. Skarlatos testified before the Internal Revenue Service regarding the IRS whistleblower law and was retained by Senator Charles Grassley, the drafter of the IRS whistleblower law, to write an amicus brief on behalf of the Senator in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Frank Agostino | Agostino & Associates
Frank Agostino is the founder and president of Agostino & Associates, P.C. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Agostino was an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service’s District Counsel in Springfield, Illinois and Newark, New Jersey. He also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, where he prosecuted primarily criminal tax cases. As an adjunct professor, Mr. Agostino taught tax controversy at Seton Hall University W. Paul Stillman School of Business and Rutgers School of Law. He also served as the co-director of the Rutgers Federal Tax Law Clinic.
Mr. Agostino is a frequent speaker and author on tax controversy and litigation matters. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure. Mr. Agostino is actively involved with the American Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers’ Association. Mr. Agostino is also the President of Taxpayers Assistance Corp., which provides tax and legal advice to low income taxpayers in the NY/NJ area.
Charles P. Rettig | IRS
Charles P. Rettig is the 49th Commissioner of the IRS. As Commissioner, Mr. Rettig presides over the nation’s tax system, which collects more than $3.5 trillion in tax revenue each year representing about 96% of the total gross receipts of the United States. In this regard, the continued success of our country depends upon a successful IRS since this revenue funds most government operations and public services. Mr. Rettig manages an agency of about 80,000 employees and a budget of more than $11 billion.
In leading the IRS, Mr. Rettig has worked to focus attention on the important work of the agency’s employees. “The IRS employees are the absolute strength of the agency,” he notes. “We are proud to be reflective of the diverse communities we serve. Our employees are dedicated and they care a lot, for both taxpayers and the nation.” Since joining the IRS, Mr. Rettig has also been heavily focused on improving service to the nation’s taxpayers, balancing appropriate enforcement of the nation’s tax laws while respecting taxpayer rights, with a particular focus on traditionally underserved communities. Subject to budgetary appropriations, the IRS maintains a strong, visible, robust tax enforcement presence in support of those who voluntarily comply with their filing and reporting requirements. Mr. Rettig has been leading efforts to enhance taxpayer experiences operating “through the eyes of the taxpayer.” These efforts include implementation of the multi-year IRS Integrated Modernization Plan and the Taxpayer First Act.
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS significantly scaled back operations closing over 90% of its facilities to protect the health and safety of the IRS workforce and taxpayers before later shifting into a socially distanced, mostly virtual operating environment. In FY2020 the IRS processed more than 163 million individual tax returns, including more than 125 million individual refunds totaling more than $320 billion. At the same time, within two weeks following enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the IRS began processing 161 million Economic Impact Payments totaling approximately $271 billion. EIP outreach materials were translated and made available in an unprecedented 35 languages. At the end of 2020, within two days following the enactment of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the IRS processed an additional 147 million Economic Impact Payments totaling more than $142 billion.
During 2020, as part of a larger effort to reach underserved communities, the IRS pursued a number of aggressive steps to expand information and assistance available to taxpayers in additional languages, including providing the 2020 Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, in Spanish for the first time. As part of this expansion, the 2020 Form 1040 will also give taxpayers the opportunity to indicate whether they wish to be contacted in a language other than English, many of the pages on the IRS.gov site are now available in multiple languages, and basic tax information is newly available in 20 languages on IRS.gov. Taxpayers who interact with the IRS now have access to over the phone interpreter services in more than 350 languages. The IRS has also recently begun inserting information about translation services and other multilingual options into the high-volume notices provided to taxpayers. The agency has also been increasing its multilingual outreach on Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms and plans to continue these efforts on other agency priorities.
Previously, Mr. Rettig was with the law firm of Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, P.C., for more than 36 years. In his practice, Mr. Rettig represented thousands of individuals, businesses and corporate taxpayers before the IRS, the Department of Justice Tax Division, federal and state courts and state taxing authorities. These cases involved civil examinations and appeals, criminal investigations and tax collection matters.
Mr. Rettig has held leadership roles in a number of professional organizations, most recently serving as Vice Chair-Administration, for the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation, and President of the American College of Tax Counsel. He was a member of the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC) for three years beginning in 2008, and served as IRSAC’s chair from 2010 to 2011. He also served as Chair of the Taxation Section of the State Bar of California and has served on the advisory boards of both the Franchise Tax Board and the Board of Equalization in his home state of California.
Mr. Rettig has received numerous professional honors during his career from organizations across the country. He has been a featured speaker and panelist at hundreds of tax conferences throughout the U.S., Europe and Central America and has authored numerous tax-related articles.
He received a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles, as well as a J.D. with honors from Pepperdine University and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University.
Mr. Rettig, who is married to Tam Rettig, is also active in numerous civic and philanthropic activities. He’s the founder of the UCLA Extension VETS COUNT Scholarship Fund designed to provide scholarships for active duty and retired military personnel who are working to realize their career goals in tax, accounting, wealth management, and other areas of the financial services industry as well as basic coursework for personal growth in budgeting, financial literacy, and investing. He also supports the Wounded Warrior Project, Advance Guard.
Michelle F. Schwerin | Capes Sokol
An attorney-CPA, Michelle’s credentials and experience allow her to navigate the intricate world of civil tax examinations, appeals, and litigation, as well as criminal tax investigations and defense. Michelle represents individuals and businesses in a variety of tax matters, including tax liability disputes, innocent spouse claims, claims for penalty abatement, refund claims and litigation, preparer and promoter penalty investigations and tax collection matters.
She also represents clients in all stages of federal and state securities investigations and litigation. She guides individual and business clients who come under investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission for issues such as public reporting, disclosures and insider trading.
Danielle M. Grimm |
Danielle Marie Grimm is an attorney admitted to practice in New York State in 1998. The registration number with NYS Office of Court Administration (OCA) is #2898328. The company or organization that Danielle Marie Grimm serves is Office of Chief Counsel Internal Revenue Service. The office address is Washington, DC 20224-0001. The phone number is (202) 317-3100. The law school graduated is University At Buffalo.
Sharon Katz-Pearlman | KPMG
Sharon Katz-Pearlman is the National Principal-in-Charge of KPMG LLP’s Tax Dispute Resolution practice in the U.S., as well as the Global Head of KPMG International’s Tax Dispute Resolution & Controversy practice, overseeing a network of dispute resolution specialists from KPMG’s member firms around the world. Sharon’s client work at KPMG is focused primarily on representation before the IRS of multinational corporate clients and financial institutions, both domestic and international. She spends much of her time dealing with transfer pricing issues and cross-border disputes.
Prior to joining KPMG, Sharon was a Special Litigation Attorney with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, U.S. Department of the Treasury. Sharon is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law, where she teaches Civil Tax Controversies & Litigation, in the LLM (Tax) program. She also serves on the U.N. Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters – Subcommittee on the Mutual Agreement Process, Dispute Avoidance and Resolution. Sharon is a frequent speaker at tax conferences in the U.S. and abroad, and is listed in the International Tax Review’s Tax Controversy Leaders, The Comprehensive Guide to the World’s Leading Tax Controversy Advisors, ITR’s Women in Tax Leaders Guide, and the Expert Guide, Women in Business Law.
Barbara T. Kaplan | Greenbergtraurig
Barbara T. Kaplan is Co-Chair of the Global Tax Practice and has been named one of the top 50 women lawyers in New York City by Super Lawyers magazine, and focuses her tax litigation practice on domestic and foreign corporations, partnerships, and individuals in federal, state, and local tax examinations, controversies and litigation, including administrative and grand jury criminal tax investigations.
John Colvin | Colvin + Hallet Law
John draws from his almost three decades of practice and experience in tax law to develop legal theories and strategies in defense of his clients. John keeps a close eye on developments in the tax law, which enables him to provide his clients an unparalleled awareness of current developments and their implications.
John is a very active and respected member of the American Bar Association Tax Section, having served as Chair of the Committee covering tax controversy matters, and currently overseeing Tax Section comments on government regulatory efforts in the procedural areas as part of the Committee on Government Submissions. He is often sought out to speak at a national level on various tax law issues, and has been intimately involved in drafting comments to proposed regulations on a variety of topics on behalf of the ABA Tax Section. He also teaches Tax Crimes: Investigations, Prosecutions, and Penalties at the University of Washington School of Law.
John is a wine and food connoisseur and is always on the lookout for Seattle’s next great restaurant. He enjoys swimming and, in addition to tax news, is an avid reader of non-tax materials.
David W. Foster | Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Mr. Foster advises a broad range of clients, including large corporations, private equity firms and hedge funds, estates, partnerships, exempt organizations and individuals, many of whom are subject to the IRS’ Global High Wealth initiative. His practice covers a diverse range of tax issues, including international tax, taxation of financial products, estate and gift taxes, deferred compensation, state and local tax, voluntary disclosures and criminal tax.
Jenny L. Johnson | McDermott Will & Emery
Jenny L. Johnson focuses her practice on complex tax disputes for private clients, their trusts and estates, and closely-held businesses. To successfully navigate these controversies, Jenny draws on tools she honed over years of experience trying tax cases: earning credibility, building a compelling factual record, and – perhaps most important – understanding that the art of crafting a winning closing argument begins years before trial.
Jenny represents taxpayers in all stages of civil and criminal tax proceedings, including sensitive audits and examinations, IRS appeals, summons enforcement, search warrants, grand jury subpoenas, negotiated resolutions with the IRS and the Department of Justice, trials in federal district court and the US Tax Court, and appellate litigation. She has favorably resolved disputes involving estate and gift taxes, income taxes, excise taxes, federal and state tax credits, sales and use taxes, employment taxes, and employee plan matters.
Kevin L. Kenworthy | Miller & Chevalier
Kevin Kenworthy practices in the area of federal income taxation, with an emphasis on tax litigation and other tax controversy matters. Over his 25 plus years in practice, Mr. Kenworthy has represented large multinational clients in a variety of disputes involving billions of dollars before the courts and the Internal Revenue Service. He has led or has been a member of the successful litigating teams for some of the firm’s most significant tax cases during this time. Mr. Kenworthy regularly produces extraordinary resolutions for his multinational clients in disputes with the IRS.
Mr. Kenworthy has represented clients in significant disputes ranging from transfer pricing to foreign tax credits, R&E credits, natural resource issues, interest disputes, and methods of accounting. In addition to his advocacy on a broad range of domestic and international tax issues, Mr. Kenworthy has deep subject matter experience in court practice and IRS administrative procedure.
Mr. Kenworthy is a frequent speaker on a variety of tax topics before Tax Executives Institute chapters and other groups across the country. In addition, he is a contributing author to The Transfer Pricing Answer Book 2012 and a co-author of the BNA Tax Management Portfolio No. 6925-1st, Transfer Pricing: Document Requests and Summons Enforcement. Before joining Miller & Chevalier, he served as a clerk to Judge William A. Goffe of the U.S. Tax Court. He earned his BBA in Accounting from the University of Oklahoma and his J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law where he served as Managing Tax Editor of the Southwestern Law Review.
Megan L. Brackney | Kostelanetz & Fink
Megan L. Brackney is a tax controversy attorney with a distinguished track record of delivering exceptional results for clients facing complicated and difficult tax issues. Ms. Brackney develops innovative strategies to resolve compliance concerns, voluntary disclosures, civil audits, and criminal investigations for individuals, trusts, estates, corporations, and partnerships, including audits conducted under the IRS’s centralized audit regime of the Bipartisan Budget Act. Ms. Brackney advocates for clients in IRS Appeals, and represents clients in litigation in the U.S. Tax Court and federal district courts. Ms. Brackney has successfully defended taxpayers against assessment of tax penalties, including income tax, trust fund recovery, and foreign information return penalties.
Rochelle Hodes | Crowe LLP
Rochelle Hodes is a Principal in the Washington National Tax Office at Crowe. She has over twenty-nine years of experience providing tax controversy and tax policy services. Rochelle provides deep expertise in federal tax policy, including litigation, legislation, and regulatory proposals.
Rochelle specializes in U.S. federal tax practice and procedure, including resolution of federal tax controversies and compliance with federal tax laws. Her experience includes overseeing implementation of internal policies and procedures and oversight of tax return preparers and advisors regarding compliance with federal and state tax law.
Amanda H. Nussbaum | Proskauer Rose
Amanda H. Nussbaum is the chair of the Firm’s Tax Department as well as a member of the Private Funds Group. Her practice concentrates on planning for and the structuring of domestic and international private investment funds, including venture capital, buyout, real estate and hedge funds, as well as advising those funds on investment activities and operational issues. She also represents many types of investors, including tax-exempt and non-U.S. investors, with their investments in private investment funds. Business partners through our clients’ biggest challenges, Amanda is a part of the Firm’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Response Team helping to shape the guidance and next steps for clients impacted by the pandemic.
Amanda has significant experience structuring taxable and tax-free mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions and stock and debt offerings. She also counsels both sports teams and sports leagues with a broad range of tax issues.
In addition, Amanda advises not-for-profit clients on matters such as applying for and maintaining exemption from federal income tax, minimizing unrelated business taxable income, structuring joint ventures and partnerships with taxable entities and using exempt and for-profit subsidiaries.
Amanda has co-authored with Howard Lefkowitz and Steven Devaney the New York Limited Liability Company Forms and Practice Manual, which is published by Data Trace Publishing Co.
Brian C. McManus | Latham & Watkins
Brian McManus, Chair of Latham & Watkins’ Boston Tax Department, advises companies and high net-worth individuals in all phases of civil and criminal tax disputes.
Widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading tax litigators, Mr. McManus helps clients confidentially resolve a range of controversies — from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits and appeals to litigation before federal and state courts throughout the United States. He delivers clear and technically astute counsel to a diverse mix of American and international clients, including multinational and Fortune 500 corporations from diverse industries (such as technology, banking, insurance, energy, pharmaceuticals, airlines, entertainment, and retail), global professional services firms, international charitable organizations, trust companies, and offshore corporate providers.
Drawing on nearly two decades of “inside the Beltway” experience, Mr. McManus regularly handles controversy matters with broader tax policy implications. His Washington ties include serving as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center where he currently teaches IRS Practice and Procedure in the graduate tax (LLM) program.
Mr. McManus brings a winning track record in court handling some of the nation’s largest tax disputes. His work encompasses all areas of federal and state taxation, with an emphasis on disputes involving cross-border and international tax matters, sophisticated corporate transactions, enterprise and asset valuations, transfer pricing, partnerships, tax-exempt organizations, oil and gas taxation, tax shelters, promoter penalty defense, and cryptocurrency. He also frequently handles sensitive tax matters involving allegations of fraud and potential criminal tax charges, as well as voluntary disclosures of domestic and offshore filing errors. Mr. McManus is admitted to practice before the US Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit, the US Tax Court, the US Court of Federal Claims, and the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Mr. McManus, who serves as a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Tax Section’s Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties Committee, regularly speaks at national tax conferences and on podcasts. He is also the author of numerous tax controversy-focused articles.
Richard J. Sapinski | Sills Cummis & Gross PC
Richard J. Sapinski is Co-Chair of the Firm’s Tax Fraud and Controversy Practice Group. His practice involves white collar criminal defense on both federal and state levels and civil and criminal tax litigation, as well as international tax reporting and compliance issues. Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Sapinski was employed by the Office of the District Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, Newark, New Jersey as a trial attorney from 1977 to 1984 and later with the Office of the Regional Counsel Internal Revenue Service, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a Special Trial Attorney from 1985 to 1987.
In the latter position, Mr. Sapinski was assigned responsibility for litigating in the United States Tax Court on behalf of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in large and sensitive cases and for assisting IRS international examiners in developing international tax issues for litigation. He litigates matters in the United States District Court, U.S. Tax Court and the Superior Court and Tax Court of New Jersey and the Federal and State Appellate Courts. He also represents professionals before disciplinary and licensing boards and handles administrative matters involving the Examination, Collection and Criminal Investigation divisions of the Internal Revenue Service and their state counterparts.
Philip J. Wilson | Marcum LLP
Philip Wilson is office managing partner of Marcum’s Costa Mesa, California, office and is leader of the Firm’s national Tax Controversy group. Mr. Wilson has more than 30 years of CPA and business advisory experience, including experience as an IRS revenue agent.
Mr. Wilson focuses on helping individuals and companies resolve tax controversies with the Internal Revenue Service, representing all types of businesses as well as high net worth individuals.
Prior to joining Marcum LLP, Mr. Wilson was a founding partner of WilsonMorgan LLP, based in Irvine. He oversaw all of the firm’s tax compliance, tax consulting, and tax controversy engagements. He has substantial experience in the real estate area, including tax structuring for commercial and residential developers, and has worked with clients in a wide variety of industries.
Don Fort | Kostelanetz & Fink
John D. (Don) Fort is the Director of Investigations at Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP, and the immediate past Chief of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (CI) Division. Having spent nearly 30 years in law enforcement for the federal government, Mr. Fort has deep expertise in financial crimes and has an extensive network of connections both within the government and in private industry.
Eric L. Green | Green & Sklarz LLC
The focus of Attorney Eric L. Green’s practice is taxpayer representation before the IRS, Department of Justice Tax Division and state departments of revenue. He is a frequent lecturer on tax topics, including handling tax audits and tax controversies. Eric also has the weekly Tax Rep Network podcast, which can be found in Apple Podcasts, ITunes, Spotify and all other podcasting platforms. He is the author of The Accountant’s Guide to IRS Collection and The Accountant’s Guide to Resolving Tax Debts: Offers-in-Compromise, Installment Agreements & Uncollectable Status. Eric is the creator, author and lecturer for the IRS Representation Certificate Program with the University of Connecticut Business School which trains tax professionals to properly represent taxpayers before the IRS. He is a frequent lecturer for national groups, including the AICPA, NATP, ABA and CCH. Mr. Green has been quoted in CNN, the Wall Street Journal, The Street, USA Today, Consumer Reports – Finance, among other media sources, and has served as a columnist for CCH’s Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure.
Eric founded Tax Rep Network, which is an online membership group that trains and supports tax professionals building their IRS Representation practices, and he founded The New England IRS Representation Conference, which is one of the largest tax conferences in the country focused on IRS Representation and controversy hot topics. Eric is also the creator of the Tax Rep App to assist tax professionals in automating their marketing efforts.
Eric developed a national reputation by building a remarkable record of negotiating favorable settlements in thousands of civil cases against government agencies and has also been able to convince government agents and attorneys to forgo criminal charges and civilly resolve many cases. Eric was recognized as a “Connecticut Super Lawyer” in the field of taxation.
Attorney Green has served as adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law where he taught law students to handle taxpayer representation matters in the low income taxpayer clinic. Prior to practicing law, Eric served as a senior tax consultant for national and international accounting firms, including KPMG and Deloitte & Touche.
Attorney Green’s commitment to professional excellence is demonstrated by his involvement in numerous professional organizations. He is a past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Closely Held Businesses Committee, and has served as the chairman of the subcommittees on Business Succession Planning and Estate Planning. Attorney Green is a past Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Tax Section and is a Member of its Estate & Probate Section.
Eric is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, an organization in which membership is an honor reserved for those at the top of their chosen profession. The College’s members, called “Fellows,” are recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments and professional achievements and for their dedication to improving the practice of tax law. Fellows must be nominated by their peers for this honor. Self-nomination is not permitted. Each nominee must satisfy the established criteria and pass a rigorous screening process before he or she becomes a Fellow.
Attorney Green is admitted to practice in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts and is a member of the United States Tax Court Bar. Attorney Green is also a member of the Connecticut and Massachusetts Bar Associations, as well as the American Bar Association. Attorney Green received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting with a minor in International Business from Hofstra University and is an honors graduate from New England School of Law. He earned a Masters of Laws in Taxation from Boston University School of Law.
Todd Welty | Todd Welty PC
Todd has extensive experience in resolving civil tax matters at all stages of a tax dispute, including Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examinations, fast-track appeals, administrative appeals, post-appeals mediation and, if necessary, litigation in the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. district courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeal. The vast majority of Todd’s cases are resolved administratively and without becoming public. Nonetheless, litigation is sometimes necessary.
A seasoned trial lawyer, Todd has a track record of winning difficult cases. Chambers describes Todd as an “excellent trial lawyer” who is “very effective” at handling tax disputes, and as a “go-to attorney for bet-the-company matters involving the IRS.” Todd was named a Law360 “Tax MVP” in 2014, and in the same year the tax controversy practice that he chaired was recognized as the North American Tax Disputes Firm of the Year by Legal 500. In 2015, Law360 recognized Todd’s victory in Schaeffler v. United States as one of the Biggest Federal Tax Cases of the Year. In 2016, Law360 again named Todd a Tax MVP. In 2018, Todd chaired McDermott Will & Emery’s Tax Controversy Practice when it was named the Tax Litigation Law Firm of the Year. In 2019, Todd left McDermott Will & Emery so that he could focus his time and practice on select tax controversy engagements.
Brian W. Kittle | Mayer Brown
Brian Kittle, co-head of the firm’s Tax Controversy Practice, is a nationally recognized tax controversy lawyer who has a deep track record of successfully resolving high-stakes and sophisticated tax disputes.
Brian represents clients in all phases of tax controversies, from IRS examinations and administrative appeals through litigation. He also uses pre-dispute resolution tools to address areas of potential controversy before they arise. What’s more, having clerked at the US Tax Court, he brings an insider’s perspective to trial preparation and presentation.
In addition to his controversy practice, he frequently speaks on and authors articles about substantive and procedural tax issues.
Given Brian’s key roles in several high-stakes litigations and controversies, his recent rankings include being:
- Named a leading lawyer by Legal 500 for a third consecutive year.
- Ranked as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA in its Nationwide Tax Controversy category.
- Named Law360’s 2019 MVP of Tax.
- Ranked as a Super Lawyer for nearly a decade in tax controversy.
Michael J. Desmond | Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Michael Desmond is a partner in the Los Angeles and Washington, DC offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and is Co-Chair of the Firm’s Global Tax Controversy and Litigation Group. His practice covers a broad range of federal tax matters with a focus on tax controversy and litigation. For more than 25 years, he has represented clients before the examination divisions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the IRS Independent Office of Appeals, in the United States Tax Court and in federal district courts, the Court of Federal Claims and various federal courts of appeal.
Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Desmond served as the 48th Chief Counsel of the IRS, having been nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. As Chief Counsel, he was the principal legal officer for the IRS, overseeing a staff of nearly 1,500 lawyers responsible for interpreting and providing advice on all aspects of the federal tax law. During his tenure as Chief Counsel, the Office issued more than 100 sets of proposed and final regulations implementing the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and published dozens of guidance items implementing legislation enacted in response to, and providing other relief relating to, the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office was also responsible for litigating nearly 25,000 cases pending in the United States Tax Court and working with the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on cases pending in other courts around the county, including before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In private practice, Mr. Desmond has been counsel of record in numerous docketed tax matters, litigating many of them to published decision. These cover a range of federal tax issues, including application of the “property for services” rules to a contractual earn-out right; compliance with the partnership refund claim filing requirements; transferee liability; the tax treatment of partnerships holding distressed assets and debt contributed by foreign partners; interpretation of a tolling agreement in a partnership tax proceeding; fraud penalties and related adjustments; debt versus equity treatment for a partnership investment; and the valuation of customer-based intangibles. His clients have included businesses and individuals in a wide range of industries, including real estate, financial services, publishing, technology, medical services and devices, and entertainment.
Mr. Desmond previously served as Tax Legislative Counsel at the U.S. Department of Treasury from 2005 through 2008, where he was the principal legal advisor to the Treasury Secretary and Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy) on all domestic aspects of the federal tax law other than employee benefits. As Tax Legislative Counsel, he worked closely with the tax-writing committees in Congress to advance the Administration’s tax policy objectives and worked with the IRS to implement those objectives. Earlier in his career, he served as a Trial Attorney in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he litigated dozens of cases pending in courts throughout the western United States. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Prior to serving as IRS Chief Counsel, Mr. Desmond was consistently recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America® (2010-2019) for excellence in tax and tax controversy. He served on the Council of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association and as Chair of the Section’s Standards of Tax Practice and Tax Shelters Committees and served as a Regent of the American College of Tax Counsel, where he was elected as a fellow in 2008. He served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center from 2008 through 2015 and has been a guest lecturer at law schools around the United States.
Mr. Desmond received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in 1994, where he served as Executive Editor of the Catholic University Law Review. He received a B.A in Political Science and History from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1990.
Mr. Desmond is a member of the California bar, where he is certified as a specialist in tax and is also a member of the New York bar and the District of Columbia bar. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of California and the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Federal, Fourth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits.
Josh O. Ungerman | Meadows, Collier, Reed, Cousins, Crouch & Ungerman
Mr. Ungerman’s experience as a former IRS Senior Trial Attorney and Department of Justice (DOJ) Special Assistant U.S. Attorney are invaluable in helping clients with IRS civil tax and criminal tax controversy matters at all levels along with tax and estate planning. The tax and estate matters in which Josh is involved are typically very complex from both a factual and legal perspective. These matters often require legal and accounting skills. Josh is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Mr. Ungerman is involved in defending Taxpayers & issues against IRS inquiries and actions. The IRS defense practice covers Civil and Criminal Exams, Investigations and Trials. Many of Josh’s Tax Controversy matters include an offshore component.
Mr. Ungerman is often called upon to remediate non-compliant offshore structures and advise on offshore compliance requirements.
Mr. Ungerman is selected to many “Best of” attorney lists by his peers including: Best Lawyers, D Magazine and Texas Monthly. He was selected to the Texas Super Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers in Texas list.
Prior to joining the firm in 1994, he was a civil prosecutor for the Internal Revenue Service, Dallas District Counsel office. He was also a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Department of Justice in Dallas during his time as a civil prosecutor. Prior to becoming an IRS attorney of a special assistant U.S. attorney, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Carolyn M. Parr at the United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C.
Josh is a frequent speaker on tax topics including domestic and offshore IRS exams, IRS estate tax strategies, tax shelter defense, recent tax legislation, IRS criminal tax investigation techniques, state tax controversy issues and IRS offshore compliance issues.
Mr. Ungerman was admitted to practice in Texas in 1990.
Ian M. Comisky | Fox Rothschild
Ian has more than 35 years of experience representing corporations and individuals in civil and criminal tax litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and complex corporate and commercial disputes.
His experience includes:
- tax controversy work such as IRS administrative and grand jury investigations, Tax Court, Claims Court and District Court trials and appeals, jeopardy and termination assessments, responsible officer penalty and collection matters;
- corporate compliance matters involving the Bank Secrecy Act and USA PATRIOT Act and FATCA issues for financial institutions including banks, broker-dealers and mutual funds;
- commercial litigation focused on accounting and legal malpractice cases as well as securities and class action matters, all involving tax and related accounting issues; and
- corporate internal investigations for financial institutions and other entities, including claims under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Andrew Adams | KleptoCapture Task Force
Adams leads the KleptoCapture task force created in March by the Department of Justice to squeeze Russian officials in response to their nation’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Sarah E. Paul | Eversheds Sutherland
Sarah Paul’s practice spans all areas of white-collar defense, with a particular focus on government, internal, and cross-border investigations, tax controversy, and cybersecurity and privacy law. She has extensive experience litigating complex criminal and civil cases.
Sarah joined Eversheds Sutherland from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she served for over nine years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division. As a member of the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit for nearly six years, she worked on sophisticated white-collar cases involving the investigation and prosecution of institutions and individuals for a variety of financial crimes, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, wire fraud, bank fraud, cybercrime, international money laundering, sanctions violations, securities fraud, health care fraud, and Bank Secrecy Act violations. She also served in the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit, where she litigated substantial asset forfeiture matters, including significant art fraud cases. In 2019, Sarah was recognized by the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, which selected her from a nationwide pool of female federal prosecutors to receive the Top Prosecutor Award.
During her time as federal prosecutor, Sarah led numerous high-profile cross-border investigations, including an investigation resulting in the first US indictment in connection with the Panama Papers leak, an investigation resulting in a $547 million resolution with a Swiss bank and the guilty pleas of two Swiss bankers, and an investigation resulting in the guilty pleas of Cayman Islands investment brokerage and trust companies. Sarah also conducted fourteen federal jury trials, and briefed and argued multiple appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
In 2016, she became the Tax Coordinator for the Criminal Division. During her two and a half year tenure as the Tax Coordinator, she supervised all criminal tax matters in the Southern District of New York, including hundreds of investigations and dozens of publicly charged cases, and she worked extensively with the Internal Revenue Service and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice.
Prior to her time as an Assistant United States Attorney, Sarah was a defense attorney for two prominent New York law firms, where she advised clients on anticipating, managing and mitigating legal and regulatory risks related to government enforcement and represented clients in all phases of criminal and civil litigation. She also worked as a federal law clerk for the Honorable Berle Schiller in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Jeremy H. Temkin | Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC
Jeremy H. Temkin represents individuals and corporations in white collar criminal investigations. He handles a wide variety of criminal, regulatory, and civil matters in state and federal courts and before arbitration panels. His cases have involved allegations of tax fraud and securities fraud (including claims of insider trading and accounting violations), as well as violations of the antitrust laws and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).
Jeremy has tried high-profile tax and securities fraud cases, has conducted internal investigations for public corporations and committees of their Boards of Directors, and has represented employees in corporate internal investigations. He has counseled clients on issues relating to offshore bank accounts and the Internal Revenue Service’s Voluntary Disclosure Program, and served as Independent Examiner for numerous banks participating in the Department of Justice’s Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks. Jeremy has also represented various employees of the New York Yankees in witness interviews during investigative inquiries and he represented Muhammad Ali in civil litigation to recover stolen memorabilia.
Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers in the area of Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations has described Jeremy as “a terrific litigator and one of the foremost criminal tax experts in the country,” noting that “he is well versed in international investigations, with a formidable track record in representing an impressive roster of domestic and international clients,” and that his “expert tax fraud practice is complemented by experience in criminal and regulatory proceedings related to antitrust, securities and FCPA violations.” Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys has recognized Jeremy as a “Litigation Star” in the areas of White-Collar Crime/Enforcement/Investigations and General Commercial Litigation. He has also been recognized in White Collar Criminal Defense by The Legal 500 United States and has been listed in Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers from 2007 to the present.
From 1993 through 1999 Jeremy served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he investigated a wide variety of criminal cases – including money laundering, narcotics, tax evasion, and other fraud cases – and represented the government in numerous criminal trials and appeals. In 1998, he received the Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Jeremy joined Morvillo Abramowitz as a Partner in 1999.
Jeremy is the author of the bi-monthly “Tax Litigation” column in the New York Law Journal and a regular contributor to The Insider Blog on Forbes.com. He is also the author of the “Criminal Tax Offenses” chapter in White Collar Crime: Business and Regulatory Offenses (Law Journal Press) and a co-author of the “Responding to Subpoenas and Other Regulatory Requests” chapter in Defending Corporations and Individuals in Government Investigations (West Thomson Reuters). Jeremy has spoken on numerous issues relating to tax fraud and federal criminal practice.
In February 2022, Jeremy was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a member of the New York City Bar Association (Personal Income Taxation Committee, past chair; Criminal Advocacy Committee, past member; Federal Legislation Committee, past member), the American Bar Association (Litigation, Criminal Justice and Taxation Sections), the New York Council of Defense Lawyers (past director), and the Federal Bar Council. Jeremy previously served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society. In 2014, Jeremy received AJC Westchester’s Judge Learned Hand Award, the highest honor that AJC presents to outstanding leaders in the legal profession. In 2004, Jeremy received the James Fogelson Leadership Award from the UJA-Federation of New York, Lawyer’s Division.
Caroline D. Ciraolo | Kostelanetz & Fink
Caroline D. Ciraolo, former Acting Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division, is a partner with Kostelanetz & Fink and a founder of its Washington, D.C. office. Her practice focuses on complex and sophisticated civil tax controversies, including representation in sensitive audits, administrative appeals, and litigation in federal and state courts and administrative tax tribunals, providing related tax advice, conducting internal investigations, consideration of domestic and foreign compliance options including voluntary disclosures, and representing individuals and institutions in criminal tax investigations and prosecutions.
Mark Matthews | Caplin & Drysdale
Mark E. Matthews is a Member in Caplin & Drysdale’s Tax Controversies, Tax Litigation, and Exempt Organizations practice groups. Prior to joining Caplin & Drysdale, Mr. Matthews practiced tax controversy and litigation at an international law firm. He also served as IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement from October 2003 through December 2006, overseeing a period of unprecedented growth in enforcement activity. He was responsible for the IRS’s four civil operating divisions, the Criminal Investigation Division, and the Office of Professional Responsibility, which regulates tax practitioner ethics.
Michel R. Stein | Hochman Salkin Toscher Perez PC
MICHEL R. STEIN is a principal at Hochman Salkin Toscher Perez, specializing in tax controversies, as well as tax planning for individuals, businesses and corporations. For more than 20 years, he has represented individuals with sensitive issue civil tax examinations where substantial penalty issues may arise, and extensively advised individuals on foreign and domestic voluntary disclosures regarding foreign account and asset compliance matters.
Mr. Stein is well respected for his expertise and judgment in handling matters arising from the U.S. Government’s ongoing enforcement efforts regarding undeclared interests in foreign financial accounts and assets, including various methods of participating in a timely voluntary disclosure to minimize potential exposure to civil tax penalties and avoiding a criminal tax prosecution referral. He has assisted hundreds of individuals who have come into compliance with their foreign reporting requirements through the OVDP, Streamline or otherwise.
Throughout his career, Mr. Stein has represented thousands of individual, business and corporate taxpayers involved in civil examinations and administrative appeals, tax collection matters as well as with possible assertions of fraudulent conduct and in defending criminal tax investigations and prosecutions at every administrative level within the IRS. He has litigated tax cases in the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. District Court, and various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. He continues to provide tax advice to taxpayer’s and their advisors around the world.
Mr. Stein is a frequent lecturer at national and regional conferences on topics including tax compliance sensitive issues, IRS examinations, State and Federal worker classification issues, etc. Mr. Stein received his LL.M. in Taxation from the NYU School of Law and graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He gained further expertise as Attorney-Adviser to the Honorable Judge Larry L. Nameroff of the U.S. Tax Court. He is a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization.
Jeffrey A. Neiman| Marcus Neiman Rashbaum & Pineiro, Fort Lauderdale
Jeffrey Neiman is an experienced trial lawyer who regularly defends individuals and corporations in white collar criminal litigation, matters involving tax controversies, government regulatory enforcement matters, internal investigations, compliance counseling, and complex civil litigation. Jeff has tried more than a dozen white collar matters in federal court. Having worked at the forefront of the United States government’s offshore tax enforcement efforts, Jeff has vast experience assisting clients who find themselves with unreported or undeclared bank accounts outside of the United States. Jeff advises clients regarding the Internal Revenue Service’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program as well as clients who face civil and criminal penalties for failing to file Foreign Bank Account Reports (“FBARs”).
Scott S. Ahroni | Polsinelli PC
Scott Ahroni focuses his practice on Federal, State and Local tax controversies. His particular areas of emphasis are audits, administrative appeals and tax litigation in various courts and tribunals, including the United States Tax Court, United States District Court, New York State Division of Tax Appeals, New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal, New York City Tax Tribunal, New York Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, and the New York State Appellate Divisions, First and Third Departments. Examples of his practice include:
- Work directly with clients and auditors involving federal, New York State, New York City and New Jersey civil and criminal individual and corporate income tax, sales tax, payroll tax, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance audits;
- Appear and defend clients at the IRS Office of Appeals
- Work with the IRS And NYS Taxpayer Advocate to resolve systemic issues for clients
- Prepare and Domestic and Foreign Voluntary Disclosure Program submissions
- Appearing before the United States Tax Court; U.S. District Court New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Bureau of Mediation and Conciliation and Mediation Services, as well as the Division of Tax Appeals; and the New York City Tax Tribunal and Bureau of Conciliation
- Assisted clients with tax debts, liens and levies including preparing Installment Agreement and Offer in Compromise submissions; Requests for Collection Due Process hearings before IRS Office of Appeals
Scott uses his background in tax controversy to assist clients in many facets of tax planning at the Federal, New York State and City level an emphasis on providing guidance to businesses and individuals on foreign withholding obligations, foreign business and asset holding structures, use of foreign tax credit, foreign earned income exclusion, outbound and inbound planning for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals and pre-immigration planning. Additionally, he assists clients with tax planning and information reporting pertaining to digital assets, including virtual currencies and Non-Fungible Tokens. He also represents clients before the IRS in audits involving digital assets.
Scott also has strong background and significant experience with:
- New York sales and use tax experience with tax deferred, like kind exchange transactions
- Choice of entity issues including tax classification related to taxation of the business, ownership limitation issues, tax structuring incentive issues and industry specific limitations
Alan M. Katz | Guidepost Solutions
Alan M. Katz joined Guidepost Solutions as a senior forensic auditor in 2013. Previously he spent 22 years as a Special Agent with the Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division where he conducted complex white-collar financial investigations involving criminal tax, money laundering, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, contract fraud, labor racketeering, disadvantaged/minority business enterprise fraud, prevailing wage violations, kickbacks, extortion, union payoffs, organized crime influence, bank secrecy violations, as well as financial transactions designed to facilitate these activities.
Mr. Katz was the founding and lead agent assigned to the Federal Construction Fraud Task Force, which was created to investigate corruption within the construction industry. Those investigations yielded more than 60 prosecutions and 28 debarments and forfeiture orders exceeding $180 million. He conducted and supervised all aspects of criminal investigations including document analysis, tracing financial transactions, preparing charts and exhibits, interviewing witnesses and subjects, securing evidence from outside sources, surveillance, undercover operations, executing arrest and search warrants, coordinating multi-agency involvement and executing criminal and civil forfeitures. Many of Mr. Katz’ investigations included analyzing voluminous and highly sophisticated financial documents of individuals and businesses in an effort to detect patterns, anomalies and schemes in uncovering fraudulent activity, and, he has substantial experience deciphering and analyzing a business’ accounting systems, books of original entry, financial statements and tax returns.
The success of Mr. Katz’ investigations resulted in numerous awards including the Department of Transportation Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Achievement in 2002, the Award for Excellence from the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency in 2005, the True American Hero Award from the Federal Drug Agents Foundation in 2008, the Award of Excellence from the United States Department of Transportation in 2010, the Investigator of the Year Award from the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation in 2011 and several awards from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Katz was an auditor with a public accounting firm where he planned, coordinated and administered audit engagements; analyzed the books and records of diversified clients; reviewed and prepared financial statements, financial reports and tax returns; and prepared reports on internal controls and operating procedures.
Mr. Katz has spoken at more than 20 training programs for law enforcement agents, attorneys, accountants and auditors of various federal, state and local departments and agencies. He has also instructed at C.W. Post University.
Olga Zeverovich | US Attorney’s Office
OLGA ZVEROVICH is an attorney registered with New York State, Unified Court System, Office of Court Administration, admitted in 2015. The current status is Currently registered. The employer name is U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Judge Kathleen Kerrigan | United States Tax Court
Chief Judge. B.S., Boston College 1985; J.D., University of Notre Dame Law School, 1990. Admitted to Massachusetts Bar, 1991 and District Columbia Bar, 1992. Legislative Director for Congressman Richard E. Neal, Member of the Ways and Means Committee, 1990 to 1998. Associate and partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP, Washington, D.C. 1998-2005. Tax Counsel for Senator John F. Kerry, Member of Senate Finance Committee, 2005-2012. Appointed by President Obama as Judge of the United States Tax Court; sworn in on May 4, 2012, for a term ending on May 3, 2027. Elected as Chief Judge for a two-year term effective June 1, 2022.
Phillip Colasanto | Agostino & Associates PC
Mr. Colasanto is a tax controversy and litigation lawyer who concentrates on civil and criminal tax controversies. Mr. Colasanto represents both individuals and businesses, domestically and internationally, before the United States Tax Court and the United States District Court.
Mr. Colasanto is a frequent speaker and has authored several tax-related articles. He is also heavily involved with the American Bar Association, where he is chair of several subcommittees.
Prior to joining Agostino & Associates, P.C. Mr. Colasanto was a pro bono law clerk for the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, and, thereafter, a civil litigator, where he handled cases from inception through and including trial.
Kathleen Costello | NYU School of Professional Studies
Thomas A. Cullinan | IRS
Benjamin M. Swartz | IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Division
Jennifer L. Best | IRS
Nikole Flax | IRS
Thomas J. Sawyer | US Department of Justice
Joy Gerdy Zogby | IRS
James D. Robnett | IRS
Darren John Guillot | IRS
Scott Irick | IRS
Andy Keyso | IRS
Catherine Gugar | IRS
Erin M. Collins | National Taxpayer Advocate