Taxation and Tax Controversy

The Taxation practice at Burch & Cracchiolo includes tax strategy consulting, particularly in conjunction with entity formation and transfer considerations, as well as wealth and estate planning. The attorneys providing these strategic insights do so within the scope of their work for our clients in business and corporate law and estate planning. Our attorneys who are engaged in tax controversy practice are focused solely on tax issues, that is, they concentrate 100% of their time and effort on the resolution of all manners of substantial and complex tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of the Treasury, state and local taxing authorities, and in courts, including Tax Court, District Court, the Court of Federal Claims and, in some cases, Bankruptcy Court.

Our attorneys represent individuals, companies of all sizes, estates, nonprofits and other entities facing tax controversies. Our tax controversy practice is led by Martha Patrick, a former senior trial attorney with the Internal Revenue Service, who worked on both criminal and civil matters for nine years in the San Diego and Phoenix District Counsel offices. As a former “insider,” Martha brings an understanding of the subtle motives that may dictate the behavior of an IRS employee and allow her to better advise our clients and settle controversies more quickly and favorably for our clients. Her knowledge, experience, credibility and contacts have served Burch & Cracchiolo clients in tax controversy matters of all kinds for over 20 years.

In addition to the foregoing, Burch & Cracchiolo attorneys provide a wide variety of services with respect to state and local taxes including the transaction privilege tax (sales and use taxes). The firm represents taxpayers in audits by the Arizona Department of Revenue and city taxing authorities.

Civil and Criminal Tax Controversy

Our attorneys represent individuals, corporations, trusts and estates in civil and criminal tax litigation with the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice and in the United States Tax Court, United States District Courts and United States Courts of Appeal, as well as in litigation with the State of Arizona and Arizona Department of Revenue. We have handled and litigated diverse civil and criminal tax issues including deductibility of business expenses, allegations of unreported income, innocent spouse claims, qualification of pension plans and exempt organizations, trust issues, summons responses, collection due process hearings, trust fund recovery penalties and the assertion of delinquency, accuracy related and fraud penalties.

We represent clients in administrative investigations, grand jury investigations and trials in federal district court and the state's superior courts. We also represent clients in Internal Revenue Service and Department of Revenue civil audits which have the potential to turn into criminal investigations, commonly referred to as “eggshell audits.”

Collection Matters and Offers in Compromise

Burch & Cracchiolo attorneys regularly deal with Internal Revenue Service and Arizona Department of Revenue collection personnel, representing clients who have been found to have underpaid income and employment taxes to find acceptable payment terms and, when the circumstances justify, we will work to secure uncollectible status for our clients. We have a high rate of success in securing the abatement of penalties. We are accomplished in helping clients deal with liens, levies and seizures, successfully negotiating withdrawals and releases, installment agreements and offers in compromise. We have also assisted clients in obtaining innocent spouse determinations, eliminating the tax liability of the innocent spouse entirely. Where appropriate, we advise clients as to the discharge of taxes in bankruptcy.

Forfeiture Proceedings

We represent clients in actions brought by the government to forfeit funds based on allegations of structured currency transactions and have been successful in securing the return of a large percentage of the funds seized.

IRS and Department of Revenue Examinations

Clients who engage Burch & Cracchiolo tax controversy attorneys from the very first indication of any issue with a taxing authority can take advantage of our considerable experience in handling tax examinations and the consequences thereof. We assist our clients to identify significant issues, develop key audit strategies, provide advice in responding to information document requests and IRS summonses, establish procedures to identify and protect privileged documents and establish appropriate document retention procedures in order to preserve evidence. In many instances, we are asked by clients to interface with IRS examiners throughout the examination, whereas in others, strategic reasons dictate that we provide advice while remaining in the background. Our goal is to provide the level of service that is most advantageous for our clients, given their specific circumstances.

We thoroughly evaluate the merits of complex tax issues and develop creative arguments in defense of proposed adjustments. Our lawyers prepare detailed, persuasive responses to the IRS’ proposed adjustments and written protests for those examinations that proceed to IRS Appeals.

Voluntary Disclosures

As of February 2011, the IRS updated the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure procedures. Burch & Cracchiolo lawyers advise clients on the impact of these changes and help clients determine if they qualify for such disclosure. We assist clients in making a proper Voluntary Disclosure in both offshore and domestic cases, with the goal of reducing or eliminating penalties and avoiding criminal prosecution. Such disclosures may be advisable in cases of underreported income, unfiled returns, unreported overseas accounts and investments and many more. In addition, we assist clients who wish to participate in amnesty programs to ensure proper compliance with the terms and conditions of these programs.