305 371-8101
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Experienced Tax Attorney

For IRS Audits, Appeals and Tax Court Litigation

Civil Tax Audits, Appeals, and Litigation Attorney

David M. Garvin, Florida Bar Board Certified Tax Attorney.

The law firm handles both civil and criminal tax matters including IRS tax audits, IRS appeals, Tax Court litigation, preparer penalties and injunctions, collections and all criminal tax matters. 

A Tax Attorney Is Crucial For IRS Audits, Appeals and Tax Court Litigation.

A tax attorney who is a member of the United States Tax Court has the authority to represent taxpayers in civil tax matters before the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Tax Court.  These matters include IRS audits, IRS Appeals, and Tax Court litigation. The best tax attorneys are knowledgable of the Internal Revenue Code and the supporting Treasury regulations.

Civil IRS Audits

Civil tax cases often start when the IRS computer that processes tax returns determines that the ratios relating to income and expenses of a particular tax return are not within the averages or norms of all the other similar tax returns. The computer selects these returns for further review. Often the tax return is assigned to an agent to examine or audit. The civil tax audit is generally conducted by trained revenue agents.

The best tax audit lawyers understand and avoid the pitfalls that arise during IRS audits. For over 35 years, tax attorney David M. Garvin has represented taxpayers who are being audited by the IRS. The results of many of these cases have been remarkable. When taxpayers learn that they are being audited their top priority often is to resolve the matter quickly, quietly and at the least cost possible. Mr. Garvin strives to meet his client's goals in each case. 

IRS Appeals

When an agreement cannot be reached during the IRS audit, the taxpayer has the right to file a protest regarding any proposed additional tax, penalties or interest. The taxpayer's protest will include a request for a conference with an appeals officer at the appeals office of the Internal Revenue Service. The appeals office is independent from the IRS examination department.  Appeals officers give great wait to arguments supported by specific Internal Revenue Code sections, Treasury Regulations, and Tax Court rulings in other similar cases. The best IRS appeal attorneys know that in order to obtain the best outcome for the taxpayer they must thoroughly research the issue and have specific case law ready to present to the Appeals Officer.

The appeals office is permitted to settle cases with taxpayers based upon the "Hazards of Litigation" standard.  This means that the appeals officer can assess the position of the auditor as well as the position of the taxpayer and make an educated approximation of how the Tax Court will rule if the matter does not settle and goes to Tax Court.

For example, if the appeals officer determines that the taxpayer and the IRS auditor each have a 50/50 chance of winning in Tax Court, the appeals officer has the authority to settle the case with the taxpayer for 50% of the additional taxes and penalties proposed by the IRS auditor. 

Questions? Call David M. Garvin (305) 371-8101

Contact Mr. Garvin

United States Tax Court cases.

If a taxpayer who has been audited is unable to resolve the matter with the auditor and is also unable to resolve the case with the appeals officer, the taxpayer may petition to have the matter decided by the United States Tax Court. Shortly after an unsuccessful appeals review, the taxpayer will be issued a letter placing the taxpayer on notice that he has 90 days to file a petition with the United States Tax Court.

If the taxpayer fails to file the petition within the mandatory 90 day period, the taxpayer will waive his right to have the Tax Court hear the case. If the petition is timely filed, the Tax Court will set the matter for trial. The Tax Court travels to designated large cities to conduct trials. The Tax Court returns to Washington, D.C upon the conclusion of the trial calendar. 

The IRS is represented by IRS general counsel during the Tax Court proceedings.  The taxpayer may have his case heard in Tax Court without the taxpayer having paid the contested additional taxes and/or penalties. 

Trials that occur in Tax Court do not have a jury. The judge determines the facts and the applicable law in each case after hearing the testimony of the witnesses and reviewing the exhibits. The Tax Court will require the parties to stipulate to as many facts and exhibits as possible to streamline the actual trial and reduce the amount of time the Court will need to be physically present in the courtroom.

Tax Cases in the United States District Court

If the taxpayer misses the notice of deficiency deadline to petition the United States Tax Court to hear his case, the taxpayer may file his case in the Federal United States District Court.  The United States District Court will afford the taxpayer a jury trial. However, the taxpayer will be required to pay the tax in dispute and file a claim for refund with the IRS.

If the IRS declines the claim for refund or fails to act on the claim for refund, the taxpayer will be then permitted to sue the IRS for the refund.  The matter will be decide before a six member jury.

IRS Litigation for Injunctions.   

The IRS has the authority to seek an injunction from the Unted States District Court prohibiting a company or individual from preparing income tax returns in the future.  When the IRS computer determines that a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) for an individual has filed an unusual amount of tax returns for customers claiming refundable tax credits or business expenses, the IRS will commence an investigation.

The investigation often includes the IRS agents interviewing the individual taxpayers to determine whether the tax returns have been prepared properly. If the IRS determine that the tax returns claiming the refundable credits and business expenses were not prepared properly, the IRS is authorized to file a lawsuit in the United States District Court seeking an injunction against the person or entity that prepared the tax returns.  Injunction cases fall within the Court's inherent equitable juridiction.

The trial is before the judge. There is no jury. If the taxpayer loses the case he may be enjoined from preparing tax returns for a period of years or, in some cases, permanently.  Mr. Garvin has extensive experience with this type of case.

Nations Business Centers, Inc. and Ernest Cruz

The Internal Revenue Service conducted a thorough tax audit and sought to prevent Nation's Business Centers, Inc. and its owner from preparing tax returns. This would have been what is commonly referred to as  the "Business Death Penalty."  The IRS filed a lawsuit in District Court requesting an injunction. Following a two week trial the Court denied the government the injunction it sought.  The IRS appealed. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner sitting as a guest judge rendered the opinion affirming the trial court.

"I and the employees of Nations Business Centers, Inc. will be forever grateful for the legal skills, professionalism and effort that David Garvin exhibited on our behalf when the IRS attempted to permanently close our successful tax preparation business."  Ernest Cruz.

Criminal Investigations Should Not be Treated as a Civil Audit

IRS tax audits are civil reviews of the taxpayer's tax records. They are not criminal tax investigations. Criminal investigations should never be treated by the taxpayer or his representatives as a civil audit.  The job of a special agent is to collect evidence in order to indict and convict the target of the criminal investigation. This process is viewed by the Department of Justice as necessary to encourage voluntary compliance by taxpayers throughout the nation.

The agents are trained to be friendly to get the taxpayer and witnesses to talk and provide them information they need to make a criminal case.  However, they can also quickly become angry and intimidating to get the taxpayer or witness to talk, if they determine that this is necessary to get the job accomplished.

Civil IRS tax audits are conducted to determine the correct amount of taxes that are due and to collect any alleged deficiency.  If you have been notified that your tax return has been selected for an IRS tax audit, you should contact a tax lawyer as soon as practical.

The Internal Revenue Service records reflect that less than 1% of all lawyers have successfully defended a taxpayer indicted of a federal tax crime. When selecting a criminal tax attorney it is your right to know if the lawyer has ever won a criminal tax case for the defense.

Questions? Call David M. Garvin today at (305) 371-8101

Contact Mr. Garvin

Frequently Asked Questions

The IRS computers maintain data gathered from all tax returns filed. This data is sused to determine the "average" or "ordinary" tax return. The computers ana;yze whether a return for a given occupation generally falls within the norm for income, expenses, and credits as well as percentages based upon gathered data. If a particular tax return has several items that fall outside of the established norms are segregated for further review and often this review is known as an audit. In addition, the IRS relies upon whistle blowers who report other taxpayers who are believed to not be in compliance with the tax code.

The IRS rules provide that following an audit of a tax return the agent who conducted the audit is required to prepare a report reflecting any proposed changes to the tax return and the amount of each change. Generally, the agent who conducted the audit does not have the authority to negotiate a compromised settlement.

The Taxpayer will be asked if he agrees with the findings of the agent. If the taxpayer does not agree, the taxpayer may file a formal protest to the proposed adjustments and request a hearing before an settlement officer at the IRS Appeals Office.

The request for Appeals review is due within 30 days of the date of the Agent's report reflecting the adjustments proposed as a result of the audit. Appeals officers are authorized to negotiate and settle cases based upon the hazards of litigation. As a result, taxpayers are often successful in obtaining some relief from the appeals officer that the taxpayer was unable to obtain from the revenue agent that conducted the audit.

Generally, once an audit notice has been received the taxpayer should not file an amended tax return. The filing of an amended tax return at that point may cause unnecessary confusion. The taxpayer is likely to receive little benefit from filing an amended tax return after the notice of the audit has been issued and is received by the taxpayer.

When an IRS auditor completes an audit, he will issue a revenue agent report that will list each propsed adjustment including additional income and the disallowance of deductions, expenses and credits.  The taxpayer has 30 days to file a protest to the audit findings and to request for Appeals Office review. The protest must state the items the taxpayer objects to.

When the appeals office renders its decision a notice of deficiency will be issued and delivered to the taxpayer. The notice of deficiency will notify the taxpayer that he has 90 days to petition the United States Tax Court for review. It is imparative that the deadline not be missed.

When a tax return has been selected for review it means that the IRS has made a determination that it wants to verify certain positions reported on the tax return. This process is generally referred to as an audit. Items that are commonly selected for verification include gross income, expenses and deductions, refundable credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Care Tax Credit.  Audits may be conducted by a Revenue Agent in the field. Some matters may be reviewed by mailing the IRS supporting documentation for a specific matter.  An audit for one taxable year may expand to include subsequent years if the IRS discovers errors in the preparation of the first tax return that it audited.

I do not want to send a message that I believe that I did something wrong. If you receive a notice that your tax return has been selected for audit, you are not required to hire a tax attorney to represent you during the audit.

However, tax attorneys have formal eduction and experience handling tax controversies. This education and experience often results in a better outcome for the taxpayer.  Retaining an experienced tax attorney to handle an audit or appeal often sends a message that you are serious about protecting your rights. 

No. Audits are civil proceedings. The focusof the Revenue Agent is to determine whether the tax return that was filed is accurate and correct. If it is not correct, the Revenue Agent will propose adjustments that will increase the amount of taxes due to bring the taxpayer for that particular tax year into compliance.  An IRS investigation is a criminal matter. The purpose of a criminal investigation is to gather evidence to prove that the taxpayer has committed a tax crime. IRS special agents conduct criminal tax investigations.

Generally, the IRS permits taxpayers, who discover a tax return that had been previously filed contains a mistake, to voluntarily prepare and file an amended tax return. However, once a tax audit has commenced, the filing of an amended return will not be viewed as voluntary and the IRS agent is not required to process the amended return. The amended return may cause confusion. A taxpayer should not file an amended tax return during an audit without first discussing the amended return with the agent conducting the audit.

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