Business Tax Controversy



Have you been contacted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or your state’s Department of Treasury? Do you allegedly owe the IRS or state money? Are you under examination for any type of federal or state tax? If so, you likely need the services of an experienced tax attorney to help navigate these treacherous waters.

The IRS and each state have their own audit procedures, but it almost always starts with a letter to your business. It is important that you DO NOT ignore any letters because they are time sensitive and failure to respond could mean big trouble later for you and your business.

In an audit situation, it is best to be proactive and to not wait until the tax is assessed against you. Plunkett Cooney’s tax attorneys have the knowledge and ability to reduce the proposed liability or to possibly eliminate it outright.

Being in a potentially vulnerable audit situation is obviously serious business – one that involves potential civil and even criminal penalties! It is important that you seek counsel right away since you have a deadline to respond to the letter you were sent. Plunkett Cooney’s tax attorneys handle every engagement with the same goal: reduce the tax liability of our clients in the most cost effective way while understanding each client’s unique situation and business.


Once the audit process is complete, taxpayers have the right to appeal the examiner’s or revenue agent’s determination. This process requires a written protest letter to transition into the jurisdiction of an appeals officer.

Such matters are extremely time-sensitive, so it is imperative to engage a tax attorney right away. Once a final determination from a revenue agent has been received, the recipient only has 30-days to file a protest with the IRS to go to “Appeals,” an independent body charged with considering the “hazards of litigation” in a particular case.

If a case has been lost at the examination level, there is still hope for a better outcome, because the appeals stage is actually where most cases are settled. Good appeals officers attempt to settle cases, and Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys have excellent working relationships with the IRS and its appeals officers.

Litigation in Tax Court

Sometimes cases simply cannot be settled between the IRS and the taxpayer. After a case goes to appeals, and in some cases before, the taxpayer has the right to sue in the United States Tax Court.

In this court, taxpayers need not pay the tax before filing a lawsuit. If a notice of deficiency has been received, it’s time to act. Taxpayers only have 90 days to file a petition with the court. If that deadline is missed, taxpayers can never go back to have the court review the underlying tax liability.

It takes an experienced tax attorney to file a petition and to litigate a case in tax court. Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys work closely with the Office of Chief Counsel to try and settle cases to the benefit of their clients. However, if that process fails, they proceed to court in consultation with their clients.

Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys are highly effective at litigating cases but they only do so when they are confident the facts are conducive and that the law applies favorably to their clients. Seeking the right result for our clients is always the goal.

Federal Court Litigation

In some cases, it makes sense to pay the tax first and then sue for a refund. This is done through the federal court system.

Filing suit against the IRS typically involves such issues as wrongful levies and wrongful liens; injunctions; Mandamus; declaratory actions; Bivens actions; probate proceedings; lien foreclosure by sales; interpleaders; and quiet title actions. Plunkett Cooney is well-versed in all these matters and more.

When a potential claim against the IRS arises, Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys take the time to walk their clients through the jurisdictional hurdles and to provide a thorough and honest assessment regarding the validity of all potential claims.


Whether it was the result of an audit or you simply have not paid your back taxes, the IRS and state will make vigorous efforts to collect the money they are owed. They can do everything from shutting down your business to levying your bank account and filing tax liens. You have options and the sooner you understand them, the sooner your tax issue can be resolved.

The tax attorneys are Plunkett Cooney are highly-trained in handling the collection efforts of the IRS and states and can help you reduce the penalties you owe, establish an installment agreement based on what your business can actually afford, or to possibly even settle the debt for a fraction of what you owe. Plunkett Cooney attorneys have successfully saved their clients millions of dollars in taxes they owed, but never had to pay.

If you want to finally rest easy and not fear the next time you open the mailbox, contact a Plunkett Cooney tax attorney today to find out how your issue can be resolved.

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