Tax Controversy


With decades of experience resolving sophisticated tax issues, Schwabe helps clients successfully work through controversies and litigation with federal and state tax agencies.

A strong advocate for our clients

We bring both legal and procedural knowledge to representing clients in civil and criminal litigation before the IRS and state departments of revenue, as well as litigation in state and federal courts. We handle a wide variety of matters, including:

  • Audit and appeal conferences before IRS and state taxing agencies
  • Property tax appeals to the Oregon Department of Revenue and Oregon Tax Court
  • Tax refund claims and tax refund litigation
  • Collection actions by IRS and state taxing agencies
  • Appeals of tax issues before federal and state appellate courts
  • Collection due process appeals
  • Trust fund recovery penalty actions
  • Jeopardy and termination assessments
  • Voluntary disclosures
  • Defense of federal criminal tax cases (including white-collar criminal cases)
  • Defense of civil and criminal forfeiture actions
  • Third-party litigation involving wrongful levies, transferee liabilities, nominee liens and levies.

Partnering with accountants to advocate for their clients

Accountants in the Pacific Northwest often call on us to provide legal counsel to their valued clients. Working together, we develop effective plans for dealing with the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and other federal and state law enforcement agencies.


  • Won an Oregon Tax Court Case involving whether the Department of Revenue could tax the sale of subsidiaries of a Fortune 500 corporation.
  • Negotiated compromises regarding millions of dollars of tax liabilities for individual and business taxpayers.
  • Prevailed against the Internal Revenue Service in asserting that a statutory merger of an S corporation into a C corporation did not trigger recapture of investment tax credits from the S corporation shareholders.
  • Obtained summary judgment against the United States, permitting taxpayers to increase their basis in their bankrupt corporation’s stock by the amount of their pro rata share of cancellation of indebtedness income.
  • Recovered from the IRS the proceeds from a wrongful tax levy where the government failed to show a connection between the property and a delinquent taxpayer.
  • Prevailed on behalf of a decedent’s representative by establishing that an Oregon power of attorney permitted the making of gifts during the decedent’s incapacity; therefore, gifts were not includable in the decedent’s gross estate for federal estate tax purposes.
  • Established that a taxpayer’s rental real estate activities constituted a partnership for federal income tax purposes, thereby permitting the taxpayer to deduct 50 percent of the related expenses.
  • Successfully sued an individual posing as a lawyer for racketeering, including pursuing the defendant through bankruptcy processes in three federal courts.
  • Successfully represented the Oregon State Bar in litigation against an individual for the unauthorized practice of law.

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