Law Offices of Thomas J. Fernandez

Law Offices of Thomas J. Fernandez
7700 Irvine Center Drive,
Eighth Floor
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: (949) 753-9262
Fax: (949) 753-2862
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California and Federal Tax Litigation and Appellate Attorney Thomas J. Fernandez

What to Do When the IRS or the California Tax Authorities Come Knocking at Your Door

A letter from the IRS or any of the California tax agencies requires an immediate response. Taxpayers generally have 30 to 90 days to respond, depending on the nature of the letter. It may be a notice of deficiency or assessment, which means the IRS or California tax agencies think there is a discrepancy in your account and you may owe back taxes. The biggest mistake you can make is not doing anything. It is essential to contact a knowledgeable tax litigation attorney who can help you weave through the intricacies of dealing with tax agencies.

If you need representation in a California or IRS audit, tax dispute, tax lawsuit or appeal, contact the Law Offices of Thomas J. Fernandez in Irvine to schedule a consultation.

I am a former IRS senior trial attorney with an advanced law degree in Taxation, and I use my experience to represent individuals and businesses during tax audits, administrative appeals and court trials.

The Two Phases of a California or IRS Tax Case

It is essential to respond to the initial notice of assessment in order to avoid paying the whole amount and then having to claim it back through refund litigation. In a refund litigation scenario, the taxpayer must pay the amount assessed and then file a refund claim. Payment is required prior to any appeal or litigation. Prepayment can be avoided by responding to the initial notice of deficient or assessment.

The first part is the assessment phase, in which the IRS, the Franchise Tax Board, or another California tax authority determines the amount a taxpayer owes. If a taxpayer responds during the assessment phase, the dispute typically can be handled before the taxpayer is compelled to pay. Audits, administrative appeals and tax litigation are all part of this phase. I represent clients in tax disputes and through all the stages of their tax appeals-from the audit to trial or appeal, if necessary.

The second part of a tax case is the collection phase. During this phase, the IRS, the Franchise Tax Board, or another California tax authority tries to collect the amount it has determined the taxpayer owes.

I assist clients in disputing alleged tax liabilities as well as in negotiating how any debt will be resolved. This could include negotiating an offer in compromise, an installment payment plan, or uncollectible status and considering potential issues that can lower or even eliminate the tax liability. I can also help clients identify which taxes may be dischargeable in a bankruptcy.

For a seasoned California and federal tax litigation and appeals lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Thomas J. Fernandez.


The Law Offices of Thomas J. Fernandez provides legal representation in tax litigation and appeals, tax audits, tax liens and levies, tax fraud cases and tax planning to residents of Irvine, Newport Beach, Ladera Ranch, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Rancho Santa Margarita, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County and San Diego County, California.

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