Representative Cases

Although nearly all of my cases have been settled, I am willing and able to try a tax case in court if it becomes necessary. I believe my ability to try cases has had a great deal to do with my ability to settle cases. It is my experience that a case properly prepared for trial will likely settle since the merits of the case become clearly known to the taxpayer and the IRS, and the probable outcome at trial can be realistically assessed.


The trial of a tax case should be approached with great caution. Statistics show that taxpayers win only a small percentage of cases at trial. This is primarily because of an inherent prejudice of the system in favor of the Government. It is also because too many taxpayers try cases that ought not to have been tried. I have achieved victories or partial victories in 75% of the cases I have tried. Here is a partial list of published cases I have tried or taken to decision by motion:


Published Cases

    * Holmes v. CommissionerT.C. Memo 2012-251 (2012), aff’d 2015-1 USTC ¶50,202 (2015). (loss on section 1045 rollover qualification but successful defense of fraud penalty)

   * United States v. Waage, Civil No. 08-cv-0919-IEG. United States District Court, SD California. (2008) (successful defense of summons enforcement action)  

    * Estate of Mellinger v. Commissioner, 112 T.C. 28 (1999), acq. 1999-34 I.R.B. 314. (successful defense in seminal estate planning case involving a QTIP trust)

    * Wall v. United States, 96-1 USTC ¶50,307 reversing and remanding an unreported District Court decision in an unpublished memorandum; 133 F.3d 1188, 98-1 USTC ¶50,144 (9th Cir. 1998), aff'g an unreported District Court decision. (partial success in statute of limitations defense)

    * Meserve Drilling Partners v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1996-72, 71 T.C.M. 2146 (1996), aff'd per curiam 98-2 USTC ¶50,663 (9th Cir 1998). (loss in profit motivation case involving oil & gas tax shelter project - later settled)

    * Balboa Energy Fund, 1981 v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1993-251, 65 T.C.M. 2878, aff'd in part, rev'd in part in unpublished opinion, 96-1 USTC ¶50,117 (9th Cir.1996). (loss in profit motivation case involving oil & gas tax shelter project - later settled)

    * A.L. Winans Grantor Trust v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1989-653, remanded in unpublished opinion sub.nom.Steinbrecher v. Commissioner, 1993 TNT 37-56 (9th Cir. 1993). (successful defense of thoroughbred horse breeding program)

    * Dubin v. Commissioner, 99 T.C. 325 (1992). (successful defense against premature partnership assessment)

    * United Fibertech, Ltd. v. Commissioner, 62 T.C.M. 699, T.C. Memo 1991-445, aff'd per curiam, 976 F.2d 445, 92-2 USTC ¶50,487 (8th Cir. 1992). (loss on technical issue involving research & development tax shelter)

    * Findley v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1991-339, 62 T .C.M. 219 (1991). (loss on assignment of professional income case)

    * Gibson v. United States, 761 F.Supp. 685, (C.D. Calif. 1991). (successful defense of failure to send deficiency notice to last known address)

    * Zermeno v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1991-550, 62 T.C.M. 1155 (1991) (mixed result involving U.S. business expenses of a Mexican national)

    * Fountain Valley Community Hospital, Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1987-187, 53 T.C.M. 561 (1987). (successful defense of very large deficiency involving hospital rental expense)