Tax & Tax Controversy

Meltzer Lippe has been recognized as the leading Tax Law firm, both in size and quality of attorneys, on Long Island. We are highly respected on a regional and national level. Our tax attorneys come to us with years in practice, many at the world’s largest and most prestigious law firms. Others join us after having spent time in practice at the IRS or U.S. Treasury Department; and most have an LL.M. in Taxation or Estate Planning. Our practice spans the disciplines of federal taxation, state and local taxation and international taxation; both inbound and outbound. Our style of practice is not institutional. We put our client’s goals and objectives first.

Our attorneys include:

  • Former Member, U.S. Treasury Department Office of Tax Policy
  • Majority of attorneys with LL.M. degrees in Tax and Estate Planning
  • Professors of Tax Law at NYU School of Law, Cardozo School of Law, Hofstra University School of Law and Baruch College
  • Several attorneys who are C.P.A.’s and M.B.A.’s
  • Former Senior Attorneys with IRS Office of Chief Counsel
  • Chair, Nassau County Bar Association, Tax Committee
  • Chair, Sales, Exchange & Basis Committee, Tax Section of the American Bar Association
  • Chair, Trust & Estate Law Committee, American Bar Association
  • Member of the Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Advisory Board
  • Member of the Bloomberg BNA Real Estate Advisory Board
  • Member of the NYU Institute on Federal Taxation Advisory Board
  • Member of the Practical Tax Strategies Editorial Board
  • Member of the Wealth Management, Trusts & Estates Magazine Editorial Advisory Board
  • American College of Trust & Estate Counsel fellows
  • U.S. News & World Report Best Lawyers
  • New York Super Lawyers

Whether in financing, acquisitions, complex restructuring or construction and leasing, we offer our tax/real estate clients solutions to vexing tax and allocation issues arising from real estate holdings, operating and partnership agreements. Combining our expertise in Tax, Real Estate, Joint Ventures and Partnerships practice groups, we represent clients in sophisticated real estate transactions, including, but not limited to sale, exchange, lease and property refinancing, IRC Section 1031 tax-free exchanges, installment sales, long term lease agreements and sale-leasebacks. These types of clients have specialized needs which is the central focus of our practice.

We specialize in servicing private clients, such as high net-worth individuals, closely held businesses and middle market companies, both publicly and privately held. We represent clients internationally, offering representation in corporate, partnership and individual taxation; domestic and international taxation; tax planning for executive compensation; tax audits, appeals and litigation; employment tax planning; tax planning for foreign investors in U.S. properties and businesses; tax planning for offshore trusts; tax planning for U.S. businesses conducted in foreign jurisdictions; tax planning for domestic and international mergers and acquisitions; tax planning for domestic and international joint ventures; estate and gift tax planning and income taxation of trusts and estates. In short, we maximize client opportunity with focused, tax-efficient transactions.

The scope of our expertise is broad and allows us to offer strategic tax planning counsel in all matters of corporate, business and investment transactions, including: acquisitions, mergers, divestitures, spin-offs and divisions, dissolutions and liquidations contributions, distributions, redemptions, direct stock and asset acquisitions. We handle tax-free reorganization and exchanges, business transfer and restructurings, and close transactions with minimum tax liability.

Tax Controversy: IRS and State Tax Dispute Resolution

The Meltzer Lippe Tax Controversy group is comprised of highly qualified experienced tax attorneys including attorneys formerly with the office of IRS Chief Counsel and the United States Department of Treasury. In addition, a number of the attorneys in our tax controversy group have worked in private practice in some of the finest law firms in New York City where they have represented taxpayers in controversy matters. Our tax controversy group represents clients before the Internal Revenue Service, the New York State and New York City Departments of Taxation in addition to other state and local tax authorities.

We represent clients at all stages during the dispute process: Examinations, Appeals, United States Tax Court and Federal Court of Claims tax litigation, and Collection Division matters including Notices of Liens and Levies, Collection Due Process Appeals, New York State Warrants, New York State driver’s license suspension due to tax liabilities, Offers in Compromise and Installment Agreements. We can handle your case entirely or, if you prefer, work with accounting firms as a team on tax controversy matters. Although we are experienced in litigating cases before the Tax Court, we have favorably resolved cases at every level for clients before the case ever went to court, avoiding costly litigation expenses for clients. Our attorneys are familiar with the inner workings of the taxing authorities, allowing us to help streamline the process and achieve the best possible outcome for our clients who have a tax controversy matter. We are also readily available to address your concerns including time-sensitive matters such as your receipt of an IRS or New York State tax notice that requires an immediate response.

We represent a broad group of clients, including corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, pensions plans and exempt organizations, and high net worth individuals in investment banking, law, real estate, medicine, entertainment, fashion, media, construction, manufacturing, sports, and technology.

We handle all types of income tax, employment tax, corporate tax, estate & gift tax issues, responsible person assessments, payroll tax, sales & use tax, residency issues, income allocation, pension plan compliance, exempt organization examinations, innocent spouse, penalty abatements.

Department Chair(s)
Stephen M. Breitstone / sbreitstone@meltzerlippe.com

ATTORNEYS 

Stephen M. Breitstone
Stephen M. Breitstone

Partner

Practice Groups: Tax Law, Business Law, Real Estate, International Law, Estate Planning, Trust & Estates, Tax-Exempt Organizations

Areas of Focus: Private Wealth & Taxation

Overview: Steve is counsel to many of the firm’s wealthiest and most prominent clients, providing sophisticated tax and estate planning advice for several large New York real estate families, private equity funds, Wall Street investment bankers, fund managers, corporate executives, large estates and others. He has pioneered many novel tax planning techniques – some combining his broad knowledge of partnership taxation and estate planning. Steve’s style of practice is personal, not institutional; and his client’s goals and objectives are his priority. 

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Andrew L. Baron
Andrew L. Baron

Counsel

Practice Groups: Trust & Estates, Tax

Areas of Focus: Estate and income tax  planning, business succession planning and estate and trust administration.

Overview: Andrew counsels his clients regarding their estate planning and the gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax considerations of their plans while keeping their non-tax objectives a top priority.

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José L. Berra
José L. Berra

Counsel

Practice Groups: Tax Law, Business Law, General Business Analysis and Advice

Area of Focus: Tax

Overview: José represents clients in sophisticated real estate and partnership transactions, general business advice, sophisticated financial modeling and analysis and select litigation. José structures and negotiates sophisticated domestic and cross border corporate and partnership transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, special allocation partnerships, financings and leases. He also engages in related controversy work before the Internal Revenue Service.

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William Deitch
William Deitch

Associate

William Deitch is an associate with Meltzer Lippe’s Tax Law Group. William focuses his practice on Corporate Tax and Partnership Tax. William assists clients in minimizing the tax burdens of various transactions, such as mergers, re-organizations, section 351 transactions, spin-offs, and split-offs.

 

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Howard M. Esterces
Howard M. Esterces

Partner

Practice Groups: Trusts & Estates, Tax Law, Tax-Exempt Organizations 

Areas of Focus: Estate Planning and estate administration, tax planning and controversies, IRA / pension distribution, and elder law. 

Overview: “Howard has over 40 years of experience in Estate Planning & Administration and experience planning estates for the heads of some of the largest corporations listed on the NYSE. Howard has published over two dozen articles in various national tax journals, is an expert in pension & IRA distributions, and in business succession.”

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Jeffrey A. Galant
Jeffrey A. Galant

Counsel

Practice Group: Tax Law

Areas of Focus: Tax-Exempt Organizations,  Estate and Charitable Planning, Trusts & Estates Law

Overview:  Jeffrey has more than 30 years of experience in tax, trusts and estates, and tax-exempt organizations law; he has extensive experience in sophisticated tax and estate planning matters involving family owned and other privately owned enterprises including operating businesses, investment vehicles and family foundations; as well as the tax and estate planning issues that concern artists and collectors.

 

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David C. Jacobson
David C. Jacobson

Counsel

Practice Areas: Tax Law, Tax-Exempt Organizations, Trusts & Estates, and Wealth Preservation

Areas of Focus: Complex tax and estate planning; estate and trust administration; charitable giving; and representation of public charities and private foundations, as well as state and federal regulations compliance.

Overview: David’s practice encompasses all aspects of estate planning, with an emphasis on the efficient transfer of assets among several generations of a family. He has considerable expertise in minimizing the impact of transfer taxes upon the death of senior family members. He specializes in the structuring and implementation of sophisticated estate plans for both U.S. residents and non-residents.

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Joseph Katz
Joseph Katz

Counsel

Practice Groups: Trust & Estates, Tax, Wealth Preservation and Partnerships

Areas of Focus: General estate planning, personal tax planning, tax planning for life insurance and charitable trusts, estate tax motivated partnership, and asset planning, protection and restructuring. 

Overview:  Joe has more than 30 years of experience in the practice of the law of trusts and estates; is an expert in general estate planning, personal tax planning, tax planning for life insurance and charitable trusts, estate tax motivated partnership; and asset planning, protection and restructuring.

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Avi Z. Kestenbaum
Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Partner

 
Practice Groups: Trusts & Estates, Tax , Tax Exempt Organizations, Wealth Preservation, Partnerships, Tax Controversy
 
Areas of Focus: Domestic and International Tax Planning, Estate and Charitable Planning, Family Business Succession Planning, Tax-Exempt Organizations, Domestic and International Asset Preservation, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies and Joint Ventures
 
Overview: Avi provides creative and sophisticated domestic and international tax, estate planning, and asset preservation counsel to CEOs of major corporations, utra high net worth individuals, multinational businesses, and large charitable organizations.
 

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Christine K. Kitson
Christine K. Kitson

Counsel

 
Practice Groups: Trusts & Estates, Tax Law, and Wealth Preservation.

Areas of Focus: Estate planning; wills, trusts & estates; and estate and trust administration.

Overview: Christine prepares wills, various types of trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care proxies. In addition to tax planning, Christine tailors each client’s estate plan for his/her specific needs and goals, including planning for minor children, second marriages, and family members with disabilities and/or special needs. She also negotiates pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

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Lew Meltzer
Lew Meltzer

Chairman

 
Practice Groups:  Real Estate, Tax and Estate Planning 
 
Areas of Focus:Tax, Corporate  and real Estate
 
Overview: Lew is Managing Partner of the firm. He seeks out, structures and acquires real estate investments for clients. Lew is active in public service, community organizations, and national and international politics. He is the Founder, Chairman and President of Long Island Foreign Affairs Forum; a developer of residential country club featuring a Gary Player signature golf course, marina and tennis complex. 
 

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Mary P. O'Reilly
Mary P. O’Reilly

Partner

 
Practice Group: Trust & Estates
 
Areas of Focus: Trust & Estates, Tax, Tax-Exempt organizations
 
Overview: Mary assists individuals and families in the preservation and transfer of wealth. Her clients include family business owners, real estate developers, investment bankers, private equity fund managers, physicians, inventors, entertainers, business professionals, retirees, non-resident aliens, domestic partners and those of inherited wealth.
 

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Phillip Pepper
Phillip Pepper

Partner

Practice Group: Tax

Areas of Focus: Tax, Trust & Estates and Wealth Preservation 

Overview: Phillip advises on the tax planning and structuring aspects of sophisticated business and investment transactions. In addition, Phillip represents clients in tax controversies with the IRS and New York State.

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John P. Proszak
John P. Proszak

Partner

Practice Group: Trust & Estates

Areas of Focus: Tax & Wealth Preservation

Overview: John has over  20 years of experience in the trusts and estates field. He is an expert in all phases of estate administration, including probate, the preparation of estate tax and fiduciary income tax returns, and the settlement and accounting of estates, including contested proceedings.

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Richard Reichler
 
Richard Reichler

Counsel

 
Practice Group: Tax
 
Areas of Focus:  Trusts & Estates, Tax Exempt Organizations and Tax Law and heads the Employee Benefits Law Group.
 
Overview: Prior to joining the firm, he was Vice President for Tax Planning and Deputy General Counsel at the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). Most notably, he directed the tax planning involved in the $12 billion LILCO, LIPA, Brooklyn Union Gas transaction — one of the most complicated corporate tax transactions in recent times — including obtaining of the critical  IRS tax ruling needed to close the transaction.
 

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Michael J. Schaffer
Michael J. Schaffer

Partner

 
Practice Group: Trust & Estates
 
Areas of Focus: Tax, Tax-Exempt organizations and Wealth Preservation 
 
Overview: Michael has been practicing estates and trusts law since 1992. During that time he has amassed a high level of experience in all areas of estates and trusts law, including domestic and foreign estate planning, generation skipping tax planning, estate administration and fiduciary income tax.
 

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Mordy Serle
Mordy Serle

Partner

 
Practice Group: Trust & Estates 
 
Areas of Focus:Tax Planning, Estate Administration
 
Overview: Mordy concentrates his practice in estate and tax planning, estate administration, and wealth preservation and counsels clients on sophisticated planning techniques that have resulted in substantial tax-efficiencies and savings from federal and state gift, estate, generation-skipping transfer and income taxes.
 

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Joy Spence
Joy Spence

Associate

Joy Spence, Esq. is an associate in the Private Wealth & Taxation Group. She focuses her practice primarily on tax law, wealth management, and trusts and estates. Joy regularly assists clients in developing tailored plans to maximize asset protection and wealth preservation, while minimizing tax exposure. She also counsels individuals and families on developing tax-efficient […]

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Mark E. Wilensky
Mark E. Wilensky

Partner

 
Practice Group: Tax

Areas of Focus: Tax

Overview: Mark frequently works with real estate counsel at the Firm advising clients operating as partnerships, limited liability companies, or S corporations on ways to achieve tax deferral from an exchange of property without triggering gain from receipt of taxable “boot.”

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