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Tax Controversy

The Tax Controversy Practice Group combines the expertise of our real estate, litigation and tax teams into an elite practice specializing in tax-related disputes.

Practice Group Leader: Stephen B. Land and Jessica Millett


For better or worse, taxes are an integral component of every business’s economic life.  At times, however, complications arise that can overwhelm even the most savvy accountant.  In such cases, a client requires legal counsel steeped in broad-based tax experience who can provide deeply analytical advice and – if necessary – serve as a fiercely aggressive advocate.

Our Tax Controversy Practice Group brings together the extensive expertise of Duval & Stachenfeld’s tax, litigation, not-for-profit and bankruptcy practices into a unique team that provides clear-cut and strategic advice on tax disputes.  If necessary, the group is also equipped to aggressively defend claims brought by governmental agencies and private litigants in any forum in the country.   

Our team has represented parties in a wide variety of situations, including:

  • Defending against claims brought by the government, whether framed as an IRS audit, an IRS investigation or a civil or criminal proceeding.  Such cases often require an independent advocate, as the auditor or accountant responsive for the disputed tax position is necessarily compromised.

  • Defending against actual or threatened litigation brought by former customers, business partners or other private parties arising out of an allegedly improper tax position.

  • Advising on reputational issues when a partner, borrower, investor or counterparty appears to have committed tax evasion or other tax-related offenses.

  • Providing advice to avoid potential tax controversies, ranging from assistance in setting up formal tax safeguards, to simply giving a fresh perspective on a risky tax position.

Any of these situations has the potential to put people and businesses at severe risk.  Beyond the obvious economic risk, personal and business reputations are often at stake.  In fact, in some circumstances, there is a risk of criminal liability.

Whatever the risk or situation, the Tax Controversy Practice Group will bring an unparalleled level of expertise to bear upon the thorniest of tax disputes.

The Team

All of the lead partners of the Tax Controversy Practice Group are graduates of top law schools (by happenstance three of the four leaders are from Harvard), all have had impressive careers, and all are thoughtful and aggressive advocates for their clients:

Stephen B. Land chairs the Tax Practice Group. His track record in resolving federal and New York tax controversies on highly favorable terms is renowned and he is recognized as a thought leader in the tax community. In addition, Mr. Land is the Chair of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Kirk Brett chairs the Bankruptcy, Creditors’ Rights and Business Reorganizations Practice Group.  On a nationwide basis, Mr. Brett routinely advises parties in commercial bankruptcies, restructurings and other distress situations.  

Bruce Stachenfeld founded the Firm and was the former chair of the real estate department.  Among other things, Mr. Stachenfeld spends his time helping his clients build their businesses.  This includes many aspects, but one of them is protecting his clients’ reputations, which puts him square in the mix of this practice group. 

All discussions with Duval & Stachenfeld attorneys will remain confidential and – unlike conversations with auditors or accountants in many jurisdictions – discussions with Duval & Stachenfeld attorneys are fully protected by the attorney-client privilege.


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