Our Firm Steven Toscher
Steve Toscher has been representing clients for more than 35 years before the Internal Revenue Service, the Tax Divisions of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of the United States Attorney (C.D. Cal.), numerous state taxing authorities and in federal and state court litigation and appeals.
Mr. Toscher enjoys a unique combination of solid criminal defense experience and extensive substantive tax experience to assist individuals and entities subject to sensitive government inquiries. He has considerable experience as lead counsel in defending criminal tax fraud investigations (both administrative and Grand Jury investigations) as well as in defending criminal tax prosecutions (both jury and non-jury).
Mr. Toscher’s tax practice includes a wide array of substantive areas including income taxes, estate taxes, employment taxes, excise taxes, sales taxes and property taxes. He is routinely involved in sensitive issue or complex civil tax examinations and administrative appeals on behalf of wealthy individuals and their closely held entities as well as large corporations involving both domestic and foreign tax related issues.
Steve Toscher widely respected as a leader in the representation of taxpayers throughout the world in matters involving the ongoing, extensive efforts of the U.S. government to identify undeclared interests in foreign financial accounts and assets and the coordination of effective and efficient voluntary disclosures (OVDP, Streamlined Procedures and otherwise).
Recently, Steve Toscher received a judgment of acquittal in a matter involving allegations of a conspiracy between the client, the client’s independent certified public accountant and others relating to the clients personal taxes as well as those of the clients son and his business enterprise, including the use of a foreign bank account and a foreign trust. Others included in the indictment previously pled guilty and the former accountant testified at trial as a cooperating witness for the Government. This is believed to be among the first unsuccessful prosecutions relating to the use of matter involving use of foreign trusts and foreign financial accounts in the Government’s ongoing, extensive international enforcement efforts.
Before entering private practice, Steve Toscher served as a trial attorney for the Tax Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and, before that, as a Revenue Agent with the Internal Revenue Service. He maintains an active practice before the United States Tax Court, the Federal District Courts in California and Nevada, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California State Courts. He frequently appears before the Internal Revenue Service, the California Franchise Tax Board and the California State Board of Equalization.
Throughout his career, Mr. Toscher has been actively involved in California unitary tax controversies and Federal and State employment tax controversies involving garment workers; health care workers; insurance salesmen; financial services representatives; real estate personnel and production employees. He has also been lead trial counsel in tax related matters involving government securities; wind and solar energy; horse racing and breeding; equipment leasing; motion picture transactions; oil and gas and other natural resource ventures. He also served as Special Tax Litigation Counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission court appointed receiver in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Elmas Trading Corp., et al., Case No. CV-R-85-263-ECR (D. Nev).
LEAD TRIAL COUNSEL
Steve Toscher has considerable trial experience in virtually all federal courts. Reported decisions in which Mr. Toscher served as lead trial counsel include Addis v. Commissioner, 374 F.3d 881 (9th Cir. 2004) (split-dollar life insurance); Hoffman v. Commissioner, 119 T.C. 140 (2002) (collection due process/statute of limitations); United States v. McKoy, 78 F.3d 446 (9th Cir. 1996) (Jenks Act; Double Jeopardy); Purcell v. United States, 1 F.3d 932 (9th Cir. 1993) (IRC Section 6672); 85 Gorgonio Wind Generating Co. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1994-544 (wind energy credit); Costello v. United States, 765 F.Supp. 1003 (C.D. Calif. 1991) (case of first impression involving statute of limitations and injunctive relief in TEFRA partnership proceedings); Hodgdon v. Commissioner, 98 T.C. 424 (1992) (bargain sale rules); Robertson v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1992-32 (innocent spouse); A. Ross Winans Grantor Trust v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1989-653 (horse breeding).
While serving as a trial attorney at United States Department of Justice, representing the United States in tax litigation matters, Mr. Toscher was co-lead counsel in the first tax shelter injunction case brought by the Attorney General pursuant to Section 7408 of the Internal Revenue Code. United States v. Packaging Industries Group, Inc., No. 83-2307N (D. Mass. 1983) (consent decree). Mr. Toscher received a special commendation from the Department of Justice for the successful prosecution of the matter and was the recipient of the United States Department of Justice Outstanding Attorney Award.
Among the more significant reported cases handled by Mr. Toscher during his tenure with the Department of Justice were the following: Pyle v. United States, 581 F.Supp. 252 (C.D. Ill. 1984) (gift tax); United States v. Cecere, 83-1 U.S.T.C. ¶9361 (D. N.J. 1983) (interest equalization tax-fraud); Cantillo v. Coleman, 559 F.Supp. 205 (D. N.J. 1983) (jeopardy assessment); Estate of Dederick v. United States, 526 F.Supp. 845 (D. N.J. 1983) (estate tax standing); United States v. Liebman, 569 F.Supp. 761 (D. N.J. 1983), rev’d, 742 F.2d 807 (3rd Cir. 1984) (attorney-client privilege); United States v. Barth, 571 F.Supp. 91 (D. Conn. 1984), aff’d in part and rev’d in part, 745 F.2d 1984 (2nd Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 105 S.Ct. 1356 (Fifth Amendment); In the Matter of the Tax Liabilities of John Does, 671 F.2d 977 (6th Cir. 1982) (IRS summons enforcement – John Doe); Magnola v. United States, 82-1 U.S.T.C. ¶9130 (D. N.J. 1982) (I.R.C. Section 6672); and United States v. Northumberland Insurance Company, 521 F.Supp. 70 (D. N.J. 1982) (foreign premium excise tax).
PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND HONORS
Mr. Toscher is a Certified Specialist in Taxation, the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He was named one of Southern California’s Top Lawyers by SuperLawyers.com, selected by his peers to be included in “The Best Lawyers in America,” holds an “A-V” rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is an elected Fellow of the American College of Tax Council (ACTC).
Earlier in his career, Mr. Toscher was named by California Law Business Management as one of the “Up and Coming Tax Litigators under 40″ in the State of California. He speaks throughout the country on tax-related topics and is frequently quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Bloomberg, Reuters, Financial Times, Tax Analysts-Tax Notes, and Bloomberg BNA Daily Tax Report. He is the principal author of the Tax Management Portfolio “Tax Crimes” (Pub. 636) (2d.) published by the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA).
In addition to his law practice, Mr. Toscher has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California since 1995, where he teaches Federal Tax Procedure. He previously served as an Adjunct Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law, Graduate Tax Program, where he taught Tax Procedure and Advanced Tax Procedure. Mr. Toscher has served on the Faculty of the American Bar Association Criminal Tax Fraud Program since 1998.
Mr. Toscher is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a member of the California, Nevada and Colorado Bars. He is a member of the Tax Sections of the American Bar Association, the California Bar, the Los Angeles County Bar Association and Beverly Hills Bar Association. He is a former Chair of the Taxation Section and former Chair of the Committee on Tax Procedure and Litigation of the Los Angeles County Bar. Mr. Toscher previously served as a member of the Editorial Board for the Los Angeles Lawyer, where he coordinated and edited all tax related articles. He is a Board Member of the Accounting and Tax Advisory Board of California State University Los Angeles, Office of Continuing Education, and is on the Planning Committee of the Annual UCLA Extension Tax Controversy Institute.
Mr. Toscher received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego where he graduated number one in his class receiving the designation of Summa Cum Laude. He received his undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he graduated with honors.
Mr. Toscher has been a featured speaker and panelist at hundreds of tax conferences throughout the United States A sample of recent presentations include the CPAacademy, “Captive Insurance Companies – Where are we Going After the IRS Victories,” June, 2020; Strafford, “IRS Audits: Responding to IDRs, Independent Office of Appeals, Extending the Statute, and Current IRS Initiatives,” May, 2020; Strafford, “Conservation Easement Tax Issues: Recent IRS Enforcement, Structuring and Defending Easement Transactions,” May, 2020; Strafford, “Resolving International Tax Compliance Disputes: FBAR Controversy, Penalties, Appeals, Form 3520/3520-A, Form 5471,” April, 2020; Clear Law Institute, “Recent IRS Cryptocurrency Guidance,” March, 2020; 23rd Annual Western Conference on Tax-Exempt Organizations, “You CAN Fight the IRS: A Roadmap for EO Controversies,” December, 2019; Strafford, “Tax Treatment of Cannabis Partnership: Pass-Through Entity Selection Strategies to Minimize Tax,” December, 2019; CSULA Accounting and Tax Seminar, “Update on Civil and Criminal Tax,” November, 2019; CalCPA Federal, State, Local & International Tax Conference, “Hot Topics & Current Developments in IRS Enforcement,” November, 2019; “NYU 11th Annual Tax Controversy Forum, “Litigating Foreign Asset Reporting Tax Penalties: The Controversies Continue,” June, 2019; Strafford, “New IRS Scrutiny on Cryptocurrency Reporting: Filing Requirements and Exchange Treatment,” June, 2019; ABA Annual May Meeting, “Collection-Based Tax Crimes,” May, 2019; Strafford, “Taxpayer Residency; New IRS Examination Guidance, Navigating Federal and State Tax Residency Rules,” December, 2018; Federal Criminal Tax Enforcement and Litigation, Defense of Criminal Tax Cases, August, 2018; ABA May Meeting, “Ethics Issues in Criminal Representations,” May 2018; The Strafford New York Seminar, “New IRS Scrutiny on Crypto Currency,” May 2018; Beverly Hills Bar Association, “Cryptocurrency and IRS Tax Enforcement,” May, 2018; ABA Midyear Meeting, Taxation Section, “Fraud Referrals to CI from IRS Field Collections (and DOJ FLU)” (February, 2018); USC Annual Tax Institute, “Pitfalls of Being a Cannabis Service Provider” (January, 2018); The Knowledge Group Webinar, “Perils of Civil & Criminal Tax Penalties” (January, 2018); The Strafford Publications, Inc. Webinar, “Form 5471 Substantial Compliance Rules: New IRS International Practice Unit Guidance – When Will the IRS Deem an International Tax Information Filing as Not ‘Substantially Complete’?” (October, 2017); 33rd Annual UCLA Extension Tax Controversy Institute, “All In–The ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ Impacting the Civil Tax Trial (or Criminal Prosecution)” (October, 2017); The Strafford Publications, Inc. Webinar, “Form 5471 Substantial Compliance Rules: New IRS International Practice Unit Guidance – When Will the IRS Deem an International Tax Information Filing as Not ‘Substantially Complete’?” (October, 2017); the 35th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, “Targeting U.S. Luxury Real Estate – Forced Disclosure of Wealth” (September, 2017), University San Diego School of Law, RJS Law Tax Controversy Institute, “Handling Section 482 Transfer Pricing Controversies” (August 2017); The Strafford Publications, Inc. Webinar, “Advanced Strategies for Challenging FBAR Penalties: Using Administrative Procedures Act in Defending Against Assessments” (July 2017); NYU School of Professional Studies, “Captive Insurance: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (June 2017); the USC Gould Tax Institute, “Civil and Criminal Tax Enforcement Update” and “When the Transaction Crosses the Border: What you Need to Know” (January 2017); ABA 33rd National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, “DOJ Criminal Roundtable” (December 2016); the World Hindu Economic Forum, “International Taxation Policies in Context to Business in USA” (November 2016); 2016 Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar, “Introduction to U.S. Domestic and International Criminal Tax Workshop” (October 2016); UCLA Extension 32nd Annual Tax Controversy Institute, “The ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ Impacting the Civil Tax Trial or Criminal Prosecution” (October 2016); Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, “Liability US Style – How the US decides whether to prosecute organizations and individuals in criminal tax and money laundering cases,” and “Facilitator Liability” (September 2016); Taxpayers Assistance Corp., “Civil & Criminal Tax Enforcement Update” (June, 2016); ABA Criminal Tax Fraud, “Sentencing: Best Practices in a Changing Landscape” (2015); STEP LA, “Selection of the Best Voluntary Disclosure Alternatives for Your Clients” (2015); USD Procopio International Tax Institute, “Foreign Targets: IRS International Criminal Investigations: FIFA” (2015); UCLA Tax Controversy Institute (2015); USD – Procopio International Tax Institute, “OVDP Civil FBAR Penalties after Zwerner” (2014); Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime, “Due Diligence – knowing too much to be good or too little to be useful” (2014); ABA Webinar Panel “Sentencing and Incarceration Considerations When Representing the Guilty Client” (2014); NACDL’s 4th Annual West Coast White Collar Crime, “Criminal Tax Enforcement” (2014); Hawaii Tax Institute, “What Every Estate Planner Needs to Know About Civil and Criminal Tax Litigation”, (2013); Association of Federal Defense Attorneys, “Defending Criminal Tax Fraud Cases,” online webinar (2013); ABA 29th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, “Jury Selection in Criminal and Civil Tax Cases,” (2012); USC Gould 2012 Tax Institute, “Top Tax Practice Tips & Representation Strategies”; 28th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, “Ask the Experts: Top Criminal Tax Practice Tips & Representation Strategies” (2011); Strafford Publications Webinar, “After the FBAR Overhaul: Foreign Account Reporting Enforcement” (2011);7th Annual University of San Diego, School of Law – Procopio International Tax Institute, “Avoiding Risks Relating to Money Laundering in the International Tax Practice” (2011); 29th International Symposium of Economic Crime, University of Cambridge, “Foreign Bank Account Compliance” (2011); UCLA Tax Controversy Institute, “Eggshell Audits – Why Won’t the IRS Just Go Away?” (2011); California State University, Los Angeles, “IRS Criminal Enforcement Mock Trial” (2011);
Mr. Toscher is a co-author of Tax Management’s “Tax Crimes” Portfolio, 636-3rd T.M., published by The Bureau of National Affairs (2011); and a co-author of the Employment Tax Chapter of Matthew Bender’s publication, “Advising California Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships” (1992).
Message from the Institute Chair, (UCLA Tax Controversy Institute), Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure, January, 2019; Cryptocurrency – FinCEN and Discovery of Hidden Wealth, Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure, September, 2018; Pitfalls of Being (or Representing a Cannabis Service Provider, U.S.C. Tax Institute Major Tax Planning, August, 2018; The Eighth Amendment Limits on FBAR Penalties – Common Sense Limitations Becomes a Legal Reality, Journal and Tax Practice Procedure, June-July, 2018; Cryptocurrency and IRS Enforcement – Get Ready for Uncle Sam to Look into your Digital Wallet, Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure, February-March, 2018; Targeting U.S. Luxury Real Estate – Forced Disclosure of Wealth, Thirty-Fifth International Symposium of Economic Crime, September, 2017; 30 Years After: What the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Have Meant for Criminal tax Enforcement, USC Tax Institute, August, 2017; When the Transaction Crosses the Border – Globalization and The Changing Face of Tax Enforcement, USC Tax Institute, August, 2017; Litigating the FBAR Penalty – Where Do We Go After IRS Appeals, Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, June-July 2017; Proposed 2017 Amendments to Sentencing Guidelines May Be Good News for Tax Offenders, Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, December 2016-January 2017; Looking for hidden wealth: in search of beneficial owners,” Financier Worldwide, October 2016; “The Continuing Evolution of FBAR Enforcement,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, April-May 2016; “2015 Tax Law Review,” Los Angeles Lawyer, April 2016; Mr. Toscher is the author or co-author of numerous articles. A representative sample include “The Tax Man Cometh – IRS Expansion of Section 482 Transfer Pricing Enforcement to Middle-Market Companies,” Corporate Disputes Magazine, Jan-Mar 2016; “A Message from the Institute Chair—UCLA Extension, 32nd Annual Tax Controversy Institute,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, December 2015-January 2016; “New Partnership Examination Procedures Designed to Simplify Will Cause Complications and Additional IRS Scrutiny of Large Partnerships,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, December 2015-January 2016; “Proving Willfulness in Civil FBAR Cases,” Los Angeles Lawyer, April 2013; “Recently Proposed Amendment to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Affect Criminal Tax Cases,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, December 2012-January 2013; “Risks loom in waiting to file voluntary disclosure,” LA Daily Journal, November 21, 2012; “Proving Willfulness in an FBAR Case,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, April-May 2012; Chapter 11 – “Signing a Tax Return is Not Enough – Proving Willfulness in an FBAR Case Requires Other Surrounding Facts and Circumstances,” University of Southern California Gould School of Law, 64th Institute on Federal Taxation – Major Tax Planning 2012, Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., August 2012; “FBAR Examination, Appeals and Collection Procedures in the Post-Amnesty World,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, December 2011-January 2012; “Foreign Bank Account Report (“FBAR”) Enforcement by the IRS and Voluntary Disclosures – What’s Next?,” Valley Lawyer, November, 2011; “How About a Second Chance – Recent Developments in Reducing the Convicted Tax Offender’s Time in Prison,” CCH Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, April-May 2011; “Civil and Criminal Tax Enforcement Implications of the UBS Enforcement Initiative and the Future of the Voluntary Disclosure,” 2010; “How About a Second Chance–Recent Developments in Reducing the Convicted Tax Offender’s Time in Prison,” ABA-CLE 2010; “When Penalties are Excessive–The Excessive Fines Clause as a Limitation on the Imposition of the Willful FBAR Penalty,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, December 2009-January 2010; “Counseling Corporations Involved in Government Investigations and the Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations,” Corporate Business Taxation Monthly, February 2009; “Expect Increased Criminal Tax Enforcement of Employment Taxes,” Business Crimes Bulletin, January 2009; “Discretion Restored – Sentencing in Criminal Tax Cases,” November 2008; “FBAR Enforcement – Five Years Later,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, June-July 2008; “The Options Aren’t Looking as Good,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, October-November 2006; “Tax Collectors Among Us – The New IRS Whistle Blower Program,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, October-November 2007; “Criminal Enforcement of FBAR Filing Requirements,” Business Crimes Bulletin, June 2006; “FBAR Enforcement – An Update,” Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure, April-May 2006; “Guided Discretion In Sentencing Criminal Tax Defendants,” California Tax Lawyer, Winter 2005; “IRS Scrutiny of Tax-Exempt Organizations,” Los Angeles Lawyer, October 2005; “FBAR Enforcement is Coming!,” Tax Practice & Procedure/December 2003-January 2004; “IRS Revised Voluntary Disclosure Policy: Feel Lucky?,” Tax Practice & Procedure/June-July 2003; Caution Amber Alert: Your Tax Client May be Taken to Prison Against His Will – – the PROTECT Act and Other Recent Developments Affecting the Sentencing Guidelines for Federal Tax Crimes,” American Bar Association Criminal Tax Fraud, December 2003.