Steve handles tax audits, investigations, appeals, litigation and collection problems with both the Internal Revenue Service and all California tax agencies. The amounts in dispute range from less than $50,000 to more than $100,000,000. In virtually every case, Steve has obtained positive, cost-effective resolutions to the controversies.
Steve literally grew up preparing tax returns for his father's law office. After an accounting education and stints with a public accounting firm and corporate accounting departments, Steve graduated from law school and decided to learn from the inside. For five years, Steve was a senior trial attorney with District Counsel, Internal Revenue Service in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since 1987, Steve has focused his law practice on resolution of tax disputes for taxpayers. Steve has dozens of reported United States Tax Court decisions and has resolved thousands of Tax Court cases.
Steve is currently the Co-Director of the Tax Court Pro Se Program sponsored by the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. He is currently on the Executive Commitee and is also the past Chair of the Tax Procedure and Litigation Committee of the Tax Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).
Steve has authored several of the BNA Tax Management Portfolios on tax collection and TEFRA partnership procedures. Steve is co-author of "Federal Tax Collection Procedure-Liens, Levies, Suits and Third Party Liability" and "Federal Tax Collection and Procedure-Defensive Measures," currently in their third edition. Steve is also the author of "Audit Procedures for Pass-Through Entities," currently in its third edition. Steve has written law review articles on tax topics and has authored legislative and regulatory commentaries for submission to Congressional committees and the Department of the Treasury.
Steve taught Federal Tax Procedure in the Golden Gate University Masters in Taxation Program for many years, and currently teaches two tax procedure classes for the CalCPA Education Foundation. He frequently conducts seminars involving tax controversy matters for California bar associations, CPA groups and other organizations. Steve has been a panelist at the biennial Tax Court Judicial Conference, the UCLA Tax Controversy Institute, and the USC Tax Institute.
Steve received his JD (with distinction) in 1982 and his BA degree in accounting (with highest distinction) in 1978 from the University of Iowa.
Lydia currently handles litigation and tax controversy matters against the United States Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the California state taxing authorities (which include the Franchise Tax Board, the Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Division), and the LA City Office of Finance. She has handled tax disputes at all levels, including audit, appeal, settlement, litigation and collection.
For the past eleven years, Lydia has practiced as an associate and then partner with Mather Law Corporation and its predecessor, Kajan Mather & Barish. Prior to joining Kajan Mather & Barish, Lydia spent seven years as a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Tax Division, in Washington, D.C. As a trial attorney, Lydia was responsible for all aspects of civil tax litigation, including representation of the United States in federal district court, bankruptcy court, and state probate court. Her cases included tax refund suits, interpleader actions, collection actions, collection due process appeals, tax collection enforcement cases, summons enforcement proceedings, and bankruptcy matters (Chapters 7, 11 and 13).
Lydia is admitted to practice in California and Massachusetts, and is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the District Court for the Central District of California, and the United States Tax Court.
Lydia's professional affiliations include the American Bar Association - Taxation Section; the State Bar of California -Taxation Section; the LA County Bar Association - Taxation Section (vice chair - Practice and Procedure Committee); and the Beverly Hills Bar Association - Taxation Section.
Lydia received an LL.M. in taxation from Boston University in 1999. She received her J.D. from Vermont Law School in 1998, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Vermont Law Review. Lydia earned a B.A. in political science from Tufts University in 1995.
Lydia frequently conducts seminars involving tax controversy and offshore voluntary disclosure matters for California bar associations, CPA groups and other organizations.
Jim is an enrolled agent who handles resolution of compliance and collection issues from initial contact through appeals with the Internal Revenue Service and State tax agencies. Jim always strives to establish quick and cost-effective tax dispute resolutions.
Jim retired from the federal government after more than 30 years of service, including 22 years with the Collection Division of the Internal Revenue Service. For 12 years, Jim was with the Los Angeles-based Large Dollar Speciality Group that had broad authority to resolve significant, notorious or high profile collection and compliance accounts. Jim also served on a long-term assignment to the IRS Abusive Trust Unit. During his time with the Specialty Group, Jim often assisted IRS Area Counsel, the U.S. Attorney's Office, Criminal Intelligence Division and Internal Security (now known as the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration). Jim received numerous awards for the quality of his work, including a letter of commendation from the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Jim is a veteran of Viet Nam where he served as a Vietnamese language interpreter-translator with the 7th Psychological Operations Battallion in I Corp. After leaving the military, Jim joined the United States Peace Corps and served for several years in Korea where he was an instructor for English as a Second Language. While with the IRS, Jim frequently utilized his Asian language skills and cultural knowledge in civil and criminal tax investigations. Jim received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Mayor of Los Angeles for his work with the Korean-American Community.
Jim is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the California Society of Enrolled Agents.
Jim received a B.S. in Business Administration from Drexel University in 1970. He received a J.D. in 2005. Throughout his career, Jim has taken courses to help him understand the examination side of the IRS as well as the collection side.
Carol C. Mason
Carol focuses on legal research and case development as well as handling firm administrative matters. She assists in preparation of briefs and other written submissions. Carol is also extensively involved in the firm’s outreach and marketing activities.
Carol worked for almost ten years as a trial attorney with the IRS District Counsel office in Los Angeles. She represented the IRS in numerous Tax Court trials including issues involving legal questions of first impression, tax fraud and tax accounting issues. After leaving the IRS, Carol has worked on a project basis for the firm assisting other attorneys in complex and high profile state and federal litigation matters.
Carol is currently on inactive status with the State Bar of California.
Carol received her JD from the University of Iowa and her BA in political science and French from Tufts University.
Elana is an enrolled agent and tax return practioner. Elana represents a wide range of clients in tax examinations at all levels through the administrative tax appeal process. She analyses and evaluates financial data to assist attorneys in their representation of clients involving civil and criminal matters. Since retiring from the IRS, Elana has been successful in resolving tax examinations and negotiating settlements at the appeals level.
Elana has twenty years of IRS experience behind her expertise that began with the Office of International Operations as a research assistant followed by IRS Tax Auditor, IRS Field Agent and Appeals Officer in the Los Angeles District. As an Internal Revenue Agent she was selected to collaborate with the Department of Justice, U.S. Tax Litigation Division on the tax shelter promoters program. Elana conducted field examinations of corporations, partnerships and complex individual.examinations. As an Appeals Officer, Elana assessed and evaluated the government's case and negotiated settlements based upon the hazards of litigation.
Elana is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the California Society of Enrolled Agents.
Elana attended the University of Iowa for undergraduate studies and UCLA and California State University for business and accounting studies.