Joshua D. Smeltzer

Clients value my ability to use my current experience and background as a former Department of Justice litigator to anticipate potential arguments and design an effective plan focused on resolving government disputes, minimizing tax liabilities and achieving as many of their other goals as possible.

Board Certified in Tax Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Joshua Smeltzer is a tax litigator defending clients in tax audits, tax appeals, and litigation in Federal District Court, U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and tax issues in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Joshua’s previous work as a litigator for the U.S. Department of Justice provides him with first-hand knowledge of how government lawyers build and litigate tax cases. Based on his impressive track record at the Department of Justice, Joshua received the agency’s Outstanding Trial Attorney Award seven times. He also has deep tax litigation experience in federal court, both as a private and government lawyer.   

Joshua represents individuals, corporations, partnerships, and estates in a variety of tax issues involving tax reporting for cryptocurrency and foreign bank accounts, captive insurance arrangements, investments in conservation easements, charitable donations, a variety of tax deduction and tax credit disputes, as well as various transactions involving cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. He is often consulted on tax issues arising from significant financial events, such as large financial transactions, litigation settlements, transfers of assets to family limited partnerships or other entities, and tax issues surrounding the sale of business assets or stock.

During his 18-year practice as a tax litigator, his cases have ranged from smaller cases involving six-figure dollar amounts to high-stakes disputes where the amount in controversy totaled hundreds of millions of dollars and, in one case, over a billion dollars. As a respected thought leader in the tax field, Joshua is a regular author and presenter on numerous tax topics and has been called on to provide expert testimony on tax issues in administrative disputes and in court proceedings.

Representative Experience

Law Firm Experience

  • Regularly defend taxpayers against penalties asserted by the IRS and the Department of Justice, Tax Division related to foreign bank account reporting and disclosure. This includes achieving over $1 million reduction in the proposed penalties for several clients.
  • Regularly advise and represent cryptocurrency investors and companies offering products or services involving blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, or non-fungible tokens (i.e. NFTs). This includes setting up the appropriate entity structure to run cryptocurrency and NFT based businesses and advising on and/or defending tax positions on cryptocurrency transactions.  
  • Represented multiple clients in tax disputes involving the treatment of amounts received from litigation settlements or judgments and the excludability or deductibility of certain litigation costs.
  • Representation of a federal equity receiver on tax issues related to the recovery of assets involved in a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme.
  • Handled a variety of IRS audits involving individuals, corporations, partnerships, and estates. This includes multiple partnership audits involving the recently enacted IRS Centralized Audit Regime (i.e. BBA audit rules).
  • Negotiated no-change letters during audits and multiple favorable settlements at the IRS Appeals or during litigation at the U.S. Tax Court or Federal District Courts.
  • Obtained relief from IRS enforced collection (i.e. liens and levies) for multiple clients through installment agreements, offers in compromise, and other collection alternatives.

Government Experience

  • Litigated a $1.3 billion tax dispute involving the tax treatment of oil and gas contracts.
  • Litigated a $660 million tax dispute involving the structured sale of insurance business by a multinational corporation.
  • Federal district court trial involving foreign captive insurance arrangement.
  • Litigation and trial of several multi-million-dollar tax shelter transactions involving foreign currency trading, distressed asset investments, and insurance and trust arrangements.
  • Handled enforcement of John Doe summonses on behalf of foreign countries pursuant to tax treaties and domestic firms.
  • Litigation and trial of cases involving research and development tax credits, foreign tax credits, and other tax incentives.
Thought Leadership / News
May 24, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations
R&D Tax Credits

TXCPA Houston Spring Accounting Expo

May 22, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations
Civil and Criminal Digital Asset Enforcement Update


May 14, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations

Federal Bar Association

  • Named a "Super Lawyer" by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly (2022)
  • Outstanding Attorney Award, Department of Justice Tax Division (2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018)
Organizational Involvement

Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations

  • Executive Committee Member, Federal Bar Association
    • Tax Section Member
  • American Bar Association
    • Tax Section Member
  • State Bar of Texas
    • Tax Section Member
      • Co-Chair, Tax Controversy Committee (2022 – 2023)
  • Dallas Bar Association
    • Publications Committee Co-Chair (2021 – 2022)
    • Law In Schools Committee Member
  • North Dallas Chamber of Commerce
    • Board Member (2021– present)
  • Texas Blockchain Council  
    • Member (2022 – 2023)
  • New Jersey Blockchain Council
    • Corporate Advisor (2022 - present)

Community Activities, Memberships & Affiliations

  • DFW University of Utah Alumni Association
  • Assistant Scout Master for BSA Troop 1000 and Committee Member for BSA Troop 3000
  • J.D., magna cum laude, American University Washington College of Law, Order of the Coif, Administrative Law Review Executive Editor, Dean's Fellowship for the Legal Writing Department (2004)
  • B.S., Psychology, University of Utah, Dean's List, Golden Key and Psi Chi National Honor Societies (2000)
Bar Admissions
  • Texas (2019)
  • Maryland (2004)
Court Admissions
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • United States District Court, Western District of Texas
  • United States District Court, District of Maryland
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Texas
When I Feel Most At Home
  • Gourmet cooking
  • Baking bread and pies
  • Backpacking, kayaking and powerlifting (to burn off calories from other hobbies)
  • Playing the guitar