Joshua D. Smeltzer

Clients value my ability to demystify the tax controversy process and clearly explain complex tax issues in an understandable way so they can make effective decisions with confidence. Once my clients have a strong grasp of the issues at stake and the challenges they will face, we can focus on resolving the dispute, minimizing tax liability and achieving as many of their goals as possible.

Joshua Smeltzer is a tax lawyer focused on defending individuals and all types of businesses in a variety of challenging tax controversies before the IRS, federal district courts, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Tax Court and federal bankruptcy courts. As a former litigator for the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division, Joshua has first-hand knowledge of how government lawyers evaluate, build and litigate complex tax cases. He uses this strong background to provide strategic guidance to avoid or prepare for a dispute, guide clients through the IRS examination process and support tax positions at IRS appeals or in federal court so the case has its best chance at a positive outcome.

Clients rely on Joshua to handle individual, corporate and partnership tax disputes involving variety of tax issues including tax credits and deductions, reporting and disclosure of foreign bank accounts, individual and corporate tax audits and collection actions, cryptocurrency tax issues, and summons enforcement. He is often consulted on tax issues arising from significant financial events, such as large litigation settlements or judgments or sales of business assets or stock.

Joshua has deep tax litigation experience in federal court, both as a private and government lawyer. He has participated as lead or co-counsel in 12 federal court trials and resolved numerous cases involving complex discovery, evidentiary and procedural issues. While the majority of his practice is focused on tax controversies, Joshua has the versatility and experience to advise clients on other governmental investigations.

During his 14-year tenure with the Department of Justice, Joshua litigated tax cases across the country covering a number of industry sectors and difficult issues. His diverse caseload 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. Based on his impressive track record, Joshua received the Department of Justice Outstanding Trial Attorney award seven times.

A respected thought leader in the tax field, Joshua is a regular author and presenter on various tax topics and has been called on to provide expert testimony on tax issues in court proceedings.

Representative Experience

Law Firm Experience

  • Successfully represented clients in defending against foreign bank account reporting penalties and achieved an over $1 million reduction in the proposed penalties for two clients and an almost $2 million reduction for another client
  • Successfully argued reasonable cause defense causing the IRS to concede a proposed $300,000 understatement tax penalty
  • Represented multiple clients in tax disputes involving the treatment of amounts received from settlements or judgments
  • Advised multiple clients on whether settlement and/or judgment amounts may be excluded from taxable income and the proper treatment and reporting of such amounts and other costs of litigation
  • Representation of clients investing in cryptocurrency on a variety of disclosure, reporting, and foreign investment tax issues
  • Representation of a federal equity receiver on tax issues related to the recovery of assets involved in a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme
  • Obtained a no-change letter from IRS allowing client to claim previously challenged business deductions
  • Successfully received an abatement of assessed penalties in a sale and use tax dispute
  • Handled a variety of IRS audits involving individuals, corporations, partnerships, and estates. This includes an audit under the recently enacted BBA partnership audit rules
  • Successfully represented several clients at IRS Appeals in achieving favorable settlements
  • Obtained relief from IRS enforced collection (i.e. liens and levies) 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
  • Successful court ruling, following trial, involving a foreign captive insurance arrangement including imposition of negligence penalties
  • Litigation and trial of several multi-million-dollar abusive tax shelter transactions involving foreign currency trading and distressed asset investment
  • Achieved enforcement of various John Doe summonses on behalf of foreign countries seeking information for tax enforcement pursuant to tax treaties with the United States
  • Handled litigation and trial for a variety of cases involving research and development tax credits, foreign tax credits, and other tax incentives
Thought Leadership / News
January/February 2022 
 Thought Leadership

Today's CPA

December 2021 
 Speeches and Presentations
Cryptocurrency: Tax Enforcement by the IRS and DOJ Tax Division

Texas Society of CPAs Expo 

  • 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
      • Vice Chair, Tax Controversy Committee (2021 - 2022)
  • Dallas Bar Association
    • Publications Committee Member
    • Law In Schools Committee Member

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