Joshua D. Smeltzer

Clients value my expertise, and background as a former Department of Justice lawyer, because I can design practical solutions and provide strategic advice on a variety of complex tax and business disputes.

Board Certified in Tax Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Joshua Smeltzer focuses his practice on defending taxpayers in all stages of civil and criminal tax proceedings, including sensitive audits and examinations. Joshua frequently represents corporations, complex partnerships, family offices, estates and trusts, and high-net worth individuals. His practice encompasses a variety of industries, with special expertise in real estate, energy, insurance, private equity, digital assets and blockchain technology.

Joshua uses his background as a former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer to provide first-hand knowledge when the government is involved in litigation in designing an effective plan to litigate disputes, minimize risks and achieve as many client goals as possible. Joshua has deep litigation and trial experience, both as a private and government lawyer, in controversies ranging from $500,000 to more than $1.5 billion.

In addition to his controversy practice, Joshua’s clients frequently call upon him to provide strategic business advice, help with regulatory guidance, advise on tax efficient structuring and transactional matters, and assist with government investigations and business disputes. Joshua has structured numerous technology and energy focused partnerships and businesses and has experience drafting opinions and private letter ruling requests on a host of complex tax topics. As co-chair of Gray Reed’s Blockchain and Digital Asset practice, he is particularly adept at understanding the needs of businesses in this new industry or who are incorporating the new technology or assets into their existing business.

Joshua is also a respected thought leader and regular author and presenter on numerous tax, litigation, and business topics. He has been asked to provide expert testimony for the State Bar of Texas on tax topics and for private clients in court proceedings. He is also the editor of the firm’s tax blog, Dollars & Sense.

Representative Experience

Tax Controversy and Litigation Experience

  • Achieved a tax court decision for a family office denying the IRS a $120 million proposed tax deficiency. 
  • Attained releases of nominee liens filed against the client in the amount of $1.5 billion.
  • Defended a family limited partnership in tax court against a multi-million dollar adjustment proposed by the IRS.
  • Obtained numerous no-change letters from the IRS in high-stakes and sensitive audit examinations or other favorable relief during the audit examination or at the IRS Independent Office of Appeals.
  • Negotiated penalty relief for numerous taxpayers resulting in full or reduced penalties assessed by the IRS including a more than $1 million reduction in proposed penalties for one client involving foreign bank account reporting penalties.
  • Assisted with the resolution of commercial disputes over contract provisions, as outside counsel, between two multi-national companies.  
  • Advised multiple corporate clients on compliance and potential audit and litigation involving the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
  • Represented clients during audit and in subsequent litigation involving IRS priority issues such as micro-captive insurance arrangements, syndicated conservation easements, and challenges to certain trust and charitable donation structures.

Tax Planning and Business Advice Experience

  • Consistently provides advice to digital asset and blockchain technology companies and investors on regulatory compliance, corporate structure, transactional and tax issues. Clients include Bitcoin mining companies, digital asset financial service providers and other innovators using blockchain technology for commercial purposes.
  • Drafting of private ruling request involving intersecting basis adjustments in Permian Basin energy partnership.
  • Structuring of multiple technology focused partnerships.
  • Provided R&D tax credit planning to closely-held business.
  • Advising on a multi-million dollar renewable energy transaction involving carbon capture.
Thought Leadership / News
February 12, 2024 
Dollars & Sense
January 25, 2024 
 Speeches and Presentations
Unveiling the Layers: Navigating Potential Tax Controversies Surrounding the Inflation Reduction Act

Texas Bar Renewable Energy Tax Credit Conference

  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in Woodward/White, Inc.'s The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Tax Law (2024)
  • Named a "Super Lawyer" by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly (2022 – 2023)
  • Outstanding Attorney Award, Department of Justice Tax Division (2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018)
Organizational Involvement
  • American Bar Association – Tax Section 
  • Federal Bar Association – Tax Section
  • State Bar of Texas – Tax Section
    • Co-Chair, Tax Controversy Committee (2022 – present)
    • Council Member (2023 – present)
  • North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Board Member (2021 – present)
  • Texas Blockchain Council, (2022 – present)
    • Financial Services Committee Member (2023 – present)
  • New Jersey Blockchain Council, Corporate Advisor (2022 – present)
  • 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