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 defends clients in IRS audits and appeals, and also handles actions in Federal District Court, U.S. Tax Court or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Joshua also represents clients when tax issues arise as part of U.S. Bankruptcy Court proceedings. His representation includes corporations, partnerships, estates, family offices, receiverships and high-net-worth individuals. Joshua’s practice involves a variety of industries including real estate, healthcare, insurance, private equity investment, oil and gas, and digital asset companies.

Joshua’s background as a former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer provides him with first-hand knowledge of how the government prepares and litigates tax cases so that he can design an effective plan for clients. At the Department of Justice, he handled high-dollar tax disputes and priority issues. During his tenure at the Department of Justice he received the agency’s Outstanding Trial Attorney Award seven times.

Joshua’s practice involves deep litigation and trial experience as both a private and government lawyer where the amounts at issue ranged from $500,000 to $1,000,000,000. His practice involves a variety of complex domestic and international tax issues including tax reporting issues, transactional and structural tax issues, tax credit disputes, requests for refunds of taxes paid, and the taxation of digital assets. As a respected thought leader, Joshua is a regular author and presenter on numerous tax topics and has been asked to provide expert testimony for the State Bar of Texas and for private clients 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.  
  • Defended a Family Limited Partnership in U.S. Tax Court involving a multi-million dollar adjustment proposed by the IRS.
  • Achieved a Tax Court decision on behalf of a family office denying an proposed tax deficiency of approximately $93 million dollars.
  • 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
November 15, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations
Blockchain Battlefields: The Hottest Litigation Issues in the Crosshairs of the DOJ, SEC and IRS

North American Blockchain Summit

November 15, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations
Counting Bits and Bucks: An Update on Digital Asset Accounting and Proposed IRS Regs

North American Blockchain Summit

November 8, 2023 
 Speeches and Presentations
From Bricks & Mortar to Bits & Blocks: Real Estate’s Digital Evolution

Financial Executives International - Real Estate Special Interest Group - Dallas Chapter

November 6, 2023 
Dollars & Sense
  • 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

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)
      • Council Member (2023 - 2024)
  • 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
  • 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