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Federal Tax Law


Varnum’s tax attorneys have represented healthy and growing businesses, as well as those facing serious challenges in tax planning, audits and tax investigations. We have represented businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals in both civil tax examinations and criminal tax investigations and trials. Our attorneys and tax professionals offer sound out-of-court tax solutions and compliance guidance.

For more information, please contact either your Varnum attorney, or Eric Nemeth at 313/481-7318 or

Federal Tax Litigation

Varnum plans and litigates on behalf of taxpayers before federal and state tax authorities. We have litigated in various federal district courts, the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. bankruptcy courts, Court of Federal Claims, as well as the Michigan Tax Tribunal, Michigan Court of Claims, Michigan appellate courts and the Michigan Supreme Court.

In addition to Michigan and federal tax controversies, we help large multistate firms resolve tax compliance issues across multiple jurisdictions. We have helped clients with state or local tax controversies in California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and other states.

Whether dealing with a federal civil or criminal matter or a state civil or criminal matter, Varnum advises and advocates on your behalf. We strive to minimize your exposure in tax matters and we always pursue favorable outcomes.

Planning for Success

In addition to federal and state controversies, we provide full-service tax planning, typically for businesses or individuals with significant assets.

Business Transactions

We maximize tax savings for companies or individuals engaged in acquiring or selling a business or business unit. Varnum’s Tax Planning Compliance and Litigation Team has conducted major transactions involving high-profile businesses, including professional sports franchises.

Tax Accounting/Inventory

The Tax Planning, Compliance and Litigation Team provides experienced advice regarding complex tax accounting issues in controversies with the IRS.


Tax debts are responsible for approximately 80 percent of all bankruptcies. Some tax debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy court; others are not, but the Tax Planning, Compliance and Litigation Team possesses the skill and knowledge to maximize results.

Penalty Abatement

We have experience in securing the non-assertion aspects and abatement of numerous income, estate and gift tax penalties.

Responsible Person Planning

Tax liability can extend beyond business owners to executives and financial professionals. A thorough tax inventory is an important part of a business owner’s exit strategy. We advise clients on ways to minimize risk.

Leaders in Tax Law

Our firm has been influential in shaping, and in some cases challenging, the course of tax law at the state and federal level. Journalists seek out Varnum’s tax attorneys for comment on major tax issues of the day.


In addition to our federal criminal, federal civil, state and local civil and state and local criminal subgroups, the Tax Planning Compliance and Litigation Team specializes in other tax-related affairs.

White Collar Criminal Defense

Varnum defends individuals or corporations accused of committing white collar crimes, such as health care fraud, bank fraud and customs violations. Because of our tax background, we are specialists at tracking the movement of funds, which can mean the difference between conviction and acquittal in many cases.

Tax Shelter Defense

Varnum represents those who need independent advice and assurance, specifically those who have become ensnarled in the sophisticated tax shelters targeted in recent IRS compliance initiatives.

Tax-Exempt Obligations and Public Finance

Varnum attorneys have extensive experience in representing parties in the issuance of tax-exempt obligations, including traditional governmental bonds, small issue private activity bonds and qualified 501(c)(3) bonds. We serve as bond counsel and counsel to underwriters, bond purchasers, letter of credit banks, borrowers and bond obligors.

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