MATT LERNER, co-leader of Sidley Austin’s Tax Controversy practice, has more than 30 years of experience with tax-related matters, focusing on advising on and litigating federal and state tax disputes. He also has substantial experience in criminal tax controversies and complex civil litigation related to tax strategies.
Matt’s experience in federal civil tax controversy covers a broad range of representations at all stages of the Internal Revenue Service’s administrative process and litigation in the U.S. Tax Court, the Court of Federal Claims and the federal district courts. He often advises clients during the transaction planning stage and prior to audit to make sure their files are “audit-ready” and their defenses to possible challenges are well-documented. Likewise, he frequently works with clients on document retention policies and understanding their disclosure obligations. He also regularly handles state tax controversies and litigation, working with clients to obtain favorable resolutions without the need for litigation, whenever possible.
In addition to his extensive experience in managing tax controversies, Matt’s practice extends to numerous substantive areas of federal tax law. Among his recent representations are cases involving: debt/equity issues; the determination of ownership of property; the domestic production deduction under Section 199; the Section 41 research credit; capital versus expense classifications; losses from trading in securities and commodities; inter-corporate transactions and consolidated returns; miscellaneous corporate fees and expenses; international inter-company transactions; valuation questions; transfer pricing; and placed-in-service date disputes. He also has handled cases involving tax shelters, accounting methods, and promoter registration.
Matt is included in The Legal 500 US (2012–2015) in the category of Tax: Controversy, and in The Best Lawyers in America (2012–2016) for Tax Litigation and Controversy. He also has been named repeatedly to the Washington, DC Super Lawyers list. Chambers USA includes him in its list of top Tax Controversy lawyers. Matt is a 1985 graduate from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and a 1982 graduate of Amherst College, where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society.