• Law Office of James Hastings PC

  • sophisticated solutions to complex tax problems

    the law office of james hastings uses decades of experience in public accounting, financial statement analysis, income taxation and tax litigation to deliver the best results for our clients

     

  • full stack startup advisor

    setting up tax advantaged corporate structures for closely held businesses, startups and founders

    tax litigation

    defending state and federal audits from administrative action through tax litigation and appeals

    litigation consulting

    building tax advantaged litigation strategies to ensure

    the best outcome for our clients

    estate and trust litigation

    achieving equitable results for probate, trust and estate controversies

    estate planning

    delivering comprehensive estate and succession planning to individuals and high net worth families

  • "I prefer to work with boutiques. My ideal law firm is a law firm of one...

    the accountability is extremely high."

    - Naval Ravikant, CEO and co-founder of AngelList

  • practice areas

    James Hastings is a tax lawyer and CPA certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Taxation Law. He has more than 20 years experience with accounting, tax compliance, and tax litigation, advising early stage tech companies, startups and founders.

    business planning

    Throughout his practice, James Hastings has advised closely held businesses and technology startups with corporate structures, executive compensation and tax advantaged transactions. These include raising funds from angel and seed investors and representing owners with later stage mergers and acquisitions.
     
    James is also a founder. In 2017, he took a sabbatical from law practice and started Engage for CPAs, a startup company that built a practice management application for accountants.
     
    He continues to be connected to the bay area startup community through relationships with both early stage investors and founders.

    tax litigation

    Tax litigation starts with a tax notice with an unfavorable change and continues through the courts until there is a resolution. James has represented clients with matters before the IRS Office of Appeals, the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the California Superior Courts.

    estate planning

    Tax issues are inherent in estate and trust matters and are especially important to legal disputes. Tax expertise can be a powerful litigation device. In addition to representing both beneficiaries and trustees, James advises high net worth families with complex multi-generational estate planning and consults on estate and trust litigation issues.

    legal consulting

    In addition to litigation, James also advises other attorneys and their clients with particularly complex tax matters. For example, evaluating pleadings and settlement agreements to find tax opportunities, helping estate planning attorneys to determine the tax consequences of estate and trust transactions, and advising companies on investment and transactions.
  • representative cases

    u.s. tax court litigation

    $18.5M tax abatement, U.S. Tax Court
    Litigated an innocent spouse claim before the U.S. Tax Court. After 5 years, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel conceded and the court dismissed the case with prejudice, eliminating $18.5M of income tax liabilities, penalties and interest. Pareto Media, Inc., Et. Al. v Commissioner (Consolidated)

    estate tax litigation

    $1M estate tax recovery, IRS Independent Office of Appeals
    Engaged to contest late payment penalties assessed to multi-million dollar estate, arguing that the tax should be abated due to the client's reasonable reliance on the advice of a tax professional. There were several errors on the estate tax return and the actual tax liability was significantly less than the client had paid. Successfully petitioned the IRS to remove the penalties and refund nearly half a million dollars of excess payments due to the errors.

    litigation

    Accountant's professional negligence, San Francisco Superior Court

    The personal representative and sole beneficiary of her mother's estate engaged her mother's CPA to prepare the estate tax return. Identified several significant errors and referred the case to a plaintiff's attorney. Served as both an expert litigation consultant and a fact witness to the litigation and recovered the maximum value of the claim.

     

    Accountant's professional negligence, San Francisco Superior Court

    An income tax preparer persuaded his client to file several years of amended returns to claim false or incorrect income tax deductions to create large tax refunds. The tax preparer claimed half of the refunds using a contingent fee, which is illegal. The amended returns were reversed in audit, resulting in repayment of the income tax refunds created by the false deductions, late payment and accuracy penalties. Represented the plaintiff with a professional negligence suit and recovered nearly $100,000 of damages. Calef v. Johnston

     

    Shareholder dispute, breach of duty, San Francisco Superior Court

    The majority member of an limited liability company tendered an offer to purchase the minority interest. The minority interest holder countered with a suit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, among other claims. Represented the majority shareholder in litigation, ultimately resulting in a settlement agreement to purchase the minority interest for less than the original buyout offer. McNally v. Symbiosystems, LLC, Et. Al.
     
    Litigation consulting, taxation of settlement proceeds, San Francisco Superior Court
    Assisted litigation counsel with the pleading, discovery and settlement agreement to ensure the settlement proceeds were characterized as tax-advantaged proceeds from the suit, resulting in more than $1M of income tax avoided.

    estate planning

    Multi-generational transfer, appreciated real property, San Francisco County

    Represented the beneficiaries of an estate with the transfer a $16M property into subsidiary trusts and used non-taxable transactions and partial disclaimers to structure a tax-advantaged, multi-generational transfer.

     

    High-net worth estate planning, conservation easement, Monterey County

    Represented the surviving spouse with restructuring investment real estate holdings; prepared supplementary post-mortem estate planning to preserve original property tax basis and avoid capital gain of more than $6M through fractional ownership and conservation easement discounts.

     

  • about us

  • James Hastings

    JD, CPA, LLM Taxation

    Certified Specialist in Taxation,

    California State Board of Legal Specialization

     

    James Hastings has 20 years of tax experience as a dual licensed professional with the highest credentials in tax law. As a trusted tax advisor to entrepreneurs and closely held business, his law practice has earned a reputation for creating sophisticated solutions to complex tax questions. He has been designated a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers since 2014 and has earned the highest ranking by Avvo.com.

     

    James is also the founder and CEO of Engage for CPAs, an automated practice management application for CPAs and tax preparers.

  • Paul H. Nathan, Of Counsel

    Experienced trial attorney Paul H. Nathan has become one of the most trusted attorneys in the San Francisco Bay Area. Named as a “Top Attorney” by San Francisco Magazine, a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, and ranked at the highest level of excellence by his peers in a Martindale-Hubbell review. Paul is founder of the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan, a litigation firm in San Francisco, California.

  • tax news & insights

  • Prior to the Covid era, my client's Collection Due Process equivalent hearings had been...
    Washington D.C., May 4, 2020 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it is...
    The IRS believes that virtual currency gains have been widely under reported, perhaps because...
    Earlier this week, the New York Times published a special investigation into Trump’s tax affairs...
    The price of bitcoin doubled in 2016 and finished 2017 at an astonishing 1600% increase. The...
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  • contact information

  • PO Box 453

    San Francisco, CA 94104

    t: 415.610.4160 || f: 415.520.9662

    info@jwrhlaw.com | .@jwrhastings

  • trust
    deposit
    invoice
    payment
  • crypto deposit
  • “Cryptocurrency is everything you don’t know about money combined with everything you don’t know about computers.”​

    - John Oliver

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