Lenora Taylor is a tax defense and tax litigation attorney at the Law Offices of Lenora Roland Taylor in California. With such a youthful spirit, many may believe that Lenora is a very recent admission to the bar. But, in actuality, she is a very experienced and accomplished professional with 19 years of service to clients involved in tax controversies.
Lenora started her career as a trial attorney at the IRS. When she left the IRS she worked as an associate at Sommers, Schwartz, PC until she relocated to California. In California she continued her work in the area of tax when she joined Reuben & Alter eventually branching out to establish her own firm. As the head of her own practice, Lenora has the flexibility of choosing the cases and the clients that she wants to represent. Right now her focus is on representing individuals, corporations, and partnership entities that have an IRS collection matter, as well as assisting clients with defending proposed tax assessments. About 70% of Lenora’s practice is based on the federal tax rules, which regularly places her on the opposing side of the IRS. The other 30% of her time is spent handling state tax issues.
What keeps you busy on a regular workday?
Well, today I am working on an appeal of an offer in compromise, which essentially allows a taxpayer to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed. I am in constant contact with the IRS and state collection agencies throughout my day. Simultaneously, I am also working on an audit matter, a collection file and a petition of proposed assessment.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like the fact that I am able to help people – as clichéd as that may sound. The IRS is a powerful entity. People are often traumatized when they receive a notice from the IRS. If they attempt to handle the matter on their own the issue often escalates to a point where they become overwhelmed. My job is to help them to resolve the issue and provide them with some relief. This makes me feel like I am making a difference.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I’ve been running my practice for a very long time so I don’t anticipate that that will change any time soon. However, what I do see changing are the projects that I work on to supplement my practice. In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed me to the California Board of Accountancy, which is the governing body for CPA is the state. When my term ends, I hope to have the opportunity to serve on the property assessment appeal board.
What advice would you give to a student or young attorney who wants to work in tax?
Get involved in the tax section of the state bar. Depending on your area of interest, focus on getting involved with sub-groups or sub-committees that allow you to meet other professionals in this area and keep up-to date on current issues.
I would also recommend, where possible, starting your career with the IRS. This experience will provide you with a solid foundation for working in a large firm later or starting your own tax practice.
Do you have a mentor? If so, how has he or she impacted your life?
When I first started working at the IRS, Roberta Hamm Amos, who was the Assistant District Counsel at the time, really helped me to guide my career from its infancy into maturity. She has over 20 years of experience with the IRS and at one point in her career served as an administrative law judge. I would have never guessed that our friendship would have lasted this long when we first met. I place a high value on her advice.
If you could have dinner with someone (no longer living) who would it be? Why?
Jesus. He would have all the answers. Who else can you learn more from?
Describe yourself in three words or less?
It’s funny that you ask that question. I recently had this discussion with my mother. Her three words for me are dependable, bossy and argumentative. I have a different perspective, though. I would say loyal, positive and driven.
The Litigators by John Grisham.
To contact Lenora for assistance with a tax controversy or tax collections matter:
Send an email to [email protected] or pick up a phone and give her a call at (510) 581-1963.
Written by Marsha Henry