Mitchell Smith has a long history with the IRS. He was negotiating with them even before finishing law school. When asked about his legal background, he was quick to explain “I interned at a taxpayer clinic which handles tax controversies for low-income families. It was quite a rewarding experience to help members of the community who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford legal services.”
Smith has all the academic certifications a great tax attorney should have…graduating from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s in Political Science, he then pursued his Juris Doctor at the California Western School of Law. There he was also member of the Pro Bono Honors Society as well as Treasurer of the Business Law Society. Finally, he finished his Master of Laws in Taxation (LLM) at the University of San Diego School of Law.
“I wanted to go to law school since I was in the sixth grade,” he professed. “When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said without the slightest hesitation ‘a lawyer.’”
Now with over six years of working in tax law under his belt, Smith has represented clients in the U.S. Tax Court where he resolved numerous tax controversies at the audit and appellate levels of the IRS. He has also negotiated favorable settlements of high-dollar-tax deficiencies as well as secured tax-exempt status for new organizations and advised existing exempt organizations.
In the summer of 2021, Smith was hired at Brotman Law, and continues to excel in his career. His expertise extends to real estate taxation, federal and state worker classification reviews, foreign bank account disclosures and collection matters including Offers in Compromise and Installment Agreements.
Smith said that good bookkeeping seems to be a consistent problem with clients, so when they get audited it can be really challenging. Still, he feels working hard on someone’s case and achieving a good result is its own reward, even when the case takes years.
“It’s completely legal to take every deduction that’s available to you. It’s good to push the limits. Regulations and tax codes change a lot, so if you’re an independent contractor you may think you’re doing the right thing, but the government will squeeze hard on people.”
When asked about his work with the Community Law Project San Diego, he mentioned his satisfaction about giving back to the community, using his expertise to advise people on tax law issues.
One such client was a single mother with three people living in her one-bedroom apartment. The IRS was garnishing her already low wages. “We were able to place her on Currently Non-Collectible status, and they stopped garnishing her check. She didn’t know she had options and was so happy that I was able to fix her problem,” Smith said smiling at the memory.
In his free time, Smith enjoys cooking, often checking out what his favorite chefs on Youtube are preparing and trying out some of the recipes they make with varying degrees of success. He spends time outdoors exploring San Diego, hiking, visiting friends and hanging out on one of area’s many beautiful beaches.