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Jennifer E. Benda Shareholder

T 720-512-5824 | F 918-594-0505 | jbenda@hallestill.com

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A former Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Jennifer Benda is an experienced tax attorney who handles tax controversy and income tax planning and compliance matters. She serves as a steadfast advocate for clients, developing relationships with IRS personnel and IRS Appeals and state departments of revenue, and leverages these relationships to successfully resolve her clients’ tax matters. While Jennifer recognizes that out-of-court solutions can be more beneficial to her clients, she is prepared to take cases to court when necessary to ensure her clients are treated fairly.

Jennifer has developed a niche advising and defending businesses in the cannabis industry with tax related matters. In addition, her decade-long tenure as a CPA prior to entering the legal field enables her to provide additional benefits to clients in cases involving valuation or accounting issues and to effectively solve complicated tax issues.

Jennifer has been ranked by Chambers USA in the Nationwide Cannabis Law: Corporate/Transactional practice, as well as in Tax Law for Colorado. Further, she is a frequent speaker nationwide on the topic of Cannabis Law and Taxation. 

Education

  • George Washington University Law School (J.D., with honors, 2005)
  • Texas A&M University - Mays Business School (M.S. in Accounting (Tax), 1995)
  • Texas A&M University (B.B.A. in Accounting, 1995)

Admissions

  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • District of Colorado
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
Legal Experience
  • 2019-Present Hall Estill
  • 2015-2019 Fox Rothschild
  • 2005-2015 Baker & Hostetler
Representative Matters & Clients
  • Resolved a large estate tax audit for a client with significant oil and gas holdings. Addressed valuation issues and used specific case details to reach an effective resolution.
  • Achieved compliance without prosecution or collection action for the client, who failed to file tax returns for more than 20 years.
  • Prepared voluntary disclosures for clients with an undisclosed off-shore bank account to avoid criminal prosecution.
  • Regularly represents state-licensed cannabis businesses during IRS examinations, Appeals and Tax Court.  Applies accounting background and solid legal arguments to achieve proper settlements for cannabis companies.
  • Transactional tax planning and due diligence for state-licensed cannabis businesses.
  •  Assists clients with department of revenue audits for cannabis industry taxes.  
  • On behalf of two major industry groups, filed amicus brief in Patients Mutual Assistance Collective Corporation, dba Harborside Health Center v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Ninth Circuit Dkt. No. 19-73078, appealing 151 T.C. 176 (2018).  
  • Resolved large estate tax audit for client with investments held through family limited partnership, including resolution of valuation issues, Section 2036 issues, and dispute about the amount of charitable deduction allowed.
  • Counsels clients with Section 831(b) captive insurance companies during IRS audit, IRS appeals, and Tax Court.
  • Resolved a large estate tax audit for a client with significant oil and gas holdings. Addressed valuation issues and used specific case details to reach an effective resolution.
  • Achieved compliance without prosecution or collection action for the client, who failed to file tax returns for more than 20 years.
  • Prepares voluntary disclosures and streamlined disclosures for clients with undisclosed off-shore bank accounts and other foreign reporting requirement delinquencies to avoid criminal prosecution and punitive penalties.
  • Assists clients with penalty abatements, correction of non-filing, and tax collection matters.
     
Professional Involvement
  • American Bar Association, Section of Taxation (Committee on Administrative Practice, Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties; Court Procedure and Practice)
  • Colorado Bar Association, Tax Section Executive Council ABA Liaison
  • Law360 Tax Editorial Advisory Board (2014)
Community Involvement
  • Trainer, IRS Military VITA (2014-Present)
    • On behalf of the IRS Military VITA program, Jennifer recruits teaching volunteers and leads training of volunteers who will be preparing tax returns for military families at military bases in Colorado.
Honors & Awards
  • Recognized by Chambers USA for Cannabis Law - Nationwide (2019 - 2020)
  • Recognized by Chambers USA for Tax Law - Colorado (2020)
  • Named to Colorado Super Lawyers Rising Stars (2010-2015)
  • Named a Cannabis Law Trailblazer by The National Law Journal (2018)