Jenny L. Johnson focuses her practice on complex tax disputes for private clients, their trusts and estates, and closely-held businesses. To successfully navigate these controversies, Jenny draws on tools she honed over years of experience trying tax cases: earning credibility, building a compelling factual record, and – perhaps most important – understanding that the art of crafting a winning closing argument begins years before trial.
Jenny represents taxpayers in all stages of civil and criminal tax proceedings, including sensitive audits and examinations, IRS appeals, summons enforcement, search warrants, grand jury subpoenas, negotiated resolutions with the IRS and the Department of Justice, trials in federal district court and the US Tax Court, and appellate litigation. She has favorably resolved disputes involving estate and gift taxes, income taxes, excise taxes, federal and state tax credits, sales and use taxes, employment taxes, and employee plan matters.
Jenny also works proactively with private clients, family offices, fiduciaries and other advisors to identify and quantify tax risks, then reduce exposure by minimizing audit triggers and cultivating evidence of the facts necessary to achieve a successful result if a dispute occurs. Taxpayers and their other advisors find her unique perspective as an experienced trial lawyer particularly beneficial during tax planning, preparation of a potentially controversial tax return, and times of transition when an incoming executor, advisor or trustee seeks a better understanding of what took place in the past, where the soft spots may be, and how best to navigate going forward.
Jenny is an adjunct professor on the tax faculty at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, currently teaching Investigation, Prosecution and Defense of Tax Crimes. She is also a frequent speaker and faculty member at both national and international professional conferences.
Drafting a brief submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the American College of Tax Counsel as amicus curiae in support of the successful petitioner in Marinello v. United States*
Serving as lead tax litigation counsel for a $3 billion estate with respect to an alleged $150 million estate and gift tax deficiency involving transfer of interests in a professional sports team*
Obtaining summary judgment for the taxpayer, defeating the government’s attempt to recover what it claimed was an erroneous tax refund, with the US District Court repeatedly citing her arguments on complex aspects of the TEFRA regulations*
Trying three cases in the United States Tax Court involving alleged transferee liability in “Midco” intermediary tax shelter cases*
Successfully resolving a Global High Wealth Industry Group audit involving tax treatment of millions of dollars of state low income housing tax credits and various other complex issues at the individual and entity levels*
Winning a $5 million US Tax Court trial by proving that the taxpayer materially participated in a business through activities that included entertaining potential investors*
Negotiating a favorable resolution of an IRS audit involving executive compensation of family members in a family-owned business*
Representing multiple taxpayers in various claims for refund from IRS, including claims for penalty abatement and refunds relating to gifts and inheritances*
Representing multiple plan sponsors who faced an IRS threat of disqualification of their qualified plans*
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar
United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
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