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Jennifer Benda

Partner

555 17th Street, Suite 3200, Denver, CO 80202

Jennifer brings sophisticated experience as a tax attorney and former CPA to counsel businesses and individuals on emerging and complex tax controversy and litigation issues.

Jennifer handles high dollar value, sensitive tax matters with significant legal issues at stake for businesses and individuals. Drawing on experience as a tax accountant and as a tax lawyer, she is respected by clients for her ability to navigate complex situations and provide front-line protection with the goal of alleviating the stress clients experience when facing scrutiny from tax authorities.  

In disputes with the IRS and state and local tax authorities, she is a deft, respected negotiator in reaching out-of-court solutions; and an ardent advocate, litigating issues to ensure her clients receive even-handed treatment.

Clients appreciate Jennifer's straightforward, no-nonsense approach to tax planning: keep it simple and don’t make things harder than they need to be. She helps clients plan and implement proactive tax strategies to protect their assets and achieve their business and financial goals.

Jennifer is also a sought-after expert witness on complex tax issues, providing opinions in federal and state court litigation as well as arbitrations.

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Experience

Tax Litigation and Controversy 
  • Captive insurance
  • Conservation easements 
  • Valuation in estate and gift disputes
  • Advise individuals on offshore asset reporting requirements and voluntary disclosures
  • Advise high net worth individuals subject to IRS scrutiny or audit
  • Advisor and expert witness on “business divorce” tax issues
  • Sales and use tax issues
  • Marijuana excise tax issues
  • Cannabis industry expertise, including IRC §280E Adjustments and Challenges
  • Examinations, Appeals, and Litigation
  • Federal, State, and Local Tax Compliance

Client Results

Negotiations with Tax Authorities
  • Assisted individual who failed to file tax returns for more than 20 years to achieve state and federal compliance without prosecution or collection action.*

  • Prepared voluntary disclosures for clients with an undisclosed off-shore bank account to avoid criminal prosecution.*

Audit Work
  • 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.*

  • 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.*

  • 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.*

  • Counsel clients with Section 831(b) captive insurance companies during IRS audit, IRS appeals, and Tax Court.*

Cannabis Industry
  • Regularly represent state-licensed cannabis businesses during IRS examinations, Appeals and Tax Court. Apply accounting background and solid legal arguments to achieve proper settlements for cannabis companies.*

  • Transactional tax planning and due diligence for state-licensed cannabis businesses.* 

  • Assist 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).*

Other Experience
  • *Indicates matters Jennifer worked on before joining Holland & Hart

Industries

News

Publications

Speaking Engagements

Education

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Recognition

  • Chambers USA, Tax, Colorado, 2020-2022
  • Chambers USA, Nationwide Cannabis Law: Western United States, 2019-2022
  • National Law Journal Cannabis Law Trailblazer, 2018
  • 5280 Magazine Top Lawyers, Marijuana Law, 2020-2022
  • Colorado Super Lawyers® Rising Stars, Tax, 2010-2015

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • American College of Tax Counsel, Fellow, 2021-present
  • Colorado Leads, Board of Directors, 2021-present
  • American Bar Association, Section of Taxation 
    • Administrative Practice, Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties Commitee
    • Court Procedure and Practice Committee
  • Colorado Bar Association, Tax Section Executive Council ABA Liaison, 2014-2019 
  • Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program for military members, Trainer, 2014-present
  • Color of Cannabis: Instructor, 2020-present
  • ALIGHT (Alliance to Lead Impact in Global Human Trafficking), pro bono legal advisor, 2020-present
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