Frank Azar, the top personal injury attorney and resident of countless billboards in Colorado, has reached a settlement on a $716,000 tax bill that he once sued to stop.
The agreement ends a 20-month tax dispute between Azar and the federal government, which also gave rise to two related lawsuits in Colorado, one of which is ongoing.
As part of the settlement between Azar and the Internal Revenue Service, he agreed to pay the bill plus an additional $53,000, for a total of $769,270. In exchange, the IRS agreed to drop a $143,000 penalty it imposed on the attorney in early 2021.
Azar listed $3.9 million in taxable income for 2017. The IRS calculated the actual figure at $5.6 million, according to U.S. tax court records obtained by BusinessDen.
The settlement was approved by US Tax Court Judge Cary Douglas Pugh on December 13 and obtained by BusinessDen through a disclosure request.
Azar sued the IRS in April 2021, alleging he made a long list of mistakes when he found his 2017 tax return was incorrect and that he owed an additional $716,443.
Azar’s lawsuit alleged that the IRS incorrectly determined that he had $1.3 million in taxable income from businesses in 2017, incorrectly prohibited him from deducting $193,802 in charitable giving, his capital losses of $185,175 ignored US Dollars and falsely penalized him for filing a correct tax return, and made five other significant mistakes.
The case was scheduled to go to trial in April 2022 but was later postponed at Azar’s request. It was pushed back to January 9 until last month’s settlement ended the need for a trial.
The tax bill is largely paid, according to court documents. Azar sent about $312,000 to the IRS in 2020, and the agency offset his 2017 debt against $384,000 from Azar’s 2018 taxes. If he doesn’t pay the remaining $74,000, interest accrues.
A spokeswoman for Azar declined to comment on the settlement. His tax attorney, Lakewood attorney Charles Kersch Jr., did not respond to a request for comment.
The IRS was represented by Anne Craig, a senior counsel in its Denver office. Craig also did not respond to a request for comment on the settlement.
The settlement draws attention to an Arapahoe County case in which Azar is suing two accountants, Michael Sidon and Christopher Steedly, and their firm CBIZ for allegedly giving him bad advice that led to this 2017 tax bill. The defendants have denied wrongdoing.
In July, Azar requested that all proceedings in the case be stayed until the US tax court case was resolved, but Judge Peter Michaelson refused to do so. A five-day bench trial is scheduled to begin May 8 in the Centennial.
The defendants in this case are being represented by Steven Anderson and Brian Huebsch of the law firm of Anderson & Jahde in Littleton. They declined to comment on the matter.
In May 2022, Azar settled a related lawsuit he filed in late 2021. In that case, he and his law firm, Azar & Associates, accused their tax advisor, Timothy McKey, of doing a poor job on the 2017 tax returns. The terms of their agreement are confidential.
This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.