Ronson J. Shamoun, JD, LL.M.
Principal and CEO
Master of Laws in Taxation
Ronson “Ronnie” Shamoun is a tax controversy attorney with over twenty years of tax experience including thirteen years in legal practice. Mr. Shamoun has helped thousands of clients find solutions to their civil and criminal tax matters.
He has been honored by many different organizations for a variety of awards over the past few years, most recently he was recognized as a 2017 University of San Diego School of Law Distinguished Alumni. This prestigious designation is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni and only 77 people have received this designation since the awards inception in 1977. In addition, Mr. Shamoun was named a 2017 Best of the Bar by the San Diego Business Journal and a 2017 Top Lawyer by San Diego Magazine. Additionally, in 2016 he was honored as a Best Attorney by San Diego Metro Magazine, by the San Diego Business Journal as Best of the Bar, and as a Top Lawyer by San Diego Magazine. Because of his stellar client reviews and recommendations from other attorneys in the community, in 2014 Avvo.com awarded him with the Client’s Choice award in all of his practice areas: tax, business, trusts, and real estate. In 2013, he was named a Top Young Influential and a Top Tax Attorney by the San Diego Daily Transcript, a Top Lawyer by San Diego Magazine, and a Top Lawyer in California by American Lawyer Media. In 2013, and every year thereafter, he has received the prestigious AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell, an award which recognizes an attorney’s excellence in legal ability and ethical practice, for which he is deeply grateful. RJS LAW has also won many awards as a firm including being named a finalist in the small business category for the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, presented by the Better Business Bureau of San Diego, Imperial, and Orange Counties in 2014, as well as winning the honor of being called one of San Diego’s Most Admired Companies from San Diego Metro Magazine in 2014, and as a Family Owned Business Finalist by the San Diego Business Journal during the same year. The firm was also given the title of Business of the Year by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce in 2013.
Mr. Shamoun’s practice involves federal and state taxation with an emphasis in criminal tax defense, tax controversy, real estate, corporate law, and estate planning. Mr. Shamoun has extensive experience in representing individuals and businesses before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the California Employment Development Department (EDD), and the California State Board of Equalization (SBOE). The size of the individual amounts in controversy that Mr. Shamoun has either settled or litigated with the IRS and state tax agencies have ranged from a few thousand dollars to over $300 million dollars in other cases. Mr. Shamoun has also successfully defended numerous clients against criminal prosecutions by the federal government and the State of California. Mr. Shamoun has also successfully defended numerous clients against criminal prosecutions by the federal government and the State of California. He has experience in the defense of white-collar crimes, IRS whistleblower cases, money laundering, bank secrecy violations, securities fraud, insider trading, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, public corruption, financial institution fraud, and more.
He has a sterling reputation with the United States Attorney’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office in multiple jurisdictions, and his firm has a reputation among the taxing entities for being steadfast advocates on behalf of their clients. Mr. Shamoun also served as general counsel for a regional supermarket conglomerate with thirteen stores and was responsible for overseeing legal issues for over eight hundred employees. He is a frequent legal commentator for many media outlets including Fox 5 News, ABC Channel 10 News, KUSI News, and NBC 7 News in San Diego. He is also a frequent contributor to the San Diego Union Tribune and the San Diego Business Journal as a Tax Expert.
Mr. Shamoun is a true San Diegan. He was born and raised in San Diego, California, and completed all of his undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate studies at the University of San Diego (USD), earning a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Accountancy at USD, his Juris Doctor (J.D.), and his Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) degree from USD. While attending USD, Mr. Shamoun was one of the founding fathers of the USD Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. As of August 2015, Mr. Shamoun is an adjunct professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law. His Tax Practice and Penalties class is now a required course to obtain a Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.). Additionally, 2016 is the Inaugural USD School of Law – RJS LAW Tax Controversy Institute at the Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. This Institute strives to be the premier tax controversy event in Southern California, bringing together the region’s top tax attorneys, CPAs, and Law and Business School professors to discuss topics including federal and state audit strategies, tax penalties, and criminal tax matters.
Outside of his law practice, Mr. Shamoun is an active member of the local community. He teaches a Tax Practices and Penalties class at the University of San Diego, School of Law. The class is a required course in the Master of Laws in Taxation Degree. He is also the owner a convenience store (Newport Quik Stop), and a drive-through coffee/juice bar (Café Bella). Additionally, Mr. Shamoun, through his sizable portfolio of commercial real estate and business investments, has developed a keen sensibility to the legal needs of business owners and investors alike. He is able to provide practical legal advice to individuals seeking tax and business services, or persons considering business or real estate transactions.
Mr. Shamoun currently lives in San Diego with his wife, Melanie, and his three daughters; Mariella, Audriana, and Emilia.
Awards and Commendation:
- Top Lawyer – San Diego Magazine 2018
- Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent: Highest Excellence in Legal Ability and Ethical Practice – 2018
- Top 500 Influential Business Leaders- San Diego Business Journal 2017
- San Diego Best Attorneys- San Diego Metro Magazine 2017
- Most Admired CEO Finalist – San Diego Business Journal 2017
- Top Lawyer – San Diego Magazine 2017
- Voted San Diego’s BEST Tax Law Firm – Union Tribune Reader’s Poll 2017
- Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent: Highest Excellence in Legal Ability and Ethical Practice – 2017
- Best of the Bar – San Diego Business Journal 2017
- Top 500 Influential Business Leaders- San Diego Business Journal 2016
- Most Recommended Law Firm – Our City San Diego Magazine 2016
- Top 10 Best Accounting Firms in San Diego, CA – AdvisoryHQ News 2016
- Voted San Diego’s BEST Tax Law Firm – Union Tribune Reader’s Poll 2016
- Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent: Highest Excellence in Legal Ability and Ethical Practice – 2016
- Real Estate Tax Law – San Diego Magazine 2016
- Best of the Bar – San Diego Business Journal 2016
- Most Admired CEO Finalist – San Diego Business Journal 2016
- San Diego Best Attorneys- San Diego Metro Magazine 2016
- Voted San Diego’s BEST Tax Law Firm – Union Tribune Reader’s Poll 2015
- Top Tax Lawyer- San Diego Magazine 2015
- Top Tax Attorney – San Diego Daily Transcript 2015
- 40 Under 40- San Diego Metro Magazine 2015
- Best of the Bar – San Diego Business Journal 2015
- Most Admired CEO Finalist – San Diego Business Journal 2015
- Top Lawyer – San Diego Magazine 2015
- Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent: Highest Excellence in Legal Ability and Ethical Practice – 2015
- Voted San Diego’s BEST Tax Law Firm – Union Tribune Reader’s Poll 2014
- Client’s Choice in Tax – Avvo.com 2014
- Client’s Choice in Business – Avvo.com 2014
- Client’s Choice in Trusts – Avvo.com 2014
- Client’s Choice in Real Estate – Avvo.com 2014
- Torch Award Finalist – Better Business Bureau of San Diego, Imperial, and Orange Counties 2014
- Most Admired Companies – San Diego Metro Magazine 2014
- Top Tax Attorney – San Diego Daily Transcript 2014
- Best of the Bar – San Diego Business Journal 2014
- Best Attorney – San Diego Metro Magazine 2014
- Mover to Watch – San Diego Metro Magazine 2014
- Top Lawyer – San Diego Magazine 2014
- Family Owned Business Finalist – San Diego Business Journal 2014
- State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition – RJS LAW 2014
- California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition – RJS LAW 2014
- San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Certificate of Merit – RJS LAW 2014
- City of San Diego Certification of Recognition – RJS LAW 2014
- Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent: Highest Excellence in Legal Ability and Ethical Practice – 2014
- San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year – RJS LAW 2013
- Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent: Highest Excellence in Legal Ability and Ethical Practice – 2013
- Top Young Influential – San Diego Daily Transcript 2013
- Top Tax Attorney – San Diego Daily Transcript 2013
- Top Lawyer – San Diego Magazine 2013
- Top Lawyers in California – American Lawyer Media 2013
- Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition – RJS LAW 2013
- State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition – RJS LAW 2013
- California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition – RJS LAW 2013
- San Diego County Board of Supervisors Certificate of Recognition – RJS LAW 2013
- Top Young Attorney – San Diego Daily Transcript 2010
- Top Young Attorney – San Diego Daily Transcript 2009
- Litigated case against U.S. government for failing to provide timely responses to Freedom of Information Act requests.
- Represented taxpayer who had 30 million dollars in alter-ego liens erroneously assessed against it. Successfully appealed the filing of the liens and IRS withdrew all liens.
- Appealed IRS Excise Tax Return disallowance of $1 million in exemptions on taxpayer’s return. Successfully appealed the claim which resulted in no tax due to IRS.
- Successfully negotiated with IRS counsel to reduce gift tax penalties from several hundred thousand dollars to zero.
- Client was facing numerous counts of tax evasion and aiding and abetting after the government accused him of planning faulty tax returns for himself and others. Successfully settled the case pleading guilty to one count of personal tax evasion, resulting in $92,000 restitution and NO jail time.
- Tax planner was assessed $200,000 in penalties for recklessly and willfully planning tax returns for third parties. Successfully negotiated with the IRS and settled the case for only $34,000 in penalties.
- Client plead guilty to one count of structuring to evade reporting requirements. Initial recommendation by government would have been 30-37 months in jail plus $225,000 in forfeiture and instead was reduced to $150,000 forfeiture and NO jail time.
- Client was a tax attorney charged with filing false tax returns for his clients and himself. The maximum sentence for Conspiracy to Defraud the Government is 10 years custody. The maximum sentence for the False Tax Return count is 3 years custody. Client was sentenced to 10 months custody and $268,000 restitution for both counts.
- Represented a large home care facility with two locations that missed the deadline to file a petition for redetermination of an EDD Workers Classification audit which could have resulted in a large payroll tax liability. He successfully represented the client before the ALJ so as to uphold the untimely petition.
- Represented a small business owner in an IRS audit where losses were taken over more than a 10 year period with little substantiation available. The client was facing potential fraud charges and a six year audit. However, he successfully limited the audit to a three year audit with no fraud penalties assessed and limited accuracy related penalties.
- Represented renowned and successful entrepreneur in an FTB audit with a potential disallowance of more than a million dollars in losses. Successfully limited the audit to one year with no changes made.
- Convinced the IRS in an audit to respect a management company instead of disallowing it. Saved the taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars in proposed tax liabilities.
- Convinced the IRS in an audit that the taxpayers were active rather than passive in their business entities, and therefore persuaded the IRS that the losses from those business entities were active not passive. Saved the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in proposed tax liabilities.
- Handled a trust fund recovery interview and ensured that only one officer of the corporation was a responsible party in a company which has accrued over $350,000 in payroll taxes. The president of the corporation was not determined to be a responsible party.
- Represented a client in an IRS audit with an exam change of more than $250,000. After taking over the case from the CPA, the IRS refunded the client over $100,000.
- Successfully reduced a Sales Tax Audit Assessment from greater than $130,000 to less than $40,000.
- Successfully settled a final sales tax liability of almost $90,000 for just over $60,000.
- Reduced a client’s IRS liability from $250,000 to $0 by taking advantage of a little-known provision in the Internal Revenue Code and filing an amended return.
- Successfully abated over $30,000 in penalties for a taxpayer who took an improper deduction on an income tax return, which was disallowed in audit.
- Represented a client in a Business Property Tax Audit that resulted in a refund, rather than a tax due.
- Handled an EDD audit with a proposed assessment of greater than $100,000, which resulted in no tax due.
- Client was charged with failure to file FTB returns for 4 years and filing false returns for an LLC for four years. Client was facing up to three years of imprisonment and received just three years of probation and community service.
- Client involved in tax evasion and received no jail time but just three years of probation.
- Appeals, Collections, OIC, & Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program IRS & FTB Issues – Southern California Tax Professionals 2014
- The Daily Transcript Executive Round Table – May 2014
- Careers in Tax Law Panel – California Western School of Law 2014
- Audit Techniques- CSTC CLE 2013
- Tax- USD Tax Panel 2013
- Entrepreneurship Planning Panel- USD 2012
- Tax Topics: Payroll Tax, Criminal Tax, Collection- Continuing Education Presentation for Considine & Considine, Certified Public Accountants 2012
- Careers in Tax- USD Tax Law Society 2011
- Criminal Tax Seminar- MCLE California Society of Enrolled Agents 2011
Areas of practice:
- Civil Tax Controversy and Planning
- Criminal Tax Defense
- Business and Real Estate Transactional Law
- Business Litigation
- Estate Planning
- University of San Diego Board of Visitors
- National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Awards – Board of Governors Treasurer 2014-2016 (Pacific Southwest Chapter)
- American Bar Association, Tax Section
- California Bar Association
- San Diego County Bar Association, Tax Section
- Los Angeles County Bar Association, Tax Section
- Orange County Bar Association, Tax Section
- San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce
- San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association
- Grossmont Hospital Foundation Honorary Chair
- Knights of Columbus 2nd Degree Knight
Admitted to practice before the following courts:
- United States Tax Court
- United States District Court for the Southern District of California
- United States District Court for the Northern District of California
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
- United States District Court for the Central District of California
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Supreme Court of the State of California
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