Michael Sardar has extensive experience on a wide range of tax controversy and white collar criminal defense matters. Mr. Sardar represents clients in all stages of civil and criminal tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state tax authorities, the Department of Justice, and local prosecutors.
Mr. Sardar also represents and advises taxpayers facing audits and investigations of noncompliance with the IRS’ foreign bank and asset reporting requirements, utilizing his skill, creative thinking, and deep knowledge of the law in this area. In addition, Mr. Sardar has a great deal of experience representing corporate and individual taxpayers making voluntary disclosures of unreported income to the IRS and state tax authorities. He has also represented scores of clients with unreported foreign assets, enabling the repatriation of over half a billion dollars of offshore assets through the IRS' Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and the Streamlined Compliance Procedures.
Mr. Sardar represents clients in criminal tax investigations, in various white collar criminal matters, and in connection with internal investigations regarding corporate and entity noncompliance. Mr. Sardar also represents taxpayers in New York State and City residency audits and investigations, including those before the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
Mr. Sardar joined Kostelanetz & Fink in 2009, and was named partner in January 2019. Prior to joining Kostelanetz & Fink, Mr. Sardar was an attorney with Heller Ehrman LLP, where his practice was focused on transactional tax matters. Mr. Sardar has also advised many nonprofit organizations on federal and state tax issues including general tax exemption and Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).
Mr. Sardar is Co-Chair of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) Section on Taxation, New York Chapter. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Subcommittee on Offshore Enforcement of the ABA Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties. He is a former Vice-Chair of the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) Taxation Committee. Mr. Sardar lectures and writes frequently on tax controversy topics, including foreign asset reporting and non-compliance.
Mr. Sardar graduated summa cum laude from Baruch College in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and received his law degree from Cornell University Law School in 2007.
- Mr. Sardar represented a client at sentencing in connection with a wire fraud charge, and secured a non-jail sentence for the client, who was facing 33-41 months imprisonment under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
- Mr. Sardar convinced the New York County District Attorney's Office to abandon a criminal investigation of his client and successfully resolved the case in a civil manner.
- Mr. Sardar successfully represented an alleged "responsible officer" taxpayer who was assessed large penalties for unpaid withholding tax. The entire assessment was canceled, despite the fact that all of the taxpayer's statutory and regulatory remedies were time-barred.
- Mr. Sardar represented a wife in innocent spouse proceedings before the IRS and NYS. She was deemed an innocent spouse as to all taxes previously assessed.
- Mr. Sardar secured credit for $3 million in taxes withheld on taxpayer's foreign account, a demand the IRS had previously denied.
- Mr. Sardar successfully sought the return of cash seized from his client by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
- Mr. Sardar successfully represented taxpayers in connection with a criminal referral to the Criminal Investigation Division (CI) of the IRS, and resolved the matter civilly with no significant penalties against the taxpayers.
- Mr. Sardar represented a taxpayer in connection with an IRS criminal investigation, which had been initiated by a whistle blower who was cooperating with the IRS. Mr. Sardar convinced the IRS Criminal Investigation Division to terminate the investigation with no charges against his client.
- Mr. Sardar secured a favorable non-jail sentence for a client facing federal criminal charges relating to undeclared foreign bank accounts.
- Mr. Sardar successfully represented an attorney who was under criminal investigation by the IRS for under-reporting his practice’s income and resolved the matter civilly.