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True Tax Experts

Michael Dallo, a Tax Attorney, Certified Public Accountant, Master of Tax, Certified Tax Specialist, Tax Professor, and Founder of Dallo Law Group, Provides Unequalled Expertise to Individuals, Businesses, and Corporations Facing Tax Trouble

"I’ve seen how powerful the IRS can be, especially against people that are unrepresented, and it’s important that someone like me level the playing field. That’s what I’ve dedicated my life to doing,” says Michael Dallo, founder of Dallo Law Group, APC.
Indeed, Dallo’s tax education, experience, and extra-mile efforts serve as testament to the fact that he has truly devoted his life’s work to becoming a bona fide tax expert. In addition, he says natural strengths have served him well, and now serve his clients incredibly well. “I have always been good at the two things that (to me) make a good attorney—conviction and numbers.”

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Early Emphasis on Education and Experience
As the son of an immigrant, Dallo says that his father Mike Dallo’s work ethic instilled in him both an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep respect for business owners, and how hard they work to create legacies for their families. “My dad is a businessman, who came to this country with nothing, and built a chain of grocery stores, so I grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit. He inspired me to take risks in my life,” Dallo explains.
Initially, however, Dallo planned to forge a career as a CPA, given that numbers have always come naturally to him. As such, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Diego with both a Bachelor of Accounting and a Bachelor of Business Administration, all the while learning to speak Spanish, Arabic and Chaldean-Aramaic fluently, in part thanks to multiple studyabroad programs.
After completing his undergraduate work, and earning his CPA, Dallo immediately went to work, beginning in the tax department of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, a multi-national Fortune 500 Company. He would also cut his teeth in accounting working in the Tax Department of Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Paris, with further experience garnered working for the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
By 2006, Dallo had also opened a small tax preparation business, which he would run on the weekends in order to help San Diego taxpayers file income tax returns. Yet, he found the work restrictive in that he was unable to advocate for clients who reached out to him for help with IRS audit notices. “I felt trapped because these audit notices were so devastating to them, and I did not have the tools to help them. I decided then to become a tax attorney so that I could start a tax resolution firm and help my clients from start to finish,” he recalls.
By 2011, Dallo was well on his way to adding the J.D. initials to his signature. A top student at the University of San Diego School of Law, Dallo was eager to start his career as a tax attorney, when a horrible catastrophe befell his family. “While I was finishing my last year of law school, I tragically and unexpectedly lost my brother, Branden Dallo in a car accident. During the lowest and most difficult point of my life, my passion for tax and the law was my driving force in helping me to not only finish school, but to graduate at the top of my class, magna cum laude and order of the coif. My brother always believed in me, and he was and continues to be a driving force in my conviction, passion, and hard work,” Dallo says.
Likewise, Dallo says several others played a vital role in keeping him focused, driven, and inspired, as he continued to chase his dream of being able to help others face off against the IRS and the State of California’s Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department and the Board of Equalization. He counts Richard Carpenter, Professor at USD, Judge Laro, US Tax Court Judge, and his brother-in-law Ronson Shamoun as mentors, who championed his efforts to stay the course even during the difficult times.
Yet even after earning his J.D. in addition to his CPA, Dallo still wasn’t done putting in the hard work to become a true expert. By 2012, he’d once again earned another degree, via earning his Masters of Law in Taxation (LL.M.) from New York University School of Law, the top tax law program in the nation. After years of gaining valuable experience and a premium education, the only thing left for Dallo to do was dive into his new career as a tax resolution attorney. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to do just that in 2012.

From left to right, Associate Attorney Coby Shirazi, Founder and CEO Michael Dallo, and Senior Associate Attorney Samuel Lemon. Not pictured: Associate Attorney Kevin Waldron.

Boutique Tax Resolution Firm is Born
“I knew that by opening up my own firm, I could create my own vision for the firm and be creative and flexible in advocating for my clients. I am an out-of-the-box thinker, and I knew that I needed to have the power to problem solve creatively, in my own way. I knew I wanted to be able to take any client that I wanted. I didn’t want to be forced to turn away clients due to things like billable hours. My motto has always been that no client is too small or too large for our firm to help,” Dallo says. Indeed, Dallo has insisted upon keeping his rates affordable, even as his star has continued to rise in the Southern California legal community.
“Our clients include anyone with any type of current or potential tax problem, whether they are an individual, small business, or corporation. We represent people before the Internal Revenue Service, the Franchise Tax Board, the Employment Development Department, and the Board of Equalization. Our services include assisting taxpayers with ongoing tax disputes (such as tax audits, tax appeals, and tax court litigation), negotiating tax settlement and payments plans, and help with international tax matters (such as offshore voluntary disclosure and foreign asset reporting).”
Every client who meets with Dallo can expect to leave the meeting with peace of mind, regardless of the type of tax problems the client may be facing. “In staying true to my motto of providing peace of mind, I will never make a guarantee or promise a specific result to my clients,” Dallo says. “If I don’t believe I can find a resolution for my client, or if there is not a common ground on expectations, I will explain why. I have an obligation to tell my clients what they need to hear, even if it’s not always what they want to hear.”
Continuing he adds, “Unfortunately I work in a field that is rampant with abuse. Many national ‘tax resolution companies’ that advertise on the TV or radio are not tax attorneys, and they make false promises, giving clients a false sense of security, unrealistic expectations and overall make matters worse for people who are already having a terrible time.”
“I can’t stress enough the importance of having a CPAattorney do this work. Having the administrative background in IRS procedure and the financial literacy to understand how a tax return works is invaluable. This combination not only allows us to navigate through the return or audit efficiently and effectively, but we also have the necessary tools to advocate and defend a tax position. Accounting is the language of tax returns and law is the language of negotiation. Both are necessary to help clients facing these uphill battles. At Dallo Law Group, instead of making promises and guarantees, our clients can regain their peace of mind by entrusting in our expertise and the clear path that we lay out, which includes explaining thoughts on the case, reasonable expectations, and our strategy for resolution,” Dallo says.
With offices in both Downtown San Diego and Del Mar, the attorneys Dallo has invited to join him at Dallo Law Group all share his same work ethic, enthusiasm, and dedication to being as educated as possible, so as to best help others through tax problems. Therefore, all four attorneys at Dallo Law Group hold LL.M. (Masters of Laws in Taxation) degrees, and bring significant experience and expertise to the firm. Like Dallo, Senior Associate Attorney Samuel Lemon, J.D., LL.M is also a CPA, who went on to earn his J.D. from University of San Diego School of Law, where he received the prestigious “CALI” award for the best written paper in Comparative Constitutional Law, along with the “Best Advocate” award for the school’s mock trial competition. Lemon also worked as a CPA and tax preparer for seven years before attending law school, working for a national tax firm and then for Intuit.
Associate Coby Shirazi, J.D., LL.M, is also a USD School of Law alum, and spent time at the USD Federal Income Tax Clinic assisting low-income clients on a variety of tax matters. Shirazi is also fluent in Farsi, bringing the total number of languages the attorneys at Dallo Law Group speak fluently, to five.
Kevin Waldron, J.D., LL.M is also an associate at Dallo Law Group who earned his Juris Doctor and Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of San Diego School of Law. While at USD Law, Waldron helped low-income taxpayers with their tax issues at the USD State Income Tax Clinic and VITA, for which he received the Alec L. Cory Pro Bono Scholar award.
Together, the attorneys at Dallo Law Group work tirelessly to help those who are often blindsided by actions taken by the IRS. For example, Dallo recalls representing a client who was stunned to receive a bill from the IRS for hundreds of thousands of dollars, after the IRS had—unbeknownst to them—audited their small business and disallowed all deductions. “This liability would have wiped them out and ruined their lives. My clients had endured many life and business difficulties during those years, and were forced to close their business. It was difficult to recreate the pieces to fight the IRS,” Dallo concedes.
Fortunately, Dallo and his team prevailed. “During the course of our representation, we used our CPA skills to substantiate the tax despite a lack of accounting records. Then we used our skills as attorneys to defend and advocate for our client. In the end, we convinced the IRS to abate all the tax, remove all penalties, and were even able to get a refund back to our clients,” Dallo says.
Other similar examples make his work immensely rewarding, according to Dallo. “In the winter of 2014, we represented a small business. A tough economy had caused them to fall behind on payroll taxes. During the week of Christmas, a revenue officer assigned to the case levied the bank account of the taxpayer and liquidated all of the cash of the business. As a result, our client was unable to pay their hard-working employees, who through no fault of their own, were victimized by this action. Although we had a very uphill battle, we could not allow the innocent employees to not have money for Christmas. We worked countless hours, all through Christmas Eve to convince the IRS to release the levy. We succeeded, and the IRS released all funds, thus saving Christmas for many employees,” Dallo says with a smile.

A proud family at Dallo Law Group. Pictured center is Michael’s daughter Celeste and loving wife Cortney Dallo, whom he credits as the biggest inspiration behind his hard work and dedication.

Ongoing Evolution of Expertise
Even armed with superior training, education, and experience, Dallo continues to relentlessly pursue all opportunities for additional education. In doing so, he recently earned his Certified Tax Specialist in Tax Law designation from the State Bar of California Board of Legalization—making him one of the rare tax attorneys in San Diego to hold this specialization. He’s also dedicated himself to helping to educate the next generation of tax professionals through his work as an adjunct Professor of Taxation in the Masters of Tax program at the University of San Diego.
Not surprisingly, with such a strong leader, and an equally driven team of attorneys sharing a unified mission of helping others, the legal community and the local community has recognized Dallo and Dallo Law Group many times. For instance, Dallo was named a Top Young Attorney by the San Diego Daily Transcript in 2013. In addition, he received the General Counsel Award from the San Diego Business Journal in 2015, for his work as General Counsel to Dallo & Co., Inc., the grocery store conglomerate his father founded years ago. In 2016, Dallo was also awarded the AVPreeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell and became one of the San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 Most Admired CEOs. As a firm, Dallo Law Group has also earned the distinction of being named a Best Tax Law Firm by the San Diego Union Tribune for the past three consecutive years. Likewise, in 2015 and 2016 Dallo Law Group was also named a “Best of the Bar” firm by the San Diego Business Journal.
Today, just five years after officially opening the doors of Dallo Law Group, the expertise of Dallo and his team has already made them a powerhouse tax resolution firm. As they look towards the future, their dedication to providing tax resolution expertise to Southern Californians is only gaining momentum, according to Dallo.
For his part, Dallo relentlessly pursues all opportunities for additional education, and in doing so recently earned his Certified Tax Specialist in Tax Law designation from the State Bar of California Board of Legalization—making him one of the rare tax attorneys in San Diego to hold this specialization. He’s also dedicated himself to helping to educate the next generation of tax attorneys through his work as an adjunct Professor of Taxation in the Masters of Tax program at the University of San Diego.
In the coming years, Dallo plans to expand the firm’s reach through opening offices in Orange County and Los Angeles. “We will strive to maintain a boutique firm feel, while being able to serve more people throughout Southern California. Each office will retain the small firm feel, and provide the personal attention to detail that we’re known for in San Diego,” Dallo says.

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» EDUCATION

  • New York University School of Law, LL.M. Taxation –2012
  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., Magna Cum Laude, Order of the Coif – 2011
  • University of San Diego, Bachelor of Accountancy, Magna Cum Laude – 2006
  • University of San Diego, Bachelor of Business Administration, Emphasis in Finance, Magna Cum Laude – 2006

» AWARDS

  • AV Preeminent Martindale Hubbell Rating, 2016-2017
  • San Diego's Top CFO Award – San Diego Business Journal, 2017
  • Most Admired CEO – San Diego Business Journal, 2016
  • Best of the Bar – San Diego Business Journal, 2015-2016
  • Best Tax Law Firm – Union Tribune, 2014-2016
  • General Counsel Award – San Diego Business Journal, 2015
  • Top Young Attorney – San Diego Daily Transcript, 2013
  • Order of the Coif, 2011
  • Ralph Gano Miller Award for Highest Excellence in Taxation, 2011

» RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

  • San Diego County Bar Association, Taxation of Start-up Companies – 2016
  • USD – RJS LAW Tax Controversy Institute, Navigating Through the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty – 2016
  • University of San Diego – Young Tax Lawyers: Tax Aspects of Obamacare – 2014
  • Endorsed by Carl DeMaio and La'Dona Harvey of AM 600 KOGO.

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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About the Author: Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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