From Our Video Series
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, KY, J.D., 1984
Boston University School of Law, LL.M. in Taxation, 1990
Centre College, Danville, KY, B.S. Economics, 1980 Cum Laude
My main practice area is taxation and it encompasses the full spectrum of that area: income taxation, sales and use tax, real property taxation, payroll/employment tax matters including civil penalties, and estate and gift taxation. Within the taxation area, I handle a lot of controversy work such as audit/examination work with the Internal Revenue Service, with Departments of Revenue with the various states, and with local taxation authorities.
I also litigate tax matters — before the US Tax Court, the Kentucky Claims Commission (formerly the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals), and local boards of assessment appeals. On limited occasions, I work on collection matters.
One of my primary incentives for joining McBrayer was to work with its attorneys who practice criminal law and thereby expand my criminal tax and white-collar crime practice. I am highly conversant with the tax laws, and I like McBrayer’s extensive federal courts practice and experience. Moreover, my prior experience working for two Lexington CPA firms allows to me understand fully (and recreate, if necessary) financial statements without adding an accounting professional — thus generating speed and efficiency for the client.
My secondary area of focus is corporate formation/organization and re-organization work with small businesses. This focus necessarily requires a thorough understanding of these businesses’ tax status and structure.
I am a former attorney manager with the Division of Legal Services of the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet where I litigated from 1991 through 1998. Subsequently, I headed the Tax Department of the Lexington office of a large CPA firm.
I have extensive business and legal experience with the following business areas: equine, real estate development, condominium associations, manufacturing, auto dealerships, cigarette distribution, timberland valuation, and personal estate planning. I have litigated issues from real property valuation to the computation of penalties to innocent spouse protection.
Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center:
- Board member from 1996 through 2004
Lexington Fayette County Parking Authority
- Board member, 2006 - present
- President, 2006 - 2012
Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal)
- Vestry (Board of Directors), 2006 through 2008
- Numerous service committees, 1992 through present
Episcopal Diocese of Lexington
- Parish Assessment (to fund Diocese) Special Committee, 2000 & 2009
- Camps and Conference Committee, 2012 - 2014
- Audit Committee, 2010 - 2015
- Assistant to the Chancellor (Diocese’s attorney), 2014 - present
- Kenton L. Ball - Attorney Biography
Because a client can easily quantify most tax problems in monetary terms (“how can I pay this tax bill”), I too must approach a legal issue in monetary terms: how much time will it take me to resolve this legal (tax) problem, and my fee must be less than (hopefully considerably, less than) the tax assessment; otherwise, the client is better off—financially—simply paying the tax bill.
The part I like most about such work is taking documents that are almost always “less than perfect” and re-configuring them, re-presenting them in such a way that the client’s financial records appear cohesive, pulled-together, and therefore credible. More often than not, the more well-organized, the more polished a client’s records are presented, the more likely an auditor will accept the documents—as presented—without further questions. Presentation is everything—everything must be lock-step order.
Interestingly in this age of focusing on high tech, often times, low technology such as colored dividers, Bates-stamped documents (for large volume presentations), separate binders, and overall good organization make it easy for the auditor to review the client’s (taxpayer’s) documents without questions.
With most tax controversy work, as the taxpayer’s representative, I frequently do not see or meet the examiner or auditor; most communications are in writing or at most by telephone. Thus, my ability to convey legal concepts and the character of facts and circumstances in written form is my most effective communication. To a lesser degree, my ability to engage an auditor over the telephone and persuade that individual—often many states away—to accept the client’s presentation of financial records significantly impacts the extent and speed of the client’s resolution.
When a client engages me to handle a tax problem, I treat the client’s problem as if it were my problem—I handle the client’s tax problem as I would handle my own tax problem.