Leila Carney is a seasoned tax lawyer with a focus on resolving disputes with the IRS. 

Ms. Carney's core practice involves providing a surgical defense to IRS audits, assessments, and penalties, including litigation in the U.S. Tax Court, Federal District Court, and D.C. Circuit Court against the IRS and the Department of Justice.  She is adept at handling multifaceted issues involving global business and investing structures for individuals, corporate clients, and complex trusts. Ms. Carney has handled sensitive IRS exams, administrative appeals, criminal matters, voluntary disclosures, and submitted ruling requests and comment letters on proposed regulations.

Ms. Carney has practiced in the Tax Disputes & Tax Litigation Group since she first joined Caplin & Drysdale’s Washington D.C. office in 2004. She also provides her tax, litigation, and federal law expertise to the Complex Litigation, Criminal Tax & White Collar Defense, Private Client, and Political Law Practices.


Ms. Carney has zealously:

  • litigated cases involving foreign-source income, captive insurance, conservation easements, and IRS third-party summons;
  • defended Puerto Rico residency and sourcing in IRS campaign audits;
  • navigated the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation large tax refund review process;
  • defended a gift tax return examination involving a high net worth trust structure;
  • sought full abatement of civil penalties related to foreign trust reporting, return preparer penalties, and appraiser penalties;
  • sought a full allowance of large deductions in IRS “hobby loss” and “cost segregation” examinations, and a refund of Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT);

  • coordinated reinstatement of an inadvertent S-corp termination; and
  • sought “9100” relief for missed “check the box” elections;
  • advised on presidential ballot access law and procedure.

Ms. Carney has represented clients in sensitive audits with a risk of allegations of tax fraud or securities fraud. She has also assisted clients in responding to subpoenas for civil and criminal proceedings, as well as clients who are themselves under investigation.

Ms. Carney has protested civil penalties including those specific to foreign bank accounts, trusts, gifts, prepares, promoters, and appraisers. She has represented clients on collection matters such as offers-in-compromise, lien releases, installment agreements, and innocent spouse petitions. Ms. Carney has assisted with state tax aspects, such as California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) exams, resolution programs, and collection activities. She is also experienced in obtaining and defending tax-exempt status for public and private charities, as well as trade associations.

Additionally, Ms. Carney has advised clients on creating business practices that are in compliance with changing regulatory regimes, including those governing taxpayer consent to disclosure of tax return information, foreign bank account reporting (FBAR), and nonqualified deferred compensation plans. She has assisted clients in submitting comments on proposed regulations.

Admissions & Education

Bar & Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2004

B.A., The College of William & Mary, 2001

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Other Professional Affiliations

Member, American Bar Association, Section of Taxation

Member, District of Columbia Bar

Newsroom & Publications

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