Philip Karter > Chamberlain Hrdlicka > Philadelphia, United States > Lawyer Profile

Chamberlain Hrdlicka
United States

Work Department




Philip Karter specializes in tax controversy and tax litigation matters.  In his 35-year career, Mr. Karter has litigated Federal tax cases in the United States District Courts, the United States Tax Court and the United States Court of Federal Claims, and argued in the United States Court of Appeals in multiple circuits.  His range of trial experience, which includes dozens of jury and non-jury cases tried to judgment, encompasses a wide variety of complex and high-profile tax matters, a number of which have involved issues of first impression.  Mr. Karter’s deep experience in the tax controversy and litigation process, working both for and against the government, also provides him with valuable insights on how to structure and document transactions to avoid future tax disputes or, if such disputes are inevitable, to position such transactions in the best possible light to successfully withstand IRS scrutiny and challenge.

Representative examples of tax controversy and litigation matters/issues handled by Mr. Karter include:

  • Hostile takeover expenses
  • Basis shifting and other tax reduction transactions
  • Transfer pricing adjustments
  • Worthless stock losses
  • Captive insurance arrangements
  • Income, estate and gift tax valuation issues
  • Tax and tax penalty issues involving cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.)
  • Disguised sales and other partner/partnership recharacterizations
  • Debt-equity swaps and other financial product issues
  • Greenmail payments 
  • Foreign tax credits
  • Rehabilitation tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, and economic development credits 
  • Transition rule tax credits
  • § 162(m) qualified performance-based compensation
  • Unpaid trust fund taxes under § 6672 (Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (“TFRP”))
  • Treatment as employee or independent contractor
  • § 7805(b) retroactivity of regulations and disparate treatment
  • §183 hobby losses
  • Timber depletion
  • Coal excise taxes
  • Mitigation of limitations (§§ 1311 – 1314)
  • Res judicata and collateral estoppel
  • Interest recomputations and netting
  • IDR responses and document productions
  • IRS summons enforcement proceedings
  • Tax penalty issues

Mr. Karter has handled countless other tax controversy matters for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, joint ventures and individuals that were resolved with the IRS at the examination level, administrative appeals or through alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  In addition to representing taxpayers in all phases of tax audits, appeals and litigation, he represents individual taxpayers in the following areas:

  • Requests for Audit Reconsideration
  • Offers in compromise
  • Installment payment agreements
  • Tax lien and levy releases
  • Tax lien subordination
  • Collection Due Process (CDP) proceedings, appeals and Tax Court litigation
  • Wrongful levy claims
  • Failure to honor levy actions
  • Erroneous refund actions
  • Innocent spouse relief and equitable relief under § 6015(f)
  • Foreign financial account reporting requirements, including OVDP submissions
  • Domestic voluntary disclosures
  • Eggshell audits
  • Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) submissions 

Prior to joining Chamberlain Hrdlicka in 2007, Mr. Karter was a partner at Miller & Chevalier and formerly served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division, where he was honored with the Department’s Outstanding Attorney Award.  

Mr. Karter also is one of a select number of attorneys recognized as a national authority in tax controversy and litigation by Chambers USA and the US Legal 500 Litigation and Tax Guides and is the only federal tax controversy attorney based in Pennsylvania to receive national recognition from the prestigious Chambers ranking publication

Chambers USA 2016 Quote

Chambers also has ranked Chamberlain Hrdlicka as one of the top tax controversy law firms in the United States for the 10th consecutive year, which coincides with Mr. Karter’s joining the firm.  He is also perennially named in the Best Lawyers in America®, one of the legal profession’s oldest and most respected peer-review publications, and recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” in Tax Litigation and Controversy for Philadelphia in the 2019 edition.  The lawyer rating service Avvo also assigns Mr. Karter a 10, it’s highest ranking.

Mr .Karter has spoken on a variety of tax issues before the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation, the Tax Executives Institute, the Federal Bar Association, the New York University School of Law, the Georgetown University Law Center, The Southern Federal Tax Institute, the Palm Beach Tax Institute, and various state bar and professional associations.  He is currently a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Tax Counsel.

In addition to his long career in tax controversy and litigation, Mr. Karter has worked for many years on numerous tax planning matters, with a particular emphasis on real estate investment partnerships.  He presently works with real estate developers and investors in Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) projects authorized by new Internal Revenue Code §1400Z. Mr. Karter also maintains an active practice assisting companies establish both § 831(a) and § 831(b) captive insurance arrangements. 


Emory University, B.A. 1979

University of Wisconsin School of Law, J.D., 1982

New York University School of Law, LL.M. (Taxation), 1984

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Tax > US taxes: contentious

Chamberlain Hrdlicka represents Fortune 100 corporations, multinationals, and high-net-worth individuals on federal and state litigation and criminal tax defense. The team also covers IRS litigation, audits, and appeals before Federal Circuit Courts and the Supreme Court. Houston-based co-chair Lawrence Sherlock specializes in negotiating and litigating federal tax disputes. He works alongside tax controversy co-chair Juan F. Vasquez, Jr. and Larry Campagna, a highly regarded tax defense expert. San Antonio-based federal and SALT controversy specialist Jamie Vasquez is also noted. In Atlanta, David Aughtry is noted for both criminal and civil tax controversy and litigation, and Hale Sheppard focuses on conservation easement and captive insure matters, while in Philadelphia tax litigation specialist Philip Karter covers high-profile matters including federal income tax, excise tax, and estate and gift tax. Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas Eva Guzman joined in August 2021, practicing out of Houston and San Antonio, and is particularly strong in SALT litigation.