Jeremy Fingeret is a partner based out of the firm’s Houston, Texas office. He is an experienced litigation attorney, having handled cases in multiple state and federal courts including Federal District Courts, The Court of Federal Claims, The United States Tax Court and Circuit Courts of Appeals. Jeremy has also represented clients before numerous State and Federal administrative bodies including the Internal Revenue Service. Jeremy has experience in a broad range of tax matters including R&D tax credits, whistleblower cases, reasonable compensation, transfer pricing, and employee classification, just to name a few. Jeremy practiced law at a prominent litigation law firm before founding Zerbe, Fingeret, Frank & Jadav, P.C.
Specialists in Tax Litigation
Jeremy M. Fingeret
- B.A., University of Florida
- J.D., University of Houston Law Center
- Tax controversy in all federal, state and local jurisdictions
Memberships & Affiliations
- Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas
- Licensed in several federal jurisdictions including:
- U.S. Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- U.S. Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas
- U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- United States Tax Court
- United States Federal Court of Claims; and
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Audio Technica, Inc. vs. U.S., Docket No. 19-3469 (6th Cir. 2020). Audio Technica (AT) is a designer of high-end electronics equipment, including microphone. AT designed and developed microphones for the NFL (boom mics), Congress (gooseneck mics), the Winter Olympics (mics buried in snow) and professional singers (studio mics). The IRS challenged AT’s R&D tax credits. This was the first ever jury trial for an R&D tax credit. The jury found that AT conducted qualified research in all years and had QREs in all years. After the Court found that AT substantially prevailed at trial, the government appealed to the 6th Circuit. Mr. Fingeret assisted in coordinating trial strategy at the District Court level and argued the case before the 6th Circuit.
Populous Holdings, Inc. v. Comm’r, Docket No. 21079-18 (U.S. Tax Court 2020). Populous Holdings, Inc. (formerly known as HOK Sport) is an architecture firm that specializes in stadiums and event spaces. Populous claimed the R&D tax credit based upon their work. The IRS challenged the credits claiming that the Funded Research exclusion prevented Populous from taking the credit. Populous filed a Motion for Summary Judgment showing that their projects were not Funded Research as defined under the Code. In its finding in favor of Populous, the Court dismissed many common IRS arguments wherein they claim research is Funded. As counsel of record for Populous, Mr. Fingeret oversaw the litigation strategy, drafting of the Summary Judgment motion and case arguments.
Tell City Boatworks, Inc. vs. Indiana Department of State Revenue, Case No. 18T-TA-00004 (Indiana Tax Court). Tell City Boatworks (TCBW) designs and develops river barges on the Ohio River in southern Indiana. TCBW claimed the R&D tax credit for the work they performed. This case was called to trial in November 2019 and was the first ever R&D tax credit case tried before the Indiana Tax Court. Mr. Fingeret served as lead counsel arguing the case before the Court.
Leon Max vs. Comm’r, Docket No. 20237-16 (U.S. Tax Court). Leon Max is a fashion designer and owner of Leon Max, Inc. (LMI) – a Pasadena, California based apparel company. LMI designs and develops women’s apparel ranging from high-end dresses to sold under the Leon Max label to less expensive garments sold at retail store like Marshalls. The week-long trial for this case began in September 2019 before the U.S. Tax Court. This is the first apparel company to try an R&D tax credit case before the United States Tax Court. Mr. Fingeret served as trial counsel.
Little Sandy Coal Company, Inc. v. Comm’r, Docket No. 17431-17 (U.S. Tax Court). Little Sandy Coal Company, Inc. is the parent company for the Corn Island Shipyard (CIS). CIS designs, develops and builds inland barges on the Ohio River. CIS claimed substantial R&D tax credits for their work including supply costs for the first-in-class vessels constructed. The CIS case came to trial before the U.S. Tax Court in April 2019. Mr. Fingeret served as lead counsel for company.
W.P. Realty, LP, et al vs. Comm’r, Docket No. 27213-16 (U.S. Tax Court 2019). W.P. Realty, LP owns and operates the Whispering Pines Golf Course in Trinity, Texas. Whispering Pines is the number 1 ranked golf course in the State of Texas and hosts the Big 12 Championship, Spirit Golf Association and other events annually. The IRS disallowed over $14 million in losses flowing from W.P. Realty – claiming they were hobby losses not associated with a business – and assessed the tax for such against the shareholders. Mr. Fingeret tried the case before the U.S. Tax Court in October 2018. The Court ruled in favor of the taxpayer sustaining all of the deductions.
Shami v. Comm’r, 741 F.3d 560 (5th Cir. 2014). Following the trial before the U.S. Tax Court (below), this case was appealed to the 5th Circuit. In a split opinion, the Court sustained the Tax Court’s removal of two (2) employees wages from the credit, but allocated supply costs to the R&D tax credits in question. Mr. Fingeret argued the case before the 5th Circuit.
Suder v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo 2014-201 (2014). Eric Suder was the primary shareholder for Estech Systems, Inc. (ESI). ESI designs and develops Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems for small to mid-sized companies. The company claimed the R&D tax credit for the work they performed on these systems including call processing software, firmware, circuit boards, handsets, motherboards, other component parts to phone systems and entire integrated systems. This case was tried before the United States Tax Court in Dallas, Texas in July 2013. The resulting opinion is heralded as a huge victory for taxpayers claiming the R&D tax credit wherein the Court opined on many issues contested with regard to the tax credit. Mr. Fingeret was lead counsel before the Court.
U.S. v. Davenport, 897 F.Supp.2d 496 (N.D.TX. 2012). The Davenports are the shareholders for the Burly Corporation. The Burly Corporation sells fencing and other products in northern Texas. Burly claimed an R&D tax credit for certain software being integrated into the operations of their business. This R&D tax credit case centered around the intricacies of the Internal Use Software (IUS) rules. The case was decided on summary judgment before the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas and helped to shed much needed light on the complex area of IUS within the R&D tax credit. Mr. Fingeret was counsel of record on this case.
Shami v. Comm’r, TC Memo 2012-78 (2012). Farouk Systems, Inc. (FSI) designs and develops hair dyes, shampoos, conditions, and other hair care products for the commercial market. FSI claimed the R&D tax credit and challenged the IRS before the U.S. Tax Court. During their R&D tax credit case, the IRS conceded that every one of the hundreds of R&D projects claimed towards the credit qualified, that over 400 individual employees participating in the development work qualified and that claimed supplies qualified. The Court found for the IRS with regard to the allocated wages of two (2) employees and found in favor of the taxpayer on all other matters. Mr. Fingeret served as lead counsel during the trial before the U.S. Tax Court.
Thomas and Karen Leonardino vs. California FTB, Case ID. No. 449478 (CA Board of Equalization 2009). Thomas and Karen Leonardino are the owners and shareholders for the Whitehall Lane Winery (WLW) in Napa Valley, California. WLW grows grapes and produces high-end wines in Napa Valley. The company conducted a significant amount of R&D in different areas of their business including bottle closures, farming and agriculture and wine production. Mr. Fingeret argued the case before the California Board of Equalization. U.S. v. McFerrin, 570 F.3d 672 (5th Cir. 2009). Artie and Dorothy McFerrin are the primary shareholders for three (3) entities: KMCO, Inc.; KMTEX, Inc. and South Coast Terminals, Inc. The companies claimed R&D tax credits based upon their work creating custom chemicals for their petrochemical industry clients. After losing their case before the Federal District Court, the taxpayers hired ZMF attorneys to appeal their case to the 5th Circuit. The McFerrin opinion is a landmark decision confirming a taxpayer’s right to use testimony, estimates and even institutional knowledge to support the R&D tax credit. It also sounded the death knell on the old restrictive “discovery rule” which limited the breadth and scope of a taxpayer’s R&D tax credit claims. Mr. Fingeret served as lead counsel and argued the case to the 5th Circuit.