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Practice Areas

Education

  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 2002
  • B.A., The University of Chicago, 1993

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Other Professional Affiliations

Member, American Bar Association, Sections of Taxation, Litigation, and Criminal Justice

Member, Federal Bar Association, Section on Taxation

Member, District of Columbia Bar, Section of Taxation

Co-Chair, Enforcement and Criminal Tax, Federal Bar Association, 41st Annual Tax Law Conference

Government Experience

Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, Attorney General's Honors Program, 2003-2007

Judicial Clerk, Honorable Frank E. Schwelb, District of Columbia Court of Appeals, 2002-2003

Matthew C. Hicks

Member, Washington, D.C.
(202) 862-7852
mhicks@capdale.com | v-card | PDF

Matthew C. Hicks is a Member of Caplin & Drysdale. He joined the firm’s Washington, D.C., office in 2007.

Services

A strong advocate for the best interests of his clients, Mr. Hicks represents businesses, financial professionals, and high-net-worth individuals in all types of civil and criminal federal tax disputes. This includes IRS audits and administrative appeals, criminal investigations, negotiations with the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and litigation in federal district courts, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Tax Court. Representative matters include:

International Civil and Criminal Tax Enforcement

  • Reduced $48 million miscellaneous offshore penalty to $200,000 in opt-out from IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.
  • Helped secure non-prosecution agreements for several Swiss banks after conducting multi-year internal investigations and negotiating with the DOJ in its Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks.

  • Obtained sentence of no incarceration for individual convicted of a Klein conspiracy under 18 USC § 371 and making a false statement to the government under 18 USC § 1001.

  • Prevented all adverse action against Swiss relationship manager with U.S. tax obligations who had failed to report income on undeclared foreign accounts, had filed incomplete FBARs, and was identified by Swiss bank to the DOJ as having U.S. clients who were not tax compliant.

  • Procured government’s withdrawal of summonses issued on behalf of France for bank records of non-U.S. person in three related federal district court proceedings to quash under IRC § 7609(b)(2).

  • Assisted Swiss relationship manager in avoiding all adverse action during criminal investigation of employer that ultimately signed non-prosecution agreement with the DOJ.

  • Obtained dismissal of summons enforcement suit under IRC § 7604(b) for foreign bank records.

  • Advised high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals with unreported foreign accounts, entities, and income how best to come into compliance, including by solely complying prospectively; by filing delinquent or amended returns; or by participating in the IRS’s 2009 OVDP, 2011 OVDI, 2012 OVDP, 2014 OVDP modification, Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures, Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures, or Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures.

Domestic Civil and Criminal Tax Enforcement

  • Preserved like-kind exchange of Gulfstream III for Gulfstream IV under IRC § 1031 in U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
  • Defended alleged promoter of 90% stock loans in injunction suit in federal district court, in consolidated deficiency actions in U.S. Tax Court, and in refund suit in federal district court contesting penalties under IRC § 6700.

  • Obtained dismissal of suit under IRC § 7604(b) to enforce summons for records related to another program allegedly similar to 90% stock loans.

  • Defended tax return preparer in injunction suit under IRC §§ 7407 and 7408 for allegedly helping taxpayers claim fraudulent theft-loss deductions under IRC § 165 in violation of IRC §§ 6700 and 6701.

  • Succeeded in showing IRS, in response to summons in IRC § 6700 exam, that business and owner were not promoters of abusive tax shelter.

  • Obtained sentence of one year and a day for client convicted under IRC § 7202 where potential prison time was 41-51 months and client owed IRS over $2 million in withheld employment taxes.

  • Succeeded in keeping many eggshell audits—civil audits where IRS is unaware of underlying criminal issues—from turning into criminal investigations.

Government Experience

Before joining Caplin & Drysdale, Mr. Hicks was a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division. While there, he litigated tax refund actions, summons enforcement proceedings, jeopardy assessment challenges, erroneous refund suits, lien and levy disputes, and bankruptcy claims in federal district courts, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and bankruptcy courts. Significant representations include:

  • Xcel Energy Inc. v. United States, No. 0:04-cv-1449 (D. Minn. dismissed Sept. 24, 2007). Received Mitchell Rogovin National Outstanding Support to Office of Chief Counsel Award from IRS and Special Act or Service Award from Department of Justice Tax Division for contributions to trial preparation and ultimate settlement of what was to be the first jury trial of a corporate-owned life insurance (COLI) case.
  • Jade Trading v. United States, 80 Fed. Cl. 11 (2007). Received Special Act or Service Award from Department of Justice Tax Division for contributions to three-week bench trial of first Son of BOSS tax shelter case, part of a multi-year litigation that eventually resulted in judgment for the government and the perjury conviction of a witness who lied in Mr. Hicks' deposition of him.

  • Settipane v. United States, 352 F. Supp. 2d 27 (D. Mass. 2004) (illegal bookmaking proceeds) and Varjabedian v. United States, 339 F. Supp. 2d 140 (D. Mass. 2004) (unreported cigarette sales). Jeopardy assessment trials resulting in judgment for the government and followed by indictment of both taxpayers. 

  • In re: Vision Service Plan Tax Litigation, No. 2:07-md-1829 (S.D. Ohio June 22, 2010). Lead counsel in multidistrict litigation for refund of taxes where plaintiffs claimed tax-exemption as social-welfare organizations under IRC § 501(c)(4).

Awards & Rankings

  • Super Lawyers, Washington, D.C., 2014-Present
  • The Legal 500, Recommended, 2013
  • The American Lawyer's Global Legal Award, Global Dispute of the Year: Investigations, Swiss Tax Settlements, 2015
  • The Washington Post, Among the Top Attorneys in D.C., 2014

Recent Speaking Engagements

Mr. Hicks speaks before many professional associations and conferences. His recent engagements include:

  • Panelist, Spotting Potential Criminal Tax Issues, LITC Grantee Conference, Taxpayer Advocate Service, December 7, 2017
  • Speaker, Developments in Criminal Tax Sentencing, 2017 ABA Section of Taxation May Meeting, May 13, 2017
  • Moderator, Hot Topics in Criminal Tax Enforcement, FBA 2017 41st Annual Tax Law Conference, March 3, 2017
  • Moderator, Presidential Transition in the Treasury Department and D.O.J. Tax, FBA 2017 41st Annual Tax Law Conference, March 3, 2017
  • Speaker, Trends and Recent Developments in the Use and Enforcement of IRS Summonses, DC Bar, February 22, 2017
  • Panelist, Criminal Tax Issues, ABA 2016 Low Income Taxpayer Representation Workshop, December 12, 2016
  • Speaker, Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties Report of Subcommittee on Important Developments, American Bar Association, 2016 May Meeting, May 7, 2016
  • Panelist, Criminal Tax Issues, American Bar Association Section of Taxation 2016 May Meeting, May 5, 2016
  • Panelist, Enforcement Tools for Employment Tax Obligations, Federal Bar Association, 40th Annual Tax Law Conference, March 4, 2016
  • Moderator, Hot Topics in Criminal Tax Enforcement, Federal Bar Association, 40th Annual Tax Law Conference, March 4, 2016
  • Speaker, Reports of Subcommittees on Important Developments - Sentencing Guidelines, American Bar Association, 2015 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, September 19, 2015
  • Sentencing Guidelines, American Bar Association, 2015 May Meeting, May 9, 2015
  • Panelist, Hot Topics (Enforcement & Criminal Tax), Federal Bar Association, 39th Annual Tax Law Conference, March 6, 2015
  • Speaker, Reports of Subcommittees on Important Developments: Sentencing Guidelines, American Bar Association, 2015 Midyear Meeting, January 31, 2015
  • Speaker, Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties, American Bar Association, 2014 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, September 20, 2014
  • Speaker, Reports of Subcommittees on Important Developments, American Bar Association, 2014 May Meeting, May 10, 2014
  • Panelist, Hot Topics: Sentencing, Restitution, Federal Bar Association, 38th Annual Tax Law Conference, February 28, 2014
  • Speaker, Civil & Criminal Tax Penalties: Reports of Subcommittees on Important Developments, Sentencing Guidelines, American Bar Association, January 25, 2014
  • Speaker, Reports of Subcommittees on Important Developments: Sentencing Guidelines, American Bar Association, September 21, 2013
  • Speaker, CLE Ethics, 65th Annual Virginia Conference on Federal Taxation, June 6, 2013
  • Panelist, The Proposed (or Final) Amendments to Circular 230, American Bar Association, 2013 Midyear Meeting, January 25, 2013
  • Speaker, OVDI: Where Are We and How Did We Get There, The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Mid-Atlantic Chapter Meeting, December 3, 2012
  • Speaker, Reports of Subcommittees on Important Developments, American Bar Association, September 3, 2012
  • Speaker, Circular 230's Range of Disciplinary Sanctions: How Bad Can it Get & How is it Determined?, American Bar Association, 2012 Midyear Meeting, February 17, 2012
  • Speaker, The Practical Impact on Enrolled Agents of the 2011 Changes to Circular 230 and the IRS's Tax Return Preparer Initiative, BNA Tax & Accounting, December 1, 2011
  • Panelist, Reports of Subcommittees on Important Developments Regarding Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties - Federal Sentencing Guidelines, American Bar Association, 2011 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, October 22, 2011
  • Speaker, The 2011 Amendments to Circular 230: What Tax Practitioners Need to Know, BNA Tax & Accounting, October 13, 2011
  • Speaker, The 2011 Amendments to Circular 230: What's Ahead, BNA Tax & Accounting, July 21, 2011
  • Moderator, What Works and What Doesn't? Resolving Tax Disputes in the U.S. and Canada, American Bar Association, 2010 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, September 24, 2010
  • Moderator, Young Lawyers Panel: Representing Practitioners in Ethics and Disciplinary Actions, American Bar Association, 2010 Midyear Meeting, January 22, 2010
  • Speaker, Statutes of Limitations Issues, American Bar Association, September 24, 2009
  • Moderator, E-Discovery: Meeting e-Xpectations and Managing e-Xpenses, American Bar Association, September 11, 2008

Click here for a full list of speaking engagements.

Recent Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.