Summary

Sonya advises individuals, businesses, hospitals, health care organizations, corporate executives, physicians, nonprofits, foundations, and corporate fiduciaries with all aspects of their tax, estate, charitable, governance, asset protection, business succession, transactional planning needs.   

Sonya also has extensive experience representing individuals, estates, trusts, business and tax-exempt organizations in connection with state and federal civil and criminal disputes, audits, investigations, examinations, collection and settlement matters before the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Tax Court, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Sonya earned her J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and her Masters in Tax Law from Northwestern University. Leveraging her tax expertise, Sonya provides clients with practical, creative, and business-oriented solutions to achieve their goals in a tax efficient manner. 

Sonya serves as co-chair of Taft’s Gender Advancement Committee, which works to develop, promote, and advance women attorneys within Taft, the legal profession and the community.

Representative Experience

Tax, Business Succession, and Estate Planning

  • Advises clients on tax and non-tax business structuring issues in connection with transactions, including partnership, corporate, real estate, international and business succession transactions.
  • Advises on wealth transfer planning for individuals and families, including implementation of sophisticated wealth transfer techniques, such as transferring of interests in family owned entities.
  • Advises family owned businesses in succession planning and related estate planning issues.
  • Advises corporate executives and businesses on structuring equity and incentive plans and award agreements.
  • Advises clients on structuring transactions to utilize various tax incentives including opportunity zones.
  • Advised executor, trustee and beneficiaries in connection with estate, gift and income tax related to valuation of closely-held businesses.

Tax Controversy and Civil and Criminal Tax Investigations

  • Represented a senior level partner at a major accounting firm indicted for violations of federal tax law. Following a five-week jury trial in January 2013 the partner was acquitted of all charges. 
  • Represented partnership before U.S. Tax Court and IRS Appeals in connection with IRS’s challenge of partnership transaction that generated more than $173 million in deductions and $1.3 billion in losses and obtained extremely favorable settlement for client.
  • Represented individuals with undisclosed foreign financial accounts and handle IRS voluntary disclosures, civil audits, and criminal investigations with respect to such offshore matters. 
  • Represents clients at all stages of civil and criminal tax matters, including investigations, pleading, sentencing, settlement and appeals stages.
  • Represents clients in government examinations of complex tax shelters and other tax-advantaged strategies. 

Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Organizations  

  • Represents nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations and foundations in all aspects of their organization and operation including formation, governance, mergers and restructurings, unrelated business income tax matters, intermediate sanctions, joint ventures, endowment funds, fundraising, charitable giving and planned giving programs, and compliance with state law charity registration requirements. 
  • Represents hospital systems and health care entities in connection with restructurings, joint ventures with for-profit entities, acquisitions of for-profit entities, conversion of for-profit entities to non-profit, unrelated business income tax issues, and supporting organization issues.
  • Advises family and corporate private foundations with respect to private foundation tax law restrictions and limitations related to self-dealing, excess business holding, taxable expenditures, program-related investments, and minimum distribution requirements.
  • Represents nonprofit organizations and executives in audits and investigations before the IRS and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
  • Represents nonprofit organizations in connection with obtaining and maintaining bingo licenses.  

Awards

  • "Forty Under 40" Honoree, Cincinnati Business Courier (2021)

  • Featured among the “Women Who Move Cincinnati” in Cincinnati Magazine (2020)

  • Profiled in Indian Hill Connection magazine (2020)

  • Cincy Magazine, Leading Lawyer (2018 - 2020)

  • Profiled in Cincy Magazine (2019)

  • Honoree, Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars, Tax (2014 - 2019)

  • Honoree, Leading Lawyers, Tax (2018 - present)

  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers Honoree, The National Trial Lawyers, Criminal Defense (2014)

  • Taft Legacy Award Honoree, Taft (2018)

  • Cincinnati’s Finest Young Professional Award, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (2010)

  • Chancellor’s Law Scholar, Vanderbilt University Law School

  • Scholastic Excellence Award, Vanderbilt University, International Business Transactions

  • Legal Aid Society Public Interest Service Award Honoree, Vanderbilt University

  • Member, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society

  • Outstanding Finance Student Award Honoree, Financial Executives International

All Service Areas

Education

  • Vanderbilt University Law School (2007)
  • Northwestern University School of Law (2007)
  • Xavier University (2003)

Admissions

  • Federal - U.S. Tax Court
  • Federal - Southern District of Ohio
  • State - Ohio

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association

    Member, Taxation Section

  • Cincinnati Bar Association

    Officer, Nonprofit Law Committee

  • National Trial Lawyers

    Member

Community Involvement

  • American Cancer Society

    Member, Board of Directors
    Member, Discovery Ball Board of Ambassadors (2015)

  • Boy Scouts of America

    Member, Professional Leadership Network
    Former Executive Board Member

  • Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

    Member, Board of Directors

  • Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber C-Change Leadership Development Program

    Member, Class 7

  • Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati Volunteer Lawyers Project

    Volunteer

  • Nashville Pro Bono Program

    Volunteer

  • The Ndukwe Foundation

    Former Board Member

  • Women Writing for (a) Change

    Former Member, Advisory Council