Summary

Sonya has experience in all aspects of tax and succession planning work, including entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships, restructurings, executive compensation and employee benefits, nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations and foundations, charitable gaming, tax incentives including tax credits and opportunity zones, estate planning, business succession planning, and asset protection planning. She also represents clients in tax controversy matters and criminal tax investigations, including government examinations of complex tax shelters and other tax-advantaged strategies. Sonya has significant trial experience and has represented clients before the Internal Revenue Service's civil and criminal divisions, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and the United States Tax Court.

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 clients on structuring equity and incentive plans and award agreements.
  • Advises clients on structuring transactions to utilize various tax incentives including new market tax credits and historic rehabilitation tax credits and opportunity zones.

Tax Controversy 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 individuals with undisclosed foreign financial accounts and handle IRS voluntary disclosures, civil audits and criminal investigations with respect to such offshore matters. 

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. 
  • Advises tax-exempt organizations regarding the limitations on lobbying and political campaign activities.
  • Represents nonprofit organizations in connection with obtaining bingo and gaming licenses.  

Awards

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

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

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

  • 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

  • Taft Legacy Award Honoree, Taft (2018)

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