Avi M. Lev






Avi’s practice is focused in taxation. His primary goal is to translate the complex, obscure tax code into business English so that our clients can make intelligent decisions aimed at achieving their financial, social, and personal goals. His clients include established and emerging companies, professional service firms, real estate and private equity investors, and tax-exempt non-profit organizations.

A key focus of Avi’s practice is the tax-efficient structuring of business transactions. Avi advises clients on methods to reduce taxes overall – and to minimize tax risks – in sales of assets and equities, mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations. Avi addresses the tax treatment of: earn-outs, contingent payments, escrows, security arrangements, management incentives and employee benefits.

Avi provides federal tax advice throughout the lifecycle of a business, at the earliest planning stages, during operations, and at exit. Avi counsels as to tax aspects of employment, hiring and termination; he develops alternatives for equity incentives, deferred compensation, and golden parachute arrangements. At the state level, he advises as to state and local income taxation, nexus and residency issues, and sales and use taxes. Avi also provides advice to private investment entities as well as to real estate investors, and helps to structure Section 1031 like kind exchanges.

Avi represents taxpayers in audits, controversies, and litigation with the IRS and with state tax authorities.

A significant part of Avi’s practice is assisting non-profit associations with tax compliance, corporate governance, and for-profit partnerships. His tax-exempt clients include hospitals and healthcare organizations, museums, churches, temples, schools and universities, public charities, foundations, trade associations, and Native American tribes.

Avi has taught federal taxation in the Graduate Tax Program at the Boston University School of Law and elsewhere, and has served as an expert witness in tax litigation.

Representative Transactions

Corporate, Partnership and Business Transactions

  • Guide aircraft owners and operators in purchasing and managing business airplanes tax-efficiently and in compliance with FCC regulations.
  • Design tax-saving structures for stock sales and asset sales, taxable and tax-free mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs.
  • Plan and execute Section 1031 exchanges of real property.
  • Develop plans for executive compensation, using stock options, restricted stock, dividend equivalent rights, and other forms of deferred compensation.
  • Help a well-known public broadcasting company reorganize, enhancing its endowment function.
  • Help the buyers of a 167-foot yacht avoid state sales tax and maximize federal tax deductions.

International Taxation

  • Help a Boston venture capital firm establish a Luxembourg SICAR to facilitate foreign investment in its U.S.-based medical products companies.
  • Facilitate the expansion of a London-based bicycle distributor into the United States.
  • Organize Asian and European operations for a Boston-based technology company.
  • Provide tax underwriting for an insurance company that insures representations and warranties made by the sellers in corporate acquisitions.

Tax Controversy, Audit and Litigation

  • Successfully resolve a “nexus” issue for a Massachusetts taxpayer with an employee in New Jersey, avoiding New Jersey taxation of the employer’s income.
  • Obtain for a shipyard complete abatement of a six-figure property tax assessment.
  • Defend former Massachusetts residents, now living part-time in other states, against claims that they are still subject to Massachusetts personal income tax.
  • Assist the owner of a major-league baseball team with a tax controversy regarding amortization of player contracts.
  • Obtain a $700,000+ refund for a client who lived in one state but did business in another, where both states asserted primary jurisdiction to impose income tax.
  • Secure a “no change” audit result for an inventor, even though IRS has determined that his deductions should be disallowed as “hobby losses.”

 Tax Exempt / Non-Profit Entities

  • Obtain recognition of tax-exempt and public charity status for several non-profit entities, including museums, schools, churches, athletic clubs and community development groups. Assist with ongoing tax compliance.
  • Provide a formal tax opinion for the Attorney General of Massachusetts that the dissolution of a Boston-based Buddhist temple, and distribution of its assets to its sister temple in Japan, would not jeopardize its public charity status.
  • Help a tax-exempt university develop a cost sharing arrangement with a for-profit research facility.

Work Experience

  • Hinckley Allen
    • Chair, Tax
    • Partner (2012-Present)
  • Davis, Malm & D'Agostine, P.C.
    • Partner and Director (2010-2012)
    • Senior Tax Attorney (2006-2009)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
    • Senior Tax Associate (2005-2006)
  • Sullivan & Worcester, LLP
    • Tax Associate (2002-2005)
  • Houghton Mifflin Co.
    • In-House Counsel (2000-2002)
  • U.S. Bancorp
    • Associate General Counsel (1987-1994)

Honors & Awards

  • Internal Revenue Service, Outstanding Public Service Award

Charitable & Civic Involvement

  • Boston Bar Association, Senior Partners for Justice

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association and Boston Bar Association, Tax Sections. Member

Bar Memberships

  • Massachusetts
  • Oregon
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Court of Federal Claims

Speaking Engagements

  • Adjunct Professor, Boston University School of Law, Graduate Tax Program; “Federal Taxation II” 2012-2013; “Taxation of Individuals in Bankruptcy,” each Fall since 2005
  • Northeastern University, M.A. Taxation Program, “State and Local Tax Planning,” 2005, 2006
  • Portland Community College, “Business Law,” 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • Strafford Legal Webinars CLE/CPE Program, “Final FATCA Deadline Approaches: Compliance & Implementation,” October 2013
  • New England Archivists Annual Meeting, “Value Appraisals,” Fall 2009
  • Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE): “A Practical Guide to Organizing a Business,” November 2008; “Tax Issues for the Business Attorney” September, 2008; “Tax Aspects of Mergers & Acquisitions,” November 2007

Qualified Opportunity Zones: Insights from the Government's New Guidance

November 21, 2018

Hinckley Allen published A Practical Guide to the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program, which details a…


A Practical Guide to the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program

August 14, 2018

Among the many changes and incentives contained in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, one of the most promising…

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