Freeman, Freeman & Smiley LLP

Professional Details

H. Jacob Lager, Partner

H. Jacob Lager is Chairman of the Business Transactions and Tax Department.  His practice is concentrated in domestic tax, international taxation, and trust and estate matters.  He possesses extensive experience in the structuring of business transactions, and advising domestic and cross-border clients on tax implications related to corporate mergers, asset acquisitions, spin-offs, and debt exchanges.  Mr. Lager routinely drafts information disclosures for proxy statements, public filings, and private offerings, and also advises clients regarding the inception and maintenance of special status entities such as S corporations, disregarded limited liability companies, partnerships, REITS, and tax-exempt charitable organizations. He has advocated for clients at all levels of tax dispute resolution.

Mr. Lager has developed specific experience in tax implications of cross-border matters, which often encompasses the U.S. treatment of domestically-held foreign interests, including whether such interests might trigger Subpart F income and/or an entity’s Passive Foreign Investment Company status.  He counsels clients on Tax Treaty benefits and corresponding withholding obligations related to international loan agreements, royalty arrangements and dividend payments.  He frequently assists non-U.S. clients in making tax-efficient investments within a variety of U.S.-based companies.

In addition, Mr. Lager provides estate planning services to high net-worth individuals, encompassing a range of basic to complex issues related to estate taxation, generation-skipping taxation, fiduciary income tax and post-mortem tax and succession planning.   Mr. Lager has been involved with the tax implications of corporate dissolutions, partnership and corporate redemptions and reorganizations, mergers, buy-outs, transition agreements, succession planning and other capital events that often result from the resolution of co-owner disputes.

He has experience in probate and private trust administration, and from living trusts to more involved GRATs, QPRTs, family limited partnerships and LLCs, ILITs, charitable trusts, and other manners of deferred giving.  He also advises his foreign clients who want to make cross-generational gifts to U.S. heirs.

Mr. Lager has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2018 and 2019 edition of Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Trusts and Estates. 

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Bet Tzedek New Leadership Council | Chair | 2008 - 2011

Representative Clients and Matters

  • Defended a foreign professional athlete against an asserted tax determination based on alleged in-state residency.
  • Navigated tax treaty networks to structure a multi-national licensor of software across three continents and a dozen countries.
  • Defended a large family trust against a transferee liability assessment for estate taxes due from a related estate.
  • Guided “accidental” US citizens and other inadvertent delinquent FBAR filers through IRS compliance procedures, including the Service’s OVDP and Streamlined processes.

Presentations & Publications

Media Coverage