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Robert Cohen is a partner at the Encino accounting firm Lodgen Lacher Golditch Sardi Saunders & Howard CPAs LLP. He has been a partner there since January 1995. Cohen is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1974. He began his public accounting career working in the audit department of Kenneth Leventhal and Company, a national accounting firm based in Los Angeles that specialized in representing clients in the real estate industry. After working at several smaller-sized accounting firms in the Los Angeles area, he decided to open up his own practice in the early 1980s. In addition to real estate, Cohen learned to provide accounting and tax services to various businesses over the years. His mantra is that he “helps clients make, keep and eventually give away their wealth.”
In 2015, a fateful lunch with a healthcare attorney in Los Angeles led to his decision to learn all that he could about representing clients in the cannabis industry. Similar to the reasons Kenneth Leventhal decided to represent clients in the real estate industry, Cohen felt the cannabis industry has been underserved by the public accounting community. Part of the reason for this is because CPAs have been hesitant to jump into this growing industry because of regulatory and legal roadblocks. Today, Cohen serves clients in the cannabis industry including growers, manufacturers and dispensaries. In connection with representing these clients, he has taught them the importance of having adequate internal control systems as well as the importance of preparing and filing accurate income tax returns. Cohen has helped them make decisions about how to structure their businesses from a business and tax perspective, and works with their other professional advisors to help them grow their businesses.
In addition to running his accountancy practice, Cohen is also a group leader in a Southern California-based professional networking group named Provisors. As a group leader of a Century City-based group, he leads 35 professionals on a monthly basis to help them know, trust and eventually refer business to one another. As part of his membership in Provisors, Cohen is also a member of a Provisors-specific industry cannabis group. He has given presentations on accounting and tax issues of the cannabis industry to various Provisors and other networking groups in Southern California.
Trista Gonzalez has worked for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (formerly the Board of Equalization) for over 24 years. She was appointed chief of the Department’s Tax Policy Division in November 2016. In this role, Gonzalez oversees the development of policies and procedures for audit and collection functions as well as online services and taxpayer education.
Previous to this role, Gonzalez held various staff and supervisory positions within the agency. She started her career as a sales and use tax auditor in the CDTFA’s Oakland office. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration (accounting) from California State University, Chico.
In addition to his law practice, Mr. Toscher has served as an adjunct professor at the USC Marshall School of Business since 1995, where he teaches tax procedure. He has also served on the faculty of the American Bar Association Criminal Tax Fraud Program since 1998. He is a former internal revenue agent with the IRS and a trial attorney with the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he received its Outstanding Attorney Award.
Mr. Toscher is a frequent lecturer to professional groups and author on civil and criminal tax controversy topics. He is frequent contributor to the Los Angles Lawyer, The Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure and Tax Management Bureau of National Affairs.