Main Menu
Photo of Charles  Kolstad

Charles Kolstad

Partner - los angeles


When Charles is working on a complex tax issue for a client, he typically positions himself next to his ‘old friend’ to dissect the problem and think up solutions. Solid, strong, always patient, and supportive his ‘old friend’ takes the form of a custom built desk.  His father had the desk built 50 years ago when he was an executive at Pfizer. As an international executive for the company, he relocated on multiple occasions, the desk always in tow. Spain, Turkey, Egypt, and eight other countries were home to Charles and his family, and his father’s desk, throughout Charles’ childhood. When his father passed away, Charles inherited the desk, which now sits proudly in his office.

Charles alternated semesters between the University of Notre Dame Law School and the M.B.A. program at Columbia University in effort to develop an appreciation for international business like his dad. Before completing his joint degrees, Charles fully expected to be an international businessman who could not be bossed around by the lawyers and the bean counters. Somehow instead, he became an international and corporate tax attorney. And just like his father, Charles plans to keep his desk close to him throughout his travels. When he fondly remembers his father and the sojourns enjoyed as a young man watching him stand behind the desk, Charles likes to think about the “stories the desk would tell if it could speak.”


Legal Expertise

Charles Kolstad focuses his practice on international tax, corporate, and partnership matters. He assists clients in tax and corporate planning relating to the acquisition, disposition and restructuring of businesses, corporations and partnerships both domestically and internationally.  Charles frequently advises foreign individuals moving to the U.S. on pre-immigration, income, gift and estate tax planning opportunities. Charles also focuses his practice on the cannabis industry/ cannabusiness, crypto assets and blockchain technology, and tax issues related to initial coin offerings (ICOs).

In addition, he advises actors and actresses, musicians, songwriters, producers, directors and financers, both domestic and foreign, on a wide range of individual and corporate tax issues, specific to the entertainment industry. Charles has written several articles and given many presentations on entertainment tax issues.

He has advised over 160 clients with unreported foreign financial accounts, foreign trusts, and other foreign investments, on the filing of FBARs and other information returns, and whether participating in the IRS’s various offshore voluntary disclosure programs is appropriate.  Charles has written and lectured on the extensive information reporting requirements for U.S. taxpayers with international business operations.

In addition, Charles has extensive experience in representing clients during audits by the IRS or the California Franchise Tax Board, as well as in front of the IRS Appeals Office or IRS Collection.

Representative Matters

  • Advised US shareholders in a Canadian entertainment company on sale of company to offshore buyer.
  • Advised US entertainment companies on establishment of operations in Canada, US withholding tax issues, Canadian content issues etc.
  • Advised nonresident aliens on restructuring of non-US businesses and trusts prior to becoming a US tax resident.
  • Advised numerous foreign entertainment companies on the tax issues that arise when they conduct business in the United States.
  • Advised numerous US borrowers on US withholding tax and US reporting requirements applicable to foreign lenders.
  • Advised US entertainment companies on the income forecast method of  accounting; Section 181 expensing of film and TV production costs, capitalization issues, etc.
  • Advised actors, actresses, models and others on the US tax issues that arise when working outside the US.
  • Advised foreign investors in US real estate purchase and sale transactions.
  • Advised US companies on the transfer of intellectual property to a low-tax foreign jurisdiction.
  • Advised on numerous tax-free corporate reorganizations.

Professional, Business and civic Affiliations

  • Board of Directors, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills 

Other Career Experience

  • Counsel, Venable LLP (2009-2017)
  • Senior Counsel, Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen  (2006-2009)
  • Senior VP, Inventory Capital Group, Inc. (2004-2006)
  • Chief Financial Officer, Great Wines International (2003-2004)
  • Tax Partner, Ernst & Young LLP (2000-2003)
  • Founding Partner, Brand Farrar Dziubla Freilich & Kolstad (1993-2000)
  • Law Offices of Charles Kolstad (1992-1993)
  • Tax Partner, Coopers & Lyband (1987-1992)
  • Associate, Coopers & Lyband (1979-1987)



Events & Speaking Engagements



  • California
  • New York


University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D. 1979

Columbia University, M.B.A., 1978

University of Villanova, B.S., Mathematics, cum laude, 1975

Back to Page