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US taxes: contentious in United States

Baker McKenzie LLP

The tax controversy group at Baker McKenzie LLP fields an impressive bench of trial lawyers with expertise across a full range of disciplines. Washington DC-based practice chair George Clarke is noted for handling both civil and criminal matters for global corporates and high-profile individuals. Transfer pricing expertise is provided by Mark Oates in Chicago, and Drew Crousore and Scott Frewing in Palo Alto; their representation of Facebook in headline federal proceedings against the IRS is just one of the group's recent highlights. The SALT controversy sub-practice is headed by New York-based Maria Eberle, and includes Scott Brandman and David Pope, both of whom also based in New York. Ongoing litigation highlights on this front concern high-stake appeals regarding retroactive taxation in the insurance sector, and a spate of engagements for big-ticket retailer Best Buy Stores, including the defense of proceedings under the Illinois False Claims Act. Daniel Rosen is also recommended for administrative tax controversies.

Practice head(s):

George Clarke

Other key lawyers:

Mark Oates; Drew Crousore; Scott Frewing; Maria Eberle; Scott Brandman; David Pope; Daniel Rosen; Lindsay LaCava

Testimonials

‘They appear to really understand our business and culture.’

‘There is no question that the Baker team I work with has deep knowledge of New York state tax laws and procedures. Their ability to explain the law and the procedures to the client in an understandable and timely manner supports the confidence I have in the service they provide. With a very large tax assessment on the line, I need to feel confident that the attorneys know their stuff, so to speak.’

‘Maria Eberle is extremely knowledgeable. She has high energy and her passion for tax law and for providing the absolute best service for her client is always evident. Lindsay LaCava is extremely knowledgeable. Lindsay has a very measured approach and is very thorough. The two of them together make a formidable team and their senses of humor also make them very fun to work with.’

Key clients

Facebook

Village of Scarsdale

Schneider Electric USA, Inc.

Best Buy Stores, L.P.

B&H Photo & Electronics

CVS Health Corporation

Microsoft Corporation

Work highlights

  • Representing Facebook in headline transfer pricing litigation.
  • Representing the Village of Scarsdale in a lawsuit challenging the validity of regulations issued by Treasury and the IRS addressing charitable contributions giving rise to state and local tax credits.
  • Represented Best Buy Stores in litigation case against the Illinois Department of Revenue, regarding whether built-in appliances are subject to sales tax on the retail price paid by customers to acquire the appliance or use tax on the cost price paid by Best Buy to acquire the appliances from the manufacturers.

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered has a top-tier criminal tax controversy offering, where key contacts include practice co-heads Scott Michel and Mark Allison, and Niles Elber, among others. The team represents international corporates, high-net-worth individuals and asset managers in sensitive administrative litigation and criminal tax investigations by federal bodies including the IRS and DOJ, often pertaining to offshore assets and conservation easements. Names to note for civil tax matters include Zhanna Ziering, Charles Ruchelman, Dianne Mehany and Christopher Rizek. Over the review period, the team has been involved in complex disputes concerning micro-captive insurance transactions, foreign tax compliance, foreign trust vehicles and partnership tax and foreign trust vehicles. The team also regularly handles top-dollar IRS audits are subsequent appeals. Clark Armitage is recommended for transfer pricing matters, and Sae Jin Yoon is a standout associate in the team. The practice group is spread across the New York and Washington DC offices.

Practice head(s):

Scott Michel; Mark Allison

Other key lawyers:

Niles Elber; Zhanna Ziering; Charles Ruchelman; Dianne Mehany; Christopher Rizek; Sae Jin Yoon; Clark Armitage

Testimonials

‘Mark Allison is an outstanding lawyer and exhibits great professionalism and competence in all of his dealings. His interest in his clients wellbeing is also of great importance to him which makes him much different than most lawyers.’

‘My practice is primarily in the area of tax evasion matters. I consult with Scott Michel and Niles Elber in any such matters which involve US law. They are the crème de la crème in such matters.’

‘I work with Scott Michel and Niles Elber. They are always accessible and knowledgeable. Clients accused of tax evasion are typically anxiety ridden and psychologically vulnerable, and Scott and Niles deal with them with dignity.’

Work highlights

  • Represented all of the approximately 200 US-based defendants that have been sued by the Government of Denmark based on an allegation of withholding tax fraud in filings with the Danish tax authority, known as SKAT, seeking $2.1bn in tax refunds. This matter spans ten federal district courts and three state courts.
  • Acting in approximately 50 US Tax Court cases involving the tax treatment of the participation by the taxpayers in the Professional Benefits Trust, a benefits plan that sought qualification under section 419A(f)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Representing one of the wealthiest individuals in the US who recently concluded a public Non-Prosecution Agreement with the DOJ.

Eversheds Sutherland

Active across a huge range of industry sectors, Eversheds Sutherland’s tax controversy and litigation group is frequently engaged in high-profile SALT and federal proceedings. Washington DC-based Jeffrey Friedman leads the ever-expanding team, which saw a spate of new arrivals including Breen Schiller in Chicago and Nikki Dobay in Sacramento, who further enhance the team’s capacity for multi-state SALT proceedings. Friedman recently obtained impressive wins for Fortune 100 companies in high-value tax appeals before the apex court, while Washington DC-based Susan Seabrook obtained numerous 100% concessions through the Tax Court. Eric Tresh in Atlanta is a name to note for tax controversies in the TMT sector, while Washington DC-based Jerome Libin maintains a reputation for handling significant constitutional challenges to state tax statutes. New York-based Sarah Paul is recommended for defense in criminal tax matters.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Friedman

Other key lawyers:

Breen Schiller; Nikki Dobay; Susan Seabrook; Jerome Libin; Eric Tresh; Sarah Paul; Alla Raykin

Testimonials

‘Eric Tresh is head and shoulders above his peers, and I have interviewed most all of them.’

‘Eric Tresh is a smart, thoughtful, strategic, aggressive (when appropriate), and responsive professional who achieves extraordinary results in an expeditious manner. I cannot say enough great things about him.’

‘The Eversheds Sutherland tax team holds all the best interests of the client as paramount, ensuring not only fierce legal defense, but also with carefully considered reflection on and alignment with other non-tax interests of the client that could be impacted in negative or unforeseen ways. This ability to consider the client’s interests from a holistic 360 degree perspective is too often lacking, and the Eversheds team excels in this space.’

‘We work regularly with Eric Tresh, Maria Todorova and Chris Lee. All are brilliant in tax, balancing technical skills with strategic vision, and all fiercely defend the interests of the client. Further, this group is personally engaging which always makes the work more entertaining.’

‘Eversheds Sutherland has a diverse team of professionals with unique backgrounds that bring relevant tax experience to bear for the benefit of their clients. They are extremely knowledgeable about our business, about our industry and they are always well prepared and timely with their deliverables.’

‘They are extremely responsive, bringing the right resources to the issue. In trial, their associates do a fantastic job making sure everything is properly prepared and they make everything run seamlessly.

Eric Tresh is an extremely valuable advisor for the communications industry, leveraging extensive experience to support his clients.

Alla Raykin is an incredible associate- I’m convinced there is nothing she can’t do. She is super-sharp and impeccably prepared.’

Key clients

Vitol

Microsoft

Comcast

Primerica

Charter Communications

Duke Energy Corporation

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Walmart.com in a landmark sales tax case in the Louisiana Supreme Court.
  • Successfully represented Microsoft in a Wisconsin corporate income tax litigation matter involving the sourcing of receipts from licenses of software to computer manufacturers.
  • Advising Charter Communications on a wide range of strategic and legal considerations relative to state and local tax and the regulatory aspects of the company’s business.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP handles federal tax disputes at the examination, appeal and trial stages, acting for market-leading corporate clients before all levels of the US courts. Transfer pricing disputes are a strength for practice head Miriam Fisher, who was recently involved in landmark proceedings for Microsoft and Facebook. Jean Pawlow and Brian McManus handle a range of administrative disputes concerning multimillion-dollar tax audit and refund appeals and distribution gains, alongside niche engagements concerning environmental remediation settlements. The group stands out in litigation following some of the most pressing market trends, having recently acted for Netflix in matters concerning the taxation of cross-border digital services. It also serves as outside tax risk counsel to some of the Big Four. The team is based in Washington DC, with additional presence in Silicon Valley and Boston.

Practice head(s):

Miriam Fisher

Other key lawyers:

Jean Pawlow; Brian McManus

Testimonials

‘The Latham team is unique in the tax controversy bar because they are trial lawyers first. They take on big cases and they win them, or settle on favorable terms because the IRS and DOJ do not want to face them in court. They have strong knowledge of tax and tax procedure, equal to any other firm, but it is their excellence at trial that sets them apart.’

‘Miriam Fisher is one of the country’s best known tax controversy lawyers, yet she is brings no ego to the task of helping her clients. She brings macro insights and relationships throughout government and private practice that few can match. Her opening and closing trial statements are simple, pitch perfect, and devastatingly effective. I once saw her lay out in an opening statement exactly what opposing counsel was preparing to claim, and why it was wrong. When opposing counsel rose to make his opening statement (from prepared remarks) it was almost identical.’

‘Jean Pawlow is brilliant, comfortable at every level of her cases from the details of transfer pricing economics to larger strategic considerations. When you work with Jean, you get her, and not a second year associate.’

‘Brian McManus is brilliant, particularly because his strategic vision is second to none. He sees around corners and 5 steps ahead of the other side, and he and Miriam and Jean complement each other perfectly. He has delivered two of the most devastating cross examinations of expert witnesses that I have ever seen – both in tax litigations with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, and both leading to a total taxpayer victory.’

Key clients

Microsoft Corporation

Citigroup Inc.

Paycom

Facebook Corporation

Siemens Corporation

AMD

Netflix

Webb Creek Management Group

Occidental Petroleum

Work highlights

  • Acting as co-lead counsel for Microsoft with respect to significant transfer pricing issues covering tax years 2004 through 2014 currently pending on audit.
  • Represented Paycom in a wide range of tax matters, including advising the company on implementing emergency tax relief measures in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Representing Siemens Corporation in US Tax Court litigation concerning the gain on the distribution by a US subsidiary of an automotive parts business to its German parent.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown’s tax controversy group represents global clients in bet-the-company litigation against the IRS, recently acting for market leaders in the financial services, telecoms and oil and gas sectors. Recent highlights for the team have involved transfer pricing apportionments, sales tax disputes and $100m+ tax appeals. In once example, the team acted for Tribune Media Company in a precedent-setting trial involving the tax-deferred treatment of partnership divestitures. It is also noted for handling whistleblower claims. Names to note in the regard are Brian Kittle, Chicago-based Thomas Kittle-Kamp and Joel Williamson, and Larry Langdon in Palo Alto. Also in Chicago, John Hildy leads on multibillion-dollar federal transfer pricing disputes. Leah Robinson spearheads the SALT practice, and has noted experience in representing clients across all 50 states (with an emphasis on New York, New Jersey, Illinois and the Ninth Circuit) Zal Kumar and Paul DiSangro are also recommended. Named lawyers are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Brian Kittle; Thomas Kittle-Kamp; Joel Williamson

Other key lawyers:

Larry Langdon; John Hildy; Leah Robinson; Zal Kumar; Paul DiSangro

Key clients

Abbott

Nestle Holdings

Hyatt Corporation

Hanes Brands

Fidelity Investments

Eaton Corporation

US Ventures

Tribune Media Company /Nextstar

Stanley, Black & Decker

Dentsply Sirona

Work highlights

  • Completed a two week trial before the US Tax Court in Washington DC for Tribune Media Company, involving the divestiture of a 95% interest in the Chicago Cubs to entities controlled by the Ricketts family.
  • Represented Dreyer Electric Company in a matter before the Missouri Supreme Court regarding the Missouri Department of Revenue’s challenge to the company’s qualification as a “manufacturer” for purposes of a sales tax exemption.
  • Achieved a rare bench opinion for Cross Refined Coal LLC and its partners, Fidelity Investments, Schneider Electric and AJ Gallagher, in the US Tax Court; the IRS had challenged the partnership’s allocation of refined coal production tax credits and related business deductions.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Leveraging a wealth of IRS operational knowledge and highly adept at handling transfer pricing disputes, McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s tax controversy team fields a comprehensive bench of experts in SALT matters and tax issues at the federal level. Chicago-based global tax head Jane Wells May leads on state-level whistleblower cases, having secured precedent-setting judgements before the Illinois courts. Also in Chicago, Jenny Johnson Ware has a solid reputation for representing private clients, trusts and estates in civil and criminal proceedings. Washington DC-based Stephen Kranz is at the forefront of digital goods and services tax, providing ongoing support to the Digital Goods and Services Coalition in legislative arguments against state-level tax reforms in that field. Other names to note include Andrew Roberson and Catherine Battin in Chicago, Richard Call in Boston, and Charles Moll in San Francisco, all of whom have experience in audits and administrative appeals against the IRS.

Practice head(s):

Jane Wells May

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Johnson Ware; Stephen Kranz; Andrew Roberson; Catherine Battin; Richard Call; Charles Moll

Testimonials

‘I have worked closely with the SALT team. They are the best tax problem solvers and litigators I have worked with. They also use political alternatives (regulatory, legislative, going to city councils and governors offices, etc). They leave no stone unturned in representing their client in the state and local area.’

‘Stephen Kranz , Diann Smith and their team in DC are the best. They look at and weigh all issues/arguments, and also consider alternative regulatory, legislative, and political solutions. They are open to client ideas, brainstorm with us on our facts constantly, and always re-examine where we are in light of state tax authority positions taken and submissions made. They are outstanding.’

Key clients

CITGO Petroleum Corporation

GROWMARK, Inc.

Digital Goods and Services Coalition (DGSC)

STAR Partnership; 27 multinational companies

Work highlights

  • Representing CITGO Petroleum Corporation in all state and local tax controversies across the US, including recent proceedings in Wisconsin.
  • Representing GROWMARK, an Illinois-based agricultural cooperative, in two cases in the US Tax Court challenging IRS determinations that it owes millions in taxes.
  • Representing the Digital Goods and Services Coalition (DGSC), a coalition made up of 20 companies that share a common interest in quelling state and local tax expansion in the digital goods and services space.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s bench of contentious tax lawyers includes a number of well-known names in the transfer pricing space; John Magee, co-head Sanford Stark, Saul Mezei and newly promoted partner Terrell Ussing in Washington DC; Tom Linguanti in Chicago; and co-head Barton Bassett and Rod Donnelly on the West Coast, are all noted in this space. Among its recent highlights, the team has been involved in multibillion-dollar litigation against the IRS on behalf of Coca-Cola and Western Digital. William Nelson in Washington DC and Philadelphia-based Daniel Carmody (who joined the team from PricewaterhouseCoopers) are noted for their expertise in partnership disputes, particularly for controversy proceedings surrounding asset valuations. New York-based Mary Hevener is a go-to name for payroll tax and employee benefits tax litigation, while Alex Sadler in Washington DC is a leading name for R&D tax credit controversy. The client roster comprises a mix of multinational corporates, partnerships, foundations and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):

Barton Bassett; Sanford Stark

Other key lawyers:

John Magee; Paul Mezei; Terrell Ussing; Rod Donnelly; William Nelson; Daniel Carmody; Mary Hevener; Alex Sadler

Testimonials

‘Sanford Stark is very knowledgeable and accessible. He is quick to tap into the expertise in his network and is very responsive. He understands our business well and keeps an eye out for opportunities or issues.’

Key clients

The Coca-Cola Company

Perrigo Company

Western Digital Corporation

Innovation Ventures LLC, Manoj Bhargava

Maxim Healthcare Group

Medtronic plc

Best Buy Co., Inc.

Work highlights

  • Handling the high-profile transfer pricing case involving $10bn in income deficiencies (approximately $3.5bn in income tax deficiencies) asserted by the IRS against the Coca-Cola Company for its 2007-09 tax years.
  • Representing Perrigo in the publicly docketed refund action in Perrigo Company v. The United States in the federal district court in the Western District of Michigan.
  • Representing Western Digital in transfer pricing litigation involving two docketed cases and over $1.5bn in asserted income deficiencies for the taxpayer’s 2008-2012 tax years.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s tax controversy practice has a strong foothold in Washington DC. Among the team's recent highlights, Raj Madan and Royce Tidwell successfully overturned IRS determinations in the insurance sector in a dispute involving deferred revenue, and Armando Gomez and David Foster successfully represented professional services clients in high-stakes tax liability disputes, obtaining significant, nine-figure reductions. Also recommended in Washington DC are Fred Goldberg, who has experience in administrative and regulatory proceedings for multinational corporations, and Christopher Bowers a name to note for matters in the technology and financial services sectors, having litigated before the US Tax Court in disputes concerning advanced pricing agreements (APA). On the West Cost, Palo Alto-based Emily Lam and Christopher Murphy represent high-profile clients such as Microsoft and Amazon in complex audits and administrative appeals. Nathaniel Carden in Chicago is the team’s leading transfer pricing expert, representing corporate tax payers at every stage of appeal and litigation proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Eriv Sensenbrenner

Other key lawyers:

Raj Madan; Royce Tidwell; Armando Gomez; David Foster; Emily Lam; Christopher Murphy; Nathaniel Carden; Fred Goldberg

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s tax controversy group is highly active in the energy and oil and gas sectors, owing to its significant presence in Texas. Practice head Richard Husseini and Renn Neilson (both based in Houston) take on federal and SALT disputes, respectively, including representation in audits and high-values appeals against the IRS. Also in Houston, John Porter has a solid reputation for handling gift tax controversies, including for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and family estates. In the San Francisco office, new joiner William Gorrod (from Morrison & Foerster LLP) is a key name for state-level estate tax controversy, particularly in California and New York, while Jon Feldhammer tackles tax controversies in the solar and renewable energy industries.

Practice head(s):

Richard Husseini

Other key lawyers:

Renn Neilson; John Porter; William Gorrod; Jon Feldhammer

Testimonials

‘The estate tax planning and transfer tax controversy groups are unique because they are willing to play team ball with other advisors, seek their input and consider the perspectives of non-attorneys. My practice is national and I know of no other attorney group that does this better.’

‘My primary contact is John Porter of the firm’s Houston office. He is the consummate team player but, in addition, is highly technical and has an excellent track record in tax controversies.’

Key clients

MONEYGRAM INTERNATIONAL, INC.

LORRAINE BEAN AND NORTHERN TRUST CO.

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INCORPORATED

CHENIERE ENERGY, INC.

CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORPORATION

LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION

USA COMPRESSION PARTNERS, LLC

HOWARD MIDSTREAM ENERGY PARTNERS

Work highlights

  • Representing Moneygram International in an appeal at the Fifth Circuit regarding whether the client constituted a bank for federal income tax purposes.
  • Representing Chesapeake Energy in a matter concerning domestic tax issues relating to oil and gas partnerships.
  • Represented Lockheed Martin in an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court of a franchise-tax refund suit that was denied at the trial court level and again at the court of appeals.

Chamberlain Hrdlicka

Chamberlain Hrdlicka houses an impressive bench of criminal tax experts including co-heads David Aughtry and Lawrence Sherlock, based in Atlanta and Houston, respectively; San Antonio-based Charles MullerKevin Sweeney in Philadelphia; and Atlanta-based John Hackney. The practice group displays wide-ranging expertise in significant cross-border proceedings concerning employment tax fraud, failure to disclose actions and the defense of allegations of false returns, often involving multimillion-dollar penalties at stake. Hale Sheppard in Atlanta and Jamie Vasquez in San Antonio routinely handle proceedings against the IRS, including repatriation issues under Section 965 and all manner of appeals. Juan Vasquez and Philip Karter, who co-head the practice from Houston and Philadelphia, are highly experienced in handling tax litigation at every stage of the federal courts.

Other key lawyers:

David Aughtry; Larry Sherlock; Juan Vasquez; Philip Karter; Charles Muller; Kevin Sweeney; John Hackney; Hale Sheppard; Jamie Vasquez

Testimonials

‘Has an overall skill set at dealing with contentious IRS issues and audits and a unique approach to solving problems.’

‘Relentless effort, ability to get others to buy-in to their thought process and winning attitude.’

David Aughtry and John Hackney are excellent.’

‘The Chamberlain team’s focus on tax controversy work and emerging tax controversy issues makes their practice unique. The team stays on top of all current issues that may impact the industries at issue.’

‘The firm is well organized around a deep bench of experienced professionals. David Aughtry’s experience working within the IRS provides valuable strategic insight. His negotiating acumen is finely honed to the client’s benefit.’

‘As an Associate Jasen Hanson uses his keen intellect to evaluate all viewpoints and defend his positions.’

‘The Chamberlain tax controversy practice under Hale Sheppard is very impressive and has many strengths with the core ones being uniformity of purpose and client mission, a high caliber of legal competency, being highly responsive to the client, and the team’s excellent written and oral communications.’

‘Hale Sheppard is a world-class, brilliant lawyer who not only has a complete grasp of the legal system and specific subject matters, but is a great communicator and representative of the client where the client’s best foot-forward is always advanced.’

Work highlights

  • Successfully appealed income tax adjustments in excess of $60m on behalf of one of the largest real estate brokerage firms in Hawaii.
  • Representing Discovery Coeur D’Alene Investors in the US Tax Court in a dispute over accounting methods, involving over $39m of income taxes, before adding penalty and interest.
  • Representing a high-net-worth individual before the US Tax Court in a $15m gift tax dispute.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s tax controversy experts have an impressive track record in a huge variety of tax proceedings and have also developed expertise in previous positions held at the IRS and Department of Labor. Criminal tax disputes at the state and federal level are a particular strength; New York-based practice heads Ellis Reemer and Diana Erbsen represent high-net-worth individuals, accounting firms and senior executives in IRS enforcement matters, administrative investigations, whistleblowing complaints and voluntary disclosures. Los Angeles-based Michael Patton is a key name for international transfer pricing disputes; Tamara Shepard in Boston regularly handles IRS appeals; and Joseph Myszka in Silicon Valley handles high-stakes audits for global consumer goods and technology companies.

Practice head(s):

Ellis Reemer; Diana Erbsen

Other key lawyers:

Michael Patton; Tamara Shepard; Joseph Myszka

Testimonials

‘Ellis Reemer is an extraordinarily bright person with great ideas.’

‘Diana Erbsen is a pleasure to work with. Exceptional contacts in the government sector to assist in getting things done.’

‘Ellis Reemer & Diana Erbsen are more than just tax lawyers. They act as business partners, they their take his work personal and put everything they have into into it.’

‘Diana Erbsen – brings great experience to the table. Knowledgeable regarding government practice and procedures. Well connected in the right circles to get our clients’ issues heard by the government.’

‘The professionals have many years of experience practicing this area of law, both as government attorneys and representing private clients.’

‘Ellis Reemer is not only a fine attorney but he also explains options and strategy very clearly.’

‘The individuals on our engagement are smart, collaborative, solution-driven, and business oriented. They understand our brand and provide guidance that enables us to mitigate tax risk and protect our brand.’

‘Joseph Myszka has been a long-time advisor to our company. He is the complete package – knowledgeable, perceptive with client interaction, versatile, and very responsive. Joe will draw in experts as appropriate. He also knows when to discuss in detailed technical terms and when a more broad, plain-English discussion is appropriate. We are very comfortable with Joe serving us in a leading role.’

Key clients

YA Global Investments LP

Work highlights

  • Representing investment firm in YA Global Investments in a dispute determining whether the fund, which makes private investments in public equity (PIPES) and enters into equity distribution agreements, is engaged in a US trade or business and has ECI with respect to this business.
  • Represented individual in case of first impression under New Jersey law in the New Jersey Tax Court. The individual taxpayer had invested in a partnership through a sole proprietorship and at issue was the proper character of the distributive share of partnership losses that were received by the individual taxpayer through the sole proprietorship.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

As a leading firm in the restructuring space globally, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s tax controversy team is exceptionally strong in handling contentious insolvency mandates, including recent FICA tax refunds, property tax disputes, and IRS disputes concerning NOL offsets. Co-head Todd Maynes is the key practitioner here, whereas co-head Natalie Keller leads on state- and federal-level audits, subsequent US tax court appeals, and transfer pricing disputes, largely for automotive, technology, healthcare and life sciences companies. JoAnne Nagjee focuses on SALT controversies, from audits to administrative appeals. Premier US airlines are regularly represented in disputes concerning the tax treatment of services. Named lawyers are based in Chicago.

Practice head(s):

Todd Maynes; Natalie Keller

Other key lawyers:

JoAnne Nagjee

Key clients

Horsehead Corporation

Kinder Morgan Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Horsehead Corporation (now known as American Zinc Recycling Corp) in litigation before the Illinois Supreme Court involving a decision from the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal that metallurgical coke does not qualify for the chemical exemption to the use tax.
  • Represented Kinder Morgan in a novel tax refund suit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas; the company sought a multimillion-dollar tax refund attributable to refundable alternative minimum tax credits sequestered under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Miller & Chevalier Chartered

With an impressively large bench of seasoned professionals based in Washington DC, Miller & Chevalier Chartered’s tax controversy practice is a go-to choice for household-name, multinational corporates. George Hani is currently representing top-shelf oil and gas clients in $1bn+ income tax refund disputes, and Kevin Kenworthy, Alan Horowitz and Steven Dixon regularly represent global clients in audits and appeals through the federal courts. Maria O’Toole Jones represents Blue Cross Blue Shield and captive insurance clients in a variety of contentious tax matters, and Adam Feinberg is currently representing energy and aviation clients in excise tax refund claims. Senior associate Lisandra Ortiz and counsel James Gadwood are names to note for transfer pricing matters.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Kenworthy

Other key lawyers:

George Hani; Alan Horowitz; Steven Dixon; Maria O’Toole Jones; Adam Feinberg; Lisandra Ortiz; James Gadwood

Key clients

Highmark Inc.

British Airways

The Coca-Cola Company

ExxonMobil Corporation

Redleaf

Valero

Shell Oil subsidiary

Railroad Holdings, LLC, Flat Rock Holdings, LLC, Lodge Holdings, LLC

SoCal SportsNet LLC, Padre Time, LLC

Work highlights

  • Representing ExxonMobil Corporation in an income tax refund suit in which the IRS denied ExxonMobil’s deduction for $1bn of federal fuel excise taxes.
  • Representing a Blue Cross and Blue Shield company before the US Court of Federal Claims in a federal income tax refund suit.
  • Representing three partnerships (Railroad Holdings, Flat Rock Property Holdings and Lodge Holdings) before the Tax Court on the donations of charitable easements that have been designated as transactions-of-interest by the IRS.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Steptoe & Johnson LLP handles federal tax controversies for an impressive set of multinational corporates and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Walker Johnson is often engaged by insurance and financial services companies in multibillion-dollar disputes, recently pertaining to asset diversification issues, transfer pricing adjustments and captive insurance risk. Gregory Kidder and practice co-heads Philip West, Robert Rizzi and Lisa Zarlenga, routinely handle federal IRS audits and subsequent appeals for household-name companies, regularly obtaining substantial deductions for clients across a range of sectors. West and Amanda Pedvin Varma recently handled a complex multi-jurisdictional dispute involving foreign tax credit adjustments arising from IP migrations and internal business restructurings. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Practice head(s):

Phil West; Bob Rizzi; Lisa Zarlenga

Other key lawyers:

Walker Johnson; Gregory Kidder; Amanda Pedvin Varma

Cooley LLP

Cooley LLP’s tax litigation practice regularly represents domestic and multinational clients before the federal and state courts in administrative appeals, as well as in precedent-setting litigation. Of note, practice head Kathleen Pakenham is involved in cutting-edge tax disputes in the Alaska concerning the taxation of an internet-based company domiciled in another state. In the real estate sector, Pakenham, Adriana Wirtz and Clint Massengill are currently representing property owners in property disputes concerning easement deductions. Stephen Gardner leads on transfer pricing disputes. Technology and fashion companies are also featured on the client roster. Named lawyers are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Kathleen Pakenham

Other key lawyers:

Adriana Wirtz; Clint Massengill; Stephen Gardner

Key clients

Turo

Shareholders of Braen Commercial Holdings

S. Crow Collateral Corp

Work highlights

  • Represented peer-to-peer car sharing company Turo in a first-of-its kind dispute in Alaska involving the sharing economy, successfully convincing the state court that the Alaska Department of Taxation could not subpoena a California-domiciled, internet-based company.
  • Represented shareholders of Braen Commercial Holdings in consolidated US Tax Court cases in connection with bargain sale and research and development credits.
  • Represented S.Crow Collateral Corp. before US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in connection with a contested summons dispute.

Fenwick & West LLP

Fenwick & West LLP handles contentious tax matters and litigation for domestic and international corporates, covering issues ranging from federal tax audits and appeals to disputes arising from M&A transactions and transfer pricing arrangements. Key names in the Mountain View office include practice chair Adam Halpern, Larissa Neumann and James Fuller.

Kostelanetz & Fink

Kostelanetz & Fink is a firmly established boutique firm that is sought after for corporates, individuals and trusts facing civil and criminal tax controversy actions. In New York, practice head Bryan Skarlatos, Megan Brackney and Sharon McCarthy are regularly engaged in federal and state audits and appeals, whistleblowing claims, fraud investigations and white-collar tax prosecutions. Caroline Ciraolo and Jay Nanavati are key contacts in Washington DC. The group has also welcomed several new professionals, including former IRS employees Lawrence Sannicandro in New York and John Fort in Washington DC, the latter of whom is a 30-year veteran of the IRS’s criminal investigation division, and has a wealth of experience in government investigations.

Practice head(s):

Bryan Skarlatos

Other key lawyers:

Megan Brackney; Sharon McCarthy; Caroline Ciraolo; Jay Nanavati; Lawrence Sannicandro; John Fort

Testimonials

‘Caroline Ciraolo is out of sight. A huge leader in the field.’

Key clients

American College of Tax Counsel

First Hawaiian Bank

Graham Trusts

Work highlights

  • Serving as counsel of record in an amicus brief filed on behalf of the American College of Tax Counsel in a challenge to the Government’s interpretation of the calculation of the civil penalty for failing to file Reports of FBARs under the Bank Secrecy Act.
  • Representing a whistleblower alleging unreported income and substantial tax liabilities with respect to large multinational corporations and involving the use of offshore multi-purpose entities.
  • Representing five trusts that filed administrative refund claims with the Washington DC office of Tax & Revenue, and three of which filed suit in the Washington DC Superior Court, arguing that in assessing and collecting fiduciary income tax on the trusts’ net income, the District of Columbia violated the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Houston-based contentious tax co-head Robert Morris is known for tackling first impression disputes against the IRS, primarily acting for clients in the energy sector. Ongoing highlights for the team involve issues such as foreign tax credits for offshore drilling companies, excise tax valuations for biofuel distributors, and bad debt deductions for oilfield services companies. The wider team also has expertise in transfer pricing disputes—where Washington DC-based Robert Kovacev is a name to note—permanent establishment issues, and pension fund controversies, specifically those pertaining to the tax consequences of PBGC transfers. New York-based Mayling Blanco acts for corporations and individuals in criminal tax and fraud trials and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Robert Morris; William Cavanagh

Other key lawyers:

Robert Kovacev; Mayling Blanco

Key clients

Delek US Holdings, Inc.

Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc.

Adams Challenge

Bluescape Resources

Baker Hughes Incorporated

HP Inc.

Noble Corporation

Meredith Corporation

Shell

Nabors Industries

Work highlights

  • Representing Noble Corporation before the IRS with respect to foreign tax credits for income taxes paid to a number of foreign countries, including Mexico.
  • Representing Adams Challenge in a case challenging the IRS’ directive that foreign vessels operating in the US Outer Continental Shelf are subject to US tax charges.
  • Representing HP in a suit seeking overpayment interest from the IRS.

Thompson & Knight LLP

Thompson & Knight LLP’s Dallas-based tax practice witnessed increased SALT activity over the review period, with highlights including Texas property tax disputes and airline sales tax disputes in the Illinois courts, handled by co-head Mary McNulty. Partnership audits and appeals with the IRS are regularly handled with assistance from Abbey Garber, while Lee Meyercord strengthens the team's federal tax litigation capabilities for multinational corporates. The client roster has a strong focus on family offices, in addition to public and privately held energy, mining and oil and gas clients. Of counsel Emily Parker stepped down from the partnership, but remains an authority on tax litigation in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Mary McNulty; Todd Keator

Other key lawyers:

Emily Parker; Abbey Garber; Lee Meyercord; Emily Parker

Testimonials

‘The Thompson & Knight team combines decades of experience with ingenuity and a practical, efficient approach to develop and execute winning strategies (and results) for complex US tax controversies, whether in audit, administrative appeals or litigation.’

‘Mary McNulty is the top tax controversy lawyer in the firm. She brings her broad knowledge and experience to bear on all issues. Mary can develop and execute complex tax controversy strategies like no other.’

‘Lee Meyercord is an up-and-coming young partner with wisdom far beyond her years. She is creative, hardworking and responsive to the expansive needs of demanding clients.’

Emily Parker, of counsel at the firm, is an elder statesperson with tax controversy experience unmatched by any other tax professional I have worked with. She also is the country’s foremost authority on oil and gas/energy issues. Her strategic input has been vital in multiple complex tax controversies for my company, a large multinational company.’

Work highlights

  • Representing Sirius Solutions in a Tax Court case involving novel self-employment tax issues for the partners of a limited liability partnership.

Winston & Strawn LLP

At Winston & Strawn LLP, criminal tax controversies are handled by New York-based practice co-head Lawrence Hill, who has extensive experience in headline criminal investigations for global financial services companies. Cross-border tax shelter litigation (involving German, Swiss and Irish jurisdictions) has been another workflow for the team, and indeed, these matters have included criminal allegations, such as RICO violations, fraud and negligence. Of counsel Richard Nessler is a key contact for representation in civil matters in federal tax court, including high-value appeals. The group has particular experience in the areas of technology, manufacturing and telecoms.  Named partners are New York based.

Practice head(s):

Lawrence Hill; Olga Loy; Robert Heller

Other key lawyers:

Richard Nessler

Testimonials

‘Lawrence Hill is a superb lawyer and one of the leaders of the tax controversy bar.’

Key clients

Telos CLO 2006-1 and Telos CLO 2007-02

American College of Tax Counsel

The Dillon Trusts

U.S. Virgin Islands

Artex Risk Solutions, Inc. and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Inc.

Work highlights

  • Representing the American College of Tax Counsel in a first impression, pro bono matter in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals involving the client identity privilege in the context of a law.
  • Successfully represented The Dillon Trusts in a rare complaint for writ of mandamus in the District Court of Colorado involving the defense of transferee liability assessments.
  • Acting as lead tax litigation counsel to Artex Risk Solutions in a pending tax shelter class action lawsuit in the US involving the alleged promotion of micro-captive insurance transactions and claims of fraud, aiding and abetting, conspiracy RICO, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP’s contentious tax practice has a strong focus on SALT controversies. In Jacksonville, Peter Larsen has noted expertise in various industry sectors ranging from emerging technologies and digital services to financial services and oil and gas; and Michael Bowen represents global corporates in significant assessment challenges at the state Supreme Court level, having recently acted for clients in the telecoms, travel, clothing and automotive sectors. Also recommended is David Blum in Chicago, who recently obtained impressive first-impression successes involving tax code interpretations in the healthcare sector.

Practice head(s):

Peter Larsen; David Blum; Michael Bowen

Key clients

Citibank

Expedia Group

Ford Motor Company

The Seminole Tribe of Florida

Nissan Motor Company

Macys.com

Toyota Motor Corporation

Ally Financial

Capital One Financial Corporation

DriveTime Automotive Group

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Global Mail, a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Group, in litigation with the Illinois Attorney General concerning disputed tax filings.
  • Representing Expedia and its subsidiaries in protesting and litigating assessments of state and local hotel occupancy and car rental taxes by the Iowa Department of Revenue, Maine Revenue Services, and other taxing authorities.
  • Representing Nissan-Infiniti LT in its tax compliance and controversy issues throughout the US, with matters currently pending in multiple states, including recently in Florida, New York, and New Jersey.

Baker & Hostetler LLP

Baker & Hostetler LLP’s tax controversy team is focused on matters with significant international components. Practice head Jeffrey Paravano and associate Nicholas Mowbray (both based in Washington DC) are representing investor clients in high-consequence federal challenges to repatriation tax provisions outlined in the TCJA. Additionally, Columbus-based Edward Bernert is spearheading challenges to environmental impact fees enacted by the US Virgin Islands. Paul Schmidt in Washington DC, Cleveland-based Michelle Hervey and Elizabeth Smith in New York are recommended for federal- and state-level IRS audits and appeals.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Paravano

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Mowbray; Edward Bernert; Paul Schmidt; Michelle Hervey; Elizabeth Smith

Key clients

Charles G. and Kathleen F. Moore

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)

The Sherwin-Williams Company

Progressive Insurance Company

51 Maple Street LLC

901 South Broadway

310 Retail LLC

Harbor Lofts

Work highlights

  • Representing Charles G. and Kathleen F. Moore in Moore v. United States, a tax refund action currently pending in federal district court.
  • Representing the Tort Claimant’s Committee in the Pacific Gas & Electric bankruptcy cases relating to California wildfires.
  • Represented State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and prevailed in a valuation case when the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals vacated a Board of Tax Appeals decision unfavorable to the client.

Blank Rome LLP

In a year of impressive growth, New York-based Blank Rome LLP welcomed the SALT practice group from Morrison & Foerster LLP, thus greatly expanding its contentious tax offering. Key names include practice head Craig Fields, Nicole Johnson, Mitchell Newmark and Hollis Hyans. Civil tax controversies are handled for large corporates and high-net-worth individuals, with recent highlights involving income tax apportionment, franchise tax caps in the manufacturing sector and refund claims in the tobacco sector. The group has also handled successful multimillion-dollar appeals of the denial of tax credits to Fortune 500 companies. Retail, financial services and energy are areas of focus for the group.

Practice head(s):

Craig Fields

Other key lawyers:

Nicole Johnson; Mitchell Newmark; Hollis Hyans

Key clients

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

TransCanada Facility USA, Inc.

Grant Biggar

Work highlights

  • Acted for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to reverse the Virginia Department of Taxation’s denial of refund claims and favorably concluded that leaf tobacco that is stored and aged in Virginia and ultimately manufactured into cigarettes outside of Virginia, is not used to produce Virginia taxable income.
  • Successfully reversed a notice of deficiency against energy company TransCanada Facility USA, cutting its bill from $4.8m to $415,000.
  • Reversed an assessment denying a Fortune 500 financial institution the use of millions of dollars in tax credits on the mistaken basis that related members filing a combined income tax return are required to assign tax credits to the other members.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

The tax controversy group at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP represents a number of big names in the food and drink, financial services and insurance, technology, telecoms and life sciences sectors. Practice head Mario Verdolini takes the reins on disputes involving transfer pricing, domestic manufacturing deductions, foreign tax credits, IRS audits and appeals and cross-border debt and equity issues. Recent highlights have included a mix of US Tax Court representation and highly sensitive arbitrations. The practice group is situated in New York.

Practice head(s):

Mario Verdolini

Dentons

Dentons fields a bench of seasoned tax controversy lawyers led from the Washington DC office by Jeffry Erney, who has previous in-house experience at the IRS and is well placed to handle complex investigations and appeals. Erney is supported by managing associate David Mayhall, who handles examinations and appeals before the US Tax Court. Louisville-based co-head Mark Lloyd had recent successes in state property tax disputes for publicly listed retail companies, and Scott Brian Clark in New York is also highly adept in SALT controversy proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Jeffry Erney; Mark Loyd

Other key lawyers:

David Mayall; Scott Brian Clark

Key clients

Ashland Specialty

T. Ryan Legg Irrevocable Trust/Reliance Trust Co.

LaFarge North America

Valvoline, Inc.

Kroger Limited Partnership

Ventas, Inc.

Clint Deckard

Work highlights

  • Representing Kroger in a property tax appeal on Kroger’s property located in Scott County Kentucky.

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s New York-based tax controversy chair Barbara Kaplan maintains a versatile practice covering criminal tax representation, federal IRS audits and appeals, offshore disclosures and penalty abatement actions for corporates and individuals. Also recommended in New York is Scott Fink, who has expertise in SALT controversy. Names to note in the San Francisco office include Michelle Ferreira, Bradley Marsh, Courtney Hopley and associate Jennifer Vincent. The West Coast team represents prestigious private clients in civil proceedings, criminal tax investigations and voluntary disclosures. Sensitive matters arising from cross-state redomiciliation are also handled.

Practice head(s):

Barbara Kaplan

Other key lawyers:

Scott Fink; Michelle Ferreira; Bradley Marsh; Courtney Hopely; Jennifer Vincent

Jones Day

The tax litigation practice at Jones Day represents senior executives and other high-profile individuals in internal and criminal investigations and in subsequent criminal defense proceedings, working closely with the firm's white-collar crime group. Of note, New York-based Kathryn Keneally, associate Michael Scarduzio and Frank Jackson are defending DOJ indictments regarding offshore trust structures, and have also recently achieved successful dismissals of RICO violations. Washington DC-based co-head Joseph Goldman and Atlanta-based Charles Hodges handle SALT matters and federal tax controversies relating to IRS audits and appeals.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Goldman; Edward Kennedy

Other key lawyers:

Kathryn Keneally; Michael Scarduzio; Frank Jackson; Charles Hodges

Testimonials

‘I have worked substantially with senior partner Kathy Keneally. She is terrific – very smart, strategic, easy to work with and fun. She is my first choice nationwide to bring into a potential criminal tax matter to help me defend a client.’

‘Frank Jackson is an exceptional lawyer.’

‘Jones Day handles high-profile, sensitive civil and criminal tax controversies with unparalleled knowledge, skill, and professionalism.’

‘Kathy Keneally leads a team of rising stars, including Frank Jackson and Michael Scarduzio, all of who demand the highest levels of excellence from themselves and each other. They achieve this excellence through insider knowledge of civil and criminal tax controversies at the highest levels of the DOJ, IRS, and federal courts.’

‘Michael Scarduzio, a former law clerk to a District Court judge, is rising star who has cut his teeth on the highest profile cases the government prosecutes. He is a deep thinker who handles technically difficult tax questions with seeming ease. It is clear that his team envisions him as the future of tax controversy at Jones Day.’

The dedication to pro bono materials is admirable and deserves special mention. Kathy Keneally co-founded the New York County Lawyer’s Association’s US Tax Court Calendar Program. Michael Scarduzio is now a driving force in Jones Day’s continue commitment to pro bono in the civil and criminal tax controversy arena.’

‘Jones Day has a stellar tax controversy team. They are able to assemble quickly, hone in on key issues, and develop a workplan with the client. Their expertise is unparalleled yet they are able to explain complex subjects in an easy-to-understand manner. They are responsive and available on short notice and clients do not have to conduct follow up on requests with Jones Day as is sometimes needed with other firms. They also have a good network of other partners to bring in (accountants, technology companies) as necessary.’

‘The team is appropriately sized and staffed with senior partners who are subject matter experts as well as senior associates with individual expertise to handle day-to-day questions. We have been particularly impressed with Kathy Keneally (partner), Catherine Livingston, Frank Jackson and Michael Scarduzio.’

Key clients

Robert T. Brockman

Alliantgroup LP

Donald Rubin

James Dawson

Red Oak Estates, LLC & Cottonwood Place, LLC

Lowe’s Home Centers LLC (Washington State)

Work highlights

  • Defending high-profile tech company CEO Robert Brockman who has been indicted by the DOJ concerning activities in connection with an offshore trust structure.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice, of claims brought against Alliantgroup under the Racketeer RICO Act and demands for declaratory relief invalidating a Texas statute concerning energy-efficient tax deductions, as well as the dismissal of pendent state law claims.
  • Obtained full concession on behalf of a high-net-worth individual, a taxpayer before the US Tax Court who invested funds that were used to pay litigation expenses, in exchange for an interest in any recovery or settlement.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP has a track record in tax controversies at the state level, an area where Lee Zoeller and Kenneth Levine are key contacts. Based in Philadelphia, the team also handles administrative appeals and audits.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP represents corporate taxpayers in tax disputes arising from transfer pricing exchanges, multi-jurisdictional restructuring and other complex corporate activity. Highlights from the past year saw Kristen Garry and of counsel Robert Rudnick securing impressive first impression wins in the US tax court in multimillion-dollar sales tax litigation. Richard Gagnon is recommended for administrative appeals before the IRS. Financial services is a particular sector of strength, though the team also has experience acting for manufacturing, media, hotels and industrial clients. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Practice head(s):

Michael Shulman; Larry Crouch

Other key lawyers:

Kristen Garry; Robert Rudnick; Richard Gagnon

Key clients

Susquehanna International Group

Estate of Andrew J. McKelvey, the founder of Monstor.com

Work highlights

  • Represented an affiliate of Susquehanna International Group in the US Tax Court in a dispute relating to the validity and interpretation of regulations issued under IRC section 956.
  • Secured a major victory for the estate of Andrew J. McKelvey (founder of Monster.com) in a case of first impression before the US Tax Court involving the extension of two variable prepaid forward contracts.

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s Houston-based tax litigators are prominent in the oil and gas, real estate and energy sectors, and have also maintained a healthy practice in representing individuals and trading partnerships. Department head George Gerachis is currently engaged in litigation before the US Tax Court concerning unique issues of partnership taxation, while David Cole is playing an active part in a cross-departmental dispute relating to merger termination fees. Gary Huffman is a key figure in Washington DC, and has expertise in IRS audits and appeals.

Practice head(s):

George Gerachis

Other key lawyers:

David Cole; Gary Huffman

Testimonials

‘Strong delivery focus that applies legal analysis thoughtfully to the underlying commercial and tax objectives. The team takes time upfront to understand the business, the transaction and the commercial rationale which results in a higher quality practical advice output.’

‘David Cole is extremely responsive to requests and personal oversight of all engagements. Has invested time to understand our business. Will give a frank view on the scope of advice needed and actively look for ways to reduce costs where possible. Great communication on work progress. Sets behaviours for his team and exhibits active mentoring that creates a strong team dynamic both within his firm and my company’s team.’

Key clients

Energy Transfer L.P.

Total E&P North Sea UK Limited, Total Oil UK Limited

Otay Project L.P. (Oriole Management LLC)

Kevin Kalkhoven and Danny Pettit

Sixth Street Partners

Work highlights

  • Representing Energy Transfer LP before the Delaware Court of Chancery involving claims by The Williams Companies for billions of dollars in damages and a $410m termination fee.
  • Advised Total E&P North Sea UK and Total Oil UK Limited on their successful appeal in the Court of Appeal. The case concerned how profits should be apportioned for any period that straddled the government’s announcement on 23 March 2011 that the rate of supplementary charge on the adjusted ring fence  profits of North Sea oil and gas companies would jump, overnight, from 20% to 32%.
  • Representing Otay Project, a California-based real estate developer, in US Tax Court litigation involving novel issues of partnership taxation.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Washington DC-based Edward Froelich and Anthony Carbone in New York are the key names at Morrison & Foerster LLP for representation in tax controversies. Litigation is handled at the state and federal level for high-net-worth individuals and corporates in the technology sector, with ongoing mandates pertaining to IRS audits and appeals regarding worthless stock reduction validity, section 482 adjustments and foreign disclosures.

Practice head(s):

Edward Froelich; Anthony Carbone

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's robust team of SALT lawyers represents corporate taxpayers in administrative appeals and litigation across the US. The group has a presence on both coasts: co-head Jeffrey Vesley, counsel Robert Merten and Carley Roberts are based in Sacramento;  Annie Huang is the key name in San Francisco; and co-head James Chudy and Marc Simonetti lead matters from New York. Recent highlights have seen the team representing Fortune 100 companies in sales and use tax disputes, corporate franchise tax disputes and complex corporate income tax disputes involving foreign investment interest offsets.

Practice head(s):

Jim Chudy; Jeffrey Vesely

Other key lawyers:

Robert Merten; Carley Roberts; Annie Huang; Marc Simonetti

Key clients

Chevron Corporation

Christie’s

Fidelity National Information Services

Apple

Johnson & Johnson

Microsoft Corporation

Moody’s

The Coca-Cola Company

Walmart

Walt Disney Company

Work highlights

  • Represented Praxair in the first corporate taxpayer appeal to go to a full evidentiary hearing before the new California Office of Tax Appeals (OTA).
  • Eliminated over $150m in tax liability for a Fortune 25 multinational technology company.
  • Secured a 90% abatement of tax assessment, saving a Fortune 100 diversified industrial client $30m.

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP’s Boston-based tax controversy practice has recently secured state-level wins for corporate taxpayers in the private equity, retail, life sciences and asset management sectors in appeals against tax abatement denials and transferee liabilities. Showcasing a notable breadth of expertise, the team also handles partnership disputes and multi-jurisdictional criminal tax matters, including whistleblowing proceedings and tax fraud trials for high-net-worth individuals. The practice group is jointly led by Kat Saunders Gregor and Loretta Richard.

Practice head(s):

Kat Saunders Gregor; Loretta Richard

Key clients

Bain Capital

Veolia Energy Boston, Inc.

Monomoy Capital Management

Republic of Ireland

National Amusements

TJX Companies

Tribune Company Master Retirement Savings Trust

The Carlyle Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Veolia Energy Boston, one of the leading providers of environmental solutions, on tax controversy matters relating to the applicability of property tax.
  • Advised a New York-based private equity fund on tax controversy matters in connection with a dispute before the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board regarding transferee liability under the responsible person statute for Massachusetts use tax.
  • Represented an individual in the “Varsity Blues” criminal case in the District of Massachusetts, which raised significant tax issues.

Sullivan

At Sullivan, practice co-head Richard Jones is a standout name for SALT controversy proceedings, particularly for corporates with substantial Massachusetts-based operations. Criminal tax matters are handled by Paul Summit, joint practice head David Nagle and trial lawyer Laura Steinberg; ongoing defense mandates in this space include litigation under the False Claims Act for high-profile telecoms clients. Software and technology are also sectors of focus. Daniel Ryan is noted for IRS appeals, investigations and penalty negotiations at the state and federal level. All named attorneys are based in Boston.

Practice head(s):

David Nagle; Richard Jones

Other key lawyers:

Paul Summit; Laura Steinberg; Daaniel Ryan

Key clients

AT&T Corporation

Akamai Technologies, Inc.

TTI, Inc.

Oracle USA, Inc.

Microsoft Licensing GP

Work highlights

  • Representing TTI, a distributor of electronic components, in a dispute with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue over whether TTI and its wholly-owned subsidiary Mouser, conduct a unitary business.

White & Case LLP

Contentious tax mandates handled by White & Case LLP typically involve complex cross-border issues, ranging from transfer pricing and APAs to dispute resolution under bilateral income tax treaties. Additionally, the Washington DC-based team advises clients on FBAR reporting obligations and offshore voluntary disclosures. Practice co-heads Kim Marie Boylan and Brian Gleicher represent corporate tax payers (including Fortune 50 clients) in federal appeals against the IRS, with recent successes in obtaining significant concessions relating to cost-sharing arrangements and net operating loss interpretations.

Practice head(s):

Kim Marie Boylan; Brian Gleicher

Testimonials

‘I am a transfer pricing economist that has worked with Kim Boylan and Brian Gleicher on transfer pricing audit disputes. They were both very competent technically, responsive, and easy to work with. They were open to my ideas and provide useful feedback. They certainly should be considered by any US company involved in a transfer pricing audit dispute.’

Work highlights

  • Representing two private clients in an action against the IRS seeking to obtain records under the Freedom of Information Act. The matter involves US government arguments that a Glomar defense can apply to a request for documents from the IRS.