Prentiss Willson

Of Counsel
Sacramento,  CA  U.S.A.

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AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • Tax
  • Tax Controversy & Litigation
  • State and Local Tax
Contact InfoTelephone: 916.241.0504
Fax: 916.241.0501
University Occidental College, A.B.
Law SchoolHarvard Law School, J.D.
Admitted1969, California
BornSeptember 20, 1943

With more than 40 years of experience in state and local tax, Prentiss Willson is widely recognized as the dean of California taxation, having participated in approximately a dozen state and local tax cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and represented hundreds of taxpayers in disputes in California and across the country.

Prentiss began his career at Morrison & Foerster LLP, where at various times he was managing partner of the San Francisco office, chair of the firm's tax department and chair of the firm's state and local tax group. In 1998, he moved to Ernst & Young LLP as partner and national director of state and local tax practice and procedure. After retiring from Ernst & Young in 2002, Prentiss started his own law practice advising clients across the country, and he began working with Sutherland in 2012.

A frequent speaker and author on state and local taxation, Prentiss taught tax courses at Stanford Law School, University of San Francisco Law School and Golden Gate University Graduate School of Taxation.

Awards and Rankings

Recipient, The California State Bar Joanne Garvey Award for Lifetime Service to the Bar (2010)

Recipient, BNA's Franklin C. Latcham Award for Distinguished Service in State and Local Tax Law (2009)

Recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the 40 top tax lawyers in America (1981)


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Developmental Costs: Texas Comptroller Rules Essential Preparatory Costs Cannot Be Accounted for in Apportionment Factor
Ted W. Friedman,Prentiss Willson, October 3, 2014
The Texas Comptroller determined that for Texas franchise tax purposes the apportionment factor of an out-of-state taxpayer engaged in the provision of technical training could not be adjusted to account for certain costs incurred in preparing and marketing the training sessions. The training...

California Taxpayer Entitled to Attorney Fees after Successful Commerce Clause Challenge
Zachary T. Atkins,Prentiss Willson, September 25, 2014
A California Court of Appeal held that a taxpayer who brought a successful facial challenge against a state taxing scheme met all of the requirements for an award of attorney fees and that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to award the fees. The taxpayer, an individual, sought a...

Indiana Loosens Its Utility Belt: Prepaid Phones and Phone Service Subject to Utility Receipts Tax
Stephen A. Burroughs,Prentiss Willson, September 4, 2014
Indiana’s Department Revenue determined that the sale of prepaid phone cards and prepaid cell phones are “telecommunication services” subject to Indiana’s Utility Receipts Tax (URT). The URT is an income tax imposed upon the receipts a taxpayer receives from the sale of...

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Office Information

Prentiss Willson

500 Capitol Mall, Suite 2500
SacramentoCA 95814


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