Practice/Industry Group Overview
Sutherland handles intricate federal, international, and state and local tax matters, providing custom solutions to address our clients’ tax needs.
Sutherland serves as tax counsel to many of the world’s most prominent corporations—including more than 35 of the Fortune 100—in every area of federal, international, state and local tax law. Our prominence in legal tax services dates back to the firm’s founding nearly a century ago. More than 100 tax lawyers represent taxpayers in federal, international, employee benefits, insurance, tax exempt, and state and local tax matters. By virtue of the size of our tax practice and our varied client base, we are active in every area of taxation—from planning the most complex corporate tax transactions to representing taxpayers in administrative and judicial tax controversies.
Our tax practice counsels in domestic and international tax planning, tax controversy, insurance taxation, joint ventures and partnerships, tax accounting, state and local tax, employee benefits, executive compensation and wealth management. Our tax attorneys apply a cross-disciplinary, cross-office approach to uncover new opportunities and develop creative solutions.
Our tax attorneys are recognized for their skills and acumen with appointments to national leadership positions in government and the private sector. Our firm has produced two IRS commissioners, one IRS Chief of Appeals and one IRS chief counsel. Further, our tax team includes attorneys who have held other positions at the IRS, the Treasury Department, and the Tax Division of the Justice Department. Members of our team have also served as leaders in the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation, the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council, the American College of Tax Counsel, the International Fiscal Association and the Council On State Taxation.
Deep tax knowledge. More than 100 attorneys focus their practices on federal, international, state and local tax law.
Collaborative approach. We partner with corporate in-house teams to develop effective strategies for tax planning, transactions and disputes that serve the client’s tax and business objectives.
Connections. Many of our tax attorneys, including our tax litigators, served in federal, state or local government positions. This gives our tax team an understanding of the authorities' view of tax matters that can facilitate resolution of issues.
Success. Our clients recognize the results we achieve across all areas of our broad-based tax practice.
Firmwide support. Our tax lawyers are part of a much bigger and more diverse law firm. They can draw on the talents and experience of other attorneys with a vast range of understanding and knowledge—from energy to financial services.
Nuts and Bolts
Our key experience includes:
- Federal taxation
- International taxation
- State and local taxation
- Tax controversy and litigation
- Joint ventures and reorganizations
- Mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and spinoffs
- Employee benefits and executive compensation
- Income taxes, property taxes, and sales and use taxes
- Partnership tax
- Audits and disputes
- Inbound and outbound tax planning
- Transfer pricing
- Withholding and information reporting
- Wealth management
- Tax accounting
If you have a need for deeply experienced tax counsel and pragmatic, efficient tax solutions, our tax attorneys can help.
Sutherland acts as tax counsel in $25 billion spinoff.
Sutherland acts as tax counsel to Mondelez International in its approximately $25 billion spinoff of Kraft Foods Group.
Sutherland represents international insurance company in tax litigation regarding $306 million tax refund.
Sutherland represents an international insurance company in a refund suit that it filed for its 1997 tax year, seeking the return of approximately $306 million in tax, penalties and interest. The case involves a number of issues, including whether the company is entitled to certain foreign tax credits that it claimed in various cross-border financing transactions.
W. L. Gore retains Sutherland in complex state tax litigation.
Sutherland is representing W. L. Gore, the multibillion dollar manufacturing company best known for developing Gore-Tex fabrics, in landmark litigation regarding the state taxation of holding companies.
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:
ACA Brief: Path to Repeal - No Waiting Period for the New Administration
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Brittany Edwards-Franklin,Michael A. Hepburn,Cristopher D. Jones,Paul R. Lang,Carol T. McClarnon,Alice Murtos,Meredith L. O'Leary,Vanessa A. Scott,Ryan M. Session,W. Mark Smith,William J. Walderman,Allison E. Wielobob, January 24, 2017
This ACA Brief is the second in a series of installments that will closely track congressional and administrative actions relating to ACA provisions that impact large employer-sponsored plans.
DOL Issues Additional FAQs Related to New Fiduciary Rule
Eric A. Arnold,Wilson G. Barmeyer,Bruce M. Bettigole,Nicholas T. Christakos,Adam B. Cohen,Thomas W. Curvin,Olga Greenberg,Dodie C. Kent,Clifford E. Kirsch,Michael B. Koffler,Susan S. Krawczyk,Ben Marzouk,Carol T. McClarnon,Michael R. Nelson,S. Lawrence Polk,Stephen E. Roth,Brian L. Rubin,Vanessa A. Scott,Cynthia R. Shoss,Holly H. Smith,W. Mark Smith,Phillip E. Stano,Steuart H. Thomsen,Gail L. Westover,Allison E. Wielobob,Mary Jane Wilson-Bilik, January 20, 2017
The Department of Labor (DOL) has released two additional sets of FAQs providing guidance related to its final rule expanding the definition of fiduciary “investment advice” (the Final Rule) for purposes of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA).
NYC Administrative Law Judge Determines Long Distance Telecommunications Service Fees Exempt from Utility Tax
Andrew D. Appleby,Zachary T. Atkins,Open Weaver Banks,Madison J. Barnett,Todd G. Betor,Michele Borens,Nicole D. Boutros,Stephen A. Burroughs,Charles C. Capouet,Elizabeth S. Cha,Eric J. Coffill,Stephanie T. Do,Jessica A. Eisenmenger,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Ted W. Friedman,Timothy A. Gustafson,Evan M. Hamme,Charles C. Kearns,Michael J. Kerman,Nicholas J. Kump,Todd A. Lard,Christopher T. Lutz,Chelsea E. Marmor,Chris M. Mehrmann,Robert P. Merten,Douglas Mo,DeAndre R. Morrow,Amy F. Nogid,Suzanne M. Palms,Hanish S. Patel,Alla Raykin,Carley A. Roberts,Leah Robinson,Marc A. Simonetti,Maria M. Todorova,Samantha K. Trencs,Eric S. Tresh,Douglas J. Upton,W. Scott Wright, January 20, 2017
On December 29, 2016, a New York City administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that Sprint’s long distance telecommunications service fees were exempt from the City’s Utility Tax. The ALJ concluded that the Utility Tax enabling statute—which limits the scope of the Utility Tax to...
ACA Brief: Path to Repeal - ACA Nearing Its Lifetime Limit?
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Brittany Edwards-Franklin,Michael A. Hepburn,Cristopher D. Jones,Paul R. Lang,Carol T. McClarnon,Alice Murtos,Meredith L. O'Leary,Vanessa A. Scott,Ryan M. Session,W. Mark Smith,William J. Walderman,Allison E. Wielobob, January 19, 2017
This ACA Brief is the first in a series of installments that will closely track congressional and administrative actions relating to ACA provisions that impact large employer-sponsored plans.
California Court of Appeal Holds Doing Business ≠ Any Activity Engaged In for Pecuniary Gain
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, January 16, 2017
On January 12, 2017, the California Court of Appeal held in a published opinion that a taxpayer passively holding a 0.2 percent interest in a California-based limited liability company (CA LLC) was not “doing business” in the state for purposes of being subject to California’s...
2016 Year in Review
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Brittany Edwards-Franklin,W. Mark Smith,Allison E. Wielobob, January 11, 2017
In 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) continued a curtailed program of interpretive guidance under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA). As has been the case for several years, the regulatory priorities of the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security...
More Taxes Coming in Oregon?
Eric J. Coffill, January 06, 2017
New Oregon Gross Receipts Tax Proposal. On December 14, 2016, the group behind Measure 97 (which was defeated at the November 2016 general election), released a booklet setting forth its 2017 legislative proposals. The document includes the basic structure for a new “$100 Million Business...
New Jersey Tax Court Analyzes Credit Card Receipt Sourcing
Andrew D. Appleby,Douglas J. Upton, January 06, 2017
The New Jersey Tax Court determined that credit card issuers must source to New Jersey all of their interest and interchange fee receipts, and half of their credit card service fees, from New Jersey accountholders. The Tax Court concluded that the Division of Taxation’s regulations required...
Final Regulations Impose Reporting Obligations on Foreign-Owned Domestic Disregarded Entities
Robert S. Chase,Taylor M. Kiessig,Engin K. Nural,Carol P. Tello,H. Karl Zeswitz, December 16, 2016
Amid the Panama Papers leak and international concern that foreign persons were concealing assets through U.S. entities that are disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) proposed and, on December 12, finalized...
Louisiana DOR Proposed Unique—and Troubling—Addback Regulation
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, October 27, 2016
The Louisiana Department of Revenue proposed a new regulation expansively interpreting Louisiana’s recently enacted related party expense addback statute. La. Reg. vol. 42, no. 10, pg. 1767 (Oct. 20, 2016) (the Proposed Regulation). Earlier this year, Louisiana enacted a new statute requiring...
Kentucky Court of Appeals Finds Retroactive Statute Constitutional
Andrew D. Appleby,Chelsea E. Marmor, October 03, 2016
The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a Kentucky statute, which retroactively reduced vendors’ 1% deduction of the sales tax collected and remitted to Kentucky to $1,500 in any monthly reporting period, did not violate the Kentucky Constitution. Wal-Mart argued that the statute violated the...
White House Issues Guidance Advising Agencies to Assess Climate Change in NEPA Reviews
Reginald J. Clark,Jay Holloway,Susan G. Lafferty,Peter Ligh,David M. McCullough, August 11, 2016
On August 1, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued its final guidance for federal agencies on considering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the effects of climate change in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews.1 This final guidance comes after the first draft...
Deferred No Longer: Treasury and IRS Issue Long-Awaited 409A Guidance
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Brittany Edwards-Franklin,Michael A. Hepburn,Cristopher D. Jones, July 14, 2016
On June 21, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed Internal Revenue Code (Code) section 409A regulations, modifying existing proposed and final section 409A regulations regarding deferred compensation arrangements. The proposed regulations consist of 19...
New York Issues Two Advisory Opinions Regarding Surplus Lines Insurance
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, July 01, 2016
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (Department) issued two advisory opinions determining that unauthorized non-life insurance corporations (here, surplus lines insurance companies) are subject to insurance franchise tax (under N.Y. Tax Law § 1502) instead of premium tax...
South By Southwest: Texas Supreme Court Rejects Processing Exemptions for Oil Company
Charles C. Capouet,Todd A. Lard, June 28, 2016
The Supreme Court of Texas held that an oil and gas exploration and production company’s purchases of casing, tubing, other well equipment, and associated services were not exempt from sales tax under various processing exemptions. Texas provides multiple exemptions from sales tax for certain...
Don’t be Phased by Annuity Treatment: Taxation of Distributions During Phased Retirement
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Brittany Edwards-Franklin,Thomas A. Gick,W. Mark Smith, June 21, 2016
On June 10, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2016-39 in response to inquiries regarding the appropriate tax treatment under section 72 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) for payments received by an employee from a qualified defined benefit plan during phased retirement. For...
Here’s the Deal: Georgia Governor Signs Several Significant Tax Bills
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, May 11, 2016
Following the conclusion of Georgia’s 2016 legislative session, Governor Nathan Deal signed into law several tax bills touching on a wide range of tax matters, including sales and use taxes, property taxes, corporate income taxes and state tax credits.
IRS Notice Offers Relief to Issuers of Variable Insurance Products in Response to Pending Money Market Fund Reforms
Dennis L. Allen,Frederick R. Bellamy,Thomas A. Gick,Michael R. Miles,Mary E. Monahan, May 11, 2016
On May 5, 2016, the IRS issued Notice 2016-32, 2016-21 I.R.B. 1, which affords relief with respect to the application of the diversification requirements of IRC § 817(h) to variable life insurance and annuity contracts (collectively, variable insurance products) that offer government money...
Basic-Supplemental Life Insurance Plan Pricing Structure Upheld in ERISA Class Action
Wilson G. Barmeyer,Carol T. McClarnon,Phillip E. Stano,Steuart H. Thomsen,Gail L. Westover, May 05, 2016
An employee benefit plan that includes an alleged subsidization component for its basic and supplemental options is neither prohibited by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) nor a violation of the plan sponsor or service provider’s fiduciary duties, a federal district...
State Tax Fallout From Federal Proposed Related-Party Debt Regulations
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, April 27, 2016
Recently proposed Treasury regulations under IRC § 385 (the Proposed Regulations) would create sweeping changes to the federal income tax treatment of related-party debt. The Proposed Regulations could also have far-reaching effects for state income tax purposes, particularly on the...
Sweeping Changes Proposed to Tax Treatment of Related-Party Debt May Impact Private Funds
Robert S. Chase,David A. Roby,Amish M. Shah,Madeleine M.L. Tan,H. Karl Zeswitz, April 15, 2016
Recently proposed Treasury regulations under IRC § 385 (the Proposed Regulations) would potentially treat related-party debt, in whole or in part, as equity for U.S. tax purposes. The Proposed Regulations generally apply to debt among members of an expanded corporate group, which includes...
Taking Stock in Related-Party Debt: Regulations Propose Sweeping Changes
J. Randall Buchanan,Robert S. Chase,Reginald J. Clark,Thomas A. Cullinan,Joseph M. DePew, April 08, 2016
On April 4, the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released proposed regulations under IRC § 385 (the Proposed Regulations)1 that are intended to combat perceived concerns associated with indebtedness between related group entities. Significantly, the Proposed Regulations apply to...
Alabama Tax Tribunal Determines Out-of-State Bookseller Has Nexus, Joins "Club"
Zachary T. Atkins,Eric J. Coffill, April 07, 2016
The Alabama Tax Tribunal concluded that an out-of-state retailer was required to collect and remit use tax on the sales of books and educational materials to in-state teachers and students, and that neither the Due Process Clause nor the Commerce Clause impeded the Alabama Department of...
New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal Holds that Pricing Information Services Are Taxable
Jessica A. Eisenmenger,Jeffrey A. Friedman, April 07, 2016
The New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal sustained a determination by a Department of Taxation and Finance Administrative Law Judge that receipts obtained from the sale of retail pricing information services are subject to sales tax. Under New York law, information services are taxable, but services...
Tax-Free Transfer: Online Document Delivery Services Not Subject to New York Sales Tax
Madison J. Barnett,Chris M. Mehrmann, April 01, 2016
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance issued an advisory opinion explaining that the petitioner’s Internet-based document transfer subscription plans are not subject to sales and use tax. Because the primary purpose of the transactions is to facilitate the transfer of files...
Georgia Keeps It Interesting: Legislature Passes Novel Law on Interest Rates and Refund Claims
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, March 30, 2016
On March 24, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 960 (H.B. 960), which would adjust the statutory interest rate applicable to tax assessments and refunds and addresses other issues related to refund claims for Georgia sales and use taxes.1 H.B. 960 passed the legislature while the...
Quill Part Deux: North Dakota Lost the Nexus Battle. Will South Dakota Win the War?
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, March 24, 2016
On March 22nd, South Dakota Governor Daugaard signed into law Senate Bill 106 (S.B. 106), the passage of which may be the ultimate vehicle to challenge Quill1 at the U.S. Supreme Court. With landslide support in the South Dakota Senate and House of Representatives, S.B. 106 adopts an economic nexus...
New York Federal Court Dismisses Whole Foods Class Action
Andrew D. Appleby,Nicole D. Boutros, March 24, 2016
A federal court dismissed a class action lawsuit against Whole Foods, finding the consumers lacked standing because they could not demonstrate they purchased any of the mislabeled foods for which they claimed Whole Foods systemically overcharged. The consumers alleged that Whole Foods engaged in...
The End of an Era—IRS Issues Additional Guidance on End of Determination Letter Application Program
Brenna M. Clark,Adam B. Cohen,Paul R. Lang,Alice Murtos,Meredith L. O'Leary, March 15, 2016
In 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced changes to its existing determination letter program, namely that the staggered remedial amendment cycle for individually designed retirement plans would end effective January 1, 2017, and the scope of the program would be limited to initial...
New York State Division of Tax Appeals Addresses Unauthorized Insurance Company Taxation
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, March 11, 2016
A New York State Division of Tax Appeals administrative law judge (ALJ) issued three determinations addressing the tax implications for unauthorized insurance companies, both life and non-life.1 Significant uncertainty has surrounded New York State’s taxation of unauthorized insurance...
Electronically-Delivered Software Upgrades Not Taxable in Florida
Jessica A. Eisenmenger,Amy F. Nogid, March 08, 2016
The Florida Department of Revenue determined that software upgrades that are delivered electronically are not subject to sales tax because the upgrade was a stand-alone version of the software and did not rely on the earlier, physically-delivered software to operate. The Department also determined...
SBT Taxpayer Win in Michigan Compact Cases
Samantha K. Trencs,Eric S. Tresh, March 08, 2016
The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the mandatory apportionment provision of the Michigan Single Business Tax Act did not impliedly repeal Michigan’s enactment of the Multistate Tax Compact’s alternative apportionment election provision. In addition, the court held that the Single...
New Michigan Law Exempts Certain Data Center Equipment Purchases from Sales and Use Taxes as of January 1, 2016
Evan M. Hamme,Charles C. Kearns, March 07, 2016
Purchases of “data center equipment for assembly, use, or consumption in the operations of a qualified data center” on or after January 1, 2016, are exempt from Michigan sales and use tax. M.C.L. §§ 205.54ee, 205.94cc; see generally Notice Regarding Data Center Exemption, Feb....
Tenth Circuit Upholds Colorado’s Use Tax Reporting, Limits Quill to Sales and Use Tax Collection
Michele Borens,Jonathan A. Feldman,Jeffrey A. Friedman,Todd A. Lard,Carley A. Roberts, February 23, 2016
Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Tenth Circuit) issued its opinion in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, reversing the district court’s order granting summary judgment.1 The Tenth Circuit held that Colorado’s notice and reporting requirements imposed on...