Areas of Practice
Roburt focuses his practice on state and local tax, regularly representing clients in controversy matters, from audit through litigation, and advising clients on transactional and planning matters.
Roburt was a member of the Executive Committee of the California State Bar, Taxation Section and a former chair of the Banking and Savings Institutions Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section. He has participated in the invitation-only State Bar of California, Taxation Section, Eagle Lodge West conference in 2010 (Franchise Tax Board Sessions), 2012 (State Board of Equalization Sessions), 2013 (State Board of Equalization Sessions), 2014 (Franchise Tax Board Sessions) and 2017 (Board of Equalization Sessions). He is a frequent speaker on state tax matters at conferences throughout the country, including those sponsored by the American Bar Association; the State Bar of California, Taxation Section; the San Francisco Bar Association; Tax Executives Institute (TEI); Council on State Taxation (COST); and BNA/Cite. He is a contributing author to the CCH California Tax Analysis: Corporation Tax (2d ed.) and has coauthored articles published in BNA's Tax Management series, the Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, and Tax Analysts' State Tax Notes.
•Best Lawyers Orange County Tax Law Lawyer of the Year, 2014, 2016, 2018
•The Best Lawyers in America: Tax Law 2013-2019
•Super Lawyers: Rising Star Edition 2009
How Should California Policymakers Respond to Cutler? Tax Analysts, April 8, 2013
Update on Qualified Small Business Stock: New Federal Legislation and Status of California Rules, March 2013
State & Local: Winds of Change in California in the Apportionment of Income of Banks and Bank Affiliates, Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, March/April 2012
California: Single Sales Factor and Market-Based Sourcing, Jones Day State Tax Return, December 2011
Potentially Disruptive California Sales Tax Decision (Updated to Reflect Recent Developments), Jones Day State Tax Return, October 2011
Potentially Disruptive California Sales Tax Decision, June 2011
French Desk Blog Posts
•Monumental Shift in Sales Tax Collection Requirements for Remote Retailers, June 27, 2018
•Former Jones Day Tax Partner Heads to Sheppard Mullin
Law360, January 5, 2015
•To Regulate or Not to Regulate in California: Isn’t There a Regulation for That?, 2015 Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar and California Tax Policy Conference, La Jolla, California, November 4-6, 2015
•A Discussion Toward Better Use of Tax Credits and Incentives, 2014 Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar and California Tax Policy Conference, San Diego, California, November 6-8, 2014
•State Bar Taxation Section - Annual Income Tax Seminar. State Taxation of Cloud and E-Commerce, including economic presence nexus and sales / use tax consequences, Costa Mesa, California, June 28, 2013
•Possibilities and Pitfalls of Acquisitions, Dispositions and Reorganizations; Unraveling the Complexities of the Sales Factor Computation The Future of State Taxation, moderate panelist, Tax Executives Institute, Inc. Orange County Chapter
•Newport Beach, California, May 1, 2013
•Conformity to the IRC or Lack Thereof: Traps for the Unwary, 2012 Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar & California Tax Policy Conference, San Diego, California, November 1-3, 2012
•Key Issues State Tax Professionals May Not Be Expecting, Including Unclaimed Property, Personal Liability and Work Product Confidentiality, Council on State Taxation (COST) North Atlantic Regional State Tax Meeting, New York, New York, September 19, 2012
•National Litigation - Update of Key State Tax Cases - including Supreme Court Roundup, Apportionment, Combined Returns (including treatment of disregarded entities), Nexus and State-Optional Apportionment & Taxation Regimes, Council on State Taxation (COST) 2012 North Atlantic Regional State Tax Seminar, New York, New York, September 19, 2012
•Business & Non-Business Income State Tax Update, State & Local Tax Webinar, February 23, 2012
•Update on Property Tax Litigation and Legislation - Western States, Council on State Taxation (COST) 2012 Property Tax Workshop, Dallas, Texas, February 8-9, 2012
•State Tax Cases and Issues to Watch and Fair Reflections: Defending Against or Applying Alternative Apportionment, Counsel on State Taxation (COST) Pacific Southwest Regional State Tax Seminar, Phoenix, Arizona, December 13, 2011
•What Nortel Really Means For Your Business in California, Webcast, October 6, 2011
•State Sales and Use Tax Compliance, McKesson Tax Conference, San Antonio, Texas, May 23-24, 2011
•Tax Section Committee Panel, ABA Tax Section Meeting, Washington, D.C., May 5-7, 2011
•Domestic IP Management Companies: State and Local Tax Planning, BNA Tax & Accounting and the Council for International Tax Education (CITE) 6th Annual U.S. Taxation of Intellectual Property, San Francisco, California, March 21, 2011
•California Tax Update and 2011 Legislative Projection, TEI Dallas Chapter Current Developments Tax Seminar, Dallas, Texas, November 12, 2010
•What Have We To Fear From State Legislatures in 2011?, TEI Dallas Chapter Current Developments Tax Seminar, Dallas, Texas, November 12, 2010
•California Legislation: Like Gravity, It’s the Law, 2010 California Tax Policy Conference, San Diego, California, November 4-6, 2010
Represented California taxpayer in income tax residency and stock option dispute, and related petition for recovery of attorney’s fees.
Represented California taxpayers in favorable resolution of audit involving qualified small business stock.
Represented a large information services company in a California franchise tax protest of Franchise Tax Board's disallowance of claimed research tax credit.
Represented a multinational conglomerate in connection with its California franchise tax protests of certain unitary group composition and business/nonbusiness income determinations.
Matters handled prior to joining Sheppard Mullin
Advised ALEKS Corporation, the privately held developer of the ALEKS adaptive learning technology for the K-12 and higher education markets, in its merger with McGraw-Hill Education.
Represented numerous California taxpayers in income tax residency and stock option income disputes.
Represented a large real estate information and service provider in a favorable resolution of New York sales and use tax audit.
Represented a major electronics research and development company in a California sales and use tax audit.
Assisted multinational health industry products and services company with local tax compliance.
Represented Old Carco Liquidation Trust, successor to Chrysler LLC, on matters related to state tax refunds.
Represented taxpayers in California in a favorable resolution of small business stock disputes, including an audit, protest and settlement.
Represented a transportation services company in a successful resolution of a federal fuel excise tax dispute.
Represented a large claims management solutions provider in a successful appeal of local business tax assessment.
Represented a large freight logistics company in a Maryland nexus dispute.
Represented a multinational conglomerate in a favorable resolution of California franchise tax protest involving the question whether income from a captive venture fund is business or nonbusiness income.
Assisted an out-of-Texas retailer establish that it did not have substantial nexus with Texas.
Advised Emergency Communications Network affiliated group of companies, a leading provider of critical, time-sensitive communications to people on behalf of government entities and schools, in connection with its acquisition by The Riverside Company.
Prepared and filed with the U.S. Supreme Court an amicus brief in support of a petition for certiorari filed by petitioners, Macy’s Department Stores (No. 06-1360). The question presented was whether a taxing authority may grant only a partial refund to a taxpayer that cannot be applied equally to other similarly situated taxpayers, when taxpayer successfully challenged a state or local tax on the ground that it discriminates against interstate commerce and was not permitted to make a pre-payment challenge. Amici curiae included National Retail Federation and California Taxpayers’ Assn.
Prepared and filed with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals an amicus brief for in support of appellants Medical Transportation Management Corp. and Zuni Transportation (Case No.: 06-16583-CC). The question presented was whether the tax court erred when it determined that paratransit services do not qualify for federal fuel excise tax exemptions. Amici curiae included MV Transportation, Laidlaw Transit Services, and First Transit.
Represented taxpayer in successful suit for refund of California franchise tax. The issue was propriety of Franchise Tax Board’s disallowance of taxpayer’s deduction of management expenses on the theory that such expenses were incurred to earn nontaxable income. Mercury General Corporation v. Franchise Tax Board, San Francisco Superior Court (CGC-07-462688).
Represented taxpayer in successful suit for refund of California franchise tax. Question presented was whether Franchise Tax Board’s disallowance of taxpayer’s interest expense deduction on the theory such expenses were incurred to earn nontaxable income was proper. Subsidiary issue was whether taxpayer was engaged in more than one unitary business. Also, successfully established that the position of the FTB was not substantially justified, allowing taxpayer to receive attorneys fees at market rates. American General Realty Investment Corporation, Inc. v. Franchise Tax Board, San Francisco Superior Court (CGC-03-425690).
Represented taxpayer in suit for refund, and appeal therefrom. Issues at trial involved propriety of BOE’s use of “alter ego” theory to support nexus and the applicability and constitutionality of California’s drop-shipper statute. On appeal, issues were the applicability and constitutionality of California’s drop-shipper statute. Mason Shoe Manufacturing Company v. Board of Equalization, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three (A104964); San Francisco Superior Court (Case No.: 411873).
Represented taxpayer in suit for refund of gross premiums tax paid. Issue involved the constitutionality of California’s retaliatory tax regime. MBIA Insurance Corporation v. State Board of Equalization, San Francisco Superior Court (CGC-99-308484).
Represented taxpayer in appeal to the California Court of Appeal and Petition for Review by the California Supreme Court. The issue involved whether taxpayer was entitled to apply a solar energy credit to the combined tax liability of the entire unitary group of companies of which it was a part, rather than just to the separate company that held an ownership interest in the premises on which the solar energy system was installed. Guy F. Atkinson Company of California v. Franchise Tax Board, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three (A085075).
Represented taxpayer in successful appeal to the Board of Equalization (5-0 decision). The case involved whether the state’s sales and use tax regulation for “florists” applied to online retailers of flowers. Proflowers, Inc. (155104).
Represented taxpayer Nearon Enterprises in successful appeal of Notice of Action of franchise tax due. The issue involved whether certain of taxpayer’s real estate transactions qualified as tax-deferred IRC Section 1031 exchanges. The FTB conceded the case just days before the scheduled hearing.
Represented taxpayer in successful appeal to the California Board of Equalization (5-0 decision). Issues in the case involved the applicability of certain exemptions from the state motor fuels taxes based on the nature of the services provided by taxpayer. MV Transportation, Inc. (136040, 136141, 136097).
Represented a multinational bank in connection with its California franchise tax protest of the Franchise Tax Board’s treatment of certain transactions as tax shelters.
Represented a multinational financial institution in connection with its California franchise tax protest of a nexus determination.
Represented a large remote retailer in connection with its California tax protest of certain unitary group composition and nexus determinations.
Represented a multinational bank in a California tax audit, where the primary issue was whether certain receipts were properly included in the receipts factor denominator.
Represented a large financial institution in connection with its favorable resolution of a California franchise tax nexus dispute.
Represented Barclays Global Investors in connection with its participation in a California regulation project to adopt industry-specific regulations for mutual fund service providers.
Represented Barclays Global Investors in connection with its participation in a California regulation project to revise regulations that require the partial inclusion of entities in a water’s-edge return.
Represented Proflowers in connection with its participation in a California regulation project to revise the sales and use tax “florist” regulation.
Assisted several large multinational banks and corporations in their review and consideration of the applicability of California’s regulations concerning deferred intercompany stock accounts.
Advised multinational pharmaceutical company on various California tax matters, including with respect to “instant unity” and multiple unitary group analysis.
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