State and Local Tax Planning & Controversy

State and Local Tax Controversy


While tax law came first at Chamberlain Hrdlicka and remains a core strength of our diversified practice, State and Local Tax (“SALT”) attorneys bring many years of SALT experience to the representation of their clients.   

We represent a full range of clients from individual home owners to public and private multinational corporations for all facets of the, SALT controversy process. Our SALT attorneys substantive experience spans the full scope of SALT including: corporate income tax, capital stock tax, franchise tax, personal income tax, sales and use tax, realty transfer tax, bank taxes, insurance company taxes, utility taxes, gross receipts taxes (state or local), hotel taxes, fuel taxes, real estate tax assessment and real estate tax exemption. 

At the state and local level our representation of clients includes audits, administrative appeals and judicial appeals, including state intermediate appellate courts, state Supreme courts and U.S. Supreme Court. This breadth of experience enables us to provide continuity of representation throughout the controversy process, ensuring the highest levels of sophistication and service that our clients need as well as the focus upon efficient case management and cost control that they should expect. Unlike firms that profess to handle "tax controversies," using general litigators and transactional tax lawyers to staff the occasional tax dispute, we maintain one of the most active and highly regarded SALT controversy and litigation practices in the United States, contemporaneously handling multiple cases at various stages of the controversy process. Our clients value this experience as well as the reputation and credibility it  earns us with state and local taxing officials and state and local government lawyers throughout the United States Such experience not only enables us to anticipate from the early stages of  the SALT controversy process issues and disputes that could arise during subsequent proceedings, but also to successfully resolve such disputes  favorably through negotiated settlements.

Tax Planning


Complementing our controversy practice is our equally sophisticated planning and transactional practice, which serves domestic and foreign multinational companies across a wide variety of industries, from apparel and tools to construction and energy and internet and technology.

In the area of SALT planning, our attorneys advise and assist Fortune 500 companies about SALT minimization, including

  • Transfer pricing analyses
     
  • Contract manufacturing arrangements
     
  • Licensing intangible assets
     
  • Successor liability - Choice of entity - Asset allocation - Corporate reorganizations       

Additionally, we have extensive experience structuring and advising clients with respect to complex financial products and cross-border financial transactions, including hedging transactions and captive insurance arrangements.

Chamberlain Hrdlicka also is the sole United States law firm belonging to the International Tax Group ("ITG"), an elite group of international tax lawyers from five continents. The ITG meets  regularly  around the globe, where members exchange ideas and information about current tax issues and developments affecting multinational companies.

Our domestic tax planning spans the full range of Federal, state and local tax issues. Our practice ranges from traditional concerns, such as corporate, partnership, and joint venture planning to cutting-edge issues, such as the application of FIN 48 to complex transactions as well as administrative and judicial proceedings. We also have significant experience in specialized areas, such as:

  • Accounting method issues, including inventory methods and capitalization
     
  • Consolidated returns
     
  • Real estate development
     
  • Insolvency and workout arrangements
     
  • Competent authority negotiations
     
  • Tax-exempt organizations

Finally, we possess significant experience  negotiating advance pricing agreements and submitting ruling requests to the IRS, and state and local government officials.

Representative Matters


Our track record of achievement for our clients speaks for itself. Some of the  featured matters .for which we were counsel follow. A more extensive list is available by visiting our web site.

  • Northwood Construction Company v. Upper Moreland Township, 856 A.2d 789 (Pa. 2004) Obtained a reversal by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of a decision by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court wherein the Supreme Court held that it was a violation of the United States Constitution's Commerce Clause for a municipal gross receipts tax to be imposed without apportionment of interstate gross receipts. 
     
  • In re Expedia Inc., Tax Review Board Opinion 10-9 (2010)
     
  • Successfully challenged before the Philadelphia Tax Review Board a Philadelphia Hotel Room Rental Tax assessment made against an online travel company wherein it was held that only an operator of the hotel could be subject to the tax and that the online travel company was not an operator of the hotel.  The decision of the Board was affirmed by the Court of Common Pleas and the Commonwealth Court. A petition seeking permission to appeal is presently pending before the Supreme Court.
     
  • Philadelphia Eagles v. Philadelphia Tax Review Board, 573 Pa189, 823 A.2d 108 (2003)).   
     
  • Represented the amicus curiae, supporting the appeal of the Philadelphia Eagles football club before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which held that the royalties received by the football team from its share of the National Football League's national television contracts was taxable gross receipts subject to Philadelphia's Business Privilege Tax to the extent the football games were played in Philadelphia only. 
     
  • Cardinal Health PCS., Inc. v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 255 FR 2008 (Commonwealth Court ) 
     
  • Obtained a complete concession by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania while a Commonwealth Court appeal was pending arising from a determination that net worth adjustments resulting from a corporate reorganization should be included as book income when calculating the corporation's foreign franchise tax liability.
     
  • Wissinoming Bottling Company v. School District of Philadelphia, 654 A.2d 208, (Pa. Commw. 1995), affirmed by an evenly divided Supreme Court, 543 Pa. 402, 672 A.2d 279 (1996). 
     
  • Successfully challenged the assertion by the School District of Philadelphia that distributors of malt and brewed beverages were subject to the School District's Use and Occupancy Tax. The Court held that the Commonealth's regulation of the distribution of malt and brewed beverages was so complete and so pervasive that the Commonwealth impliedly preempted the right of the School District to impose its tax upon distributors of malt and brewed beverages.

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Peer Reviews

  • 4.9/5.0 (57)
  • Legal Knowledge

    4.9/5.0
  • Analytical Capability

    4.9/5.0
  • Judgment

    4.9/5.0
  • Communication

    4.9/5.0
  • Legal Experience

    4.9/5.0

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Client Reviews

  • 4.6/5.0 (3)
  • 67% (2)
  • Communication

    5.0/5.0
  • Responsiveness

    5.0/5.0
  • Quality of Service

    4.7/5.0
  • Value for Money

    3.7/5.0
  • I was the top tax professional at a large corporation and Herb provided tax services to the company. I worked with Herb for at least 20 years and he d...

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    I was the top tax professional at a large corporation and Herb provided tax services to the company. I worked with Herb for at least 20 years and he did an outstanding job for us. You will not find anyone better!

    • Communication

      5.0/5.0
    • Responsiveness

      5.0/5.0
    • Quality of Service

      5.0/5.0
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      5.0/5.0
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  • EXCELLENT

    • Communication

      5.0/5.0
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      5.0/5.0
    • Quality of Service

      5.0/5.0
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      5.0/5.0
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  • I had very unfortunate experience with this lawyer and as a result of my experience I do not recommend Mr. Lowy to any individual clients. Mr. Lowy ac...

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    I had very unfortunate experience with this lawyer and as a result of my experience I do not recommend Mr. Lowy to any individual clients. Mr. Lowy actively solicited my case only to drop it midway when he was needed the most. He cares more about his business than about his clients. He caused me a lot of inconvenience but did not offer apology or compensation for dropping my matter.

    • Communication

      5.0/5.0
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      5.0/5.0
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Diversity

 Chamberlain Hrdlicka instituted the Diversity and Attorney Development Committee, a cross section of our attorneys, in an effort to foster an inclusive environment among its attorneys and staff.  The Firm has long embraced the enduring values of opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and a community of all.  We further believe that the Firm, and more importantly, our clients will benefit from the many perspectives and talents of attorneys and staff from different backgrounds.

What does diversity mean to Chamberlain Hrdlicka?

Diversity is absolutely integral to Chamberlain Hrdlicka's vision, strategy, and continued success. It is part of the foundation of our law firm culture.  Diversity makes Chamberlain Hrdlicka a better, stronger law firm and a better place to work.  It enables us to better serve our diverse clients' needs and provide outstanding service to our clients and communities. And as a result, it makes it possible for us to deliver more value to our clients and the communities in which we live and practice.

Chamberlain Hrdlicka recognizes that by making diversity a competitive advantage, we can:

  • Increase the inclusiveness of the Firm's work environment
  • Better understand our diverse clients' needs
  • Give clients and communities outstanding service
  • Deliver more value to our clients

The Firm has set diversity policies and objectives, and measures success with:

  • Hiring, retaining, and promoting diverse attorneys and staff
  • Serving diverse clients
  • Partnering with diverse communities

Chamberlain Hrdlicka's Diversity Objectives

We have identified four strategic steps for becoming a more diverse law firm:

1.   Executive management team takes responsibility for diversity.

We hold ourselves and others accountable.  The Diversity and Attorney Development Committee makes recommendations to our Executive Committee and Practice Section Chairs, and helps ensure that our Firm is making measurable progress in:

  • Diversity education
  • Recruiting and placement efforts of diverse attorneys and staff members
  • Building a management team inclusive of people of color, women, and other diverse groups

2.   Our associates participate in the Development and Mentoring Program in an effort to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds are in all levels of the Firm.

The Diversity and Attorney Development Committee in partnership with the Executive Committee and Recruiting Committee are accountable for attracting diverse candidates and for developing and retaining a diverse leadership pipeline. We want management to consider diverse candidates for every open position at the Firm.  Chamberlain Hrdlicka has a plan for increasing diversity at the management level.

The American Bar Association has recognized that many female and ethnically diverse attorneys cite the lack of training, client interaction, and opportunities to work on meaningful projects as bases for leaving private law firm practice.  As such, the Diversity and Attorney Development Committee has developed and instituted a comprehensive mentoring program to ensure that all associates benefit from equal opportunities to develop their legal skills, and that our clients, in turn, benefit from working with highly skilled associates.

Our diversity objectives will be achieved, in part, by instituting and acting upon policies to ensure that all of our team members have meaningful opportunities and resources for developing their skills and talents.

3.   We have long-term relationships with diverse communities.

We use targeted marketing to build awareness of client services we tailor to respond to their needs.  Some examples of our Firm's relationships with diverse communities include active participation at all levels in the following organizations:

  • Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials
  • Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Hispanic Contractors Association of Georgia
  • Houston Minority Owned Businesses
  • Houston Women Owned Businesses

4.   We contribute to the diverse communities in which we live and work.

The Firm's charitable giving benefits diverse communities and we partner with many community-based groups.  For example, our Firm's attorneys hold leadership positions, volunteer their time, and/or otherwise support the following diverse organizations:

 

  • 11Alive Community Service
  • Agape Center
  • AIDS Atlanta
  • American Jewish Committee
  • Atlanta Women's and Children's Center
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston
  • Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Buckhead Lion's Club
  • ClubBlue (Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta)
  • Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
  • Georgia Equality
  • Georgia Justice Project
  • Green Law
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
  • Helping Elder Hands (Houston Young Lawyers Association)
  • Hispanic Bar Association of Houston
  • Houston Lawyers Association
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Law Day (Houston Bar Association)
  • LegalLines (Houston Bar Association)
  • Mexican American Bar Association of Houston
  • Mexican American Bar Association of Texas
  • Restoring Hope In New Orleans
  • Texas Minority Counsel Program
  • Texas Women Lawyers
  • The Glenn Institute for Philanthropy and Service Learning
  • The Shepherd Center
  • Tomorrow's Attorney Pipeline Program
  • Truancy Intervention Project 
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church Task Force on Poverty
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Our Firm's attorneys hold leadership positions, volunteer their time, and/or otherwise support the following diverse organizations:

  • 11Alive Community Service
  • Agape Center
  • AID Atlanta
  • American Jewish Committee
  • Atlanta Women's and Children's Center
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston
  • Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Buckhead Lion's Club
  • ClubBlue (Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta)
  • Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials 
  • Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
  • Georgia Equality
  • Georgia Justice Project
  • Green Law
  • Helping Elder Hands (Houston Young Lawyers Association)
  • Hispanic Bar Association of Houston
  • Hispanic Contractors Association of Georgia 
  • Houston Lawyers Association
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta 
  • Law Day (Houston Bar Association)
  • LegalLines (Houston Bar Association)
  • Mexican American Bar Association of Houston
  • Mexican American Bar Association of Texas
  • Oceans for Youth
  • Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta 
  • Restoring Hope In New Orleans
  • Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation
  • Texas Minority Counsel Program
  • Texas Women Lawyers
  • The Glenn Institute for Philanthropy and Service Learning
  • The Shepherd Center
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church Task Force on Poverty
  • Tomorrow's Attorney Pipeline Program
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

The Diversity and Attorney Development Committee makes recommendations to our Executive Committee and Practice Section Chairs, and helps ensure that our Firm is making measurable progress in:

  • Diversity education
  • Recruiting and placement efforts of diverse attorneys and staff members
  • Building a management team inclusive of people of color, women, and other diverse groups