Richard Chirls, a New York tax partner, focuses his practice on the tax aspects of public finance transactions.  He has served as the head of Orrick’s nationally recognized Public Finance Tax Group.

With over 30 years of experience, Richard is widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost authorities, having broad experience with tax exempt financings and related transactions involving governmental and not-for-profit entities.  His expertise and stature in the public finance community was recognized by the National Association of Bond Lawyers’ highest award for his career of distinguished service in public finance. 

Richard focuses on new products, including the development of new and creative financing techniques for governments, non-profits and investment bankers. He regularly works on transactions throughout the country.  However, in his home office in New York City, he leads the relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, serving as counsel on well over 100 transactions over a period of more than 20 years and has headed the tax work in connection with every financing of a cultural facility relating to museums and performing arts in New York City over this same period.  Richard has worked on the tax aspects of several of the largest and most complex public private partnership (P3) transactions in recent years.  He frequently acts as special tax counsel to issuers and underwriters of municipal finance issues.

  • Richard also conducts the defense to IRS challenges to the tax exempt status of municipal bonds.  He was the lead tax attorney among the joint defense group of 17 investment banking firms that settled the original IRS/SEC/DOJ “yield burning” allegations and subsequently has represented investment banking firms and issuers in connection with investigations involving alleged “yield burning” and “bid-rigging” and other violations of arbitrage restrictions. His work on IRS investigations of tax exempt bonds has covered a broad range of situations, including small issue IDBs, excess private use of governmental and not-for-profit projects, arbitrage driven structures, excess unexpended bond proceeds and the status of community development districts as political subdivisions. The results of these investigations have ranged from the prompt and favorable closing of examinations to complex settlements involving multiple transaction participants and federal regulatory agencies. He has experience with the IRS Voluntary Closing Agreement Program (VCAP) and the resolution of investigations through technical advice from the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and the IRS Office of Appeals. Richard's booklet “An Introduction to IRS Audits of Tax-Exempt Bonds” is a popular resource of information for the public finance community.  

    Richard's practice also involves significant experience with post-issuance tax law compliance such as arbitrage rebate and yield restriction requirements and rebate refund claims (together saving issuer clients many millions of dollars of arbitrage costs), as well as private use monitoring and relief.

    He has lectured and written extensively on municipal finance tax issues.

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