Orrick’s Tax Advocacy Group is comprised of a team of highly experienced attorneys who have collaborated to successfully represent clients in tax matters in a wide variety of adversarial proceedings, from the audit level through the appellate courts, and in both civil and criminal matters.

The Tax Advocacy Group has successfully represented taxpayers in various fora, including the U.S. Tax Court, various trial and appellate courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Internal Revenue Service, and state tax authorities. The group litigates on behalf of clients in state and federal courts, and advocates for taxpayers seeking determinations from the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities. These proceedings have involved nearly all types of U.S. federal, state and local taxes, as well as foreign income tax and VAT.

Our clients include domestic and foreign corporations, public entities, partnerships, tax-exempt entities, and individuals. Often we add the most value when we become involved early in the audit stage, so that we can help prevent strategic or evidentiary missteps that can later prejudice the taxpayer. We work to minimize the number of issues raised during the audit and to resolve potentially large disputes before they surface publicly.

  • We have litigated federal income tax cases in the U.S. Tax Court, and valuation issues in income and estate and gift tax in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeal. We have sought rulings and determinations from the Internal Revenue Service and various state tax authorities.

    Illustrative types of issues resolved administratively at the audit and appellate levels include:

    • Representation of captive insurance company in NYS audit
    • Representation of corporate officer in NYS sales tax matter
    • Representation of employer in Tax Court regarding employee misclassification
    • Representation of S Corporation in obtaining a favorable ruling from the IRS regarding inadvertent termination of S Corporation election
    • Representation of an individual in dealings with the IRS Whistleblower Office
    • Representation of a defendant indicted in New York State criminal court for conspiracy to commit income tax and sales tax violations
    • Persuaded the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York not to prosecute an accountant for allegedly assisting a public official to evade taxes
    • Representation of an options trader in a tax shelter case brought by the Department of Justice
    • Representation of an executive of a Swiss bank in a congressional investigation into undeclared foreign bank accounts
    • Representation of both individuals and businesses in complex civil and criminal tax shelter investigations by IRS and Department of Justice
    • Representation of clients participating in the IRS Voluntary Closing Agreement Program (VCAP)
    • Resolution of investigations through technical advice from the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and the IRS Office of Appeals
    • Representation of municipal bond issuers in IRS audits of tax exempt bonds
    • Representation of investment banking firms and issuers in connection with investigations involving alleged “yield burning” and “bid-rigging” and other violations of tax exempt bond arbitrage restrictions
    • Routinely advising Fortune 500 companies on the U.S. federal and state tax consequences of their executives’ global travel and relocations
    • Representation of numerous individuals to avoid prosecution by entering them into the DOJ's Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative relating to their unreported income from foreign bank accounts, including analysis of attendant controlled foreign corporation (CFC) and passive foreign investment company (PFIC) consequences

    Specific cases include:
     

    • Kunath v. City of Seattle, No. 17-2-18848-4 (Wa. Sup. Ct. Nov. 22, 2017)
      In a case that has attracted widespread attention in Washington State and nationally, an Orrick team won a major ruling finding a proposed Seattle city income tax violates the state Constitution.
    • Volpicelli v. United States, No. 12-15029 (9th Cir. 2015)
      An Orrick team successfully obtained a reversal by the Ninth Circuit, which held that a wrongful-levy claimant was entitled to a finding as to whether he had shown that the applicable limitation period could be equitably tolled.
    • Galaxy 1 Marketing, Inc. v. Commissioner, No. 28587-10 (U.S. Tax Court 2013)
      An Orrick team achieved a favorable settlement involving employee misclassification.
    • United States v. Mead Corp., 533 U.S. 218 (2001)
      Orrick successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that U.S. Customs ruling letters should not be treated like Customs regulations, which receive the highest level of judicial deference under the Chevron Doctrine.
    • Transamerica Corporation v. United States, 999 F.2d 1362 (9th Cir. 1993)
      An Orrick team obtained a favorable result when the Ninth Circuit upheld the propriety of the income forecast method of depreciating motion picture film costs.
    • Harper v. Commissioner, 979 F.2d 1341 (9th Cir. 1992)
      Orrick successfully litigated the leading captive offshore insurance case, prevailing in the Tax Court and the Ninth Circuit that risk shifting and risk distribution were present where the captive received a minority percentage of its premiums from unrelated parties.

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