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Tax Controversy

In 2013, Mayer Brown's Tax Controversy practice was recognized by both Chambers USA and Legal 500 US with their highest rankings for the eighth consecutive year.

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Tax Controversy Team of the Year 2014

The Legal 500 US Awards for 2014 recognized Mayer Brown as Team of the Year for Tax Controversy. The award honors the best private practice teams over the past 12 months.

Mayer Brown receives four top tax awards from International Tax Review

Mayer Brown's Tax Controversy practice includes approximately 50 lawyers and is one of the most active in the country. The practice has been ranked as a Tier 1 firm by both Chambers and Legal 500 for seven consecutive years, and a number of our partners have been touted as leaders in the field. The depth of our capabilities allows us to represent clients in a variety of situations, whether counseling corporations during tax audits, pursuing administrative appeals of audit results, or litigating tax matters at the trial court or appellate court level. Clients hire us because of our extensive experience in all areas and especially because of our litigation experience we know when to go to court, and we know how to litigate. Mayer Brown's Tax Controversy lawyers have experience litigating major tax cases in US federal courts: collectively we have litigated more than 100 US tax cases. We have extensive worldwide experience in areas including audits, administrative appeals, litigation and appellate.

Audits
Our Tax Controversy lawyers understand that an efficient and successful resolution to tax controversies often begins with skillful representation before court involvement. We assist clients with large case audits, in answering IDRs, in dealing with IRS agents and in formulating overall audit strategies. Our role in the audit depends on the needs of each individual client and the circumstances of each case, including the intensity of IRS counsel's activity in the audit. In some audits, we have played a lead role at the request of the taxpayer, in effect managing the entire audit; in others, we have served a purely advisory role, staying in the background with no direct contact with the IRS.

In the United States, we have conducted audits related to cross-border transfer pricing for goods, services and intangibles; economic substance issues pertaining to leasing and financial products; debt versus equity characterization; corporate acquisitions and divestitures, including the tax treatment of tangible and intangible assets in acquisitions; tax accounting issues; conversion of possessions corporation to controlled foreign corporation status; offshore insurance operations; issues concerning whether a taxpayer is engaged in a US trade or business or has effectively connected US source income; sourcing of export sales income; manufacturing characterization for Subpart F purposes; creditability of foreign taxes and the US implications of foreign country taxation; and transactions that result in utilization of foreign tax credits. Skillful representation during audits is especially important to resolve transfer pricing controversies quickly and efficiently, particularly in today's environment of increased scrutiny on related-party transactions. In the United Kingdom, we have extensive experience acting for corporate taxpayers on a wide range of tax disputes, including negotiating settlements with the UK tax authority and experience at every level of the UK tax appeals system. In addition, our Paris tax group has assisted with tax audits and litigation relating to a wide range of issues.

Successful representation in large corporate audits involves not only substantive tax understanding, but also mastery of unique and sometimes arcane procedural rules.

Administrative Appeals
Our US lawyers have handled many cases in the IRS Appeals Office and have substantial experience negotiating with IRS Appeals officers and representing taxpayers before Appeals. We have also participated in the Fast Track mediation process with IRS Exam, which involves using IRS Appeals personnel as mediators. We have also been involved in negotiating with the IRS to establish arbitration and mediation procedures used as an alternative to trial for resolving cases.

Among other issues handled in Appeals, we have handled several large cases involving transfer pricing issues, customer-based intangibles, employee benefits and executive compensation issues, debt-equity characterization, leasing, involuntary conversion, subpart F issues, FSC and ETI issues, and such corporate issues as like-kind exchanges, leveraged buy-outs, and the deductibility of interest on debt incurred to redeem stock. We have handled Appeals cases for clients from a wide array of industries, including many of the world's largest pharmaceutical and technology companies.

Litigation
For most taxpayers, litigation is an option of last resort. Indeed, the vast majority of controversy matters are settled before litigation becomes necessary. Nevertheless, it is our philosophy that advantageous settlements are most often achieved when the IRS believes that the taxpayer's counsel is willing and able to litigate if the need arises. We have found that tax litigation is conducted most effectively by lawyers who have a solid background in tax and who are also trained in the unique skills of litigation. For this reason, the lawyers in our tax controversy group spend virtually all of their time on tax controversy matters. This focus ensures that skillful representation in the courtroom is combined with sophisticated tax advice.

Collectively, we have litigated more than 100 US tax cases. Particular areas of focus within our group include cross-border transfer pricing for goods, services and intangibles; economic substance issues; corporate reorganizations; leasing and financial products issues, including LILOs; tax-advantaged transactions; tax treatment of tangible and intangible assets in acquisitions; tax accounting issues; offshore insurance operations; issues concerning whether a taxpayer is engaged in a US trade or business or has effectively connected US source income; sourcing of export sales income; manufacturing characterization for subpart F purposes; entitlement to, and computation of, FSC and ETI benefits; and bank taxation, particularly with regard to creditability of foreign taxes and the US implications of foreign-country taxation.

Appellate
Drawing on the resources of the firm's renowned Supreme Court and Appellate practice, our tax appellate lawyers offer a valuable combination of technical tax knowledge, broad experience in pursuing appeals and practical experience in trying tax cases in the courts of first instance.

We have successfully represented taxpayers on appeal from lower court decisions in major tax cases and have participated directly in the briefing and argument of cases of major importance to the development of tax law.

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