Mayer Brown’s State & Local Tax practice assists businesses and individuals with tax controversies and tax planning issues in jurisdictions throughout the United States. Our attorneys possess experience handling a broad array of state tax issues and are known for their experience and commitment to client service.
In the controversy area, our attorneys assist with everything from state tax administrative appeals to United States Supreme Court litigation involving constitutional issues. We have experience working with administrative agencies in nearly every state to obtain favorable, confidential settlements for our clients. When settlement is not possible, we have the resources to handle even the most complex state tax litigation matter and if necessary to take it “all the way up.” Our firm recently won the Polar Tankers v. City of Valdez case before the United States Supreme Court, a closely-watched case among state and local tax practitioners.
In the planning area, our attorneys regularly provide advice and solutions with respect to the state and local tax consequences of complex transactions.
We have experience with a wide variety of state and local taxes, including but not limited to, corporate income taxes, financial institution taxes, insurance taxes, gross receipts taxes, franchise taxes, personal income taxes, sales and use taxes, real estate transfer taxes, employment withholding taxes and telecommunications taxes.
We also regularly advise clients in the following areas:
We have assisted clients with nexus disputes in many different states, including with respect to hot-button issues such as economic nexus. We have handled nexus audits, nexus litigation, and have offered written and oral advice concerning whether certain activities create nexus. Where appropriate, we have assisted clients in obtaining voluntary disclosure agreements, both directly through the states and through the Multistate Tax Commission.
Tax Base Issues
We have offered nationwide advice with respect to whether certain income should be included in the tax base in relevant jurisdictions. Additionally, we have assisted clients with business/non-business income and unitary/non-unitary income audits and litigation across the country.
Composition of State Tax Group/Combined Group
We have worked with clients to determine which corporations should be included in a combined group. We have experience handling audits in which state tax authorities are attempting to add corporations to a combined group or remove corporations from a combined group.
Sales and Use Tax Planning and Structuring
Our attorneys are regularly asked to consider the most efficient tax structure from a sales and use tax perspective, including providing insight with respect to the applicability of relevant exemptions.
We have represented website operators in state tax audits on the issue of whether the website is providing a non-taxable service or is licensing tangible personal property. We have offered advice on the applicability of Amazon laws to various businesses and have offered advice with respect to how it might be possible to overcome the presumption of constitutionality contained in Amazon statutes.
Our attorneys regularly advise financial institutions on numerous issues, including offering our opinion with respect to whether certain entities should be classified as general business corporations or as financial institutions. We have consulted with respect to the state tax treatment of excess inclusion income and have advised financial institutions about whether certain offices constituted a “branch” for state tax purposes.
We regularly handle important state tax issues that are pivotal to the insurance industry, including retaliatory taxes and consideration of whether certain entities should be classified as general business corporations or as financial institutions. We also have experience with state tax issues relating to captive insurance companies, including state laws and administrative positions that are designed to undermine the benefits of captive insurance companies.
Federal Conformity/Non-Conformity Issues
Our attorneys have offered advice concerning the availability of net operating losses in numerous jurisdictions. We have assisted with multi-state audits, planning, and refund claims when federal/state non-conformity has produced unintended state tax results.
Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy
We have drafted federal legislation and model state tax legislation. With only minor modification, legislation that we have drafted has been introduced in Congress and has been adopted in several states. We have publicly and privately opposed certain regulatory changes and have written letters to decision-makers at numerous state tax agencies on behalf of clients urging implementation of statutory and regulatory measures.
Tax Credits and Incentives
We have assisted clients in obtaining state and local tax credits and incentives, including companies seeking to locate or expand in a particular jurisdiction and we can negotiate economic development incentives.
Our attorneys have handled over a hundred residency audits. We understand the principles of domicile, statutory residency, and allocation of income, and utilize those principles to advocate for good results on behalf of clients. We also have experience with residency planning.
We have guided clients undergoing multi-state unclaimed property audits and with unclaimed property planning issues.
White Collar Tax Defense
Our attorneys have experience representing businesses and individuals in criminal matters relating to state taxes. We also have experience with state false claims act/whistleblower/qui tam actions and consult with businesses on preventive steps to avoid such suits.
Mayer Brown’s State & Local Tax practice consists of highly regarded professionals that are client focused and practical. Our years of experience working both within and without tax agencies allows us to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to any state or local tax issue. We frequently write articles that are published in the leading state and local tax journals and we are asked to speak at conferences.