In the field of taxation, Irell & Manella LLP has enjoyed a national reputation for decades. The firm’s origins more than 50 years ago were principally in the tax field. We have expertise in virtually every aspect of federal, state, local, and international taxation of public and privately owned C and S corporations, as well as partnerships, limited liability companies, individuals, trusts, and tax-exempt entities.
In addition to the exceptional legal work performed for clients, Irell tax attorneys are active in the tax work of national professional organizations such as the American Law Institute and American Bar Association. Many of our attorneys conduct continuing education courses and seminars for attorneys, accountants, and businesspersons and publish articles in prominent tax periodicals. A number teach, or have taught, at distinguished law schools such as Boalt Hall, NYU, UCLA, USC, and Yale. One Irell & Manella attorney co-authored several widely used law school texts on taxation. Two other attorneys are general editor and contributing author, respectively, of the bankruptcy tax volume of the Colliers Bankruptcy series, which is also published as a separate one-volume treatise on bankruptcy taxation. Irell & Manella attorneys have supported the University of Southern California Tax Institute for 50 years, serving as founders, chairs, members of the planning committee, and speakers. Another Irell and Manella attorney served for several years on the Presidential Advisory Commission, recommending nominees to the Federal Tax Court, and the same attorney was a member of the Advisory Group to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the tax committees of several presidential candidates. One attorney is a former chair of the Corporate Tax Committee, and two are former chairs of the Affiliated and Related Corporations Committee of the Tax Section of the ABA. Two attorneys have held significant executive posts in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy of the U.S. Treasury Department.
Many Irell attorneys, through their involvement in tax organizations, have taken an active interest in the interpretation and general reform of the U.S. tax laws. On a regular basis, the firm also has advised clients on the potential impact of pending federal or state legislation and regulation, and has assisted in their efforts to influence such legislation and regulation. We believe that our professional tax activities are an important part of tax practice in view of the frequent and significant changes in the content and interpretation of our tax laws.
Business Tax Practice
Our business tax practice includes all aspects of mergers, acquisitions, sales, reorganizations, restructurings, distributions, and financings for both closely held and publicly held organizations. We encourage our attorneys to focus on both the business and tax aspects of the entire transaction because we believe this provides creative and optimal tax planning for our clients. With this objective in mind, Irell does not draw distinct departmental lines between its transactional and tax personnel. In the corporate areas, we have endeavored to have the corporate and business attorneys well informed on corporate and partnership taxation, and also have endeavored to keep the tax specialists conversant with, and involved in, the corporate, partnership, and limited liability company practice of law. The same integrated approach is used in connection with our other transactional areas, including our art, aviation, entertainment, intellectual property, bankruptcy and real estate practice groups. Our tax attorneys are active participants in bankruptcy proceedings for both debtors and creditors. Similarly, tax attorneys work closely with litigation attorneys to get the best tax results from any recoveries paid or damages received. We believe this approach best serves the interests of our clients.
The firm regularly addresses complex domestic and international tax issues, having structured significant international sales transactions and acquisitions and expansions of complex foreign operations. We also advise foreign entities and individuals regarding the structuring of their U.S. operations.
In corporate and business tax planning, we also take into account state and local tax consequences. We have substantial expertise in California’s unitary business method of corporate and business taxation, as well as the application of the state’s sales and use tax to all types of business transactions. Mitigating the impact of sales and use taxes is an important part of our aviation law practice, as well as our art law practice. In addition, the firm assists individual taxpayers in planning for California state tax residency issues.
Tax Controversy Practice
In addition to our broad experience in business tax planning, the firm has an active tax controversy practice. Irell attorneys have represented major clients, including individuals and publicly and privately held corporations, before the Internal Revenue Service, as well as the California State Board of Equalization, California Franchise Tax Board, and local taxing agencies. We have been successful in obtaining favorable settlements in most of these cases at the audit, protest, settlement bureau, or appellate level. When in the best interest of our clients, we have also been very successful in aggressively litigating major tax controversies. In addition to our civil tax controversy practice, our white-collar criminal defense practice group has successfully defended individuals charged with federal criminal tax violations.
When appropriate, the firm has successfully pursued legislative and regulatory relief as a means of solving our clients’ tax problems at both the state and federal levels.
Our litigation experience in conjunction with our nationally recognized expertise in the bankruptcy tax field have yielded substantial benefits for our clients. This includes claims of tax authorities in bankruptcy proceedings, as well as creditors’ indemnity claims for taxes against debtors. For example, in a case involving an alleged tax deficiency exceeding a half billion dollars, the bankruptcy court ultimately awarded the Internal Revenue Service less than five percent of the amount the agency claimed our client owed.