Tax Controversy

Latham & Watkins’ Tax Controversy lawyers help domestic US and multinational companies, tax exempts, and high net worth individuals resolve complex contentious tax matters.

From large-dollar US and cross-border corporate tax disputes to economic substance and promoter cases, as well as sensitive tax matters involving potential allegations of fraud, Latham regularly delivers extraordinary results both in and out of the courtroom.

Creatively Resolving Tax Problems

Latham’s Tax Controversy lawyers advise clients on complex tax issues, aiming to minimize the scope of disputes, resolve them cost-effectively, or win at trial if necessary.

Latham represents clients across industries in both administrative proceedings and litigation before the US Tax Court, the US Court of Federal Claims, US district courts and circuit courts of appeals, the US Supreme Court, as well as state trial and appellate courts.

Latham lawyers recognize the time, cost, financial reporting requirements and reputational risks of litigation. So Latham regularly develops and negotiates successful resolutions during the administrative process — in substantive matters ranging from international and corporate tax issues to employee benefits and excise taxes.

The firm’s tax litigators frequently work with transactional tax colleagues during a transaction’s planning phase, to identify and manage actual or potential tax controversies. At the summary judgment and appellate stages, Latham’s tax litigators team with the firm’s well-regarded Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation practice, that has a history of notable tax appeal victories.

Latham also regularly handles sensitive tax matters, including penalty defense, whistleblowing defense, investigations for non-compliance, or efforts to self-report and correct errors in compliance.

Leveraging Experience and Reputation

The Tax Controversy team draws on experience in government and strong working relationships with US tax authorities to help clients resolve tax issues. The team develops strategic and effective responses to government inquiries, including document requests, summonses and subpoenas. Latham lawyers manage delicate disclosure matters, with a depth of understanding and ability to preserve and assert appropriate privilege and confidentiality protections.

Latham lawyers also value clients’ relationships with co-advisors and experts, and work collaboratively to refine and present a robust and cohesive position.

Preparing for Litigation

The Tax Controversy lawyers bring a keen understanding of the tax litigation process to every stage of a tax controversy, and emphasize early litigation preparedness as the key to avoiding the need for litigation. When litigation is necessary, however, Latham litigators embrace trial planning with a focus on persuasive, thematic and strategic presentation and creating a team atmosphere, fostering the committed engagement of each trial participant.

The Tax Controversy team’s familiarity with the substantive, procedural and evidentiary rules enables the team to counsel clients on a coherent and consistent strategy to obtain the desired resolution after a case has been docketed.

Recent Litigation
  • A building supply company before the US Supreme Court regarding the retroactive application of Treasury Regulations
  • A residential developer in a case before the 9th Circuit related to the completed contract method of accounting
  • A major movie studio in a case before the US Court of Federal Claims regarding the scope of transition rule for extraterritorial income exclusion
  • A security technology company in a case before the 4th Circuit regarding an APA challenge to deficiency notice
  • A UK-based energy company before the Tax Court regarding debt/equity in cross-border intercompany transactions
  • A major timberland company in a case before the Tax Court regarding true partnership and valid debt vs. an alleged disguised sale
  • A high networth family in a matter before the Tax Court regarding TEFRA status of non-participant nominee partners
  • Est. of Siegal v. United States, No. 2:16-cv-06411 (E.D.N.Y.) (tax refund action involving promoter penalties)
  • A private energy company as plaintiff in a jury trial concerning economic substance of oil and gas investment, resulting in a favorable verdict 
  • Matter of Sznajderman, 3d Dep't No. 523995 (NY Sup., App. Div.) (test case on economic substance of oil and gas partnership investment structure, valid debt)
  • An oil and gas exploration company before the California Supreme Court in a state tax refund action involving promoter penalties, upholding on challenge the “divisible” nature of the penalty for CA jurisdictional purposes

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