The firm's tax attorneys provide clients counseling in the full range of federal, state and local tax matters. We assist clients with corporate, partnership and individual tax, real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, leveraged leases, exempt organizations, employee benefits, trusts and estates, estate planning, and tax controversy work. Clients in this area range in size from individuals and the small, emerging business to the large, established multi-state corporate group.
The firm's tax controversy work includes representing clients in tax proceedings before state and local agencies, in federal and state courts, and before the Internal Revenue Service. We assist clients in a number of areas.
Corporate and Partnership Tax
Our firm has substantial experience in structuring and documenting corporate acquisitions involving both publicly held and private companies. Our lawyers advise clients of the tax and legal consequences of proposed business transactions. We structure, negotiate and provide tax analysis and guidance in connection with various joint venture transactions, and provide tax analysis and planning in connection with partnership debt restructurings and workouts.
Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits
We have extensive practice in the executive compensation/employee benefits area including advice regarding qualified retirement plans, deferred compensation agreements for executives, employee stock options (also called phantom stock arrangements), and insurance-related compensation, including split-dollar arrangements. Our firm is also active in advising employers on employee welfare plans. Finally, we provide advice with respect to fiduciary responsibility issues in the employee benefits area and is equipped to handle all proceedings before the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Labor.
Our tax attorneys assist clients in dealing with employment tax matters, both federal and state. A considerable portion of a business' tax responsibility arises from the various employment taxes imposed on the employer: Federal Income Tax Withholding, Social Security tax, and Federal and State Unemployment taxes. We advise our clients on questions of classification and status of workers, whether they are independent contractors or employees. We have performed audits and reviews of our clients' employment tax practices to determine whether they are in full compliance with the various employment tax, withholding, payment and return filing requirements. We also represent our business clients in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service as well as state agencies over employment tax compliance, and, in particular, on the issue of whether workers are independent contractors or employees.
Individual Income Tax Planning
Our attorneys assist in individual income tax planning and analysis for client company executives and other high net worth individuals.
Tax Controversy Work
Our tax attorneys represent clients in tax controversy and litigation matters, both at the federal and state levels. At the federal level, we assist and represent our clients when they have been audited by the Internal Revenue Service and handle the administrative appeal to the Appeals office and thereafter to the U.S. Tax Court or, in a refund action, to Federal District Court or the U.S. Claims Court. This controversy work includes federal individual income, corporate income, employment and payroll taxes, excise taxes, "responsible officer" penalties, and estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer taxes. We have experience in the preparation and submission to the national office of the Internal Revenue Service both private letter rulings and technical advice requests.
We also represent clients in criminal tax matters, including voluntary disclosure submissions to the Internal Revenue Service for persons seeking to avoid criminal penalties for undeclared foreign bank accounts.
At the state and local level, we represent clients in disputes with the Arizona Department of Revenue concerning income taxes and transaction privilege taxes (sales tax), clients in disputes with municipal tax authorities concerning transaction privilege taxes (including the speculative builder tax), and clients in disputes with county assessors concerning ad valorem property taxes. We represent clients during audit, administrative appeals, Arizona Tax Court litigation, and appeals to the Arizona Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court.
The firm represents users and issuers in tax-exempt financing transactions. We have represented industrial development and pollution control authorities as issuer's counsel, and have represented numerous hospitals, nursing homes, multifamily housing developers and industrial and service firms as user's counsel. The firm is a nationally recognized bond counsel and also serves as underwriter's counsel in connection with the public sale of tax-exempt securities.
The firm has extensive experience in representing tax-exempt organizations, including hospitals, private foundations and public charities. Our lawyers regularly provide legal services to such entities on tax law, federal and state regulation and other matters which affect these organizations. We have successfully represented several non-profit organizations in obtaining tax-exemptions after the tax authorities had denied the exemption request.
Trusts and Estates
Our trusts and estates attorneys provide advice in all phases of estate planning, including the preparation of wills, living trusts and irrevocable trusts. We counsel clients on estate, gift and generation skipping transfer tax planning, including advice on lifetime wealth transfer through qualified personal residence trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, family limited partnerships, planned giving, charitable remainder trusts, and other sophisticated tax planning techniques. We evaluate the proper uses of insurance in estate planning, review clients' assets to structure ownership so as to minimize estate and gift taxes, and work closely with our corporate attorneys in designing and implementing succession plans for closely held businesses. We counsel professional fiduciaries, such as corporate trustees, on their responsibilities and on trust interpretation issues. The firm also has a probate and probate-related litigation practice.