Tax Legislative & Administrative, Congress & Treasury
Steptoe performs tax legislative and administrative advocacy for a diverse range of domestic and international businesses. Our clients span all industries, including finance and investment, manufacturing, insurance, energy, consumer products, luxury goods, telecommunications and high-technology, media and entertainment, as well as tax-exempt organizations including charities, trade associations, and pension plans. Our tax lawyers bring together the highest levels of technical knowledge with top-tier advocacy skills and an extensive network of relationships to advance our clients’ positions before Congress, Treasury, and the IRS.
We are experienced in all facets of the legislative process including drafting and analyzing legislation, writing testimony and testifying on our own behalf and on behalf of clients before Congress, developing legislative strategies, monitoring legislative activities, and performing other advocacy work before Congress, Treasury, and the IRS. Our tax legislative team also advises on compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act, as well as federal election and campaign finance laws.
Members of our tax practice have served as advisors to the key tax writing committees and are former Administration officials. Furthermore, we are highly sought out as speakers around the world and regularly author articles and other publications on all areas of the tax law. As a result of our experience and reputation, we have excellent contacts and working relationships with key legislative staff and top Treasury and IRS officials. Once legislation has been enacted, we represent our clients before Treasury and the IRS with respect to the issuance of regulations and other guidance under the new law. Our regular contacts with tax policy officials enable us to respond quickly in providing information to our clients and in presenting our clients' concerns. Some of our recent tax legislative achievements are discussed in the representative matters below.
An additional aspect of Steptoe’s tax legislative practice is the Daily Tax Update (DTU). It has developed a reputation as a timely source for breaking tax news by our tax clients, tax practitioners, members of Congress, and Congressional staff, who use it to learn what is happening in our nation's capital and to get an insider's viewpoint on significant tax developments. The DTU provides a concise summary of breaking federal tax news in Washington, highlighting the latest tax developments from Capitol Hill, including tax bills introduced in Congress, major tax legislation, significant regulations, and other administrative guidance issued by the Treasury Department and IRS, and major tax opinions from various courts. The DTU is provided via email to subscribers, free of charge.
- Deferral of Cancellation of Indebtedness Income. Led efforts to allow the deferral of tax on cancellation of indebtedness income.
- Corporate Capital Losses. Represented a large financial institution before Congress and Treasury in connection with the equalization of tax treatment of corporate capital losses and net operating losses.
- International Tax Proposals. Represented numerous companies in connection with international tax legislative proposals.
- Removing Tax Barrier to Federal Assistance. Represented a large financial institution before Congress, Treasury, and the IRS in connection with removing tax barrier to government-assisted acquisitions.
- Thin Capitalization Rules. Represented a large non-US based multinational before Congress, Treasury, and the IRS in connection with thin capitalization rules.
- Tax Treaty Approval. Advised several companies in connection with the Senate treaty approval process.
- Section 355 “Cash-Rich Split-offs.” Worked on behalf of clients to achieve significant modifications to proposed amendments to section 355 involving “cash-rich split-offs.”
- Section 355(e). Worked on behalf of clients to mitigate the impact of section 355(e) on spin-off transactions.
- Section 470. Worked on behalf of clients to modify section 470.
- Economic Substance. Worked on behalf of a number of clients on the then proposed codification of economic substance.
- Section 269. Worked on behalf of a client to oppose a proposed amendment to section 269 that was designed to correct a perceived loophole. The proposed amendment was not included in the Conference version of the American Jobs Creation Act (the bill that became law).
- Corporate Capital Gains. Worked on behalf of a client to reduce or eliminate the corporate capital gains tax.
- Shelter Legislation. Worked on behalf of clients to mitigate the impact of proposed changes to the tax shelter reporting rules, which were eventually enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act.
- International Tax Reform. Testified before the Senate Finance Committee on recent International Tax Reform proposals.
- Homeland Investment (Repatriation of Foreign Dividends). Advised Congressional staffs regarding the development and enactment of section 965, the tax rate reduction on earnings distributed from controlled foreign corporations.
- Foreign Tax Credits. Worked with a client to draft a legislative proposal to neutralize the adverse effects of foreign tax credit basket consolidation on overall foreign loss accounts.
Regulatory Projects and Competent Authority
- Deferral of Cancellation of Indebtedness Income. Worked to shape regulatory guidance on deferral of cancellation of indebtedness income.
- Tax Shelter Regulations. Worked on behalf of clients to mitigate the impact of the recent statutory changes to the shelter reporting rules.
- Repatriation Legislation. Worked on behalf of a number of clients to shape guidance under the Homeland Investment repatriation provision regarding the impact of acquisitions on the base period calculation and the “APB 23” limitation.
- US-Japan Income Tax Treaty. Obtained the issuance of bilateral interpretive guidance under the US-Japan income tax treaty regarding the withholding tax rate on interest paid to financial services businesses.
- Section 355(e) Plan Regulations. Worked on behalf of clients to modify the scope of the plan regulations.
- Proposed No Net Value Regulations. Worked on behalf of client to modify the scope of the proposed regulations.
- Consolidated Return Regulations Relating to Intra-Group Debt. Advised IRS and Treasury on revisions to regulations.
- S Corporation Regulations. Worked on behalf of client to revise section 1374 regulations.
- Loss Disallowance Regulations. Worked on behalf of clients to clarify new loss disallowance regulations.
- Foreign Tax Credit Arbitrage Transactions. Worked with clients to limit the scope of guidance on leveraged investments involving foreign tax credit arbitrage.
- Foreign Tax Credits. Successfully argued on behalf of Puerto Rico before the US Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service in connection with the release of Notice 2011-29 regarding the creditability of Puerto Rico's new excise tax.
- Competent Authority. Reached an agreement with the US competent authority pursuant to which a dual resident corporation would be treated as a foreign corporation for purposes of the relevant bilateral income tax treaty. This agreement was the first of its kind and resolved several issues over many years with the US Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service.
- Competent Authority. Achieved unprecedented resolution of royalty withholding case with an Asian government known to be aggressive on such cases.
- Chambers Global, Tax: Corporate & Finance (US), 2008-2015
- Chambers USA, Tax: Corporate & Finance (Nationwide), 2009-2014
- Chambers USA, Tax: Controversy (Nationwide), 2008-2014
- Chambers USA, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Nationwide), 2010-2014
- Chambers USA, Tax (DC), 2006-2014
- Chambers USA, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (DC), 2008-2014
- "Best Law Firms," US News and Best Lawyers: Tax Law (Nationwide, DC, Phoenix), 2012-2013
- "Best Law Firms," US News and Best Lawyers: Litigation-Tax (Nationwide, Phoenix), 2013
- "Best Law Firms," US News and Best Lawyers: Litigation-Tax (DC), 2012-2013
- "Best Law Firms," US News and Best Lawyers: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (Nationwide, DC), 2012-2013
- Legal 500 US, Tax: Controversy, 2009-2014
- Legal 500 US, Tax: International, 2011-2014
- Legal 500 US, Domestic Tax: East Coast, 2009-2014
- Legal 500 US, Domestic Tax: West Coast, 2011-2014
- Legal 500 US, Labor & Employment: Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, 2009, 2011-2014
- Legal 500 US, Finance: Not-for-Profit, 2013-2014
- Expert Guides: Guide to the World’s Leading Tax Advisers, 2012
- Expert Guides: Guide to the World’s Leading Transfer Pricing Advisers, 2011
- Practical Law Company, Tax (DC), 2011
Select News & Events
- Bloomberg BNA Quotes Phil West on OECD's Base Erosion, Profit Shifting Project
- Law360 Quotes Phil West on Tax Implications for the Private Equity Industry
- Steptoe Advises APA on Pension Plan Issues in American Airlines Bankruptcy
- "Tax Reform, Politics, Policy and Moving Forward," 28th Annual LICONY Tax Conference
- "Current US Government Enforcement Initiatives," International Tax Enforcement Conference
- "Tax Legislative Update,” Tax Executives Institute
- Aaron Nocjar and Lisa Zarlenga at Kentucky Chapter of Tax Executives Institute regarding Legislative and Regulatory Tax Developments