Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger provides complete services in corporate, individual, nonprofit, estate, employment and excise tax matters. In addition to general and transactional tax advice, the firm handles administrative and judicial tax controversies, as well as legislative and regulatory tax matters. We are experienced tax counselors in:
Audits and Tax Controversies
We represent clients on diverse federal income tax issues, including eligibility for tax exemption, deductibility of charitable donations, methods of accounting, inventory methods and valuation, advance payments for goods and services, foreign currency transactions, capitalization of expenditures, corporate reorganizations, allocations between related parties, like-kind exchanges, and partnership issues, as well as factual issues of valuation, unreported income and penalties. We have successfully handled audits involving income tax exemption, federal estate and gift taxes, federal transportation taxes, and federal and state fuel taxes, and state sales and use taxes.
Legislation and Regulations
We provide comprehensive representation on issues of federal tax policy, including representation before the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Treasury Department, the IRS, and the Office of Management and Budget.
Nonprofit Tax Issues
In recent years, a focus of our tax practice has been on the tax issues faced by nonprofit organizations. The firm represents a number of the largest nonprofit organizations in the United States. At a time when the tax-exempt status of many entities is under scrutiny, we have devised and implemented successful strategies before the Administration, the Congress and the Judiciary to defend and maintain tax-exempt status. We also assist clients in planning specific transactions and general corporate and financial structures to maintain their exemption, and to minimize unrelated business income taxes and other federal, state and local taxes. We are intimately familiar with the issues affecting nonprofits, including the topics of the moment -- political activities and lobbying -- as well as the more common issues of commercial activities and insider benefits. A key part of our work for our nonprofit clients is to examine in detail their methods of operations to identify any potential problems or deficiencies and then devise and implement appropriate modifications.
State Tax Litigation
One of the firm's most successful practice areas has been litigation challenging state taxes and fees on constitutional or other grounds. Over the past 15 years, the firm's attorneys have filed and prosecuted to conclusion 17 lawsuits contending that various state taxes and fees violated federal constitutional provisions or statutes. We have prevailed in every case we have concluded to date.
Most of the cases involved state taxes or fees related to transportation activities. Most were brought as class actions on behalf of all companies and individuals subject to the tax or fees, typically thousands of entities, and they resulted in the payment of more than $65 million in refunds of taxes and fees and interest to the taxpayers and feepayers.
Tax Planning and Compliance
One of the firm's major strengths is working with clients to develop strategies which will make full use of legal tax planning opportunities without placing the client at risk. In addition to our work with domestic corporations, we have worked extensively with international affiliates of U.S. firms and with foreign corporations entering the U.S. The firm helps plan business operations and transactions, as well as assisting clients with reporting requirements. We have advised diversified international corporations on restructuring worldwide operations to take advantage of available tax treaty benefits.
Attorneys in the firm have represented a national trade association before Congress and the Internal Revenue Service and succeeded in changing the point of collection for vehicle excise taxes and clarifying the amount of excise tax applicable to a vehicle under a long term lease. The firm has also advised maritime carriers on the federal tax consequences of long term leases of U.S. vessels to foreign-owned enterprises.