Representing Businesses and Individuals in Tax Law Matters


Representing Businesses and Individuals in Tax Law Matters


We approach each client’s needs as if our professionals were members of its internal tax and finance team. In each matter, our goal is to understand the client’s business objectives and to plan options that make the tax laws work to support those objectives, not against them.

State and Local Tax

Our state and local tax (“SALT”) practice represents a wide range of business clients from Fortune 500 companies to small business owners in assisting them with tax audits, administrative disputes and appeals, court litigation, tax planning and legislative/public policy remedies. Our SALT professionals provide superior service to clients by keeping abreast of state tax policy issues from across the country while focusing on matters in New England states. Our SALT professionals regularly represent clients before the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and the Vermont Department of Taxes. We also regularly represent multi-state businesses before other state tax agencies to resolve nexus and other disputes.

Our SALT professionals have extensive backgrounds in the state tax field, including government service, and regularly engage in state tax policy forums. We serve as presenters on SALT issues on a local, regional and national basis in a variety of professional and industry forums, and interact with state revenue agencies in collaborative policy groups and advisory boards. We have also published a variety of state tax articles on New England tax issues.

We serve as the reporters for New Hampshire and Vermont developments for the Council on State Taxation (“COST”) in Washington D.C., we report on New England SALT issues in State Tax Notes and other media, and we serve as the New Hampshire reporters for the Property Tax Deskbook published by the American Bar Association. We have published articles on New Hampshire’s unique business tax system in State Tax Notes, and we have been invited by tax reform and policy groups to make presentations on important tax topics, including the Pennsylvania Tax Restructuring Commission (2004), Tennessee’s Tax Reform Commission(2003),Massachusetts Business Tax Study Commission (2007), Rhode Island’s Tax Study Commission (2008),and the Georgetown University Law Center’s Advanced State & Local Tax Institute (State Taxation of Foreign Source Income).

Our SALT professionals are also the co-founders of the New England State and Local Tax Forum ,a non-profit organization created to manage a conference that provides annual updates on significant SALT developments from across the nation with a particular focus on New England.

Examples of past SALT services include:

  • Planning to Locate Business in New Hampshire. We represented two of the world’s largest privately held businesses in establishing significant locations in New Hampshire, including comparisons with SALT impacts in other possible locations.
  • Managing State Tax Impacts of International Transactions. We have represented U.S.-based multi-national businesses to ensure that State tax laws did not stand in the way of tax-efficient ownership structures for EU operations.
  • Resolving SALT Audits. We have extensive experience helping businesses resolve audit disputes with the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration, the Vermont Department of Taxes, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and other state tax authorities outside of New England. We have extensive experience in issues pertaining to nexus, combined unitary filing, apportionment factor and sourcing, and meals and rooms taxes.
  • Managing Multi-state Reporting Issues. Expanding businesses must proactively manage their potential exposure to tax liability in their market states. We have represented many expanding businesses to resolve inquiries from states concerning whether the businesses have sufficient “nexus” for taxation.
  • Controlling Property Tax Costs. We have represented some of the State’s largest commercial property owners to resolve disputes with local governments concerning valuation issues in a manner that creates stability in assessment practices over a period of years.
  • Pursuing Litigation. We work hard to resolve disputes in a manner that avoids litigation and therefore most efficiently allows our clients to focus again on their core businesses. But our tax litigation team is always prepared to take our case to court, and the tax agencies know it

Federal and International Tax

We represent large and small clients with respect to federal tax laws and structuring business transactions, both domestically and internationally.

  • Taking Advantage of Tax Credits. We have an extensive practice providing counsel to clients across the country who develop solar, landfill gas, wind, hydropower, biomass and synthetic and other alternative and renewable fuel projects that qualify for federal tax credits under Sections 45 and 48 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Planning Partnerships and Joint Ventures. We have deep experience structuring business relationships that are subject to the federal partnership tax rules, including crafting tax allocation mechanisms that bring the highest after-tax value to all partners.
  • Resolving IRS Audits and Appeals. We represent clients whose tax returns are subject to examination by the Internal Revenue Service. We have extensive experience pressing our client’s case in the tax administrative process both during audits and in appeals of assessments.
  • Securing Education Savings. We represent Fidelity Investments, administrator of New Hampshire’s“ Section 529” college savings plan, and obtained the first private let ter ruling issued by the IRS approving a state-sponsored plan under section 529.
  • Planning International Expansion and Transactions. Wehave represented public and private businesses as they consider expansion into international markets, including locating manufacturing facilities in Ireland, establishing subsidiaries in the EU and southeast Asia and executing representative agreements for the distribution of products in foreign markets

Tax Legislation and Public Policy

We have extensive experience securing tax law objectives for clients before the tax legislative process, at both the federal and state levels. Rath, Young and Pignatelli offers one of New Hampshire’s leading government relations practices, and our tax group can bring this advocacy to bear on tax and budget matters.

  • Defending Proper Taxation of Mutual Funds. New Hampshire has long provided that mutual fund trusts and entities are not themselves subject to businesses taxes. Whenthe Legislature considered imposing New Hampshire’s business taxes on mutual funds in2004, we successfully represented Fidelity Investments and State Street Bank and Trust in preserving the exemption.
  • Securing Better Federal Private Pension Rules. In 2001, Congress enacted historic tax legislation that included important reforms of our nation’s private pension system that had been introduced by Congressman Rob Portman and Congressman Ben Cardin. Weworked closely with our client’s Federal government relations team to pursue enactment of these pension reform provisions.
  • Securing More Reliable Reasonable Compensation Determinations. During the past few years, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration pursued an audit program regarding the state-level reasonable compensation deduction for pass-through entities. Over the course of a number of legislative sessions, we worked with the Department, legislators and a Rath, Young and Pignatelli-led business coalition to design remedial legislation to address concerns with the reasonable compensation deductions, apply Federal tax law principles, and secure more certainty for owner’s of closely-held businesses.
  • Clarifying Meals and Rooms Tax Exemptions for Schools. Traditionally, New Hampshire has not imposed its meals and rooms tax on sales of meals by educational institutions to their students, faculties and workers. When the State tax agency threatened to reverse this tradition in1993, were presented Dartmouth College to preserve the exemption.
  • Seeking Transition Relief. In 1993, New Hampshire introduced its Business Enterprise Tax, which is a form of value-added tax that ensures that all businesses contribute to the cost of state government. We represented Digital Equipment Corporation to establish a three-year transition rule that would soften the impact of the BET for certain businesses that would be hardest hit by the transition to the new tax.