Tax considerations impact many areas of the law, and few business or financial transactions are completely divorced from tax concerns. Because we strive to develop long-term relationships with our clients, our firm is often uniquely positioned to understand the tax impact of multiple aspects of our clients’ business and personal activities, and then use this “big picture” understanding to deliver significant tax savings. Our firm is especially adept at helping closely held business owners and investors minimize their tax bill both at the business and individual levels.
Our firm has multiple attorneys with 30 plus years’ experience leading the field in tax law, from chairing committees with the American Bar Association Section of Taxation and its subcommittees, to giving extensive lectures around the country and testifying before Congress. This experience and expertise enables us to offer clients a one-stop shop for all of their tax issues. From filing personal tax returns to dealing with audits by the Internal Revenue Service to complex business transactions, our firm has the experience and ability to handle almost any tax issue for our clients. We are committed to providing our clients with excellent tax service both directly, through legal counsel, and indirectly, by striving to improve the tax code for the benefit of the end user.
Tax practice is a constantly evolving area of the law, and this has been especially true in recent years. Our attorneys are up to date with the latest changes in the law, both proposed and enacted, and have written articles and given presentations for both local and national audiences on how these changes will likely impact businesses and individuals. This expertise gives our firm the ability not only to help clients comply with the existing tax laws, but also to provide strategies that will lower their tax burden going forward. This is consistent with the general emphasis at our firm of creating long-term relationships with our clients so that we can advise them on the “big picture” rather than a single issue.
Business Start-Up and Reorganization
Our firm routinely advises clients on the tax consequences of using different legal entities or structures for new business or investment ventures. For some clients, this is a simple and straightforward discussion of the basic tax characteristics of various entities. For others, more complex tax considerations, such as the passive activity rules, tax credit eligibility and self-employment tax liability, can be planned for at the start-up phase, avoiding unwelcome tax surprises later.
Our firm monitors new and anticipated changes to the tax laws to help our clients respond proactively to prospective changes. We have experience with tax planning projects for domestic and foreign business entities, nonprofit organizations, wealthy families and investment funds. As the tax law and our clients’ business activities change, we are often able to provide advice on reorganizations or other planning ideas that can result in large tax savings.
Nonprofit Tax Exempt Organizations
Our attorneys have experience working with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, from prominent, publicly supported charities to corporate and family-run private foundations, social clubs and social welfare organizations. We help nonprofit organizations with the tax (and non-tax) aspects of all phases of their operations, from formation and the initial application for recognition of tax-exempt status, to the ongoing operational tax concerns of nonprofit organizations, such as unrelated business income tax and the prohibited transaction rules, to the merger or dissolution of such organizations on a tax-free or tax reduced basis. For individuals, we can help incorporate the client’s desires regarding charitable giving into their general estate plan so as to achieve the client’s personal goals while minimizing their tax burden. We also help clients with issues related to fundraising, grant-making, permissible political and/or lobbying activities, nonprofit governance and best practice issues.
The tax flexibility provided by partnership organization can be beneficial for many business and investment ventures. Our attorneys frequently advise clients on partnership and limited liability company (LLC) agreements for real estate, venture capital and other investment activities, as well as for operating businesses. We have considerable experience concerning the sometimes complex tax consequences of partnership and LLC activities, such as transactions between partners and the partnership, cancellation of partnership debt, partners joining and departing from the partnerships and partnership terminations. We also provide advice to other attorneys and professionals on partnership tax issues, such as proposed or existing tax allocation provisions, taxation of capital and profits interests and partnership mergers or dissolutions.
Sales and Use Tax
Our attorneys have experience dealing with sales and use tax issues both in Wisconsin and other states. Our firm counsels both Wisconsin and out of state businesses regarding their Wisconsin sales and use tax liabilities, applicable tax exemptions and tax savings opportunities. We have also advised businesses operating in the Midwest and on a national level of their sales and use tax liabilities with respect to different states and possibilities for reducing those liabilities. Recently, as more commerce moves to the internet, states have become more aggressive in attempting to impose sales and use tax and tax collection responsibilities on remote sellers. Our firm has advised internet based sellers on the types of activities that do, and do not, generate tax collection responsibilities in different states and jurisdictions.
State Tax Issues
In recent years, as state budgets have deteriorated and traditional revenue sources have shrunk, taxpayers have encountered aggressive enforcement of the tax laws at the state level. Our firm can help clients understand their state tax liabilities, and where appropriate, propose alternative structures to limit their total tax bill. Our firm has experience with the Wisconsin income tax laws, and has assisted clients with their tax obligations to other states as well. Our firm has represented taxpayers with respect to state income tax audits and also real estate assessments and other situations that can give rise to state and local tax liability.