California

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Practice area

World Tax Reviews

Tax
Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie maintains a dominant position in the corporate tax practice. The firm advises multinational companies on all aspects of their international and domestic tax matters including large multijurisdictional supply chain, IP company, post-acquisition integration and other restructuring. In addition, the firm is among the key players in the tax controversy practice, involving a wide range of issues, from transfer pricing to the research and development of credit.  

Over the research period, the firm worked on different complex tax matters. For example, the team represented Facebook in an audit and IRS summons regarding 2010 transferred assets to Facebook Ireland. In the transactional space, the group advised Western Digital Corporation, a leading US computer hard disk drive manufacturer and data storage company, on a number of tax matters. 

Fenwick & West

The tax group at Fenwick & West is among the top players in all tax aspects related to M&A transaction. The group handles large, innovative and complex M&A transactions advising clients based in different areas of the US and different foreign countries. In addition, the tax group has a leading position in the controversy practice. The team has a strong focus on the technology sector.

During the research period, the tax group worked on impressive tax matters. In the controversy space, the team advised The Cheesecake Factory in a case before the tax court. In the M&A tax sphere, the tax group represented the biopharmaceutical company Loxo Oncology on its $8 billion acquisition by Lilly. The acquisition was among the largest in 2019. The tax group was also part of the $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft.  

In 2019, the firm has grown in California with the addition of a new office in Santa Monica, which joins the San Francisco and Mountain View offices.  

Client feedback 

“I worked with a team of tax lawyers led by James Fuller, consisting of tax partners Larissa Neumann, David Forst and others. I’m impressed by Fenwick tax team's in-depth knowledge of US tax law - both domestic and international tax rules under the Internal Revenue Code, as well as the seasoned and well-thought-out advice, all of which helped our mutual client successfully navigate the complex US tax regime.” 

“Very professional and experienced in M&A work.” 

“Fenwick's tax practice is the best. High value strategic advice provided.” 

“Outstanding and thorough analysis and commentary.” 

Mayer Brown

A leading firm in the controversy practice, the Mayer Brown tax team in California handles major tax controversies and represents several taxpayers in significant IRS audits. The tax group also plays a key role in tax transactions and consulting with an emphasis on cross-border transactions.   

During the research period, the group advised Altera on the appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The group also represented Vertex and the Hyatt Hotel Corporation. Overall, the group worked on remarkable matters in the transactional and controversy space. Most of them remained confidential.  

In terms of lateral moves, the tax team strengthened itself with the addition of partner Remmelt Reigersman in the Palo Alto office, hired from Morrison & Foerster. The Los Angeles’s tax team acquired partner Michael Lebovitz from PwC. 

McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott Will & Emery’s tax team in California offers services in domestic and cross-border taxation issues. It advises on transactional planning and is very strong in controversy. 

In the controversy space, the team advised Cabela’s, the large retailer of hunting, fishing and camping supplies, on a variety of matters, including tax and transfer pricing disputes with the IRS. 

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

The San Francisco and Silicon Valley tax teams at Morgan Lewis & Bockius excel in the tax corporate, tax controversy and transfer pricing practice areas. The team regularly represents some of the largest corporate taxpayers and private equity funds in California and the US. The team is very active in an array of sectors with an emphasis on the technology industry. 

Firmwide tax practice group leader Barton Bassett is based in both the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices. He represents global multinational technology companies on international tax planning. Partner Rod Donnelly, based in Palo Alto, leads the transfer pricing planning and controversy practice areas on the West Coast. 

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden’s California tax attorneys excel in all the tax aspects related to domestic and international M&A, restructurings, controlled foreign corporations and international tax planning. In addition, the tax team has extensive experience in structuring complex partnerships, advising REITs and representing sovereign wealth funds and private equity and real estate funds in connection with a wide variety of transactions. Its Palo Alto tax group is one of the largest in Silicon Valley and it has an emphasis on technology and energy companies. Sean Shimamoto is the head of the California tax practice. A key contact at the firm in Los Angeles is partner Kenneth Betts. The managing partner of the Palo Alto office is Emily Lam, who is specialised in tax controversy and litigation. 

Over the research period, a standout deal led by the tax group in Los Angeles was to advise the Toshiba Corporation on the $2.2 billion sale of its claims against Westinghouse Electric to Nucleus Acquisition. In the M&A tax sphere, key clients included DowDuPont, Theravance Biopharma and Silver Lake Partners. In the controversy practice, Skadden continues to represent Amazon.com, following its US Tax Court victory in one of the largest transfer pricing cases in decades, and the first involving e-commerce.