• International Tax Review: Leading Women in Tax Forum: Ropes & Gray is a sponsor of the ITR: Leading Women in Tax Forum on March 3 in New York, New York. Tax partner and tax controversy group co-founder Kat Gregor will speak on a panel on “Use of Dispute Resolution to Resolve Large, Complicated Corporate Tax Disputes,” and tax controversy counsel Elizabeth Smith will moderate this panel. The panel will cover a range of topics, including advanced pricing agreements and the potential advantages of international compliance assurance program, the role of tax treaties in dispute resolutions, correcting for past non-compliance, including through the IRS’ voluntary disclosure program and other amnesty programs.
  • 48th Annual Conference of the USA Branch of the International Fiscal Association: During the IFA USA Annual Conference on February 27-28 in Boston, Massachusetts, tax partner David Saltzman will chair a life science panel, which will explore the evolving U.S. and global tax policy ecosystem impacting innovation in the life science industry. Additionally, tax associate Franziska Hertel will chair a cryptocurrency panel, which will address current tax developments for cryptocurrencies, including valuation and domestic and international tax considerations.
  • The ASIL International Economic Law Interest Group Biennial Conference: Kat Gregor was a panelist on “Panelist, “Navigating the MLI: The New International Tax and Investment Landscape,” and tax controversy associate Ellen Gilley presented a paper entitled “Multilateralism in a Bilateral World: Challenges for Implementing the PPT,” during this conference on February 14-15 in Miami, Florida.
  • The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH Conference): Ellen Gilley presented on the implications of digitization in The Hague, Netherlands on December 11, 2019. Ropes & Gray also sponsored this conference.
  • New England State and Local Tax Forum: Ropes & Gray was a sponsor of the 2019 New England State and Local Tax Forum on November 20, 2019 in Newton, Massachusetts.
  • IBA Conference: The New Era of Taxation: What You Need to Know in a Constantly Changing World: Kat Gregor co-chaired a panel of leading experts on “Hot Topics in US Inbound and Outbound Investments” on November 7, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The panel discussed the ongoing shifts in the global tax system and addressed possible planning approaches to this new landscape for businesses investing in or from the United States.


On January 17, 2020, a federal district court in Washington ordered Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) to produce many documents to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) that Microsoft asserted were privileged. Microsoft had argued that most of the documents were protected by protected by the work product doctrine and the federally authorized tax practitioner privilege set forth in 26 U.S.C. § 7525 (“tax practitioner privilege”), and that a small number of documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege. For the majority of the documents, the court held that none of these protections applied. The court held the work product protection did not apply because there was no active litigation at the time and the primary purpose of the communications was business, not legal. The court held the tax practitioner privilege did not apply to Microsoft’s communications with KPMG LLP (“KPMG”) because the communications fell within the tax shelter exception to the tax practitioner privilege (in § 7525(b)). The court concluded that “a significant purpose, if not the sole purpose, of Microsoft’s transactions was to avoid or evade federal income tax.”

Please click here to read the full article.

The Cayman Islands has been placed on the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions as a result of a failure to introduce new laws relating to private funds within the necessary timescale. The Cayman Islands government has, however, already contacted EU officials to begin the process of being removed from the EU list, which is expected to be October 2020.

Please click here to read the full alert.

In a recent Law360 article, tax partner and tax controversy group co-founder Kat Gregor examines a recent transfer pricing decision from the Western District of Washington, in which a Washington federal judge took a broad interpretation of what constitutes a tax shelter when he ordered Microsoft to turn over documents to the IRS.

Please click here to read more of Kat’s insights.

On December 19, 2019, in a split decision in Texas v. United States, the Fifth Circuit held that the Individual Mandate (“Mandate”) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) became unconstitutional when Congress zeroed out the penalty, but vacated the district court’s decision that the ACA itself was unconstitutional without the Mandate. The Fifth Circuit remanded the case to the lower court for further analysis of the Mandate’s severability from the ACA.  For previous coverage of the district court’s decision, in which it found the ACA unconstitutional because the zero-penalty Mandate was inseverable from the rest of the statute, please click here.

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In this Ropes & Gray podcast, Isabelle Farrar, an associate in the tax controversy group, is joined by Elizabeth Smith, counsel in the tax controversy group, and Jennifer Romig, a partner in the health care group, to discuss the state taxation of digital products, an evolving area in several states. Specifically, they will discuss how new technologies are rapidly shifting the delivery of health products and services, and how these new technologies are creating uncertainties in the sales and use tax world.

In this Ropes & Gray podcast, Ellen Gilley, an associate in the tax controversy group, is joined by Kat Gregor, a partner in the tax group and co-founder of the tax controversy group, and Rohan Massey, a partner and co-leader of our data, privacy & cybersecurity group, to discuss the French Digital Services Tax and other developments in the taxation of digital services, with a focus on implications for tech companies serving users in the European Union.