Joel V. Williamson is widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s leading tax attorneys and litigators. He has litigated over 60 tax cases. His unprecedented experience includes the trial of seven major IRC 482 transfer pricing cases, including Eli Lilly, G.D. Searle, Westreco(Nestlé), Seagate Technology, National Semiconductor, United Parcel Service and Eaton Corporation.
Eaton, which also involved the cancellation of two Advanced Pricing Agreements, was decided by the US Tax Court on July 26, 2017, and resulted in a rare 100% transfer pricing taxpayer victory.
Recently, Joel served as trial counsel in the Guidant LLC and Eaton cases, each involving IRC 482 issues. Joel has also litigated numerous cases involving economic substance of transactions, including the United Parcel Service case noted above, as well as the Saba Partnership (Brunswick) case, and Mukerji(Comdisco), an important test case for tax-advantaged computer leasing transactions involving Comdisco.
More recently, Joel litigated ConEd which involved an international Lease-In-Lease-Out transaction and Flextronics which involved an international merger and acquisition transaction. Both ConEd and Flextronics witnessed IRS arguments of economic substance and generic tax doctrines including substance over form and step transaction.
Recently, Joel litigated Exelon which involved a like-exchange of utility assets that the IRS challenged on economic substance and substance over form grounds. In the international tax area, Joel has litigated Subpart F, constructive triangular dividend, R&D Moratorium, Brazilian and other foreign tax credit for banks, including Bankers Trust and Riggs Bank, as well as Iranian loss investment in U.S. property (IRC 956) and foreign-versus-domestic-source income (IRC 863(b)) questions.
He has litigated two significant captive insurance cases involving Humana, Inc. and Gulf Oil Corporation. In addition, Joel has litigated IRC 338 corporate acquisition related issues, including goodwill, intangible and inventory valuations and second-tier allocations involving Nestlé’s acquisition of Carnation.
Joel litigated the Tribune Company case, which dealt with whether a divestiture of a subsidiary qualified as a tax-free corporate reorganization. He has litigated significant tax accounting issues, including unbilled revenue and cap interest rate loan questions. Joel has also litigated significant procedural questions, including the proper role of IRS trial counsel in the audit examination process. He is also experienced in summons enforcement actions for both foreign and domestic records.
Mayer Brown was named “Tax Controversy Team of the Year” for the second consecutive year in 2015 in the Legal 500 United States Awards. “Mayer Brown is ‘among the best’ and fields a large team…dedicated exclusively to tax controversy and transfer pricing,” said Legal 500 and its sources in the US edition. The firm is “regularly seen in the most high-profile controversy cases before the US Tax Court” and produced “yet another impressive run of work” in 2014.
Joel served as an officer in the United States Army from 1970 to 1972, assigned to the Offices of the Staff Judge Advocate, 12th Support Brigade, Ft. Bragg, NC, and subsequently to Saigon Support Command, the Republic of South Vietnam.
After his return from Vietnam in 1972, Joel joined the Chief Counsel’s Office, US Department of Treasury. In 1978, he was appointed one of 20 Special Trial Attorneys located throughout the United States. Joel joined Mayer Brown in 1986 and was named partner that same year.
- Davidson College, BA
- University of Kentucky College of Law, JD
- US Supreme Court
- US Court of Federal Claims
- US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
- US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- Illinois Supreme Court
- US Tax Court
- Board of Trustees, Davidson College
- Board of Visitors, Davidson College
- United States District Court Trial Bar, Northern District, Illinois
- American Bar Association
- The Chicago Club
- The Joffrey Ballet, Inc.
- Hyatt Hotels Corporation & Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Docket No. 013858-17 (tax treatment of customer loyalty program).
- EOG Resources, Inc. & Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Docket No. 012794-17 (alternative minimum tax preference for intangible drilling costs).
- Chicago Baseball Holdings, LLC, Northside Entertainment Holdings, LLC, F.K.A. Ricketts Acquisition, LLC, Tax Matters Partner v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Docket No. 20941-16 (tax treatment of leveraged partnership transaction).
- Eaton Corporation v. Commissioner, 140 T.C. 410 (2013) (abuse of discretion standard applies to advanced pricing agreement cancellation).
- Covidien LP, f.k.a. Tyco Healthcare Group, LP, Covidien Holding Inc., f.k.a. SWD Holding, Inc. I, Tax Matters Partner v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Docket No. 16663-13 (decision entered May 31, 2016) (debt-equity characterization).
- Tyco Electronics Corp., as successor in interest to Tycom (US) Holdings, Inc. & Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Docket No. 16662-13 (decision entered May 31, 2016) (debt-equity characterization).
- Brunswick Corporation & Subsidiaries v. United States of America, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Docket No. 07C 3792, (basis for depreciation in an I.R.C. 338 acquisition transaction).
- United Parcel Service of America v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 254 F.3d 1014 (11th Cir. 2001), rev’g and remanding, T.C. Memo. 1999-268, 78 T.C.M. (CCH) 262 (1999) (vacating Tax Court’s finding on sham, assignment of income and penalties).
- Nestlé Holdings, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Memo. 1995-441, 70 T.C.M. (CCH) 682 (1995) (IRC 482 reallocations, Carnation acquisition).
- Westreco, Inc. (Nestlé) v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 923 F.2d 855 (6th Cir. 1991) (appeal dismissed and writ of mandamus denied).
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