Shawn R. O’Brien is a Tax partner who represents clients in all types of tax disputes with taxing authorities on international, federal and state levels. He routinely advises clients on various tax issues during tax examinations, in administrative appeals and as an advocate in trial and appellate litigation before the US Tax Court, US District Courts and US Court of Federal Claims.
Shawn’s tax controversy and litigation experience spans a broad range of areas, including transfer pricing controversies, debt v. equity issues, international withholdings, advance pricing agreements, “tax shelter” disallowances, research and development tax credits, excise taxes, changes in accounting methods, Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), Streamline Program, Domestic Production Activities Deduction (section 199), Micro-Captive Insurance, related party transactions, basket options transactions, repatriation structures, inbound distributors, alternative minimum tax (AMT) preference items, and foreign tax credits.
Shawn advises foreign and domestic corporations, partnerships, MLPs, REITS, and LLCs seeking corporate and tax advice in connection with various types of foreign and domestic transactions, including 1031 exchanges, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, divestitures, leveraged buyouts, structured financings, and oil and gas transactions. Shawn is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in Louisiana.
Shawn serves on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) where he is a member of the Large Business & International (LB&I) subcommittee. IRSAC was created to provide an organized public forum for IRS officials and representatives of the public to discuss key tax administration issues. IRSAC provides the IRS Commissioner and divisions leadership with important feedback, observations, and suggestions.
Shawn is particularly focused on a variety of tax issues facing the energy industry including tax controversy, joint ventures, restructuring, acquisition and disposition of energy assets. Shawn served as Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee of the State Bar of Texas Tax Section from 2011 to 2013.
According to International Tax Review’s “World Tax” 2016, Mayer Brown’s Houston tax practice is ranked Tier 1 and is “known for its sophisticated transactional tax and tax controversy work. Clients recognize the quality of its lawyers, many of whom have extensive backgrounds in the energy sector.
The practice is strong in international tax, and advises both US and non-US multinationals on their energy investments. The practice is also strong in transfer pricing and controversy, and has represented clients in some of the biggest transfer pricing disputes filed in US courts. The Houston practice is led by Shawn O’Brien, who focuses on tax controversy.”
- New York University School of Law, LLM
- Loyola Law School, JD
- US Tax Court
- US District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- US Court of Federal Claims
- Representation of a publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production company in the US Tax Court related to a tax dispute involving the alternative minimum tax.
- Representation of a publicly traded building products company in the US Tax Court related to contingent liability management company transaction.
- Representation of an estate of a high-net worth individual in the US Court of Federal Claims related to the valuation of interests an exploration and production company held by the estate.
- Representation of major integrated energy company in the US Court of Federal Claims related to the company’s eligibility of tax credits for the production of crude oil from tar sands.
- Representation of a publicly traded waste collection company before IRS Appeals and in preparation for litigation related to federal motor fuels excise tax.
- Representation of a multi-national refinery during an IRS examination and IRS Appeals related to an issue involving inventory versus capitalization.
- Tax advice to a multi-national consumer products company related to the tax consequences of the transfer of intellectual property and repatriation of foreign earnings.
- Tax advice to a substantial foreign based airline involving the federal excise taxes applicable to air transportation services.
- Tax advice to foreign owned oil and gas exploration and production company related to debt v. equity issues involving the new Section 385 regulations.
- Tax advice related to a multi-national drill pipe manufacturer related to the IRC section 165(g)(3) worthless stock and IRC section 166 worthless debt deductions.
- Tax advice to publicly traded REIT clients regarding various substantial section 1031 forward and reverse like-kind exchange transactions.
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