Being an effective inside counsel for your company’s tax department

Fortunately, there are specific, proactive steps that inside counsel can employ to sufficiently identify, understand, and monitor tax matters

Inside counsel for today’s businesses are often required to play many different roles: monitor, researcher, business advisor, counselor and gatekeeper, to name just a few. In order to successfully navigate these multiple roles, many in-house attorneys are finding it necessary to open up lines of communication with other key departments within the business. The increased responsibility placed on inside counsel requires extensive intra-business communication to ensure that in-house attorneys are informed of all activities that may have a legal impact on the organization. Unfortunately, in many instances, there is a disconnect between inside counsel and an organization’s tax department. Below is a recent example:

A corporation’s tax department hires a tax consulting firm to seek a refund for taxes overpaid by a subsidiary. The consulting firm handles the claim through administrative appeals and subsequently engages a law firm to represent the corporation in court. However, the general counsel previously dissolved the subsidiary because of an unrelated legal issue with a financial impact 20-times greater than the tax refund. The general counsel first learns of the tax claim during the final stages of the subsidiary’s wind-up. The subsequent conversation between the departments is “interesting.”

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Drew McEwen

Drew McEwen ( is Senior Counsel in Dykema’s Austin, Texas office. His practice focuses on state tax litigation and planning. Drew represents clients through...

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Kevin Oldham

Kevin Oldham ( is Senior Counsel in Dykema’s Austin, Texas office.  He focuses his practice on state and local tax litigation, servicing clients in...

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