Business Services


The attorneys of Stites & Harbison assist clients with tax planning and litigation on the federal, state and local levels. The firm's tax practitioners include a former United States Tax Court law clerk and a former attorney for the Internal Revenue Service's Office of Chief Counsel (Tax Court). Several members of the tax practice group have master-of-law degrees in taxation.

Federal Tax

The firm helps clients structure corporate reorganizations, redemption transactions, spinoffs, splitoffs, liquidations and tax free exchanges. It also regularly represents clients before the Internal Revenue Service Appeals Office, the United States Tax Court, the U.S. District Courts and federal appellate courts on federal income tax matters. Notable successes have included the defense of a Chicago Board of Trade option trader in what is believed to be the largest case involving the tax treatment afforded to tax straddles; rulings obtained for a billion dollar charitable organization; and the successful negotiation of multi-million dollar tax refunds in connection with a major insurance company insolvency.

State Taxation

As states continue with the most significant budget deficits in recent history, state and local taxing authorities continue to aggressively pursue additional revenue for their jurisdictions through a variety of mechanisms ranging from overly broad interpretations of state statutes and local ordinances to aggressive, unyielding positions in litigation. Our SALT attorneys are the "go-to" people for SALT controversies in Kentucky. With tax experience, in-depth litigation experience and a well-known presence in Frankfort, Kentucky—the state's capital—we are uniquely positioned to achieve success for our clients. We represent a number of large multi-state, multi-national corporations in complex SALT matters, and routinely and successfully represent many other businesses and individuals as well. We regularly appear before the Kentucky Department of Revenue, Board of Tax Appeals and all levels of the courts regarding state income, sales and use, property, severance and other taxes

We recently filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court seeking reversal of a decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court upholding legislation that retroactively revokes the corporation income tax refund claims owed to approximately twenty-nine (29) corporations doing business in Kentucky. See Johnson Controls, Inc. et al. v. Miller, United States Supreme Court, Case No. 09-981. The total refund claims, including interest, are estimated to exceed $200 million.

Recent engagements

  • Assisted client in the natural gas industry in identifying and settling Kentucky tax liabilities (income, sales and use, property, severance and other) for several related entities engaged in complex, multi-million dollar transactions
  • Worked with sales tax auditors to achieve $1M+ savings for a manufacturing client on sales and use tax audits
  • Identified tax incentives available for $2B coal gasification facility
  • Represented numerous clients in their appeal of tangible personal and real property tax assessments resulting in significant savings for clients

Recent presentations and publications

  • “Broken Promises - The Decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court in Miller v. Johnson Controls,” LexisNexis Tax Law Center, November 16, 2009
  • Miller v. Johnson Controls, Inc. and the Dangers of Retroactive Tax Legislation,” IPT Income Tax Report, November 2009 (co-authored with Jeff Mullins of American Airlines).
  • DirecTV v. Treesh”, “Kentucky Protest and Appeals Process,” and “Overhaul of Kentucky’s Economic Incentives Legislation,” LexisNexis Tax Law Center, Fall 2009
  • “Navigating Roadblocks to State Tax Refunds: Managing Expectations and Cutting a Deal,” Council on State Taxation (“COST”) 40th Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, October 2009
  • “Income Tax for Sales Tax Professionals,” Institute of Professionals in Taxation, Sales Tax Symposium, Miami, FL, October 2009
  • “Refunds for Court-Resolved Issues and Retroactive Statutes,” IPT Income Tax Report, April 2009.


"Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes." J. Learned Hand, Helvering v. Gregory, 69 F.2d 809, 810 (2d Cir. 1934), citing United States v. Isham, 84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 496, 506, 21 L.Ed 728 (1873).

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Client Alerts

Congress Passes Extension for New Markets Tax Credits Program, Increases Allocation by $1.5 Billion

When some people hear the phrase New Markets Tax Credits, they might think of an obscure tax incentive. However, other people, those who deal with the program or have been directly impacted by it, think of something completely different. These individuals think of a hydroelectric generating facility found on the Kentucky River, a new health and science building at a small college in Berea that offers students a debt-free education, a brand new state-of-the-art YMCA in West Louisville that offers increased community services to society’s most vulnerable, or a Winchester facility that manufactures bio-degradable plastic items while employing those desperately in need.

by James C. Seiffert, and Jameson M. Seiffert February 20, 2020
Press Releases

Dan Douglass and Bill Joseph Recognized in 2020 Georgia Super Lawyers

ATLANTA—Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys Dan Douglass and Bill Joseph were recently honored in the 2020 Georgia Super Lawyers magazine.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC February 14, 2020
Client Alerts

IRS Finalizes Opportunity Zones Regulations

On December 19, 2019, nearly two years to the day since the enactment of the Opportunity Zones legislation (Pub. L 115-97), the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service issued 544 pages of anticipated final regulations on the Opportunity Zones program.

by James C. Seiffert, and Jameson M. Seiffert February 03, 2020
Press Releases

Bill Joseph recognized in Georgia Trend's 2019 Legal Elite

ATLANTA—Georgia Trend magazine has selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney William M. (Bill) Joseph as one of its 2019 Legal Elite. This is the sixth time Joseph has earned the Legal Elite honor.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC December 09, 2019
Client Alerts

Time to Consider Investments in Operating Businesses in Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones are depicted as transformative tools created to stimulate employment and achieve economic growth in distressed low-income communities. Like a public-private partnership, eligible taxpayers are entitled to significant tax incentives in exchange for investing unrealized capital gains in Opportunity Zones.

by James C. Seiffert, and Jameson M. Seiffert November 25, 2019

Kentucky Tax Conference

Date: 11/12/19 - 11/13/19
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Lexington/UK Coldstream, 1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511

Attorney Jim Seiffert will be a speaker at the Kentucky Chamber's Kentucky Tax Conference in Lexington, KY.

James C. Seiffert October 16, 2019
Press Releases

Stites & Harbison Welcomes Bill Joseph to the Atlanta office

ATLANTA—Stites & Harbison, PLLC welcomes attorney William M. Joseph (Bill) to the Atlanta office.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 24, 2019