Our firm's State & Local Tax (SALT) Practice offers exceptional experience in all New York State, New York City, and multistate tax issues to our clients. The group’s New York State tax attorneys are also well-versed in multistate, international, and cross-border tax matters. From planning and compliance to litigation and damage control, our SALT Practice attorneys provide legal solutions specifically tailored to meet our clients’ requirements.

Hodgson Russ LLP has been awarded prestigious "Best Law Firm" rankings by Best Lawyers/U.S. News & World Report in the categories of National Tier 2, Tax Law and Litigation – Tax, Metropolitan Tier 1, Tax Law, and Metropolitan Tier 2, Litigation – Tax.

Leading the Way in State And Local Tax

Our SALT attorneys are leaders in tax law and tax litigation. Paul R. Comeau, the founder of the Hodgson Russ State and Local Tax Practice, handled some of the first residency audit cases in New York State in the late 1980's, and authored New York State Bar Association reports and articles that were subsequently reflected in detailed audit guidelines which continue to serve as a model for other states.

Timothy P. Noonan, the practice’s chief litigator, won a landmark residency case in New York’s highest court. Gaied v. New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal, No. 26 (N.Y. 2014), issued a groundbreaking decision on the state's residency rules, one of the first times the court addressed this important New York tax issue.

Hodgson Russ is also the first firm to use the provisions of the Civil Practice Law and Rules statute to obtain legal fees against the Tax Department in a litigated tax case.


Full Team Experience and Approach

While other firms of similar size may have one attorney who occasionally handles state and local tax matters, the Hodgson Russ SALT Practice has many New York corporate tax attorneys – with more than 20 attorneys. In addition to the attorney team members, our SALT Practice includes Paralegals, Audit Managers, and Senior Audit Managers, several of whom are former New York State tax auditors.


Areas of Concentration

Residency Planning 

The SALT practice’s experience on residency planning is unparalleled. Thousands of taxpayers departing for sunnier tax climates have contacted the practice’s attorneys for advice on how to accomplish an effective change in tax residency even though they intend to maintain significant ties to the state they are leaving. While most of these calls come from individuals planning to leave New York City and/or New York State, the practice also receives inquiries from individuals seeking to depart other jurisdictions including, among others, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

The SALT practice’s advice includes both how to carry out a move in a manner that should be respected on audit and how to structure business activities to reduce income sourced to the taxpayer’s state of former residency. We have provided counsel to high-net-worth individuals intending to move into high tax jurisdictions to structure their affairs in such a way as to minimize the impact of the higher tax rates. The practice’s lawyers are particularly experienced in some of the lesser-known legal traps and opportunities including accrual rules, convenience rules, and deferred compensation.

Transactional Planning and Due Diligence

Latent state and local tax issues have increased in frequency and importance as a result of the recent relaxation of nexus rules by the Supreme Court, and an increase of enforcement activity by the states against non-filers. As a consequence, the SALT practice lawyers are being called upon more often to identify and address state and local tax issues in acquisitive transactions. Our services include due diligence reviews of the past state and local tax compliance of target businesses, and when a problem is identified, offering solutions including, among others, increased escrows, indemnifications, and voluntary disclosure agreements to manage the possible impacts.

Tax Controversy Representation

The SALT practice lawyers have experience at all levels of tax controversy practice in New York State and City and experience in other jurisdictions. The practice’s lawyers appear on behalf of clients in audits, conciliation conferences, administrative hearings, administrative appeals, and civil court appeals. Sometimes the obvious approach is not the best approach, and the SALT lawyers are aware of the different procedural rules in the different courts and how the differences may be leveraged to the benefit of our clients.

The practice is acutely aware of the increasing cost of tax litigation and strives to keep clients aware of changes to the cost/benefit analysis as their cases work through the different tax controversy stages. Where appropriate, the practice will utilize the services of forensic accountants and expert witnesses. And our SALT lawyers are sometimes called-upon to appear as expert witnesses in cases in which the practice is not representing a client. Our lawyers also write and submit amicus (friend of the court) briefs in cases of particular significance.

Multistate Tax Issues

Hodgson Russ’s income and sales tax lawyers help many businesses that are in another state deal with the widely varying tax laws and regulations that affect them. We also help clients create a plan of action for managing multistate tax compliance using our proprietary Matrix planning tool to help clients quantify their exposure through a state-by-state analysis of audit risk and liability concern.


Knowledge Is Power

We wrote the book. Any lawyer can read the books necessary to become proficient in an area of law, but the Hodgson Russ SALT Practice attorneys write those books. These publications were written by our attorneys:

  • New York State Sales And Use Tax Answer Book, CCH (2013 Edition)
  • Contesting New York State Tax Assessments, 4th Edition
  • Guidebook to New York Taxes, 2019 Edition
  • New York Residency And Audit Allocation Handbook, CCH (2018 Edition)
  • What to Expect in a Sales and Use Tax Audit
  • What to Expect in a Residency Audit 

To learn more about how to obtain these handbooks, please click here.


'State Tax Talks with Joe Tantillo" Podcast

The Hodgson Russ State & Local Tax Practice is ready to un-complicate some of New York State’s most complicated tax laws and requirements for you. Subscribe to our podcasts for instant access to the latest episodes of “State Tax Talks with Joe Tantillo.” 

LISTEN, DOWNLOAD, AND SUBSCRIBE TO 'STATE TAX TALKS'

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News & Insights

Podcasts

  • California Tax Residency Rules (Part 1): Domicile

    In this episode of State Tax Talks, Joe brings in California tax professional and Hodgson Russ Partner, Daniel Kelly for a nuts and bolts overview of California’s rules on changing your residency for tax purposes. The two start at the top with a discussion on California’s law surrounding domicile as well as a few safe harbor provisions included in the California tax law. California, much like New York, utilizes a complex analysis for making a determination as to whether someone has successfully abandoned their California residency. Dan and Joe look to peel back the layers of the primary test for our listeners.

  • Moving Abroad: Challenges & The 548-Day Rule

    Changing your domicile can be a challenge. Changing your domicile to a foreign country is an even bigger challenge. Joe is joined by Tim Noonan and Diana Mathis for an in-depth discussion of the rules governing changes of residency out of New York to a foreign country. The panel also discusses the 548-Day Rule safe harbor within the New York tax law, which allows people to escape taxation as a resident if they spend enough time abroad and meet other requirements.

  • Pass-Through Entity Tax 101 (Part 2): Income, Credits, and Add-backs

    In part two of our pass-through entity tax discussion, Joe, Liz, and Chris discuss the nuts and bolts of calculating PTET income for partnerships and S-corporations. The panel also discusses the complexities surrounding the credit and the addback of taxes paid at the individual level in New York. The panel also dives into some of the nuances of the New York City pass-through entity tax as well as some frequently asked questions that arise in the world of PTET.

  • Pass-Through Entity Tax 101 (Part 1): History, Purpose, & Making the Election

    Joe is joined by Hodgson Russ partners Liz Pascal and Chris Doyle to discuss the nuts and bolts of the pass-through entity tax. The panel begins its discussion with an overview of what exactly a pass-through entity tax is, and how it’s tied to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The panel also discusses some of the basics of making the PTET election, including who can make the election and when the deadline is in New York State.

  • The Zelinsky Case – Tax Department Wins Round 1

    The administrative law judge in the Zelinsky case issued a determination in favor of the tax department. Andrew Wright and Brandon Bourg join Joe Tantillo to discuss the analysis in the determination and break down what this means for the case moving forward. For now, the convenience rule remains good law, but will the analysis hold on appeal? Tune in to hear our thoughts.

  • Stupid Sales Tax Rules

    Have you ever really looked into some of the distinctions between what makes an item taxable or nontaxable in New York? Well, we have, and some of the rules are just plain outrageous. Joe is joined by Mark Klein, Joe Endres, and Josh Lawrence to discuss some of New York State’s silliest sales tax rules. You’ll be shocked at how the tiniest difference can result in a hefty sales tax bill. The panel shares stories about some of the niche sales tax issues that have come up on audit.

  • New York State Brownfield Program (Part 2): Tax Credits

    Joe continues his conversation with Hodgson Russ partners Michael Hecker and Joseph Endres, as the trio discusses the dynamic Brownfield Program. The conversation shifts to the sizeable tax credits available to developers looking to take advantage of the Brownfield Program. Joe Endres highlights how these credits are calculated, claimed, and what scrutiny the tax department may use when reviewing Brownfield credit claims.

  • New York State Brownfield Program (Part 1): Cleanup & Compliance

    Joe is joined by Hodgson Russ LLP partners Michael Hecker and Joseph Endres to discuss the ins and outs of New York State’s Brownfield Program. Federal and State Brownfield Cleanup Programs (BCPs) present unique opportunities for revival of contaminated properties in economically blighted communities and turning barriers to development into productive commercial or industrial sites. These programs also serve as one of the tools that may be used alongside a wide array of other economic development programs to leverage dollars and investment for various types of redevelopments, while providing essential protections against long-term risk. Brownfield projects require a step-by-step understanding of the process in order to ensure those undertaking the project receive the maximum benefits available. Mike shares his expertise on the regulatory and operational compliance required to undertake a Brownfield Project, and the steps to be completed long before the benefit of the Brownfield tax credit can be received.

  • Allocation & Apportionment (Part 3): Business Income

    In the final part of our allocation and apportionment series, Joe, Chris, and Andrew discuss the nuts and bolts of apportioning business income. The apportionment and allocation of business income often varies based on the type of business entity, which can create confusion for business owners. The panel tries to simplify this process by taking a look at New York’s rules for corporate and partnership apportionment.

  • Allocation & Apportionment (Part 2): Wage Allocation

    Joe, Chris, and Drew continue their series on allocation and apportionment. In this episode, the panel breaks down the nuts and bolts of nonresident wage allocation, and the impacts of telecommuting on the workday allocation fraction. The trio also discuss the difference between allocating salary and bonus income.

  • SALT Minds: An Interview with Professor Edward Zelinsky

    Joe is joined by esteemed legal scholar, Professor Edward Zelinsky of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Hodgson Russ colleagues Elizabeth Pascal and Timothy Noonan to discuss Professor Zelinsky’s ongoing legal battle against New York State’s Convenience of the Employer Rule. Professor Zelinsky shares stories about his original convenience rule court case and provides insight into how his legal theory evolved for his newest court case in opposition of the convenience rule.

  • Allocation & Apportionment (Part 1): The Basics

    Joe is joined by Hodgson Russ Attorneys Andrew Wright and Chris Doyle to begin his series on nonresident allocation and apportionment. The group dives into the very basics of the topic, and answers the all-important question of what distinguishes allocation from apportionment.

  • Introduction to Sales Tax (Part 3): Audits

    Our introduction to sales tax series comes to a close with an in depth discussion on the audit process. Have you ever wondered what happens in a New York State sales tax audit? Joe Tantillo and Joe Endres break down the ins and outs of the audit process. They discuss the rights of the taxpayer, audit procedure, and potential outcomes.

  • Introduction To Sales Tax (Part 2): If I Sell It, Will They Tax?

    The two Joes continue their sales tax discussion by venturing into the topic of taxability. They discuss the basics of the taxation of sales of tangible personal property versus sales of services. And Joe Endres poses some interesting hypotheticals about the applicability of the New York State sales tax.

  • Tax Provisions of Interest in the Proposed 2023-2024 New York State Budget Bill

    Joe sits down with SALT attorneys Chris Doyle and Mario Caito to discuss some highlights from the New York State Legislature’s proposed Revenue portions of the State’s 2023-24 Budget (Assembly Bill 3009/Senate Bill 4009)(the “Budget”). The group also highlights some of the proposed tax rate increases and wealth tax proposals that have been floated by state legislators.

  • Introduction To Sales Tax (Part 1): Nexus

    Joe is joined by sales tax expert and SALT attorney, Joe Endres, for the first part of our Introduction to Sales Tax Series. The pair discuss one of the most important issues in the world of sales tax: nexus. Often a threshold issue for companies trying to determine the taxability of their sales, nexus is the connection between a seller and a state that requires the seller to register then collect and remit sales tax in the state. Whether a seller has nexus with a given state can be a complicated matter even for the most experienced tax professionals. The two Joes break down the law of nexus and analyze the complexities of the law.

  • Obus and the Future of Statutory Residency

    A major win for taxpayers, the decision in Matter of Obus v. New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal is final! Joe is joined by guests Tim Noonan, Andrew Wright, and Emma Savino to discuss this landmark tax case, which will dramatically shift the rules for New York’s statutory residency test. We break down the cases that led up to this point, what actually happened in Obus, why the impact of the case is significant, and what the future may hold for legal interpretation of what constitutes a permanent place of abode in New York. A once purely mechanical test, the statutory residency test now looks to have a major subjective component as part of the analysis, as a result of the Obus decision. Joe and his guests also give their thoughts on whether the State will take action in response to this major change.

  • Happy Minute 2 – The Convenience Rule Continued: Matter of Zelinsky

    Joe and guests Chris and Dan continue their conversation about New York State’s Convenience of the Employer Rule. They focus their discussion on one of the most famous court cases to ever challenge the Convenience Rule, Matter of Zelinsky v. Tax Appeals Tribunal of the State of New York. They also discuss Professor Zelinsky’s renewed challenge to the Convenience Rule, the challenge’s chances of success, and the best arguments against upholding the rule as constitutional.

  • Happy Minute 1—The Convenience Rule

    Welcome to the first edition of the Happy Minute: a laid back, round-table style discussion of contemporary tax issues that pique our interest. Joe is joined by guests, Chris Doyle and Dan Kelly, to discuss the Convenience of the Employer Rule used by New York and a handful of other states to tax the wage income of remote employees. This is a nonresident allocation rule that can be confusing to many taxpayers, especially those working remotely for New York employers. Joe, Chris, and Dan talk about how the rule works, why it negatively impacts remote employees, and whether it is fair for states to use a convenience rule.

  • Residency Audits- Part 2

    In a continuation of their discussion on tax residency, Tim and Joe dive into the ins and outs of tax residency audits, including a high level discussion of audit procedure. The pair talk about what taxpayers can expect if they get an audit notice, and highlight some of the realities of a New York tax audit.

  • Residency Audits- Part 1

    In this episode, Joe sites down with Tim Noonan in the first part of our discussion on tax residency. Changing your tax residency is not as simple as spending six months and a day in a new state. Tim and Joe discuss the ins and outs of New York State’s tax residency tests, and share thoughts on what factors tend to trip up taxpayers looking to make a move out of state.

  • A Brief History of State and Local Tax Part 2

    In Episode Two of “State Tax Talks with Joe Tantillo,” Joe and the "Tax Titans", Paul Comeau and Mark Klein, continue their discussion of the development of SALT legal practice.

  • A Brief History of State and Local Tax

    In Episode One of “State Tax Talks with Joe Tantillo,” Joe provides an overview of the development of SALT legal practice, as told by experts, Paul Comeau and Mark Klein (or as we call them, the “Tax Titans”).

    You won’t want to miss this!

  • State Tax Talks TRAILER

    You’ve probably heard the saying, “Knowledge is power.” When it comes to taxes in New York State, we couldn’t agree more!

Areas of Expertise

We proudly offer legal expertise in the following areas of New York tax law:

  • Corporate Tax
  • Domicile & Residency Law
  • Litigating a New York State Tax Case
  • Nonresident Allocation Rules
  • Sales & Use Tax
  • Voluntary Disclosure - Multistate Programs 
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State & Local Tax / News & Insights