Elizabeth Ann Smith

Partner

New York
T 212.589.4277  |  F 212.589.4201

Betsy Smith has a diverse tax practice, working in both transactional tax and controversy matters, with an emphasis in the hedge fund industry and in New York state residency and domicile cases. In addition, she has significant experience representing taxpayers before the IRS in the voluntary disclosure programs, as well as assisting clients with the new streamlined procedures and "opt outs." Betsy frequently advises on mergers and acquisitions, and also advises onshore and offshore investment managers regarding fund formation and strategic tax planning. She is responsive and engaged with her clients and truly understands their attitudes toward a matter, which allows her to determine the best strategy to employ in resolving their disputes.

Betsy is a member of the firm's Policy Committee.

Select Experience

  • As part of BakerHostetler’s role as court-appointed counsel to the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS), Betsy is responsible for obtaining on behalf of the SIPA Trustee a $326 million settlement with the Internal Revenue Service, after determining that BLMIS falsely debited foreign account holders for alleged U.S. federal income tax withholding and paid to the IRS such withheld amounts related to alleged dividends. However, because no securities were purchased, and thus no dividends were actually ever received by BLMIS, no amounts should have been withheld and transferred to the IRS.
  • A $200 million tax transactional case challenged by the IRS required Betsy to aggressively represent her client. The matter involved the transfer of stock options, which had been disallowed by the IRS. Betsy defeated the IRS without ever having to litigate in the U.S. Tax Court, saving the client legal fees as well as penalties and interest.
  • Experienced in providing tax advice and counsel to energy companies on industry-related tax concerns, Betsy and her team recently obtained a private letter ruling from the IRS for a client in the energy credit area, saving the client millions of dollars in U.S. federal income taxes.
  • In a fact-intensive and multimillion-dollar matter, Betsy represented a well-known sportscaster in a New York City residency challenge, obtaining a “no change on audit” by being able to factually prove that the taxpayer was not in New York the requisite period of time required to be considered a statutory resident, and legally defeated a domicile challenge.
  • A settlement in favor of Betsy’s client was obtained during her representation of a former CEO of a public company in a New York State residency and domicile challenge.
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Experience

  • As part of BakerHostetler’s role as court-appointed counsel to the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS), Betsy is responsible for obtaining on behalf of the SIPA Trustee a $326 million settlement with the Internal Revenue Service, after determining that BLMIS falsely debited foreign account holders for alleged U.S. federal income tax withholding and paid to the IRS such withheld amounts related to alleged dividends. However, because no securities were purchased, and thus no dividends were actually ever received by BLMIS, no amounts should have been withheld and transferred to the IRS.
  • A $200 million tax transactional case challenged by the IRS required Betsy to aggressively represent her client. The matter involved the transfer of stock options, which had been disallowed by the IRS. Betsy defeated the IRS without ever having to litigate in the U.S. Tax Court, saving the client legal fees as well as penalties and interest.
  • Experienced in providing tax advice and counsel to energy companies on industry-related tax concerns, Betsy and her team recently obtained a private letter ruling from the IRS for a client in the energy credit area, saving the client millions of dollars in U.S. federal income taxes.
  • In a fact-intensive and multimillion-dollar matter, Betsy represented a well-known sportscaster in a New York City residency challenge, obtaining a “no change on audit” by being able to factually prove that the taxpayer was not in New York the requisite period of time required to be considered a statutory resident, and legally defeated a domicile challenge.
  • A settlement in favor of Betsy’s client was obtained during her representation of a former CEO of a public company in a New York State residency and domicile challenge.

Recognitions

  • 100 Women in Hedge Funds: Angel Member

Memberships

  • Managed Fund Association 
  • American Bar Association: Tax Section 
  • New York State Bar Association: Tax Section

Community

  • Her Justice: Designated Corporate Partner
  • The Junior League of the City of New York, Inc.
    • Board of Directors (2010 to 2013)
    • Outstanding Volunteer (2002)
    • Former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer
  • Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut): Parent Director (2010 to present)
  • Colonial Dames of New York: Assistant Treasurer (2013)
  • Yorkville Common Pantry: Former Board Member
  • St. Bernard’s School: Centennial Benefit Co-Chair

Services

Industries

Prior Positions

  • Clerk to the Honorable Charles E. Clapp II of the United States Tax Court

Admissions

  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • New York
  • New Jersey

Education

  • LL.M., New York University
  • J.D., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania