Betsy Smith serves as the Tax Group Coordinator for the firm’s New York office. She focuses her practices in the areas of tax advice and planning and all aspects of tax controversy. She has significant experience representing hedge funds, energy companies, and both public and private corporations. Her tax background and business experience enable her to assist clients with tax-creative and efficient solutions to a variety of challenging and complex tax issues.
Ms. Smith has U.S. Federal and New York State tax experience advising clients on a multitude of issues. She advises clients with respect to the tax aspects of mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, debt and equity offerings, financial instruments including hedging contracts, swaps, forward contracts, options, collars and other derivative instruments, accounting, depreciation, and deductibility issues. She has significant foreign tax experience as well as advising clients on controlled foreign corporations, passive foreign investment corporations, withholding tax implications, effectively connected income and income tax treaty issues. She also has experience drafting and negotiating partnership agreements.
Ms. Smith has represented clients throughout her entire legal career in tax controversy matters. Ms. Smith has substantial experience representing corporations and individuals in all aspects of tax controversy. She has represented several clients at all different stages before the Internal Revenue Service involving so-called tax-motivated transactions, including a $200 million tax liability matter involving the transfer of stock options, which have been disallowed by the IRS. Ms. Smith has handled several cases in the U.S. Tax Court including an accounting methods case for an energy company, a gambling case involving debt forgiveness, an art valuation case of an estate client, a covenant-not-to-compete valuation case in the health care industry, a “stadium economics” case in the context of the NFL, a “Son-of-Boss” case, and an abandonment loss case. She has substantial experience representing taxpayers at IRS Appeals and successfully resolved for an energy client a multimillion-dollar Fast Track case—one of the first in the United States. Ms. Smith has also obtained private letter rulings and technical advice for her clients on a variety of challenging tax issues.
Ms. Smith routinely advises clients in multimillion-dollar issues in the State and City of New York. She has advised corporate clients on franchise and sales and use tax issues and individuals on personal income tax issues. She has represented a prominent television figure and the CEO of a major public company in New York residency disputes. Ms. Smith advises clients on the New York City unincorporated business tax as well.
Ms. Smith has significant experience with hedge funds representing funds and fund of funds, both domestic and offshore, in all aspects of tax-efficient planning. She works with institutional advisers, banks and brokerage firms in establishing private investment funds, as well as investment managers and broker-dealers. Ms. Smith recently chaired two panels at the GAIM conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, on portfolio construction.
Ms. Smith has also advised many energy companies and has provided tax advice with respect to issues pertinent to that sector including: the reorganization of a publicly traded utility into a holding company structure and separating regulated and unregulated businesses. She has experience with energy companies on the sale and acquisition of alternative energy assets, including tax advice with regard to coal, hydro and wind asset dispositions and acquisitions. In addition, Ms. Smith has provided tax counsel to energy clients in the utilization of net operating losses and Code section 382 limitations. Ms. Smith has also provided tax advice on the termination of a syn-gas contract and provided a tax opinion with regard to the tax consequences thereof. She was tax counsel on the multibillion-dollar tax-free merger of a U.S. energy company into a U.K. energy company using a double-dummy structure. She provided tax advice with respect to a $1 billion sale of electric generating facilities. She also advised an energy client on the multibillion-dollar sale of nuclear plants, and the transfer of both qualified and non-qualified decommissioning funds.
Ms. Smith is an “Angel” member of 100 Women in Hedge Funds. She has been an active member of The Junior League of the City of New York, Inc. for more than two decades—serving on its Board of Managers for five years and holding the position of Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Smith is also an active volunteer at The Chapin School and co-chaired the Centennial Benefit for the St. Bernard’s School in New York City. She has served on the Board of the Yorkville Common Pantry and the Vestry of the Church of the Heavenly Rest.
Ms. Smith is a member of the bars of New York, New Jersey, the United States Tax Court, and the United States Claims Court. She is also a member of the American Bar Association (Tax Section) and served on the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association (Tax Section). Ms. Smith served as a clerk to the Honorable Charles E. Clapp II of the United States Tax Court prior to entering private practice.
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