Funds Talk: August 2015
Kramer Levin Wins First Circuit Appeal Declaring Puerto Rico’s Restructuring Act Unconstitutional
Maria T. Jones is a leading practitioner in the field of state and local tax matters and heads the firm’s state and local tax practice. Ms. Jones advises corporate clients, banks and financial service businesses in multistate planning with respect to the interpretation and application of state and city tax laws. She represents corporate and partnership entities in various industries regarding issues of combination, allocation, sourcing and classification of income among states, treatment of losses, taxability of activities, questions of nexus and application of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to state and local taxes. In addition, she advises high-net-worth individuals on issues relating to state of domicile or residence for tax purposes, allocation and characterization of income, and appraisal of charitable donations. Prior to moving into private practice, Ms. Jones served as a Commissioner of the New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal, appointed by Governor. Mario Cuomo in 1989. As one of the original commissioners to adjudicate taxpayer disputes, she helped craft many of the legal interpretations now being applied in the state tax area. Before serving on the Tribunal, Ms. Jones was Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs for the New York City Department of Finance, where she advised the Commissioner on legal and policy issues and supervised a staff of 30 attorneys. Among her most notable recent work, Ms. Jones led the team that obtained a decision from the New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal dismissing the appeal of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and upholding the position of UniCredit S.p.A, a European bank based in Italy, that amounts recorded in its international banking facility are not income and should be disregarded for purposes of calculating the bank’s New York tax. The team represented UniCredit in a hearing before an administrative law judge who ruled in the client’s favor, and before the tribunal, which upheld the decision of the ALJ. The Tax Appeals Tribunal cancelled the Department of Taxation and Finance’s adjustments and confirmed that the department had misapplied and misinterpreted the New York Tax Law and regulations by identifying income from the international banking facility’s interbranch transactions as ineligible gross income and using it to adjust the bank’s allocation factors. Ms. Jones also successfully argued on behalf of another foreign bank that the decision of the New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal in the UniCredit case should apply in litigation before the New York State Division of Tax Appeals, obtaining a full refund of taxes paid by the client. Ms. Jones has received numerous honors and distinctions, including being elected a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel in 2014. Both Chambers USA and Legal 500 have repeatedly ranked her as a leading practitioner, with Chambers designating her in Band 2 for Tax (New York) in 2015, and describing her as "a New York City legend," who clients say "listens really well and has a great sense of our needs," has "the ability to listen and manage, to analyze and document, to clarify and synthesize," is "capable of outstanding precision and succinctness in her writings, comments and management," is recommended for her "efficiency, knowledgeable analysis, practicality and excellent relationships with taxing authorities," and "will not allow anyone working with her on a case, neither the client nor her staff, to be led off track for any reason." In 2015, International Tax Review designated her as a leading advisor for tax controversy, and Best Lawyers in America named her Lawyer of the Year for Litigation and Controversy in Tax. Turnarounds & Workouts has repeatedly named her to magazine’s list of "Bankruptcy Tax Specialists in the Nation’s Major Law Firms" (2011-2014). She was also listed as one of New York’s "Women Leaders in the Law" (2013) and Avenue magazine’s "Top Women Lawyers” (2011).