Kathy Keneally, former Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Tax Division, focuses her practice on tax litigation and government investigations. She has represented large corporations, financial institutions, closely held businesses, and high wealth individuals for more than 30 years. She is an accomplished trial lawyer and routinely resolves matters without litigation.
At DOJ, Kathy oversaw the work of more than 350 attorneys in civil, criminal, and appellate tax litigation nationwide. She developed and implemented key tax enforcement initiatives and also oversaw the prosecution of the largest tax case ever brought against a financial institution. She is currently defending the largest tax case brought against an individual.
Kathy is the only lawyer recognized by Chambers USA for both tax controversy and tax fraud, which quotes clients and colleagues as saying that she "approaches complex problems with grit and empathy," "has an incredible mix of experience," "knows the ins and outs of the way things work," and "is extremely practical and business-oriented."
Kathy served as a vice chair of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation and chaired its Committees on the Standards of Tax Practice and Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties. She served on the Practitioners' Advisory Committee to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and as a Regent of the American College of Tax Counsel. She co-chairs the National Institutes on Tax Controversy and Criminal Tax Fraud and is an advisory board member of the Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure.
The following represents experience acquired prior to joining Jones Day.
Tax Controversy and Tax Litigation
Advised the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation in a review of its previously filed information returns in response to public inquiry.
Served as lead trial counsel in a precedent-setting Tax Court decision holding that the transfer of an interest in a single member LLC should be treated as a gift for tax purposes.
Managed team representing more than 100 high net worth individuals before the IRS relating to investments in "listed transactions," including presentations to the IRS counsel and executives resulting in a global settlement initiative and representation before IRS Examination and Appeals. Obtained favorable results in multiple cases before IRS Appeals. Persuaded IRS to issue Revenue Procedure to reduce interest liability for all similarly situated taxpayers.
Successfully quashed a series of summonses served on U.S. financial institutions pursuant to the United States-Russian tax treaty and at the request of the Russian Federation.
Obtained the concession of error by the IRS following the commencement of a wrongful levy action in U.S. District Court.
Represented high-profile international athlete in IRS income tax examination, resulting in full concession by IRS.
Obtained favorable settlement in complex Tax Court case involving an estate, multiple trusts, and inter vivos gifts.
Negotiated with the IRS for a satisfactory civil resolution of corporate, personal, and income tax liabilities that resulted from unreported income and a cash payroll.
Advised numerous companies and individuals in "sensitive" IRS examinations in which favorable civil remedies were obtained despite fraudulent or potentially criminal conduct.
Obtained innocent spouse relief in connection with a deficiency arising from an abusive tax shelter investment by the client's husband, to whom she remained married and who worked with her in her business.
Obtained full concession by the IRS of tax liability of a widow despite the failure of prior counsel to raise innocent spouse defense in Tax Court petition filed jointly on behalf of both spouses.
Demonstrated that taxpayer had paid asserted tax liability despite the IRS's failure to record payments properly by obtaining the intervention of the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
Represented company in an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
As head of the Tax Division for the Department of Justice, oversaw the prosecution of the first financial institution to plead guilty in more than 20 years and the first to remain in business following the guilty plea. This prosecution was widely acknowledged as manifesting a change in DOJ policy when addressing entities considered "too big to fail." Worked closely with federal and state regulators and DOJ leadership to ensure that the financial institution would not fail as a result of the enforcement action.
Persuaded the DOJ not to indict: a target in a major tax shelter promoter investigation; the taxpayer in a tax fraud scheme by demonstrating that the tax advisor had backdated documents without the taxpayer's knowledge; and individual who earned substantial income as a high-level executive but failed to file tax returns for multiple years.
Negotiated immunity agreement for financial officer in a substantial tax evasion investigation of company.
Obtained agreements in many cases not to prosecute pursuant to IRS voluntary disclosure policy concerning domestic and offshore tax liabilities.
Obtained a sentence that resulted in no jail time in New York state investigation of significant omitted income and cash payroll.
Other Government Investigations, Financial Crimes, and Anti-Money Laundering
Negotiated the release of more than US$50 million in bank accounts that had been frozen by the United States under civil forfeiture statutes.
Obtained a concession by the United States of error on appeal in which the government acknowledged breach of a plea agreement under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Developed anti-money laundering and currency reporting compliance program for a money services business.
Negotiated home confinement for a high-level executive of a savings and loan association charged with money laundering and other violations.
Obtained a substantial downward departure in sentencing following a guilty plea in a major bribery investigation.
Represented a major defense contractor in a securities investigation that resulted in a decision not to prosecute.
Represented a money services business in successful effort to persuade New York to change its licensing laws.
Member of the trial team that obtained acquittal of Imelda Marcos on RICO and other charges.
Successfully defended lawyer accused of tax fraud and RICO violations in connection with the estate of reggae performer Bob Marley through trial and verdict.
Favorably settled action based on RICO, fraud, and other claims following successful motion practice in dispute between two major fashion companies.
Obtained settlement for nuisance value for a lawyer accused of conspiracy, fraud, and RICO violations.
Supervised development and implementation of document retention program for a large financial institution.
Tax Controversy May Arise for Those Claiming Relief Under the FFCRA and CARES Act, Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure
- Sept.-Oct. 2017
Renewed Government Focus on Section 7212(a): What Does it Mean to Corruptly Endeavor to Impede the IRS?, coauthor, The Champion
- February 17, 2021
Representing Multicultural Taxpayers: The IRS investment in Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, New York County Lawyers Association
- November 20, 2020
IRS Criminal Update, New England IIRS Representation Conference
- July 14, 2020
Update: Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice, ABA Section of Taxation
- June 4, 2020
The Rule of Unintended Consequences – Ethical and Practical Considerations When the Client is Under Investigation, ABA 34th National Institute on White Collar Crime
- November 5, 2019
US Structures with Foreign Unpaid Tax Liabilities, Advising Latin American Families in a Transparent World
- October 4, 2019
Ethical Issues When Advising Cross-Border Clients, ABA Section of Taxation
- September 26, 2019
The Role of Hardship in Tax and Tax Controversies
- March 28, 2019
The Roadmap for Handling a Challenging IRS Examination
- March 14, 2019
Transparency Through the Ethical Looking Glass: From FATCA and CRS to Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership, 15th Annual Estate Planning Institute
- October 4, 2018
Planning for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Managing Current and Future Tax Controversy Issues in the Wake of Uncertainty
- September 27, 2018
When, Why & How to Complain - Nontraditional Advocacy for the Pro Bono Tax Controversy Lawyer
- May 16, 2018
Reflections on an Evolving Cross-Border Legal and Regulatory Landscape, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management International Symposium
- May 15, 2018
Ethical Considerations for In-House Tax Professionals, Tax Executive Institute
- May 11, 2018
Give It Away Now: An Update on Conservation Easements, Charitable Deductions and Substantial Compliance, ABA Section of Taxation
- May 4, 2018
Regulatory Update, Bolton Capital Market
- March 20, 2018
Tax Reform: An Update, Fourth Annual Hedge Fund Legal and Regulatory Seminar, Goldman Sachs
- February 28, 2018
Taking on a Criminal Tax Case? Don’t Leave Home Without These Critical Practice Tips!, National Institute on White Collar Crime
- February 9, 2018
The Future State of Transfer Pricing Compliance and Controversy: The Interaction Between US Tax Reform and the Adoption of BEPS-related Measures in Other Jurisdictions. ABA Section of Taxation
- February 8, 2018
Bridge to Tax Practice: A Conversation with Kathy Keneally, ABA Section of Taxation
- November 2, 2017
FIBA Private Wealth Leaders' Forum
- New York University (LL.M. 1993); Fordham University (J.D. magna cum laude 1982; Associate Editor, Law Review; Chapin Award [for ranking first in class]); Cornell University (B.S. 1979)
- New York, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits, and U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York
- Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice (2012-2014)
Edmund J. Randolph Award for outstanding service to the U.S. Department of Justice and the nation (2014)
Selected by Law360 for its first-ever list of Influential Women in Tax (2019)
One of the top 10 people "who left their mark on policy, practice and administration in 2014," Tax Analysts
The Legal 500 US, leading lawyer
Women in Tax Leaders, International Tax Review (2015)
- Law Clerk to Judge Edward R. Neaher, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (1982-1983)