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Inside counsel for today’s businesses are often required to play many different roles: monitor, researcher, business advisor, counselor and gatekeeper, to name just a few. In order to successfully navigate these multiple roles, many in-house attorneys are finding it necessary to open up lines of communication with other key departments within the business. The increased responsibility placed on inside counsel requires extensive intra-business communication to ensure that in-house attorneys are informed of all activities that may have a legal impact on the organization. Unfortunately, in many instances, there is a disconnect between inside counsel and an organization’s tax department. Below is a recent example:

A corporation’s tax department hires a tax consulting firm to seek a refund for taxes overpaid by a subsidiary. The consulting firm handles the claim through administrative appeals and subsequently engages a law firm to represent the corporation in court. However, the general counsel previously dissolved the subsidiary because of an unrelated legal issue with a financial impact 20-times greater than the tax refund. The general counsel first learns of the tax claim during the final stages of the subsidiary’s wind-up. The subsequent conversation between the departments is “interesting.”

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