Diann Smith focuses her practice on state and local taxation and unclaimed property advocacy. Diann advises clients at any stage of an issue, including planning, compliance, controversy, financial statement issues and legislative activity. Her goal is to find the most effective method to achieve a client’s objective regardless of when or how an issue arises. Diann emphasizes the importance of defining a client’s objective – whether it is finality of a frequently audited issue, quick resolution of a stand-alone tax liability, or avoiding competitive disadvantages in the application of a tax. The defined objective then governs the choice of the path to a solution.
Her clients span a broad range of industries, including transportation, retail, government contractors, information services, emerging technologies, financial services, health care, digital and cloud computing services, and oil and gas. Diann has represented clients on nexus, tax base, business/non-business income classification, apportionment and ASC 740-10 compliance issues. She has also counseled clients on multi-state unclaimed property compliance and voluntary disclosure opportunities, and has contributed as a co-author for a cert petition filed before the US Supreme Court. She serves as outside counsel on state tax and unclaimed property matters for the Entertainment Software Association and the National Retail Federation.
Diann has significant experience representing clients before the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC). Previously, she was counsel at another international law firm, where she also focused on state and local taxation. She also served as general counsel for the Council on State Taxation (COST). While at COST, Diann worked on nearly every major state and local tax issues confronting multi-state businesses. From 1998 to 2005, she was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center for the LLM in Taxation program.
While in law school, Diann was an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alan E. Norris of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1991 and 1992.
Diann is a frequent contributor to various external publications, and has co-authored Bloomberg BNA Tax Portfolios – Income Taxes: Principles of Formulary Apportionment (Portfolio 1150), a significant volume of research.
- On behalf of Microsoft, won a pivotal case in the District of Columbia challenging the jurisdiction’s transfer pricing audit methodology
- On behalf of a Firm client, obtained a complete settlement concession from the District of Columbia resulting in zero additional tax due on transfer pricing audit
- On behalf of a coalition of Fortune 500 clients, spearheaded termination of the controversial Uniform Law Commission, Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act (UDITPA) revision project
- On behalf of Shell Oil Company, ExxonMobil Oil Corporation and Hess Corporation, obtained a ruling of first impression that non-mutual collateral estoppel applied to the District’s taxing authority
- On behalf of Sunbelt Beverage Company, LLC, won a case at the DC Court of Appeals holding that the standard statute of limitations applies, limiting an audit even if the taxpayer filed the wrong return
- On behalf of a Firm client, won a case asserting a taxpayer’s right to flow-up factors from pass-through entities in calculating DC taxable income
- The Legal 500
- Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO)
- Shining Star Award, 2021 and 2022
- Award of Merit, 2017
- Council on State Taxation Practitioner Connection
- Volunteer at the DC Bar Landlord Tenant Resource Center
- Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization, co-chair of the Government Relations Advocacy Committee
- Serves as co-chair of the UPPO Government Relations and Advocacy Committee
Georgetown University Law Center, JD, 1991
Miami University, BA, 1985
District of Columbia
Courts / Agencies
US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
US District Court for the District of Ohio