Richard “Jake” Gagnon is a partner in our DC office.

Mr. Gagnon’s practice focuses on representing U.S. and non-U.S. clients in tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Justice and in federal trial and appellate courts. He has served as one of the lead attorneys in a variety of high-profile cases, including cases involving U.S. domestic and international tax issues as well as administrative law issues. He has represented clients in cross-border criminal tax investigations and conducted internal investigations. He has extensive experience in both negotiating settlements and litigating cases.

In addition to his tax controversy practice, Mr. Gagnon advises U.S. and non-U.S. corporations, partnerships and individuals on tax issues arising in connection with financings, investments, divestments, and reorganizations. He also advises clients on tax issues arising in connection with their ongoing business operations and on tax-related corporate governance and risk management issues.

Mr. Gagnon is also experienced in representing clients in complex commercial and regulatory disputes, often tax-related, in federal and state courts, before administrative law judges, as well as in arbitration proceedings.

Mr. Gagnon has represented businesses and individuals in a variety of sectors, including banking, investment funds, media, manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas and technology.

Representative Experience

  • A South American bank in litigation regarding proper classification of branch’s deposits at the Federal Reserve for purposes of the U.S. branch profits tax
  • Several Swiss private banks in resolving civil and criminal penalty exposure arising from activities involved in opening and maintaining accounts for U.S. account holders
  • A non-U.S. tech company founder in resolving U.S. income and gift tax issues arising out of sale of company
  • A U.S. investment fund in litigation regarding tax consequences of the settlement of a patent dispute
  • Several tax equity investors in resolving issues arising from transactions involving federal tax credits
  • Several financial institutions in litigation involving the valuation of intangible assets
  • Offshore hedge fund with respect to asserted dividend withholding taxes on share loans in an IRS fast track proceeding
  • Several U.S. investors in resolving disputes arising from prepaid forward contracts used to monetize and hedge appreciated stock positions
  • U.S. government-sponsored entity in dispute regarding appropriateness of tax accounting method for financial options purchased to hedge interest rate risk
  • A Canadian power company in Tucker Act litigation against the U.S. government challenging the constitutionality of coal excise taxes imposed on purchases from U.S. suppliers and in related commercial litigation against the suppliers
  • A U.S. retail drug chain in successfully challenging the validity of a U.S. Treasury regulation regarding the computation of loss on the sale of a subsidiary
  • A U.S. department store chain in resolving Subpart F issues arising from a cross-border financing transaction
  • Commercial real estate firm in resolving issues arising from like-kind exchange of shopping malls for office buildings
  • A U.S. power company in dispute regarding tax consequences of assuming nuclear decommissioning liabilities

Publications and Speeches

  • Co-author, A Step Too Far? The IRS Proposes Non-Deductibility of Disgorgement, Bloomberg Tax, Daily Tax Report (July 7, 2020)
  • Co-author, Third Circuit Warns in Sunoco: Don't Put Off Interest Issues, Tax Notes Today (February 29, 2012)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, Member
  • J. Edgar Murdock Inn of Court (U.S. Tax Court), Master


Vanderbilt University School of Law, J.D.

University of Michigan, A.B.

Previous Experience

  • Shearman & Sterling LLP, Counsel
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Associate
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, Trial Attorney
  • Chief Judge John T. Nixon, U.S. District Court, Nashville, TN, Law Clerk


  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

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