McDermott Will & Emery LLP
George W. Benson advises clients on federal income tax planning, tax controversy and tax litigation matters, particularly in the area of cooperative taxation.
George’s tax work for cooperatives covers a broad range of issues that arise for cooperatives from their unique status as corporations operating on a cooperative basis. He advises cooperatives with respect to computing, allocating and paying patronage dividends and per-unit retain allocations in accordance with the rules of Subchapter T. His advice in these areas relates to such matters as determining net income or proceeds available for distribution (including distinguishing between patronage and non-patronage income), determining how net income or proceeds should be shared on a patronage basis among patrons (including using allocation units and pools), handling losses, allocating extraordinary gains, and using qualified and nonqualified written notices of allocation and per-unit retain certificates. Over the years, George has provided assistance to cooperatives whose patronage dividends and per-unit retain allocations have been questioned on audit by the Internal Revenue Service.
George has helped form new cooperatives, convert existing businesses into cooperative forms (and, where appropriate, obtain letter rulings affirming their cooperative status), convert cooperatives into other forms of business, and convert Section 521 cooperatives and Section 501(e) cooperatives into nonexempt Subchapter T cooperatives. He has provided assistance to cooperatives purchasing or selling assets, entering into joint ventures with cooperatives and others, merging with other cooperatives, or going through the process of liquidation and dissolution. He has assisted cooperatives with cooperative tax and other issues that arise when they engage in business outside of the United States. George has helped cooperatives with financing and capital structure issues that arise as a result of the constraints of the cooperative form of business. He has worked on issues arising from the interplay of Subchapter T with the other provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, including those of Subchapter C. He also has advised cooperatives dealing with issues arising when a cooperative is included in a consolidated return.
George advises Section 521 cooperatives with respect to the requirements for maintaining that status. He has successfully defended cooperatives whose nonexempt Subchapter T, Section 521 or Section 501(e) cooperative status has been challenged by the Internal Revenue Service. He has assisted taxable rural electric and telephone cooperatives with matters related to pre-Subchapter T cooperative tax law.
Since the enactment of Section 199 (the domestic production activities deduction), George has assisted cooperatives on the many tax issues that the section presents for them. That work has included including obtaining letter rulings with respect to issues under Section 199 and representing cooperatives in controversies over the application of that section.
George writes and lectures frequently on cooperative tax matters and is the editor of the TAXFAX column in The Cooperative Accountant.