Neil Birkhoff works to find solutions to tax-related legal needs for private clients, businesses, and nonprofits.

His practice includes federal, state, and local tax planning for individuals and businesses, and estate planning. He represents businesses and individuals before tax authorities and in court on tax matters.

Neil assists clients with a variety of employee benefit plans, ERISA, and benefit-related tax issues, including retirement plans and welfare plans, as well as fiduciary liability issues, and taxation of employee benefits. Neil also provides counsel regarding Section 457 plans for tax-exempt organizations and non-qualified deferred compensation plans. Neil can advise and assist employers with insured and self-insured health plans, life insurance plans, cafeteria plans, and dependent care plans.

Neil is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel and a past chair of both the Virginia State Bar’s Section of Taxation and the Virginia Bar Association’s Section of Taxation. Prior to joining Woods Rogers in 1987, he was a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Neil is a contributing author to several continuing legal education publications. He has been recognized for excellence in tax law and trusts & estates in Best Lawyers in America, by Virginia Super Lawyers, and in Virginia Business’s Legal Elite.

Neil is an adjunct professor of law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he currently serves as Interim Director of the Tax Clinic and where he taught classes on nonprofit organizations and trusts and estates.

His community involvement includes service on the Carilion Clinic Foundation’s Professional Advisory Group and the advisory board for The Community Tax Law Project.

Thought Leadership

Publications

Corporations and Partnerships in Virginia (2021), Co-author

Eminent Domain – State & Federal (2018), Co-author

Limited Liability Companies in Virginia (2017), Co-author

Representative Cases

Neil’s efforts to find solutions for his clients include:

  • Assisting a charitable trust and individual philanthropist in structuring and implementing a $50 million structured gift to a higher education institution to support biomedical research. The charitable gift planning included obtaining favorable private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Representing federal and Virginia historic rehabilitation tax credit investors in projects including the rehabilitation and restoration of the former Roanoke YMCA building, the former Ponce de Leon Hotel building, and the Center in the Square building.
  • Developing and successfully litigating a strict textualist interpretation of a local merchants capital tax situs rule, resulting in a favorable decision from the Supreme Court of Virginia that set precedent for interpreting state tax statutes, and saved the taxpayer several hundreds of thousands of dollars in local taxes each year on a forward basis.
  • Developing and successfully litigating an interpretation of the “definite place of business” rule under Virginia’s business license tax regime. The Supreme Court of Virginia’s decision not only changed the way local commissioners of revenue apply the business license tax, but provided substantial tax savings on an on-going annual basis to the taxpayer.
  • Using his knowledge and experience with Virginia’s sales and use tax statutes and regulations to successfully pursue an administrative appeal with the Virginia Department of Taxation that resulted in the full abatement of a six-figure use tax penalty involving the out-of-state purchase of an aircraft.

Attorney Perspectives

Speaking Engagements

  • Western Virginia Charitable Gift Planners | Tax Reform and Charitable Giving
    May 4, 2018
  • Virginia State Bar CLE: Eminent Domain- State and Federal | Tax Aspects of Condemnation Awards
    April 13, 2018

Seminars + Events

  • Tax Reform 2018: It is No Longer About Winners or Losers, but How We Implement Effective Change
    October 24, 2018
  • 37th Annual Labor & Employment Seminar Series
    September 20 - October 17, 2018
  • Provisions of the New Tax Act Affecting Pass-Through Entities
    February 7, 2018

Recognition