Neil Birkhoff, chair of the Tax and Estate Planning groups, 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, estate planning, and estate and trust administration. 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—profit-sharing, 401(k), and defined benefits—as well as fiduciary liability, and taxation of employee benefits. He 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, Neil 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 in Best Lawyers in America and by Virginia Super Lawyers.

Neil is an adjunct professor of law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he teaches classes on nonprofit organizations and trusts and estates.

His community involvement includes service on the board of directors for Feeding America Southwest Virginia and the advisory board for The Community Tax Law Project.

Affiliations

American Bar Association—Taxation Section; Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section

American College of Tax Counsel—Fellow

Roanoke Bar Association

Roanoke Valley Estate Planning Council

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)- National

Virginia Bar Association—Wills, Trusts and Estates Section; Taxation Section/Past Chair

Virginia State Bar—Trusts and Estates Section; Taxation Section/Past Chair

Thought Leadership

Speaking Engagements

  • Tax Reform 2018 – M&T Bank, Wilmington Trust, Cherry Bekaert, Woods Rogers – October 24, 2018
  • Tax Reform and Charitable Giving – Western Virginia Charitable Gift Planners – May 4, 2018
  • Eminent Domain-State and Federal – Virginia State Bar CLE – April 13, 2018
  • Provisions of the New Tax Act Affecting Pass-Through Entities – M&T Bank, Wilmington Trust, Cherry Bekaert, and Woods Rogers – February 13, 2018

Legal Updates

Annual Labor and Employment Seminars

  • Employee Benefits After Tax Reform (2018)
  • Take Care of Your Employees and Your Business (2014)
  • Face Your Fears. The ACA is Here! (2013)

 

Representative Cases

Neil’s efforts to find solutions for his clients have included:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Lawyer case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by the lawyer.