James W. Forsyth

James W. Forsyth


Pittsburgh, PA

James W. Forsyth works primarily with business and corporate tax matters and the taxation of pass-through entities. He represents publicly and privately held enterprises in analyzing the federal, state and local income tax consequences of corporate transactions, including corporate reorganizations, divisions, debt restructurings, joint ventures and other business transactions.

Jim devotes a significant amount of his practice to resolving taxpayer disputes with the Internal Revenue Service and with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. He particularly enjoys working with business clients to develop the practical solutions that will help them achieve their financial and operational goals.

In addition to being named a “Top Rated Lawyer in Taxation,” Jim has garnered an AV® Preeminent distinction, the highest available mark for professional excellence from Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Ratings. Also, Jim was recognized in Pittsburgh's Top Rated Lawyers (2012-2017 editions) for Business, Corporate and Taxation law by The Legal Intelligencer. Jim has also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017 and 2018 list.

Some of Jim's recent representations include:

  • Assisting a Fortune 500 energy company in a business combination and eventual initial public offering for a corporation which became listed on the New York Stock Exchange
  • Assisting a Fortune 1000 energy company in a business division into two public companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange
  • Defeating many tax assessments asserted by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue against an international electronics manufacturer traded on the New York Stock Exchange and against two national cable television/media services clients
  • Dividing private business enterprises among family members on a tax-free basis to enable the separated lines of business to prosper under reinvigorated management teams Implementing incentive compensation programs for entrepreneurial start-up companies doing business in partnership and limited liability company forms
  • Organizing private equity funds for local venture capital management teams
  • Structuring acquisition transactions to avoid Pennsylvania personal income and sales tax
  • Defeating millions of dollars of tax assessments imposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue against investors in Pennsylvania high rise office buildings
  • Successfully defending a claim of nonresidency by an executive of a large, privately held company against the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue
  • Jim is a published author and a frequent speaker at various tax seminars on a number of subjects. In addition, he is a certified public accountant.

Jim is the author of BNA Tax Management Portfolio 765-4th "Stock Rights and Stock Dividends - Sections 305 and 306." BNA Tax Management Portfolios are often cited in federal tax cases as containing the most persuasive thinking on cutting edge topics. The portfolios generally include research, guidance and implementation tools in one platform and are written by the nation's leading federal tax authorities. This portfolio analyzes potential tax problems that could arise in connection with dividend distributions of common or preferred stock and stock rights. It provides a framework for analysis of the tax treatment of such distributions by analyzing the issues regarding when a distribution will be taxable; what factors must be considered in determining whether stock is common or preferred stock; when a distribution of preferred stock will be subject to taint under §306; and the basis and holding period issues surrounding stock distributions. Jim is also co-author of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Guidebook to Pennsylvania Taxes published by CCH.

Jim is a native of Wheeling, West Virginia, and joined the firm in 1989.