Susan H. Willey
Position: Associate Attorney
115 3rd Street SE, Suite 1200
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401-1266
(319) 896-4042 direct
(319) 366-1917 fax
Ms. Willey focuses on federal tax matters affecting individuals, corporations, trust and estates and non-profit organizations. She is a member of the firm’s estate planning, corporate, tax, real estate and banking teams.
Corporate Structuring. In addition to advising family businesses on forming and structuring their operations in a tax efficient manner, Ms. Willey works on industry-specific tax and business issues for larger corporations. She has counseled a large health care non-profit corporation on alternatives to strengthen the corporation’s legal structure to meet the new legal and regulatory requirements affecting supporting organizations. She has assisted manufacturers with international sales in forming an interest-charged domestic international sales corporation subsidiary to defer the income tax associated with foreign sales.
Ms. Willey has assisted large financial institutions in transitioning trust relationships to successor financial institutions. She has counseled manufacturers with multi-state operations on strategies to preserve their state law corporate filings after a merger into a new corporation.
Tax Issues Affecting Non-Profit Organizations. Ms. Willey has formed new tax-exempt entities, drafted governance documents and requested tax-exemption from the IRS on behalf of clients. She has assisted clients evaluate their current corporate structure and recommend changes to facilitate their achievement of new goals while retaining their tax-exempt status. Ms. Willey has counseled non-profit clients on unrelated business taxable income issues, tax issues associated with Form 990 and financial statement disclosure associated with tax return positions. She has worked with IRS counsel to successfully resolve potential excise tax exposure attributable to benefit programs adopted by a non-profit organization.
Ms. Willey also advises non-profit organizations and donors on tax issues associated with charitable gifts.
Estate Planning. Ms. Willey assists clients in structuring their estate plans by collaborating with clients to identify the best structure to meet the clients’ objectives. She drafts wills, revocable trusts, special purpose trusts, including trusts to facilitate intergenerational transfers and other dispositive documents to meet a client’s goals.
As part of the Estate Planning Team, Ms. Willey works on complex tax planning matters involving domestic and international estate planning. She advises other estate planners in the firm on strategies to reduce the value of a transferred interest based upon recent judicial developments. She also works on emerging tax issues affecting trusts and estates, including federal tax issues and regulatory matters.
As part of the estate planning process, Ms. Willey works with clients on corporate structuring, mergers and the creation of special entities to achieve business and family objectives. She has also helped clients with succession planning by creating, merging, dissolving and amending partnerships and LLCs and memorializing these decisions with buy-sell agreements. She assists clients in transferring assets into the appropriate entity in a tax sensitive manner to achieve family objectives.
Controversies with the IRS. With her understanding of the IRS, she has represented clients in resolving tax controversies and facilitated conferences with the IRS National Office on tax interpretations. She has advised corporate fiduciaries with multi-year tax filing issues and worked with IRS Appeals to favorably resolve tax, penalty and interest assessments.
As part of the firm’s tax controversy team, Ms. Willey has worked with the IRS National Office to resolve a tax-exempt organization’s excise tax and unrelated business income tax exposure that potentially affected contributors and the organization.
Federal Tax Legislation. Early in her career, Ms. Willey served as Tax Counsel to United States Senator Charles Grassley. Ms. Willey has retained many Washington, DC legislative connections and assists clients with federal legislative issues. In the aftermath of the flood, Ms. Willey assisted clients in identifying federal and state financing.
Employee Benefit Plans. Ms. Willey has advised clients on how to capitalize on the Department of Labor’s Voluntary Compliance Program to correct delinquent filings for prior years at a reduced penalty cost.
During her tenure on Capitol Hill, Ms. Willey also provided technical assistance to Mr. Grassley on his assignment to the Subcommittee on Estate and Gift Taxation and on all tax matters before the Senate Finance Committee. Her duties included preparing opening statements, drafting amendments and questions for witnesses before the committee and monitoring Senate floor action to brief the Senator on important developments. Ms. Willey met with constituents, trade associations and Senate colleagues to develop tax legislation. Ms. Willey was involved in multiple Conference Committee deliberations and Republican leadership meetings as Senator Grassley’s representative.
Ms. Willey joined McGladrey & Pullen National Tax after working for Congress. Her initial responsibilities included monitoring and communicating new federal tax legislative developments and analyzing federal tax regulatory guidance for clients and the firm’s professionals. As a Managing Director, she led teams of tax specialists to develop new tax ideas for clients. During her tenure with McGladrey, Ms. Willey testified before the IRS, participated in Finance committee hearings, worked with trade associations and met with legislative staff to advise them of issues of concern to the accounting profession and clients.
At McGladrey & Pullen, Ms. Willey served as a national leader on estate and gift tax issues. In that role, she drafted the initial Estate Planning Practice Guide, advised on tax practice and ethical responsibilities in the estate planning engagements and advised on content and speakers for internal estate planning conferences. Ms. Willey has presented seminars on buy-sell agreements and tax planning for high net worth individuals.
Ms. Willey organized the tax due diligence project and interoffice reviews for the merger of RSM McGladrey with American Express Tax and Business Services. She led tax practice integration efforts to address and resolve business management and software integration issues,capitalizing on her tax practice management consulting skills she honed working with RSM McGladrey’s Southern California, Mid-Atlantic, Philadelphia and Seattle tax practices.
Susan H. Willey graduated cum laude from UCLA. Ms. Willey spent two quarters at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design working toward a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning. She earned her J. D. degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Ms. Willey earned her Master's in Taxation (L.L.M.) from Georgetown University Law Center.
Place of birth: Glendale, California
Georgetown University Law Center, LLM, 1985
- University of California, Hastings College of Law, JD, 1978
University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design
- Work toward a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning
University of California, Los Angeles, BA, cum laude, 1975
- Political Science
Admissions and Certifications
- State of Iowa, 1985
- State of California, 1978
Iowa State Bar Association
- Tax Section, incoming chair
- Spring Tax Institute Chair of Tax Section of Iowa State Bar Association (2012)
- Co-Chair of Iowa State Barr Association December Tax School (2012)
- Chair of Iowa State Barr Association December Tax School (2013)
- California State Bar Association
- Linn County Bar Association
- Overview of the Charitable Contribution Rules (2012)
- Split Dollar Life Insurance Rollout Solutions
- Employment of Physicians by Tax-Exempt Hospitals
- Erroneous Worker Classification Creates Tax Liability (2010)
- Changes affecting Business Taxpayers (2009)