January 27, 2022

Volume XII, Number 27


S. John Kelly

S. John Kelly is Of Counsel at Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky. John is experienced in solving complex business and financial issues in a tax efficient manner. Having served  manufacturing, service, retail, high tech, software, financial, oil and gas, health care, transportation, telecommunication, recreation, and international businesses, John is able to offer sophisticated insights to common problems.

John handles tax planning and tax disputes involving all facets of federal, state, and local tax law.  John has represented buyers and sellers in M&A deals ranging from $200,000 to $26B, involving both publicly traded and privately held businesses.  In tax audits and appeals, John has successfully represented a taxpayer before the IRS involving more than $1B in tax loss carryforwards, for another client obtained $28M in federal tax refunds, and for many different clients obtained reductions of many hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and local tax assessments.  For specialized industry clients, John has collaborated across the industry to convince the IRS to eliminate a burdensome, industry-specific tax, eliminate burdensome record keeping for customers, and issue favorable depreciation guidance.


  • Manufacturing – Entity restructurings resulting in hundreds of thousand dollars savings on an annual basis for clients.
  • Service – Reduced the annual corporate tax liability by 13 percent using a cost-of-performance apportionment
  • Financing transactions – Successfully implemented an asset based refinancing of consumer receivables that provided multi-millions in liquidity for clients.
  • Non-profit – Successfully fought for tax-exempt classification for family charities.

John was born in New York and raised near Pittsburgh.  After graduating from the University of Michigan, he attended law school at the University of Pittsburgh.  John began his tax career with the Pittsburgh office of a national CPA firm, then shifted to a local law firm. After that, John began a five year stint as Tax Counsel for Eastman Kodak in New York.  Later he moved to New Jersey where for twelve  years he was Senior Tax Counsel for Verizon Wireless and Assistant General Counsel for Verizon Communications.  He recently returned to Pittsburgh to join Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky.

John’s Tax Practice focuses on:

  • Business planning and transaction negotiation
  • M&A transactions, representing both buyers and sellers
  • Federal, state, and local tax audits, protests, and appeals
  • Multi-state tax apportionment and consolidated tax return planning
  • Partnership and LLC agreements and planning
  • Sales and use tax planning for manufacturing and service companies
  • Cross border tax planning for Canadian and European subsidiaries
  • Payroll taxes planning and audits
  • Executive compensation and non-qualified plan benefits
  • Tax provisions in customer service and supply agreements
  • Family wealth transfers

Articles in the National Law Review database by S. John Kelly