Forrest David Milder is one of our lead tax partners when it comes to low-income housing tax credits, renewable energy tax credits, historic tax credits, new markets tax credits, and opportunity zones, as well as other tax-advantaged investments. He has a national practice that emphasizes the development of LIHTC, RETC, HTC and NMTC projects, setting up opportunity funds and developing OZ projects, as well as resolving disputes with the IRS.
My practice emphasizes structuring and bringing to closure many kinds of tax-advantaged projects, both for investors and those who need their investment. I have advised on an exceptionally wide range of ventures, involving low income housing tax credits (LIHTC), renewable energy tax credits (RETC), historic tax credits (HTC), new markets tax credits (NMTC) and opportunity zones (OZ), with sizes from hundreds of thousands of dollars to hundreds of millions. I am especially known for creative solutions, such as applying concepts from other industries or interpretations based on analogous tax provisions. For example, I have developed structures to implement many of the recent changes to LIHTC rules where the IRS has not yet issued guidance. This has enabled our clients to close deals far sooner than might have been expected. And, on behalf of several NP clients, I developed much of the tax structuring associated with the rehabilitation of billions of dollars of NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) properties that did not make use of the low-income tax credit.
I keep a close eye on recently adopted Internal Revenue Code provisions as well as pending legislation and recent IRS guidance. I am active in several trade associations related to my practice, particularly the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC), the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition (HTCC), and I keep on top of pending rules and law changes. I have drafted proposed legislation and submitted interpretations and examples to the IRS and Treasury with respect to the LIHTC, HTC, RETC and OZ rules, many of which bear great similarity to the rules that were ultimately adopted. I’m the vice-chair of the Historic Tax Credit Coalition, and I was a major participant in helping to shape the IRS’s safe harbor that applies to the HTC.
I have resolved several multi-million dollar disputes with the IRS with the taxpayer having zero or nominal liability. On one occasion I worked with clients and others to get the applicable Tax Code provision changed, thereby ending the audit.
I am an active speaker and writer in several tax equity fields, particularly speaking about LIHTC, HTC, RETC, and OZ matters. I’ve written more than 75 published articles about renewable energy tax credits, including solar, geothermal, biomass, water-based, and wind. I’ve authored a leading treatise on housing and historic credits, and I’ve had several articles on Opportunity Zones and Qualified Opportunity Funds in leading publications. In addition, I am a former chair of both the American Bar Association’s Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development and the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, and I taught legal research and writing at the Boston University Law School for several years. I continue to run the Housing Forum’s well-known listserv, where professionals discuss the low-income housing tax credit, as well as other tax credits and housing issues.
I am especially known for my skill at explaining complex tax rules. I regularly make myself available to walk clients through the complex tax issues that affect their transactions. I have been told many times by clients, “I never understood that concept until you explained it” and “You make tax fun!” In addition to the many speaking appearances noted below, I also make myself available to clients to actually discuss their tax issues. For example, I have set up a bi-weekly zoom call with about two dozen participants at one of our clients where I provide a sounding board for tax questions that come up in their business as well as seminars on capital accounts and similar topics relevant to tax-equity. This benefits both of us, as I know better what transactions they are contemplating, and they understand better how the tax rules are applied to those transactions. I also have a collection of easy-to-read articles on structuring and investing in renewable energy tax credit transactions that is available on request.
From my vantage point, I note three things of particular importance. First, it is invaluable to be connected to both those who literally write the law and also my colleagues across the country who help interpret it. In this way, I can anticipate what is coming, how others will handle it, and be sure that our clients have a role in how the rules are written and applied. As important, with rapid and significant changes in the law, we offer practical, common sense applications of new rules that enable our clients to ride the wave, while other sponsors and investors wait on the sidelines. Finally, flexibility is the key to survival. “That’s how we’ve always done it in the past” is a thing of the past. Today’s opportunities belong to those who are fastest at matching their business to the ever-changing economic and legal landscape.
I am the author or co-author of many articles on tax advantaged investments and related matters. I have appeared many times on Bloomberg’s website, and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (in its weekly “Tax Report” column), as well as in the Boston Globe, Banker & Tradesman, the Boston Business Journal, Mass High Tech, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly with comments on recent and proposed tax legislation. I write a monthly column on renewable energy tax credits, entitled “The Current,” for the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits, and authored a BNA treatise on rehabilitation and housing credits.
I and my NP partner, John Cornell, were awarded the Paul E. Tsongas Award by Preservation Massachusetts for our work on historic tax credit projects honoring “those who have played an extraordinary role in promoting historic preservation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” I have also been recognized many times by U.S. News Best Lawyers, Massachusetts and New England “Super Lawyers,” and Marquis Who’s Who in American Law.
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Tax Court
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Boston University, LL.M.
Harvard Law School, J.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, S.B., Phi Beta Kappa
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, S.M.
Forrest is a member of the American and Boston bar associations and is the former chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge. He was the 2009–2010 chair of the American Bar Association’s 7000-member Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law and he runs the Forum’s “listserv” via which nearly 1,000 participants discuss issues relevant to affordable housing and community development.
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