Vicky Tsilas, Top Attorney for Tax-Exempt Bonds at IRS/Treasury, Rejoins Ballard Spahr
Vicky Tsilas—who has served in the highest legal positions overseeing tax-exempt bonds at the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS—has returned to Ballard Spahr as a partner in the Public Finance Department, firm Chair Mark Stewart announced today.
Based in the firm's Washington, D.C., office, she will focus on federal tax law, including the taxation of municipal bonds and tax-exempt organizations. She advises nonprofit organizations and state and local governments in tax-exempt bond financings, and she represents clients in IRS audits of tax-exempt bond financings involving hospital systems, universities, and solid waste and sewage facilities.
Ms. Tsilas first joined Ballard Spahr in 1999 as a tax associate and became a partner in 2015. In between, she held a number of senior positions at the Treasury Department. Most recently, she was Branch Chief of the Tax-Exempt Bond Branch for Financial Institutions and Products in the Chief Counsel's Office. In that role, she supervised the team of attorneys who provide regulatory guidance—including issue price and public approval regulations—and private letter rulings.
"Vicky's rare combination of high-level experience at Treasury and the IRS and her years representing clients in private practice makes her an invaluable resource to clients seeking guidance on the federal tax regulation of municipal bonds," Mr. Stewart said. "Our reputation for providing the most sophisticated tax advice available in this area is assured for many years to come."
Ms. Tsilas' experience at Treasury also includes serving as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Tax Policy. She oversaw the development and review of IRS regulations and guidance involving tax-exempt and tax credit bond financings. She also advised Treasury officials in the formulation of U.S. policy on tax-exempt, public-private partnerships, and tax credit bond transactions and worked closely with Congress on legislative matters involving tax-exempt bonds.
At the IRS, she was Assistant Branch Chief in the Tax-Exempt Bond Branch for Financial Institutions and Products. She worked on regulations involving payments in lieu of taxes, Circular 230 regulations governing practice before the IRS as they relate to tax-exempt bonds, final remedial action regulations, and arbitrage-related matters. She also was Chief Counsel Representative to the Tax-Exempt Bond Focus Group, which provides recommendations to IRS agents dealing with complicated tax-exempt bond issues.
"Between tax reform and the uncertain environment for infrastructure improvement, this is the ideal time for Vicky to be rejoining our Washington office," said Emilie R. Ninan, Chair of Ballard Spahr's Public Finance Department. "There is virtually no one in the industry more knowledgeable than Vicky when it comes to federal tax regulation and tax-exempt bonds."
Ballard Spahr is home to one of the premier public finance practices in the country, participating in the issuance of more than $1 trillion of tax-exempt obligations in every U.S. state and territory, as well as the District of Columbia. Lawyers in the group have sat on every side of the negotiating table and the Department continuously ranks among the top firms in the country each year as bond counsel and underwriter's counsel by dollar volume.
"Ballard Spahr has a truly national public finance practice that can handle even the most complex tax-driven structures," Ms. Tsilas said. "I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience back to the team, working alongside colleagues I trust and admire, and helping clients in every way I can."