Thomas A.


Tom Cullinan counsels clients in tax controversies against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Tom represents a large number of corporations, partnerships, and high net-worth individuals in all phases of tax controversy, including IRS audits, appeals and tax litigation. Tom has extensive experience settling tax cases and is well-versed in tax litigation when the parties cannot agree to an administrative resolution.

Tom practices in several U.S. district courts, the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and several appellate courts. Clients describe Tom as having “great knowledge of the procedure and internal workings of the IRS,” (Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2009), and say he “has a fantastic knowledge of tax procedure.” (Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2010). Prior to joining Sutherland, Tom served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jerome Turner, U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee.

Tom started his career as a CPA working with clients in the retail, manufacturing and real estate industries.

Selected Experience

Sutherland client prevails in PK Ventures, Inc. v. Commissioner appeal.
Sutherland was retained to seek reconsideration and file an appeal in connection with many different issues that the taxpayer had lost at trial when represented by other counsel. We determined that the IRS, prior counsel and the U.S. Tax Court mischaracterized many of the issues under TEFRA, causing the Tax Court to agree with us that it lacked jurisdiction to sustain many of the IRS adjustments, and (after prompting from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit) that most of the remaining IRS adjustments were time-barred under TEFRA. As a result, our client prevailed on most of the IRS’ adjustments.
Sutherland represents international insurance company in tax litigation regarding $306 million tax refund.
Sutherland represents an international insurance company in a refund suit that it filed for its 1997 tax year, seeking the return of approximately $306 million in tax, penalties and interest. The case involves a number of issues, including whether the company is entitled to certain foreign tax credits that it claimed in various cross-border financing transactions.
Sutherland obtains ruling invalidating IRS’ penalties in “Son of Boss” case.
Sutherland represented a partnership in one of the first of the so-called “Son of Boss” cases to go to trial. We obtained one of the very few rulings in these cases invalidating the IRS’ assertion of penalties and then successfully defended the ruling on appeal in the Fifth Circuit.

Awards and Rankings

Recognized by Chambers USA: Guide to Leading Business Lawyers in the area of tax (2009-2013)

Selected for inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers® (2012-2014)

Selected for inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers® “Rising Stars” (2007)

Professional Activities

Member, Court Procedure and Practice Committee and Former Chair, Tax Shelter Litigation Subcommittee, Taxation Section, American Bar Association
Member, Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties Committee and Former Chair, Civil Penalties Subcommittee, Taxation Section, American Bar Association
Former Member, Board of Governors, Court of Federal Claims Bar Association
Fellow, American College of Tax Counsel

  • J.D., Vanderbilt University Law School, Associate Editor, Vanderbilt Law Review, Order of the Coif, Moot Court Board
  • M.S., State University of New York at Albany
  • B.A., State University of New York at Geneseo
Bar Admissions
  • Georgia

Honorable Jerome Turner, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee

Our Story

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm helping the Fortune 100, industry leaders, sector innovators and business entrepreneurs solve their biggest challenges and reach their business goals. Dedicated to unfaltering excellence in client service, we are known for our business savvy and industry intelligence, providing creative and custom solutions for each of our clients. Industry and business experience makes the difference for our clients.

click to watch Commitment to Excellence
Commitment to Excellence
Mark D. Wasserman, Managing Partner
Atlanta, GA
© 2014 Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.
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