Stephen R. Kranz


McDermott Will & Emery



Stephen (Steve) P. Kranz is a tax lawyer who solves tax problems differently. Over the course of his extensive career, Steve has acquired specific skills and developed a unique approach that help clients develop and implement holistic solutions to all varieties of tax problems. He combines strategic thinking with effective skills for the courtroom, the statehouse and the conference room. 

Steve helps clients prevent and resolve tax problems throughout their life cycle, starting with tax planning, compliance, financial statement implication analysis, audit defense and litigation, legislative monitoring and advocacy, and the formation and leadership of taxpayer coalitions. Steve developed many of these techniques as a litigator for the US Department of Justice, Tax Division, as chief counsel for the District of Columbia’s Office of Tax and Revenue, and further refined them during his tenure as general counsel of the Council on State Taxation (COST).

Today, Steve practices at the forefront of state and local tax issues, including developments in the world of cloud computing and digital goods and services. He helps clients understand tax threats and opportunities, and develop holistic solutions, no matter the tax issue or jurisdiction. He also brings this same skill set to the highly challenging world of unclaimed property.

Steve represents Fortune 100 companies in litigation while working to address the larger tax policy questions through state legislatures, the US Congress, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association, the Multistate Tax Commission and the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board. His background has taught him that standalone litigation is not always the most efficient manner of solving a tax problem or preventing its spread—thus, he often works to address problems by taking advantage of tax policy points of entry offered by state and local governments.    

Steve has authored articles for professional publications, speaks at national conferences and is interviewed frequently by journalists covering state and local tax developments. On March 12, 2014, he appeared before the US House Judiciary Committee as an expert on alternative approaches to the Internet Sales Tax issue, and has appeared in a similar capacity before other government agencies. Steve serves as outside counsel on state tax and unclaimed property matters for the Entertainment Software Association, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and CompTIA.


  • State Tax Notes 2011, Top 10 Tax Lawyers and Top 10 individuals who influenced tax policy and practice
  • The Legal 500 US
  • Tax Controversy Leader, International Tax Review 2016