Stephen Kranz


Stephen P. Kranz is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Washington, D.C., office. He engages in all forms of taxpayer advocacy, including audit defense and litigation, legislative monitoring, and the formation and leadership of taxpayer coalitions. Steve is at the forefront of state and local tax issues, including developments arising in the world of cloud computing and digital goods and services. He assists clients in understanding planning opportunities and compliance obligations for all states and all tax types, including unclaimed property. His approach to taxpayer advocacy brings strategic thinking together with skills for the courtroom and the statehouse.  Steve combines tax controversy and litigation with a unique approach to tax policy advocacy on behalf of his Fortune 100 clients. He often represents companies on issues in litigation while working to address the larger tax policy questions through state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association, the Multistate Tax Commission, and the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board.
Steve was recognized by State Tax Notes as one of the Top 10 Tax Lawyers and as one of the Top 10 Individuals who influenced Tax Policy and Practice for 2011. State Tax Notes had previously identified him as one of the publication’s “People to Watch", which highlights individuals who have already played an important role in state tax but will likely dominate the field in the next 10 years. Steve was described as “a leading representative of business interests in court as well as before the legislatures.”

Steve has authored numerous articles that have appeared in State Tax Notes, LexisNexis Law Center, and Information Week, among others. He speaks regularly at national conferences regarding state and local tax issues and is frequently interviewed by journalists covering state and local tax developments. On March 12, 2014, Steve appeared before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee as an expert on alternative approaches to the Internet Sales Tax issue. In 2006, Steve appeared before the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law of the Committee on the Judiciary in the U.S. House of Representatives as an expert on State Taxation of Interstate Telecommunications Services. 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 TechAmerica.
Before joining McDermott, Steve served as General Counsel to the Council on State Taxation (COST), a trade association that represents the interests of more than 600 of the nation’s largest taxpayers on issues of state and local taxation. He began his legal career as a trial lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, where he litigated tax cases in U.S. District Court. Steve then served as Chief Counsel for the District of Columbia’s Office of Tax and Revenue, where he represented the city on tax policy and administrative matters.
Steve is a member and former chair of the State and Local Tax Committee, District of Columbia Bar and a former president of the Business Advisory Council, Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board. Steve sits as a member of the board of directors of the Tax Foundation, the nation’s leading independent tax policy research organization, founded in 1937. Steve is admitted to practice in Minnesota, North Dakota and the District of Columbia.

J.D., Drake University Law School (1992) with honors
B.A., University of North Dakota (1989) magna cum laude