Mr. Wessel is the Principal-in-Charge for KPMG’s Washington National Tax M&A Tax Group. With his experience as a former law clerk in a U.S. District Court, private attorney, and official at the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department, he advises his clients on all aspects of corporate taxation, with a particular emphasis on spin-offs. He also has testified as an expert in two significant litigations involving spin-offs. Mr. Wessel also serves in KPMG’s Tax Leadership.
Prior to joining KPMG in 2000, Mr. Wessel was a founding partner of McKee, Nelson, Ernst & Young LLP. From 1991-2000, he was the lead M&A tax partner in the King & Spalding, D.C. office. From 1990-1991, he was Special Counsel to the IRS Chief Counsel where he served as his principal legal advisor on the development of regulations, rulings, and designated tax litigation. From 1985-1990, he served as Associate Tax Legislative Counsel and Attorney-Advisor in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Legislative Counsel with primary responsibility for developing corporate tax legislation and regulatory guidance. From 1980-1982, he served as a Law Clerk to the Hon. Jacob Mishler, U.S. District Court, EDNY.
Mr. Wessel earned an LL.M. in taxation from the NYU School of Law in 1985. He earned his J.D., cum laude, in 1980 from the NYU School of Law, where he served on the New York University Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif. He graduated, magna cum laude, in 1976 with a B.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, where he was elected to Beta Alpha Psi. He also is an active member of the ABA Section of Taxation where he has served as a co-chair of the Corporate Tax Subcommittee for Policy and Special Projects, the Chair of the Corporate Tax Subcommittee on (i) Tax-Free Reorganizations, (ii) Affiliated Group Acquisitions, and (iii) Tax-Free Distributions and a Vice Chair for the Committee on Corporate Tax. He regularly speaks on subjects in his practice areas at forums such as: ALI-ABA, ABA, FBA, and PLI. Among his various writings, Mr. Wessel is a principal author of the more than 1,400-page PLI work on Corporate Distributions under Section 355. He is listed in The International Who’s Who of Corporate Tax Lawyers, Corporate Tax Expert Witnesses and Business Lawyers, WhosWhoLegal.com, The Best Lawyers in America, International Tax Review’s Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Tax Advisors, The Best of the U.S., and The Washington DC Area’s Best Lawyers. Mr. Wessel also has been named one of the 30 “Best of the Best” tax advisers in the United States by in-house counsel and his peers in The Best of the Best USA, 2012, 2015, and 2017, and was selected as a runner-up for Tax Notes’ “Person of the Year” for 2013.