Mary Burke Baker is a government affairs counselor in the Washington, D.C. office, where she leads the Tax Policy practice. Mary focuses on federal tax matters affecting domestic and multinational corporations and pass-through entities. Her practice covers tax policy, tax reform, tax regulations and other guidance, tax administration, and technical tax issues.
Examples of current matters are implementation of tax provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act and other recently enacted legislation, particularly the gamut of clean energy credits, the corporate alternative minimum tax, and the stock buyback excise tax.
Other issues include GILTI, FDII, LIFO inventory, donor advised funds, exchange traded funds, corporate tax rates, excessive employee compensation, R&E amortization, various other corporate and shareholder issues, IRS penalties, the OECD global framework (Pillar One and Pillar Two) and related actions in the EU, Opportunity Zones, cannabis and digital assets.
Mary helps clients identify and assess risks and opportunities in the ever-changing legislative and regulatory environment and develops and executes strategies to achieve desired legislative and administrative outcomes, ranging from changes to the tax code to shaping regulatory guidance -- including several successes in recent legislation. She advocates on behalf of clients before the Congress, Treasury, and the IRS. She offers technical analysis and drafts comment letters in response to regulatory projects, working groups, and other tax policy initiatives. She leads coalitions, including the Cash to Accrual Coalition and the Like-kind Exchange Coalition, and is a member of the steering committee of the LIFO Coalition.
Mary believes that collaboration is important, including working with clients to understand their business in order to better understand their policy needs, and with colleagues, other federal agencies, and stakeholders to provide a 360 perspective on issues. She offers a popular service that keeps clients informed with timely, relevant, informative and occasionally entertaining tax updates, including political insights and analysis regarding the significance of developments and how they affect tax policy.
Mary serves on the Board of Directors of the Real Tax Policy Group and is a member of Behind the Tree, both featuring biweekly information sessions with top Administration and Congressional tax officials. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Time of Grace, an international media ministry.
Prior to joining the firm over a decade ago, Mary served for six years with the Senate Committee on Finance, giving her a strong foundation in the tax committee’s processes and procedures. In that position, she managed several major tax bills for Chairman Max Baucus, including international tax reforms, FATCA, basis information reporting, and third party information reporting. She oversaw legislation pertaining to various revenue offsets, tax administration, the IRS’s role in the Affordable Care Act and economic stimulus provisions. She managed and maintained the Committee’s list of revenue offsets.
Mary also managed committee hearings; oversaw IRS policies, programs, and initiatives; and worked on tax reform measures. She authored many floor statements, opening statements, and press releases on behalf of Chairman Baucus concerning corporate, small business, and individual tax policy and tax administration matters. She also was responsible for vetting the financial information, including tax documents, for all Administration nominees falling under the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance Committee. During her time with the committee, Mary was featured in Tax Analysts as a congressional staffer influencing tax policy.
Mary also served at the IRS for more than 25 years in a variety of technical and management positions, including Manager of the Office of Tax Shelter Analysis, overseeing the IRS’s tax shelter and promoter compliance functions; Technical Advisor Manager, overseeing telecommunications, entertainment, media, gaming, sports, and high technology technical advisors; Motor Vehicle Industry Specialist, including oversight of the LIFO Issue Specialist; Large Case Team Coordinator, overseeing a team of domestic, international, engineer, employment tax and other specialists on audits of multinational companies; and Revenue Agent, examining a variety of corporate and pass-through tax returns in various industries. During her time with the IRS, she materially contributed to numerous IRS guidance documents, including the Internal Revenue Manual, Coordinated Issue Papers, and Industry Director’s Directives. While at the IRS, she received many performance awards, including District Employee of the Year.
- Member, Board of Directors, Real Tax Policy
- Member, Board of Directors, Time of Grace
- Member, Tax Coalition
- Member, Behind the Tree
Mary is a frequent contributor to the tax press and has spoken extensively before business and tax groups. Recent engagements on Opportunity Zones include the Urban Land Institute Capital Markets Conference, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and upcoming testimony before the Senate Small Business Committee. Other groups include the Business Roundtable, American Bankers Association, Chamber of Commerce, International Tax Policy Forum, American Council of Life Insurers, Tax Council Policy Institute, Emory Tax Policy Symposium, Federal Bar Association, Airport Minority Advisory Council, National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics, National Association of Enrolled Agents, IRS Chief Counsel Lecture Series, IRS Executive Development classes, and Congressional briefings. She represented the IRS during various presentations to international tax groups in the United States and abroad.
- Panelist, Renewable Thermal Collaborative Summit 2023, “US Federal Policy: State of Play and RTC Priorities,” October 19, 2023
- Panelist, IBM Center for The Business of Government/Kogod School of Business at American University: Roundtable on “AI and the Modern Tax Agency,” October 17, 2023
- Speaker, Renewable Hydrogen Alliance, “Federal Update,” August 30, 2023
- Moderator, Tax Coalition, “Current Issues with IRA Clean Energy Incentives Implementation,” July 12, 2023
- Speaker, Alternative Fuels and Chemicals Coalition “IRA Incentives for SAF,” June 26, 2023
- Speaker, National League of Cities, “Monetizing the Inflation Reduction Act Tax Credits,” December 8, 2023
- Speaker, Marcellus Shale Coalition, “Expanding Opportunities for LNG, Hydrogen, Carbon Capture and Energy Infrastructure, January 26, 2023
- Panelist, "Regulatory Policy: The Hill and ETFs," K&L Gates ETF Think Tank, December 9, 2021
- Speaker, “Mary Baker, Government Affairs Counselor at K&L Gates, Talks Opportunity Zones with Summit’s Auyon Rahman,” Summit Podcast, July 8, 2021
- Speaker, “National League of Cities Annual Conference,” Washington, DC, March 9, 2020
- Participant, “Maryland Opportunity Zone Innovation Roundtable,” College Park, MD, February 14, 2020
- Speaker, “San Diego Economic Development Conference,” San Diego, CA, February 4, 2020
- Panelist, “US Soccer League Winter Summit,” Orlando, FL, December 11, 2019
- Panelist, “Unlocking New Private-Sector Development Opportunities in Public Buildings,” Washington, DC, November 8, 2019
- Panelist, “City of Houston Opportunity Zones Conference,” Houston, TX, October 20, 2019
- Speaker, “American General Contractors Association Annual Conference,” Las Vegas, NV, October 18, 2019
- Panelist, “International Economic Development Council Annual Conference,” Indianapolis, IN, October 14, 2019
- Speaker, “State of Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development Opportunity Zone Conference,” Ellicott City, MD, October 1, 2019
- Speaker, “Emergency Housing & Safe Workforce Summit,” Columbia, SC, August 14, 2019
- Panelist, “SIFMA: Opportunity Zone Investment,” Webinar, August 7, 2019
- Speaker, “Opportunity Zones and Disaster Relief-International Economic Development Council,” Webinar, July 23, 2019
- Panelist, “Urban Land Institute,” Nashville, TN, April 18, 2019
- Speaker, “Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association,” Boston, MA, April 4, 2019
- Panelist, “Discussion on Opportunity Zones,” Boston, MA, April 4, 2019
- Speaker, “Association of Washington Businesses,” Seattle, WA, February 27, 2019
- Speaker, “Seattle Investment Management Conference,” Seattle, WA, February 27, 2019
- Speaker, “Tax Executives Institute,” New York, NY, February 15, 2019
- Witness, “Senate Small Business Committee hearing: Economic Development and Opportunity Zones,” Miami, FL February 1, 2019
- Panelist, “Liberty City Rising: Achieving Upward Mobility through Small Business and Community Partnerships”, Miami, FL, February 1, 2019
- Speaker, “Dallas Bisnow Opportunity Zone Conference,” Bold, TX, November 28, 2018
- Speaker, "Prince George's County Opportunity Zones Conference," Largo, MD, November 7, 2018
- Speaker, “Now that the proposed regulations have been released for the Opportunity Zones Program, What Is Your Next Step?” Qualified Opportunity Funds and Opportunity Zones Released Regulations, Washington, D.C., October 31, 2018
- Panelist, “NAIOP Annual Conference,” Washington, DC, October 15, 2018
- Participant, “Aspen Institute/Rockefeller Foundation Opportunity Zone Roundtable,” New York, NY, October 8, 2018
- Speaker, “City of Spokane,” Spokane, WA, October 3, 2018
- Panelist, “Urban Land Institute South Carolina Capital Markets Conference,” Kiawah Island, SC, September 5, 2018
- Speaker, “Seattle Chartered Financial Analyst/Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Opportunity Zone Roundtable,” Seattle WA, August 2018
- “Should investors be worried about the wave of new OZ bills in Congress?” Opportunity Zone Magazine, December 2019
- “Opportunity Zones Aren't Just for Real Estate Development,” Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Spring 2019
- “Opportunity Zones: A Powerful New Tool for Development in South Carolina,” Association of Corporate Counsel - South Carolina Chapter, 19 June 2018
- “Initial coin offerings: key US legal considerations for ICO investors and sponsors,” Journal of Investment Compliance (JOIC), Vol. 19, Issue: 1, June 2018
- Quoted, “IRS Appoints OPM Official To Helm Agency Improvements,” Law360, 28 July 2023
- Quoted, “Four Hurdles for IRS to Implementing its $80 Billion Plan,” BloombergLaw, 10 April 2023
- Quoted, “Tax ‘Blue Book’ to Revive Lawmakers’ Technical Fixes Standoff,” Bloomberg Government, 29 December 2022
- Quoted, Bloomberg Government, HILL TAX BRIEFING: IRS Preps for $80 Billion, Werfel Awaits Hearing, January 18, 2023
- Quoted, “International Tax Policy To Watch In 2023,” Law360, 2 January 2023
- Quoted, Bloomberg Government, Tax ‘Blue Book’ to Revive Lawmakers’ Technical Fixes Standoff, December 29, 2022
- Everyone Running for Re-Election has Failed on Coronavirus Stimulus, Axios, 2 November 2020
- Quoted, Mnuchin's $100 Billion Market Gets Boost With Rules on Tax Break, Bloomberg Law, 19 October 2018