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Richard G. Smith




Richard Smith practices primarily in the areas of business, commercial and tax litigation, estate planning, family law, and general business representation.

He has been involved as trial counsel for various corporate and utility clients in tax cases litigated in federal and state courts or tax appeal boards in various tax-related cases before the IRS and in Idaho, California, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. He represents companies such as railroads, utilities, telecommunications companies, and companies in the lumber products and semiconductor industries. Some of these matters involved short multiple-day hearings, whereas others lasted weeks, the longest consuming 47 trial days. He has also handled cases involving a wide variety of business and commercial litigation at the federal, state, administrative, and ADR level, including insurance company regulation, securities law, antitrust, contract and real estate litigation, general business and corporate disputes, and family law cases.

In addition, as Chair of the Tax practice group, Mr. Smith is knowledgeable of the formation of Opportunity Zones entities and development. He is also engaged in a broad tax and estate planning practice, assisting clients in structuring transactions and business relationships, in dealing with tax issues that arise in the course of business, and in the preparation of wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents.






Associated Taxpayers of Idaho, Board of Directors, since 2005

Idaho Association of Commerce and industry, Tax Policy Committee, since 2001

American Bar Association, since 1979

Idaho Society of Certified Public Accountants, since 1975


Best Lawyers in America, Lawyer of the Year, Tax Law, 2022

Named “Super Lawyer” in the tax field by Super Lawyer Magazine


Important Facts for Small Businesses to Know NOW About the Tax Features of the CARES Act, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, April 2020

Tax Updates – Tax Policymakers’ Responses to the Coronavirus, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, March 2020

Year-End Tax Law Changes Require Special Attention, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, January 2020

The Supreme Court Eliminates the Physical Presence Requirement for Sales Taxation: The Effect On Idaho Law, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, August 2018

The New Qualified Business Deduction: A Key Feature of the Tax Law Changes in 2018, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, February 2018

Author, Year-End Tax Planning Has Never Before Been More Important, Hawley Troxell Tax Newsletter, December 2017.

State Tax Amnesty Comes to Idaho, co-author, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, September 2017

Author, The Continuing Conundrum of How to Exclude Goodwill in Unitary Property Taxation—and a Proposed Solution, Hawley Troxell Tax Newsletter, August 2017.

The Probability Of Lower IRS Budgets Is That A Good Thing?, co-author,Hawley Troxell Newsletter, March 2016

Author, Deducting Intangible Asset Value for Property Tax Purposes: How “Necessary Intangibles” Are Treated in Two Recent Cases, Insights Journal (Spring 2014). This article discussed two recent cases that address the issue of whether and how certain types of intangible assets can be deducted from a unitary business valuation.

Idaho Enacts Important Sales Tax Law Affecting Software, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, June 2014

Effect of DOMA Invalidation on Employment, State, and Federal Taxes, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, October 2013

Author, Is the Unit Approach Viable? A Legal Perspective, 10 Journal of Property Tax Assessment and Administration (Issue 2, 2013). This article examines the relevance and the limitations of the unit approach for valuing centrally assessed taxpayers such as telecommunications companies, and concludes that the approach continues to be relevant but must be used carefully to value certain types of companies for property tax purposes.

The 2013 Idaho Legislature Addresses Tax Issues, Hawley Troxell Newsletter, May 2013

Co-Author, The Relevance of Fair Value Measurements for Property Tax Purposes, 21 Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives 12 (Jan. 2012)

Author, A Critique of “Enhancement” and Other Theories for Taxing Intangibles, 14 Journal of Property Valuation and Taxation 18, Fall 2002

Author, The Influence of Mergers and Acquisitions and Mergers on Fair Market Value: A Legal Perspective, 10 Journal of Property Tax Management 26, Fall 1998

Contributing Editor since 2005 of the ABA’s Property Tax Law Deskbook, an annually updated reference work


Frequent Presenter since 1990 at the Annual Conference on Ad Valorem Taxation of Communications, Energy and Transportation Properties, Wichita, Kansas, most recently in 2011 on the subjects of “Case Studies on Recent Railroad and Telecom Acquisitions – More Market Data for Property Tax Valuations?” and “Litigation War Stories – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

Presenter, “So You Think You Want to Be an Expert Witness?” Idaho Society of CPAs, 2011

Frequent Presenter at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Property Tax Representatives – Transportation, Energy & Communications, most recently in 2008 in Austin, Texas, on the subject of “Current Legal Issues in Centrally Assessed Taxation”

Presenter, “Property Tax in Idaho,” Lorman Education Seminars, 2008

Presenter, “Buy-Sell Agreements for CPAs and Their Clients: An Overview,” S.W. Idaho Chapter of the Idaho Society of Certified Public Accountants, 2005

Presenter, “Multistate Taxation,” Idaho Society of CPAs, 2005

Presenter, “Property Tax Issues for State Assessed Taxpayers,” Tax Executives Institute, Denver, Colorado, 2004

Presenter, “Overview of Property Tax Appeals and Valuation Procedures for Complex Properties,” S.W. Idaho Chapter of Idaho Society of Certified Public Accountants, 2003

Presenter, “Business Valuation: Issues and Methods in Valuing Businesses and Business Property,” Idaho Society of CPAs, 2001


Law School:

Georgetown University, J.D. cum laude, 1979

Georgetown Law Journal, Managing Editor 1978-1979


Certified Public Accountant, Idaho, 1976


University of Idaho, B.S. summa cum laude, 1975 and B.A., 1974

Phi Beta Kappa


Gold Creek Cellular and AT&T Mobility Department of Revenue. 310 P.3d 533 (Mont. 2013) – The validity of a rule promulgated by the Montana Department of Revenue, limiting the scope of the property tax exemption for intangible personal property, was brought into question in the case. AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless successfully challenged the rule in a declaratory judgment action in Montana state district court. Mr. Smith successfully represented AT&T in the case, and in the Montana Supreme Court appeal that followed. On September 24, the Court affirmed the district court decision, holding that the rule placed impermissible restrictions on a statute that provided a broad exemption to taxpayers.

Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Oregon Department of Revenue, 843 P.2d 864 (Ore. 1991), a case requiring 10 weeks of trial that dealt with a myriad of issues in applying the income, cost and stock and debt methods in a unitary business valuation setting. The Supreme Court decided most issues in favor of the taxpayer.

Oregon Short Line Railroad Co. v. Oregon Department of Revenue, 139 F.3d 1259 (9th Cir. 1998), a case decided in the taxpayer’s favor under the federal “4-R Act” concerning many of the same substantive valuation issues as in the preceding case. The case also involved an equalization claim that the railroad had been taxed in a discriminatory manner where 100% of its value had been subject to tax while a lower percentage of value was assessed for other taxpayers.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative v. Wyoming Department of Revenue, 970 P.2d 841 (Wyo. 1998), a case in which the court rule in the taxpayer’s favor on issues of discriminatory taxation as well as the correct methods to use in valuing a unitary business and the proper application of those methods.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative v. Bowen, , 979 P.2d 503 (Wyo. 1998), a case adopting the taxpayer’s position concerning procedural issues in Wyoming that affect a taxpayer’s right to pay disputed taxes into escrow and control the disposition of those funds.

PacifiCorp v. Wyoming Department of Revenue, 31 P.3d 364 (Wyo. 2001), a case concerning the valuation of exempt property and involving uniformity issues as to whether the state could value the electric utility pollution control equipment in a manner different from the taxable property, and whether it could value the taxpayer’s property by a method different from similar property of other electric utilities.

AirTouch Communications v. Department of Revenue, 76 P.3d 342 (Wyo. 2003), a case concerning the standards for identifying and valuing intangible assets for purposes of excluding them from a unitary value. The court ruled in the taxpayer’s favor on several legal issues, and the case eventually led to new legislation that clarified and broadened the exemption for intangible property in Wyoming.

Union Pacific v. Shoshone County, 96 P.3d 629 (Idaho 2004), a case involving the issue of whether certain property was operating property or non-operating property, and whether the county or the state had the jurisdiction to value and assess the property. The court accepted the taxpayer’s position that the county did not have jurisdiction to assess the property.

Lockheed Martin Corp. v. Idaho State Tax Commission, 134 P.3d 641 (Idaho 2006), a case involving the issue of whether the taxpayer satisfied the definition of a “contractor,” such that construction in progress should be included in the numerator of the property factor for purposes of apportioning unitary business income. The court affirmed the district court’s reversal of the Tax Commission’s assessment.


Union Pacific Railroad Company v. Idaho Tax Commission, decided by an Idaho district court in 1983 after a two-week trial, and not appealed. The court ruled in favor of the taxpayer and rejected valuation methods and results proffered by the state.

AT & T v. California Board of Equalization, decided by a California state district court after a three-week trial in 1992, and not appealed. This valuation case was decided in favor of AT&T, and resulted in millions of dollars of recovery for regulated utilities in California and a multi-year settlement that implemented new methods for taxing utilities in that state.

Union Pacific Corporation v. Idaho State Tax Commission, decided by an Idaho district in 2004, and not appealed. The court accepted the taxpayer’s position that sale of its non-controlling interest in a Wyoming mining venture did not constitute business income subject to apportionment in Idaho for income tax purposes.

PacifiCorp v. Wyoming Department of Revenue, decided by the Wyoming Board of Equalization in 2007 after a three-day trial, and not appealed. The Board accepted the taxpayer’s positions that obsolescence must be recognized in the valuation of construction work in progress by the same method used for other types of property.

Qwest Corporation v. Wyoming Department of Revenue, decided in 2010 by a Wyoming district court on appeal from the Board of Equalization. The court affirmed the decision by the Board that Qwest was entitled to a refund of sales tax on certain services where there was a dispute about whether the taxpayer timely provided the information necessary to substantiate the claim. The case was later affirmed on appeal by the Wyoming Supreme Court.

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