John W. Porter


[email protected]


P: +1.713.229.1597
F: +1.713.229.2797
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"John Porter "has a huge national reputation, and is an absolute star." "He is very experienced, knowledgeable, and responsive." "He provides very practical input and helps us implement planning priorities. He is excellent."

Chambers High Net Worth 2021

John is one of the nation's leading tax controversy attorneys, maintaining a nationwide practice representing high-net worth individuals and businesses in sophisticated Federal tax controversy matters.

John has served as lead counsel for taxpayers in some of the most significant published estate and gift tax decisions in the last twenty-five years, including cases addressing formula clauses used to transfer hard to value assets, the application of I.R.C. § 2036 to family entities, the built-in capital gains discount when valuing stock, the "net-net gift discount," the valuation of closely-held entity interests, and the reasonable reliance defense to IRS penalties.

John represents taxpayers in every aspect of the tax controversy practice. His experience includes representing taxpayers before the IRS (including examination, mediation and appeals) and in litigation against the IRS in the United States Tax Court, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States District Courts, and the United States Courts of Appeal. He is described as both "extremely effective" and "a wonderful negotiator." (Chambers High Net Worth, 2018).

John also counsels clients engaging in business and estate planning transactions, to preventively deal with issues and properly report transactions before an IRS controversy arises. He also has extensive knowledge of and experience with privilege issues. He frequently advises and represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries of trusts and estates with respect to administration and fiduciary duty issues.

John is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the American College of Tax Counsel.

John is a frequent author and presenter for numerous tax and estate planning conferences. He is a regular presenter at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, the New York University Federal Tax Institute, the Southern Federal Tax Institute, and many other programs.

John is also active in the community. He serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Memorial Park Conservancy and also served as Chair of the Conservancy's Governance Committee. He has also served two terms on the Vestry of St. Francis Episcopal Church.

Chambers describes John as "widely recognized for his expertise representing clients in gift, income and estate tax matters against the IRS." Others interviewed by Chambers note that "he is really the leading estate and gift tax litigator in the country," and point out that "he's handled some of the biggest cases." Chambers interviewees also observe that John "is very knowledgeable about the law" and "handles everything in a calm manner." (Chambers High Net Worth, 2019).

Related Experience

Significant Tax Cases

  • Steinberg – Tax Court rejected IRS challenge to gift tax value offset for donees’ assumption of potential estate tax under I.R.C. § 2035 ("net, net gift") (Steinberg v. Comm’r, 141 T.C. 258 (2013))
  • Estate of Anne Y. Petter – Tax Court and Ninth Circuit rejected IRS challenge to a dollar value formula clause in case of first impression involving gift/sale of LLC units to family and charity based on values as “finally determined for federal gift tax purposes” (Estate of Petter v. Comm’r, 98 T.C.M. (CCH) 534 (2009), aff’d, 653 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. Aug. 4, 2011))
  • Hendrix – Tax Court rejected IRS challenge to dollar value formula clause used to gift corporate stock (Hendrix v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo 2011-133 (June 15, 2011))
  • Estate of Charles H. Murphy, Jr. – obtained $42 million estate tax refund after district court trial in case involving numerous valuation issues and IRS attempt to ignore limited partnership under I.R.C. § 2036 (Estate of Murphy v. United States, No. 07-CV-1013, 2009 WL 3366099 (W.D. Ark. Oct. 2, 2009))
  • Estate of Black – Tax Court rejected IRS attempt to apply § 2036 to ignore family limited partnership for estate tax purposes. (Estate of Samuel P. Black Jr., et al. v. Comm’r, 133 T.C. No. 15 (Dec. 14, 2009))
  • Estate of Helen Christiansen – Tax Court and Eighth Circuit rejected IRS challenge to partial disclaimer of limited partnership interest to charity made by way of a dollar value formula based on values “as finally determined for estate tax purposes.” (Estate of Christiansen v. Comm’r, 130 T.C. No. 1 (2008), aff’d, 586 F.3d 1061 (8th Cir. 2009))
  • Estate of Frazier Jelke, III – Successful Eleventh Circuit appeal and reversal of a Tax Court decision regarding the application of a dollar-for-dollar unrealized capital gains tax when determining the value of stock in a C corporation (Estate of Jelke III v. Comm’r, 507 F.3d 1317 (11th Cir. 2007))
  • Litman/Diener – Favorable outcome for clients after Claims Court trial in case addressing lack of marketability discount to be applied in valuing restricted stock (Litman, et al. v. United States, 78 Fed. Cl. 90 (2007))
  • Succession of Charles T. McCord, Jr. – Fifth Circuit rejected IRS challenge to a dollar value formula clause in case of first impression involving gift of limited partnership interests to family and charity (Succession of McCord v. Comm’r, 461 F.3d 614 (5th Cir. 2006))
  • Estate of Charles Porter Schutt – Tax Court rejected IRS attempt to apply I.R.C. §§ 2036 and 2038 and ignore the existence of two Delaware Business Trusts for estate tax purposes (Estate of Schutt v. Comm’r, 89 T.C.M. (CCH) 1353 (2005))
  • Estate of Wayne C. Bongard – Tax Court rejected IRS attempt to apply I.R.C. § 2036 to ignore the existence of a limited liability company for estate tax purposes (Estate of Bongard v. Comm’r, 124 T.C. 95 (2005))
  • Estates of Eugene and Allene R. Stone – Tax Court rejected IRS attempt to apply I.R.C. § 2036 to ignore the existence of five family limited partnerships (Stone v. Comm’r, 86 T.C.M (CCH) 551 (2003))
  • Estate of Joseph R. Coulter – Favorable outcome in defense of the estate against an IRS assertion of a $113 million estate tax deficiency in a Tax Court case involving the first-time application of I.R.C. § 2036(b) (T.C. Docket No. 17458-99)
  • Estate of Nellie Segerstrom – District court rejected IRS summons of attorney-client privileged documents, and favorable outcome in defense of the estate in Tax Court in an $18 million dispute with the IRS regarding the estate tax value of real estate partnerships (Segerstrom v. United States, 87 A.F.T.R.2d 2001-1153 (N.D. Cal. 2001))
  • Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers – Favorable outcome in defense of taxpayers in a Tax Court case involving an IRS challenge to the gift tax value of family limited partnership interests (T.C. Docket No. 011557-98)
  • Estate of A.D. Davis – Favorable outcome for the estate against the IRS in a case where the Tax Court first recognized the “unrealized capital gains discount” when valuing stock in a C-corporation (Davis v. Comm’r, 110 T.C. 530 (1998))
  • Estate of Beatrice Dunn – Favorable Fifth Circuit appeal that reversed Tax Court decision regarding the valuation of a closely held corporation (Dunn v. Comm’r, 301 F.3d 339 (5th Cir. 2002))
  • Estate of Jimmie T. Drewry – Favorable outcome against an IRS assertion of a $30 million estate tax deficiency in a Tax Court case involving recognition of private annuities and value of interests in a family limited partnership owning broadcast properties (T.C. Docket No. 10328-00)
  • Baine P. and Mildred Kerr – Tax Court and Fifth Circuit appeal rejected IRS attempt to apply I.R.C. § 2704(b) in valuing an interest in a family limited partnership for gift tax purposes in case of first impression (Kerr v. Comm’r, 292 F.3d 490 (5th Cir. 2002))
  • Estate of Jameson – Favorable outcome in a Tax Court trial and Fifth Circuit appeal of a case involving an unrealized capital gains discount when valuing stock in a closely held C-corporation (Jameson v. Comm’r, 267 F.3d 366 (5th Cir. 2001))

Significant Fiduciary Cases

  • Estate of Jake Kamin – Summary judgment obtained on behalf of The Jake and Nina Kamin Foundation regarding construction of the provisions of Mr. Kamin’s will (In the Estate of Jake Kamin, Deceased, Probate Court No. 2 of Harris County Texas, Cause No. 399,104-401)
  • Loya v. Loya, et al. – Favorable outcome for trustee in defense of breach of fiduciary duty claims regarding creation of trust and management of assets (In the Matter of the Marriage of Leticia B. Loya and Miguel Angel Loya, et al., Cause No. 2008-24514, Harris County, Texas, 257th Judicial District)
  • Estate of Theodore Bauer – Favorable outcome for executor regarding claims that decedent made improper gifts of community property funds and breached fiduciary duties in managing community estate (Ruth Brouse Bauer, et al. vs. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Independent Executor, et al, Cause No. 348,876-401; in Probate Court No. 4 of Harris County, Texas)
  • Kenedy Memorial Foundation v. Fernandez – Court rejected claim of purported heir to set aside probate of decedent’s will and division of estate property (John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation v. Fernandez, 315 S.W.3d 515 (Tex. 2010))
  • Wood v. Victoria Bank & Trust – Court rejected attempts by trust beneficiaries to pursue class action breach of fiduciary duty claims related to trustee’s acquisition by merger of fiduciary accounts from Ameritrust, N.A. (Wood v. Victoria Bank & Trust Co., et al., 69 S.W.3d 235 (Tex. App. -- Corpus Christi 2001))
  • Farias v. Laredo National Bank – Court ruled that breach of fiduciary duty claims asserted by remainder beneficiaries of trust against trustee barred by the statute of limitations (Farias v. Laredo National Bank, 985 S.W. 2nd 796 (Tex. App. -- San Antonio 1997))
  • Finley v. Laredo National Bank – Favorable outcome for trustee regarding claims of five beneficiaries concerning the management of trusts and a partnership that owned an 85,000 acre ranch and mineral interests (Finley, et al. v. The Laredo National Bank, District Court, Webb County, Texas)

Awards & Community

Named Best Lawyers' "2019 Houston Litigation and Controversy - Tax Lawyer of the Year," (Woodward White), "2016 Houston Litigation-Trust & Estates, Lawyer of the Year" (Woodward White, Inc.), "2015 Houston Litigation and Controversy-Tax Lawyer of the Year" (Woodward White, Inc.) and "2012 Houston Litigation-Trusts & Estates, Lawyer of the Year" (Woodward White, Inc.)

Recognized for Private Wealth Law & Disputes by Chambers High Net Worth, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023

Recognized as a "Leader in the Field" for Tax Litigation by Chambers USA, 2007-2011, 2014, 2015 & 2016

Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward and White, Inc.), 2007-2019

Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer (Thomson Reuters), 2003-2018

Recognized for Wealth Management by Chambers USA, 2010-2017

Recipient of the AEP (Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner) award of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils


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