Debora McGraw

Debora D. McGraw, JD, CPA, LLM


Direct: 614-349-4813
Office: 614-326-1120
Mobile: 614-595-5560

Deb is a member of the firm’s tax and legislative affairs groups. Deb represents clients in various state and local tax controversies, including at audit, administrative appeals, and before the Ohio courts. Deb has created a significant niche in using federal income tax and financial accounting concepts to help interpret and defend Ohio state and local tax matters. Deb also assists clients with a variety of federal income tax issues.

Deb successfully led several recent legislative efforts including the Ohio Joint Economic Development Zone and District reform, the House Bill 64 job creation and retention tax credit fix, and various initiatives focused on limiting sales and use tax on certain services. Deb also assisted financial institutions with legislation related to the Ohio Financial Institution Tax and in providing comments during the rule process.

Deb has significant experience in conducting refund reviews and frequently uses this experience in finding offsets in audits. She assists clients with tax planning, including working with various client operational groups to align tax and business objectives and/or to obtain documentation for various tax positions.

Deb regularly helps clients with multistate considerations such as nexus studies, proper filing methodologies, etc. Deb has worked with clients in various industry groups and has developed particular experience in the financial services, credit card payment processor, and the utility industries.

Prior to joining the firm, Deb was a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where she worked for 16 years. Prior to leaving PwC, Deb led the Columbus large company tax practice and served as the lead contact for several Columbus based companies. She assisted clients with a variety of federal and state tax considerations including tax planning, corporate restructurings, federal and state controversy, corporate compliance, financial statement audits, etc.

  • Capital University Law School – LLM In Taxation (December, 1996).
  • Capital University Law School – Juris Doctorate (May, 1996).
  • The Ohio State University BSBA in Accounting (1993).
  • Ohio
  • Also Certified Public Accountant in Ohio
  • Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Led the defense of multiple Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 company audits including negotiation of multi-million dollar settlements at the Department level. Defended audits in income/franchise, commercial activity, municipal income, and sales/use taxes.
  • Serves as counsel representing clients at the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals on various Ohio tax matters, including negotiation of settlements or at all of the stages of litigation including discovery, hearing, and the subsequent briefing process.
  • Served as co-counsel in Commercial Activity Tax win at Ohio Board of Tax Appeals on three issues using federal income tax and financial accounting concepts as support for the positions.
  • Served as co-counsel in multi-million dollar win in Commercial Activity Tax case at Ohio Supreme Court that considered the federal income tax and financial accounting treatment of a taxpayer in and after emerging from bankruptcy.
  • Worked on numerous federal, state and local refund reviews identifying multi-million dollar savings and securing refunds through the various taxing agencies. Obtained significant experience in the financial services, payment processor, utility, manufacturing, and retail industries.
  • Currently working with individual owners of businesses on whether the character of a sale of a business is business or nonbusiness income for Ohio individual tax purposes, including working with the parties on planning considerations prior to the sale and representation and negotiation where a controversy exists related to the character of the gain or loss on a prior sale of a business.
  • Negotiated Voluntary Disclosure Agreements (“VDA”) in various states including use of the programs in non-traditional situations such as to avoid throwback in another state and/or to settle an overall liability not typically within the VDA program.
  • Assisted clients in evaluating the appropriate tax treatment of various activities including leading meetings with operational groups to understand the underlying business and gather supporting detail.
  • Researched and analyzed of state liabilities through a 50-state matrix, including nexus determinations for FIN 48 purposes, taxation of financial institutions and/or affiliates, unitary analysis, pass-through entity tax requirements, tax return filing, etc.
  • Led state restructuring projects including working with operational groups to align tax objectives with the underlying business, identification of business and tax considerations, drafting of various tax memorandums including federal and state opinions, etc.
  • Assisted with burden analysis for credits and incentives including identification of opportunities to negotiate non-statutory benefits to limit overall tax liability.
  • Adjunct Professor, Federal Tax Research and Writing, Capital Law School (2000-2004).
  • Co-Chair, Business Tax Committee, Columbus Bar Association (2004-2005) (Member since 1998).
  • Chair, Barrister Leader Program (2000-2001); Participant (1999-2000).

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