Mr. Ely’s 33 years of experience have allowed him to handle projects as diverse as serving on the recruiting teams that successfully induced JVC America, Mercedes-Benz, and later Hyundai, to locate their first U.S. manufacturing plant in Alabama, while representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service, the Alabama Department of Revenue, and local taxing authorities. His practice focuses on three concentric areas: representing taxpayers before federal, Alabama, and local administrative and judicial forums; advising companies on choosing the proper form of entity through which to conduct business in the Southeast and potential tax incentives; and advising companies and various trade and professional organizations regarding state and local tax legislative and policy matters.
Mr. Ely’s 33 years of experience have allowed him to handle projects as diverse as serving on the recruiting teams that successfully induced both Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai to locate their first U.S. manufacturing plant in Alabama, while representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service, the Alabama Department of Revenue and local taxing authorities. His practice focuses on three concentric areas: representing taxpayers before federal, state and local administrative and judicial forums; advising companies on choosing the proper form of entity through which to conduct business in the Southeast and potential tax incentives; and advising companies and various trade and professional organizations regarding state and local tax legislative matters. He also devotes a substantial amount of time to teaching and writing on SALT-related topics.
Mr. Ely continues to work in the industrial recruiting/tax incentives arena but more frequently his practice focuses on representing business taxpayers before federal, state and local government agencies and in the Alabama courts. He co-chairs the firm’s State and Local Tax (SALT) Practice Team, which represents taxpayers before the Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi Departments of Revenue as well as local government taxing authorities and the state and federal courts. He has served as counsel to multistate taxpayers in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court but more often before the Alabama appellate courts, circuit courts, and the Alabama DOR’s Administrative Law Division.
As part of his governmental affairs practice, Mr. Ely has co-authored a number of landmark pieces of tax legislation in Alabama, including the Corporate Income Tax Reform Act of 1985, the Alabama Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights/Uniform Revenue Procedures Act of 1992, the Local Tax Simplification and Local Tax Conformity Acts of 1998, the Municipal Business License Reform Act of 2006, the Alabama Taxpayer Fairness Act of 2014, and numerous, more statute-specific tax bills. He was privileged to serve as counsel to several state tax reform, economic development and constitutional reform commissions over the years and has written extensively on those topics as well as on other multistate tax issues and incentives matters.
Early in his career Mr. Ely became known for his work in the area of the taxation of pass-through entities and has chaired or co-chaired several American Bar Association and Alabama State Bar committees and task forces on the subject as well as having written numerous articles in tax or business law journals and treatises such as “Keatinge & Conaway on Choice of Business Entity” and Professor Richard Pomp's “State & Local Taxation.” He speaks regularly on these topics at the national and state level and co-authors a series of charts on the state taxation of LLCs and LLPs that have appeared in numerous tax and business entity journals and treatises since 1993.
Mr. Ely is a longstanding Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel and is included in the International Who’s Who of Corporate Tax Lawyers as its only Alabama member. He is a member of the Advisory Boards for the New York University Institute on State and Local Taxation, the Bloomberg BNA/Tax Management Multistate Tax Report, and the Journal of Business Entities (Thomson-Reuters/RIA). He is also a member of the Alabama Law Institute and is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama .
He has served for many years as state tax adviser to several business and professional trade associations, is a former chair of the Alabama State Bar Tax Section, and currently chairs its Legislative Review Committee. In December 2013, Bruce was honored with the inaugural NYU/Paul H. Frankel Award for Outstanding Achievement in State and Local Taxation and the year before that was recognized as one of the Top 10 Lawyers in the United States when State Tax Notes announced its selection of the most influential individuals and organizations in the state tax field. He earned a B.S. degree in accounting (with honors) and his law degree from the University of Alabama and an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law.