Marianna G. Dyson
Chair, Employee Benefits Department

Washington, D.C.
Global Regions

Marianna G. Dyson

Marianna Dyson is a member of the Employee Benefits and Tax groups, Chair of the Employee Benefits group, and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. She practices in the areas of payroll tax, fringe benefits, and information reporting, with a specific focus on perquisites provided to employees and directors, worker classification, tip reporting, cross-border compensation, backup withholding, information reporting (e.g., Forms W-2, 1099, and 1042-S), and penalty abatement.

Ms. Dyson advises large employers on the minimization of employment taxes, the special FICA tax timing rules for nonqualified deferred compensation, the voluntary correction of employment tax mistakes, and the abatement of late deposit and information reporting penalties for reasonable cause. On behalf of the restaurant industry, her practice provides extensive experience with tip reporting, service charges, tip agreements, and Section 45B credits.

Because of Ms. Dyson's extensive experience in both the government and private sectors, she is a frequent speaker at Tax Executives Institute (TEI), the American Gas Association, the Southern Federal Tax Institute, and the National Restaurant Association. She was one of the original co-contributors to Employer's Guide to Fringe Benefit Rules, a loose-leaf publication of the Thompson Publishing Group; and A Guide to Federal Tax Issues for Colleges and Universities, published by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Along with Michael M. Lloyd, she is a co-author of a Thomson Reuters' Critical Issues Series: U.S. Information Reporting and Withholding at the Source. Ms. Dyson serves as a managing editor for the firm's Tax Withholding & Reporting Blog, a resource for in-house counsel, tax, accounts payable and payroll professionals seeking information on tax withholding and reporting developments. 

Representative Engagements|View All

  • Assisted a large technology company before IRS Appeals with its successful resolution of an IRS employment tax dispute over the employer's de minimis fringe benefit treatment of certain food and beverage benefits.
  • On behalf of a global energy company, successfully resolved a lengthy employment tax dispute with IRS Appeals a covering six calendar years; issues included fringe benefits, cross-border compensation, business expense reimbursements, relocation expenses, settlement payments, information reporting and related penalties, including the abatement of intentional disregard penalties.
  • Launched a successful coalition of large companies from a wide range of industries for the purpose of urging IRS and Treasury to develop simpler rules applicable to substantiating the business use of cellular telephones, BlackBerry smartphones, and similar telecommunications. This initiative was ultimately instrumental in raising awareness of ongoing payroll tax controversies with the IRS, resulting in proposed legislation to remove cell phones from the category of "listed property" under IRS rules.
Government Experience
  • Special Assistant for Fringe Benefits (Field Coordination), Office of IRS Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits and Exempt Organizations), Internal Revenue Service, 1993 - 1994
  • Senior Attorney, Office of IRS Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits and Exempt Organizations), Internal Revenue Service, 1990 - 1992
Corporate Experience
Rankings and Recognition
  • Chambers USA: Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (District of Columbia), 2008 - 2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America®: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Litigation & Controversy - Tax, 2010 - 2017
  • Legal 500: Labor & Employment: Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation,
    2010 - 2016; Leading Lawyer, 2011 - 2016
  • International Tax Review: Women in Tax Leaders, 2016
  • Named to The National Law Journal’s list of Washington’s Most Influential Women Lawyers, 2010
Professional and Community Involvement
  • Former Member, IRS Commissioner’s Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee
  • Member, American Bar Association
Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Kentucky
Court Admissions
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • United States Tax Court
Foreign Languages
  • LL.M. (Taxation), Georgetown University Law Center, with distinction, 1990
  • J.D., University of Louisville School of Law, cum laude, 1979
  • B.A., University of Louisville, cum laude, 1975