The members of Sorensen & Edwards, P.S. have been practicing tax, real estate, and Indian/Alaska Native law since the 1970's. We take pride in our aggressive advocacy for our clients, coupled with the highest standards of professionalism. We are an AV-rated firm and have been designated since 2003 as Washington "Super Lawyers" by Washington Law and Politics magazine.

We are Seattle-based, although we consult throughout the United States. We have extensive experience in a wide range of business transactions and we represent several of the Native Corporations organized under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) on a regular basis. Our representation of our ANCSA clients is primarily a general corporate representation with emphasis on the specific and unique issues and opportunities that face Alaska Native corporations (commonly known as "ANCs").

ANCs enjoy very special preferences in federal contracting that enable them to team with larger corporations to the mutual advantage of each. These special preferences stem from section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, with several unique variations available only to Native Corporations. Among these variations is a rule that allows ANCs to receive "sole source" procurements in excess of the amounts other 8(a) companies can receive. These sole source bid awards are generally not protestable. Our clients have received substantial federal contracting awards as a result of these special rules and the profits from these contracts have allowed our Native clients to provide increased benefits to their shareholders, both in the form of direct dividends and over the long term, through the "Settlement Trusts" that ANCSA authorizes Native Corporations to establish.

ANCs also enjoy special tax rules. For a period of time in the 1980s, Alaska Native Corporations were able to "sell" their net operating losses (NOLs) to other corporations. While these tax transactions are no longer available, we were heavily involved in the successful efforts by our clients to sell their NOLs. Sorensen & Edwards was lead seller's counsel and audit defense counsel relative to almost a half billion dollars worth of NOL transactions. All of our transactions ultimately survived IRS audit with only a minimum of audit adjustments. We have significant experience in the various alternative dispute resolutions mechanisms available to resolve IRS audits, such as mediation and arbitration.

Alaska Native Corporations also have the unique ability to form tax favored vehicles known as “Settlement Trusts.” Settlement Trusts were first authorized by Congress in 1988 “to promote the health, education, and welfare of its beneficiaries and preserve the heritage and culture of Natives.” Sorensen & Edwards has been lead legal counsel regarding the establishment of Settlement Trusts for numerous ANCs throughout the state of Alaska. Of the approximately 30 private letter rulings obtained from the IRS National Office as to ANCSA Settlement Trusts, Sorensen and Edwards was lead counsel on over half. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 includes provisions to encourage the formation and funding of Settlement Trusts, including that Native Corporations may elect annually to claim a tax deduction for contributions to the Settlement Trust. We believe that the ability to fund a long term Settlement Trust on a pre-tax rather than an after-tax basis will provide a powerful incentive for the future use of these trusts to provide for the health, education and welfare of Alaska Natives.

If you have need of legal assistance in any of the above areas, or would just like more information about any of the above topics, we would like the chance to talk with you.