Mary B. “Handy” Hevener helps US and multinational enterprises minimize corporate payroll taxes at both the federal and state levels, and maximize benefits–related tax deductions. She focuses her practice on the tax and information reporting treatment of employee and independent contractor benefits outside qualified retirement plans, including stock options and other stock-based compensation; executive income deferrals; golden parachutes; and fringe benefits that range from health and life insurance, to employee loans, cars, planes, and prizes.
Handy also advises on executive benefits triggered by corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and spinoffs, including golden parachute issues and stock option deduction allocations. She counsels on the design of compensation and benefit programs, as well as employment and consultant contracts. She handles corporate and payroll tax audits at both the US federal and state levels, penalty abatements, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state tax department ruling requests.
She also is a lead attorney in tax litigations of first impression, including the payroll taxation and deduction of employee meals and per diem payments; corporate aircraft deductions; stock option taxation; bonus accruals; Railroad Retirement taxes on stock and moving expense payments; the FICA taxation of tipped employees’ compensation; the definition and consequences of being a “statutory employer” as opposed to a “common law” employer, and the tax treatment of payments (including termination and settlement payments) to former employees made outside qualified retirement plans.
Handy is part of a group handling audits and appeals involving payroll tax, airline excise tax, and corporate deduction issues for companies in the healthcare, railroad, airline, and technology industries where the proposed taxes and penalties, in the aggregate, total more than $3 billion. These cases affect US and overseas employees receiving stock and stock options, reimbursements for travel costs and moving expenses, tax return preparation, and meals in company cafeterias.
Listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2011–2018), and recognized as 2019 "Lawyer of the Year" in the practice area of Litigation and Controversy - Tax in New York City by The Best Lawyers in America, Handy is co-leader of the firm’s Fringe Benefits and Payroll Tax Task Force. As such, she often works in concert with lawyers from the employee benefits and executive compensation, and tax practices.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, she served as an attorney-adviser for the US Treasury Department’s Office of the Tax Legislative Counsel. In that role, she focused on tax issues affecting current and deferred employee benefits (including parachute payments), and tax-exempt organizations. She also worked on legislation and IRS guidance affecting alternative minimum taxes, Social Security taxes, unemployment taxes, and a variety of excise taxes.
Handy has served for 35 years as a member of the New York University’s Institute on Federal Taxation’s Advisory Board, and she speaks frequently before the Tax Executives Institute. As a volunteer, she served as one of the original members of the Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee to the IRS.
University of Virginia School of Law, 1978, J.D., With Honors
Wellesley College, 1974, B.A., Cum Laude
District of Columbia
US Supreme Court
US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
US Court of Federal Claims
US District Court for the District of Columbia
US District Court for the District of Nebraska
Awards and Affiliations
Ranked, Tax, New York, Chambers USA (2021)
Ranked, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, New York, Chambers USA (2021)
Lifetime Achievement Award, New York Law Journal (2020)
Member, Law Firm of the Year, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Chambers USA (2019)
Member, Law Firm of the Year, Employee Benefits (ERISA Law), US News/Best Lawyers – Best Law Firms (2019)
Recommended, Labor and employment: Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design, The Legal 500 US (2021)
Recommended, Tax: US taxes: non-contentious, The Legal 500 US (2019, 2021)
Recommended, Labor and employment: Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional, The Legal 500 US (2019)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Tax, Law360 (2017)
Ranked, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2011–2017)
Lawyer of the Year, Litigation and Controversy – Tax, New York, The Best Lawyers in America (2019)
Recognized, Litigation and Controversy – Tax, New York; Tax Law, New York, The Best Lawyers in America (2005–2020, 2022)
Named, Top Woman Lawyer, The Best Lawyers in America (2016–2017)