Kendall L. Houghton

Kendall L. Houghton

Alston & Bird LLP

Recognized since 2012

Washington, District of Columbia

Practice Areas

Tax Law

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Ms. Houghton is a nationally recognized expert whose practice focuses on state and local tax planning, tax controversies and unclaimed property/escheat matters. She leads the Alston & Bird SALT practice. She previously served as general counsel to the Council On State Taxation (COST), where she filed U.S. Supreme Court briefs in cases impacting state taxation of multistate commerce and led a tax policy initiative addressing taxation of Internet transactions. Ms. Houghton has represented clients on a multi-jurisdictional basis with respect to significant tax disputes; negotiated favorable settlements with state and local jurisdictions; developed and advocated state tax policy and legislative positions that benefited client interests; and collaborated with clients to design transactional and organizational structures that have optimized direct and indirect tax burdens. Ms. Houghton also advises clients with respect to unclaimed property/escheat compliance, voluntary disclosure initiatives, planning opportunities, single- and multi-state audit defense, and litigation of state unclaimed property assessments.

Ms. Houghton is co-author of Bloomberg BNA’s Multistate Tax Management portfolio entitled “Unclaimed Property.” She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University School of Law and a featured speaker at national state tax conferences and schools hosted by COST, TEI, IPT, and the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization, Georgetown University School of Law and the New York University School of Law.


  • The Atlantic Building
    950 F Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20004-1404


  • Emory University, LL.M, graduated 1994
  • New York University, J.D., graduated 1989

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia, The District of Columbia Bar
  • California, The State Bar of California


  • American Bar Association - Member
  • BNA Multistate Tax Management - Advisory Board
  • California Bar Association - Member
  • D.C. Bar Association - Member
  • Paul J. Hartman State Tax Forum - Advisory Board

Alston & Bird LLP
Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

227 The Best Lawyers in America® awards

99 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America awards

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Recognized in The Best Lawyers® in America 2023 for work in:

  • Tax Law

Special Focus

  • COVID-19


  • Obtained very favorable settlements with the California Franchise Tax Board, Settlement Bureau, with respect to the inclusion of treasury function gross receipts in the taxpayers’ California sales factor.
  • Represents many of the largest financial sector companies (introducing and clearing broker-dealers, mutual fund complexes, banks, etc.) as well as insurance companies in defense of industry-focused multistate unclaimed property examinations conducted by contract audit firms Verus, Kelmar and the Unclaimed Property Clearinghouse (UPCH).
  • Co-authored an amicus brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court that suggested grounds upon which the Court eventually disposed of state tax discrimination challenge.
  • Assisted numerous clients with the successful defense of multistate unclaimed property audits conducted by third-party audit firms, and negotiated settlements with audit participating states.
  • Obtained a very favorable settlement for a client in litigation with the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue over the proper apportionment methodology for a media/broadcasting company.
  • Represented a client in transfer pricing audit by the New Jersey Division of Taxation that resulted in a highly favorable settlement.

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