Hank Alexander has a keen sense of the good feeling that comes with being part of something larger than himself.
He was drawn to music growing up and took up the trombone, playing in the marching band and orchestra at the old Woodward High School. He also played with various bands outside school, the main one being the Central Parkway YMCA’s orchestra-without-strings. He traveled with that bunch in 1964 to play at the New York World’s Fair. He loved the fellowship of sharing the same time and space with the other kids, everyone working together to create a polished stream of sound.
During his high school years, family illness had a major impact. By the mid-1960s, his mother had been treated for lung cancer and was in remission. Around that time, his father retired as No. 2 man at the old Cincinnati General Hospital due to an undiagnosed illness. During Hank’s freshman year at Case Western Reserve, his father died of cancer at age 54. Hank finished the year in Cleveland and transferred to the University of Cincinnati to be near his mother.
“My life became all about school and work. I had to put myself through school. I will be a loyal Kroger customer forevermore. They put me to work in the Woodlawn warehouse doing a variety of jobs – working in the mailroom, making deliveries to the Dayton warehouse, operating an offset printer making signs for the stores, whatever was needed.”
At UC, Hank majored in philosophy. He loved logic and decided to pursue a career as a philosophy professor. Going into his junior year, his mother’s cancer returned. She died in the spring of 1970. She was 44.
In the fall of ’71, Hank began a PhD program in philosophy at UC. By then, he had met Elizabeth Siedlecki, a Polish immigrant determined to become a physician. “She filled a void for me.” They were making plans when two of Hank’s philosophy professors, guys he had modeled himself after, began suggesting he think about a different career, inasmuch as colleges weren’t hiring philosophers. He and Elizabeth were engaged the day he was accepted to law school and married two months later.
Hank joined the Firm immediately after law school. Elizabeth completed her training in radiology and joined Medical X-Ray Inc. in 1982. Their careers underway, they turned to starting a family. They had four children, one each in 1982, ’84, ’86 and ’88 – Ashley, Hank III, Christie and Margo. “I wanted a big family to make up for some things from when I was younger, maybe to compensate for the shrinkage in my family. I think that if some of my kids have four or five kids of their own, that’d be fine.”
Hank chairs the Firm’s tax practice group. What he likes most about the Firm and his practice is the mix of clients, being part of something larger than himself. “As long as I’ve been practicing, I’ve built up a wealth of experience. So I can be helpful in any circumstance in terms of the tax-planning aspects of a client’s needs. There‘s a certain amount of judgment you develop after years of practice, and I think that’s something of real value I have to offer.
Hank works primarily in the federal income tax area and has extensive experience in tax planning for businesses including corporations and pass-through entities in the myriad of transactions in which they engage (e.g., mergers and acquisitions, stock and asset sales, restructurings, choice of entity, etc.). The emphasis is on closely held businesses and their owners and professional groups. As a result of this focus, Hank is also well-versed in the use and design of qualified retirement plans (including ESOPs) to achieve tax savings for the benefit of the owners. Hank also engages in a general business practice, with an emphasis on partnerships and limited liability companies.
Hank’s tax practice has him regularly involved in tax controversy cases, and he has successfully resolved many disputes for clients before the IRS, at the exam level and appeals, and he has appeared before the U.S. Tax Court. Recently, Hank has devoted time to assisting taxpayers in dealing with the proper tax reporting of foreign bank accounts.
Tax-exempt organizations is another area with which Hank is quite familiar in that over the years he has helped numerous charities, social welfare organizations, trade associations and social clubs with their formation, obtaining tax exempt status, unrelated business income tax issues, fiduciary and governance issues and in recent years, particularly with health care organizations, the opportunities in using multi-entity structures in carrying out their missions.
Hank has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Tax Law from 2007-2019 and a Cincy Leading Lawyer from 2008-2019. Based on the grading and comments of his peers, Hank is recognized with the AV Preeminent Rating, the highest rating given to lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell.