Russell D. Jones

Russell Jones primarily worked in the area of federal income taxation, with emphasis on the affairs of charitable and other tax-exempt organizations, corporate mergers and acquisitions, partnership and limited liability company issues, and large and small business planning.

In the course of Mr. Jones’ career he was involved in a number of ground breaking federal income tax matters, including the following.

  • In the early 1980s, Mr. Jones obtained, on behalf of a charitable organization, the first ruling ever issued by the Internal Revenue Service that permitted a charitable organization to participate as a general partner in a limited partnership. This was a breakthrough at the time (an article appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal), because such participation gave charitable organizations access to substantial amounts of private capital that effectively could be put to use in charitable endeavors. On this occasion, he successfully persuaded the Internal Revenue Service that its prior unequivocal opposition to the desired activity was incorrect for both legal and policy reasons.
  • In the early 1990s, the Kansas City Royals Baseball Corporation and two charitable organizations worked together to obtain private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service that were needed to put into effect Ewing Kauffman’s innovative succession plan for keeping the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City. Mr. Jones devised the strategy to be pursued in making the principal ruling request to the Internal Revenue Service, wrote this request, and prepared and directed the efforts of others in obtaining affidavits of government officials and other evidence that together with the ruling request constituted the submission made to the Internal Revenue Service. This successful submission (which because of its breakthrough nature has also been the subject of substantial publicity in the tax press), involved a creative extension of the Internal Revenue Service’s general position that an activity that lessens the burdens of government is charitable.
  • Prior to the enactment of attorney’s fees provisions in the Internal Revenue Code, successfully obtained attorney’s fees in a federal income tax refund case under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
  • Successfully defended the President/Chief Executive Officer and the Treasurer of a defunct trucking corporation against the imposition of the 100 percent penalty for trust fund taxes, based on the theory that the actions of these officers were not “willful.”
  • On behalf of a wealthy family with numerous investment partnerships, sought and obtained a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that favorably resolved several esoteric tax accounting issues and had the effect of permitting the family to achieve substantial savings by combining several investment partnerships in a complicated roll-up transaction. This ruling is believed to be the first of its kind granted to a taxpayer other than a regulated investment company.

Apart from dealing with issues that in some sense break new ground, Mr. Jones has extensive experience in handling the affairs of charitable organizations. A few examples are:

  • Mr. Jones obtained from the Internal Revenue Service, on behalf of private foundation, a ruling that permitted the foundation to co-invest with disqualified persons in an investment partnership. This ruling clarified numerous prior inconsistent rulings that had dealt with this same subject.
  • On behalf of a private foundation, Mr. Jones obtained a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that permitted the foundation to pay young people to attend national conferences, without incurring liability for making taxable expenditures.
  • Several prominent private foundations in the Kansas City area have retained Mr. Jones to seek and obtain rulings regarding self-dealing and other excise tax issues. As a result, Mr. Jones has been involved in many of the most important civic and charitable projects that have occurred in the area in the past several years.
  • Mr. Jones has advised public charities on numerous matters, primarily in recent years involving either the existence of unrelated taxable income, jeopardy to tax-exempt status and the desirability of utilizing a for-profit subsidiary to conduct certain operations, and excess benefit transactions.

In addition to handling federal income tax matters, Mr. Jones has significant experience in dealing with state and local income, sales and use, and other taxes. Notable matters in which Mr. Jones has been involved include the following:

  • On behalf of a large national manufacturer, successfully challenged the validity under the United States Constitution of a Kansas City, Missouri license tax ordinance.
  • On behalf of a consortium of hazardous waste recyclers, successfully challenged the application of certain environmental taxes and, in the course of so doing, persuaded the court to invalidate the applicable agency regulations. The case was unusual because the taxes at issue were administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, rather than the Department of Revenue, and the application of the procedural provisions of Missouri tax law were uncertain.

Court Memberships

  • Missouri (inactive) 
  • U.S. Claims Court (inactive)
  • U.S. Tax Court (inactive) 


  • Named the Kansas City, Mo. Non-Profit/Charities Law “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, 2014
  • Selected as Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyer, 2007 - 2013
  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America®, 2003 - 2016
  • Named to Best of the United States, Lawyer Section, 2006
  • Selected for Best Attorneys Network Directory, 2005
  • Martindale-Hubbell® “AV” Rating

Professional Affiliations

  • The Missouri Bar, Tax Law Committee, Chairman 1984-85; served on and chaired numerous subcommittees
  • The Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Westside Housing Organization, past Director and past Treasurer
Photo of Russell D. Jones
F: 816.292.2001


Tina Hecke


University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1974

University of Missouri-Columbia, B.S., cum laude, 1971