In Memoriam: David R. Tillinghast

Portrait of David Tillinghast
David Tillinghast

David R. Tillinghast, in whose honor the annual Tillinghast Lecture on International Taxation was created, passed away on August 15 at age 88. With experience encompassing private practice, government service, teaching, and voluntary activities to improve the study and practice of international taxation, Tillinghast was regarded as the leading figure in US international taxation for more than four decades.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Tillinghast began his career in private practice. In 1962, he joined the US Department of the Treasury as a special assistant for international tax affairs (a position now called international tax counsel). In this role, Tillinghast became one of the architects of the US international tax system that emerged between 1962 and 1966. The fundamental structure he helped create remains in place today. 

After his tenure at the Treasury, Tillinghast returned to private practice in New York at firms that included Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Chadbourne & Parke, and Baker McKenzie. He taught at NYU Law as an adjunct associate professor of law in the 1970s and 1980s, and in 1996 the Law School inaugurated a lecture series named for him. The 23rd annual David R. Tillinghast Lecture on International Taxation will be given on September 26 by Edward Troup, former executive chair of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs.

In addition to his private practice, Tillinghast served as adviser on tax matters to the governments of Ghana, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Peru; as a consultant to the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations; and as a lecturer in the UN Mission of the People’s Republic of China in the early 1980s. At various points in his career, he was also chair of the Permanent Scientific Committee of the International Fiscal Association and the reporter for the American Law Institute (ALI) Project on the International Aspects of United States Income Taxation.

Posted August 23, 2018