Stephen J. Watson

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Stephen J. Watson

Stephen J. Watson

LinkedIn vCard


Steve Watson is a tax partner in the Washington, DC office. He has over 30 years of experience in tax and public finance, including financings for governmental and privately owned infrastructure, healthcare, housing, education, utility, transportation, and energy projects. He serves as tax counsel to issuers of tax-exempt bonds and beneficiaries of clean energy tax credits. He has extensive experience representing public power agencies and other utilities on a wide range of matters including renewable energy and storage projects and prepayments for natural gas and electricity. He also advises healthcare systems in acquisition financings. He regularly represents tax-exempt bond issuers and other clients on matters before the Internal Revenue Service, including private letter rulings, voluntary closing agreements, examinations, and appeals.

Before he joined the Firm in 2006, Steve served as Attorney Advisor and Associate Tax Legislative Counsel in the US Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy. At Treasury, he was responsible for policy matters and published guidance relating to municipal finance, including arbitrage and private use rules, refundings, financial products, clean renewable energy bonds, and private activity bonds for solid waste recycling facilities. He was a principal author of regulations that facilitate participation by public power agencies in regional transmission organizations, regulations that authorize tax-exempt financing of energy prepayments, rules that facilitate tax-exempt debt issuance in healthcare acquisitions, and legislation that authorizes tax-exempt private activity bonds for P3 transportation projects.

Professional experience

Expand all Collapse all

LLM, Taxation, Georgetown University Law Center, 1992
JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1989
BA, Williams College, 1985

  • California State Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Minnesota State Bar
  • New York State Bar
  • "Inflation Reduction Act Provides Major Tax Incentives for Public Power," Legal Update, October 11, 2022
  • "Private Activity Bonds for Carbon Capture," Project Finance Newswire, June 2022
  • Contributing author, "What US Municipal Securities Issuers Should Know About LIBOR Transition," Legal Update, November 2020
  • Contributing author, "New remedial action guidance for tax-advantaged bonds," Legal Update, May 2018
  • "IRS Issue Price Regulations Impose New Restrictions on the Offering and Sale of Tax-Exempt Bonds," Legal Update, April 2017
  • "Direct Payment Option Now Available for Issuers of Qualified Tax Credit Bonds for Schools and Energy Projects," Legal Update, March 25, 2010
  • Co-author, "Navigating the Stimulus Legislation's New Municipal Bond Provisions," Legal Update, April 13, 2009
  • "New Tax-Exempt Financing for Privately Owned or Used Facilities in Areas of Texas and Louisiana Affected by Hurricane Ike," Legal Update, December 15, 2008
  • "IRS Questionnaire on Post-Issuance Compliance for Governmental Tax-Exempt Bonds," Legal Update, August 19, 2008
  • "Important Developments in Tax-Exempt Financing for 2008," American Bar Association
  • "Important Developments in Tax-Exempt Financing for 2007," American Bar Association
  • "IRS Questionnaire on Post-Issuance Compliance for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Bonds," Legal Update, August 22, 2007
  • "New IRS Record Retention Initiative for Tax-Exempt Bonds," Legal Update, May 30, 2007
  • "US Transportation Department Accepting Applications for $15 Billion of Private Activity Bond Authority," Legal Update, March 2006
  • SCPPA Webinar, "Inflation Reduction Act Workshop," October 25, 2022
  • Client Presentation, "Acquisition vs. Refunding Tax Treatment," San Francisco, California, November 1, 2018
  • Client Presentation, "The Final Issue Price Regulations," New York, New York, May 25, 2017
  • Fulbright Webinar, "Navigating the Stimulus Legislation's New Municipal Bond Provisions," May 19, 2009
  • Fulbright Webinar, "Preventing Post-Issuance Bond Blues in Texas," January 30, 2008
  • Bond Buyer California Public Finance Conference, "Clean Renewable Energy Bonds," San Diego, California, September 2007
  • American Public Power Association Winter Meeting, "Clean Renewable Energy Bonds," Arlington, Virginia, February 9, 2006
  • Bond Buyer Texas Public Finance Conference, "Transportation Private Activity Bonds," Austin, Texas, January 2006
  • Frequent panelist at meetings of the American Bar Association Tax Section and the National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • American Bar Association
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers