In memoriam

In memoriam: David R. Tillinghast, IFA Honorary member

29 August 2018

David R. Tillinghast, former Chairman of the PSC and distinguished international tax lawyer of New York City, passed away on 15 August 2018 at the age of 88.


David was a fervent researcher and speaker on international tax. He was the first Special Treasury Assistant Secretary for International Affairs in the USA, from 1962 to 1966. He was Partner, later of Counsel, at Baker & McKenzie’s New York office, from 1999 to 2012. In 1996, the New York University Law School established an annual lecture series in his name: the annual Tillinghast Lecture on International Taxation. With experience encompassing private practice, government service, teaching, and voluntary activities to improve the study and practice of international taxation, David was regarded as the leading figure in US international taxation for over four decades.


A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, David began his career in private practice. In 1962, he joined the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Special Treasury Assistant for the International Affairs (a position now called International Counsel). In this role, David 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, David returned to private practice in New York. He retired from Baker & McKenzie in 2014.


In addition to his private practice, David 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. Furthermore, he has served the IFA Permanent Scientific Committee for fourteen years, out of which five years as its Chairman. David was a very inspiring leader and contributor to the scientific programme of the Congresses, to which he devoted more working hours than anybody could ever ask for. He was the driving force in creating the research programme of IFA which has been of great importance for the discussions on the field of international taxation.


As a token of IFA’s gratitude, the General Assembly made David an Honorary Member of IFA. With special regard to his work on creating the research programme, it was decided to name it the “David R. Tillinghast Programme” in 2000. David has put in a tremendous amount of work and expertise to the benefit of IFA for which we are very grateful to him. All of us who had the privilege and pleasure of knowing him and working together with him will miss him as a devoted person. At IFA we will cherish the memory of him.


Our thoughts are with his wife Lisa Sewell Tillinghast, his children and grandson.



Jean-Blaise Eckert
Secretary General
International Fiscal Association

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