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  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1980, Managing Editor, Yale Law Journal

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Tax Court

Government Experience

Deputy International Tax Counsel, U.S. Treasury, Office of International Tax Counsel, Treasury Service, 1986-1991

Law Clerk, Honorable Gerhard A. Gesell, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 1980-1981

Peter A. Barnes

Of Counsel, Washington, D.C.
(202) 862-5027 | v-card | PDF

After more than 22 years as Senior International Tax Counsel for General Electric Co. ("GE"), Peter Barnes joined Caplin & Drysdale as Of Counsel to the firm's International Tax Group in 2013.  His over 30 years of experience in the international tax arena help Mr. Barnes bring a wealth of knowledge to the firm and its clients.

In 2015, Mr. Barnes was elected as the U.S. delegate to the Permanent Scientific Committee of the International Fiscal Association ("IFA").  In this role, he will help supervise the planning and implementation of the scientific work of IFA. Mr. Barnes also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Duke Center for International Development ("DCID") at Duke University.  There, he teaches in Duke's International Tax Program, which is jointly directed by DCID and Duke Law School.  At Duke, Mr. Barnes also directs an annual week-long transfer pricing workshop for government tax officials and private sector advisors, many from developing countries. 

He is listed as a recommended attorney in The Legal 500, a publication that recognizes leading practitioners, assesses the strengths of law firms, and highlights the practice area teams providing the most cutting edge and innovative advice to corporate counsel.


Mr. Barnes' practice focuses on assisting multinational corporations in their global tax planning programs, including matters relating to transfer pricing, trademark licensing, and dispute resolution.  His tenure at GE, combined with his government experience, enabled Mr. Barnes to offer corporate clients a global strategic approach to their most complex issues.  Notable matters include: 

  • advice on transfer pricing issues for a privately held company worth more than$1 billion and undergoing its first major IRS audit;
  • secure a letter ruling from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore for a U.S.-based multinational; and
  • counsel a U.S.-based multinational on global tax issues with consequences in India, Singapore, and other jurisdictions.


At GE, Mr. Barnes played a key role in supporting the company's international tax operations, with a particular emphasis on Asia.   From 1994 to 1997, he was based in Hong Kong.  Mr. Barnes helped build and lead GE's tax team across Asia, including extensive work in India, China, Japan, and Korea.  He led and assisted global programs for GE, including the company's trademark licensing and transfer pricing work.

Prior to joining GE, Mr. Barnes served as U.S. Deputy International Tax Counsel at the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy, where he represented the U.S. government in treaty negotiations and as a delegate to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.  During his career at the U.S. Treasury, Mr. Barnes helped implement guidance arising from the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

From 2011 to 2013, Mr. Barnes was an Adjunct Professor at New York University School of Law Graduate Tax Program, teaching a course on "Asia-Pacific Tax Systems."

Professional Activities

  • Senior Fellow, Duke Center for International Development  at Duke University
  • Member, IRS-GWU International Tax Conference Planning Committee
  • Panelist, OECD 50th Anniversary of Model Tax Convention (2008)
  • Member, USA Chapter, International Fiscal Association
  • Selector, Luce Scholars Program, Henry Luce Foundation

Awards & Rankings

  • The Legal 500, Recommended, 2014-2016, 2018
  • The Legal 500, International Tax Team of the Year, 2014-2015

Recent News

Click here for a full list of media coverage.

Recent Speaking Engagements

An avid lecturer, Mr. Barnes has conducted over 200 presentations, individually and as part of a panel, for tax conferences and internal General Electric training programs.  Recurring presentations include Harvard Law School and International Tax Program, multiple presentations (1992-present), Tax Executives Institute (Asia training programs), and IRS-GWU International Tax Conference (almost annually, since 1988).  Below are recent presentations:

  • Panelist, Small Business Resources for International Trade, Global Perspectives on Technology Commercialization, Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, November 20, 2019
  • Panelist, Seminar A: Tax and Sharia Instruments, IFA 73rd London Congress, September 9, 2019
  • Moderator, CLE Program: A Discussion of the Current Battle Between Governments on the Rights to Tax Digital Services and Goods, ABA Section of International Law Annual Conference, April 11, 2019
  • Chair, Mutual Agreement Procedure and Dispute Resolution Under Treaties, National Foreign Trade Council, October 25, 2018
  • Chair, Tax Incentives to Attract Foreign Direct Investments Without Eroding the Tax Base, 2018 International Fiscal Association Congress, September 5, 2018
  • Speaker, Korean and Other Non-U.S. Companies Consider US Tax Reform (8 Months Later), 2018 International Fiscal Association Congress, September 5, 2018
  • Speaker, The Morality of International Tax Planning, 2018 J. Nelson Young Tax Institute, April 26, 2018
  • Panelist, Issues in Territorial Taxation and Base Erosion, Virginia Tax Study Group Meeting, March 23, 2018
  • Panelist, The Future of the Corporate Tax Department, Including the GE/PwC Relationship, USA Branch of the International Fiscal Association, February 22, 2018
  • Chair, LB&I MAP, APA and Tax Treaty Issue, National Foreign Trade Council, October 19, 2017
  • Panelist, Black Swans of Mergers and Acquisitions: Recent Tax Events with Significant Impact, Bloomberg BNA - IFA 2017 Rio Special Session, August 29, 2017
  • Panelist, The Panicked World of Permanent Establishment Planning, International Tax Institute, Inc., July 18, 2017
  • Panelist, Tax Reform – What We Expect, IFA USA Triangle Region Luncheon Seminar, May 8, 2017
  • Moderator, Plenary V - Introduction and Enhancement of GAARs in Asia and Effect and Consequences for Treaty Shopping/Treaty Abuse, IFA Asia Pacific Regional Tax Conference, 2017, April 29, 2017
  • Speaker, BEPS Implementation: Anti-avoidance, Plenary IV - Multi-lateral Instrument - Global Harmonization and Enforcement, IFA Asia Pacific Regional Tax Conference, 2017, April 29, 2017
  • Speaker, Workshop, IFA Asia Pacific Regional Tax Conference, 2017, April 28, 2017
  • Speaker, U.S. Tax Reform, IFA Mexico Annual Meeting, April 4, 2017
  • Speaker, International Tax/BEPS, ABA Section of Taxation, Philadelphia Tax Conference, November 3, 2016
  • Speaker, Corporate Tax Officers Respond to BEPS, International Fiscal Association, September 26, 2016
  • Moderator, Debate: Source vs. Residence, The George Washington University Law School and IRS, 28th Annual Institute on Current Issues in International Taxation, December 18, 2015
  • Constructing Minimum Tax for International Transactions, The University of Chicago Law School, 68th Tax Conference, November 6, 2015
  • Speaker, Tax Treaty Disputes in China, London School of Economics Conference on Tax Treaty Disputes, October 30, 2015
  • Panelist, Transfer Pricing and What to Do After BEPS, Bloomberg BNA and Mayer Brown, Energy Tax Conference: Maximizing Value, September 21, 2015
  • Panelist, The Great TP Debate, National Association for Business Economics (NABE), 2015 Transfer Pricing Symposium, July 21, 2015
  • Panelist, Implementation of Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting, Bloomberg BNA, Global Transfer Pricing Conference - Washington, D.C., June 12, 2015
  • Chair, BEPS: The Impact Right Now for Companies' Tax Planning and Countries' Tax Administration, George Washington University Law School and the Internal Revenue Service, 27th Annual Institute on Current Issues in International Taxation, December 11, 2014
  • Panelist, Transfer Pricing and the Implications of Business Changes for Multinationals, American Bar Association, Webinar, November 13, 2014
  • Chair, Seminar I: Taxation and Non-Tax Treaties, International Fiscal Association, Indian Branch, 68th Congress, October 14, 2014
  • Speaker, U.S. State Tax Considerations for International Tax Reform, Tax Analysts, June 18, 2014
  • Speaker, The Future of Transfer Pricing Documentation, North American Transfer Pricing Conference, June 5, 2014
  • Panelist, The OECD Discussion Draft and the Future of Transfer Pricing Documentation, American Bar Association, 2014 May Meeting, May 9, 2014
  • Speaker, OECD BEPS Update, 80th Annual API Federal Tax Forum, April 28, 2014
  • Speaker, Should Corporations Pay Tax? Should Corporate Tax Returns Be Public?, New York University School of Law, March 25, 2014
  • Speaker, Managing and Resolving Bilateral Tax Disputes, American Bar Association, March 18, 2014
  • Speaker, Teaching Ethics - Just Whose Responsibility Is It?, American Bar Association, January 24, 2014
  • Chair, Sneak Peek: Hot Issues at the 2013 IRS-GWU Conference, IRS-GWU International Tax Conference, December 12, 2013
  • Speaker, Interaction of Transfer Pricing and Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, 19th Annual International Tax Conference/Foundation for International Taxation, December 7, 2013
  • Speaker, Future Business Models for Managing Global Companies, 19th Annual International Tax Conference/Foundation for International Taxation, December 7, 2013
  • Speaker, Emerging Tax Controversies for Multinationals in India, 19th Annual International Tax Conference/Foundation for International Taxation, December 6, 2013
  • Lecturer, Module: Tax Systems of Selected Economies, Tax Academy of Singapore/Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, November 18, 2013
  • Speaker, International Fiscal Association USA Triangle Luncheon Seminar, International Fiscal Association, November 12, 2013
  • Speaker, A Break in the Clouds: A Proposed Framework for Analyzing Cloud Computing Transactions, 66th Annual Federal Tax Conference/The University of Chicago Law School, November 8, 2013
  • Panelist, Tax Treaties and the MAP Process - Problem Areas, National Foreign Trade Council, October 30, 2013

Click here for a full list of speaking engagements.

Recent Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms