Joseph C. Bright

Member

Joe concentrates in state and local taxation, regularly assisting business and individual taxpayers regarding corporate, financial institution, sales and use, income, real estate, transfer, and all other state and local taxes. A former chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, he has since represented hundreds of taxpayers — including businesses, individuals, and nonprofit entities — in state and local tax planning, administrative, legislative, and litigation matters.

Joe is the author of "Taxation," a two-volume treatise on Pennsylvania state and local taxation published by West Group as part of Summary of Pennsylvania Jurisprudence 2d, which has been cited in multiple decisions by both the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He also has written many articles on state and local tax topics. A book review of Taxation in State Tax Notes described the first edition as the leading treatise on Pennsylvania state taxation and Joe as one of the leading state practitioners in the nation.

Joe was nominated by the leadership of the House of Representatives to the 2004 Pennsylvania Business Tax Reform Commission. He is a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, is listed in Who's Who in America and is ranked as a Band 1 tax lawyer by Chambers & Partners USA. Clients described Joe as “a true state and local [tax] legend,” “well versed in complex tax planning matters,” and having “litigation prowess,” and peers have referred to him as a leading commentator on property assessment appeals, particularly with respect to uniformity issues. 

Joe serves on Villanova University's School of Law Graduate Advisory Board. He also serves as vice president of the board of directors of Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, Inc. He served as a board member of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, vice chair of the Children's Hospital Foundation, president of the board of trustees of St. Peter's School in Philadelphia, president of the Society Hill Civic Association, and a trustee of the Philadelphia General Hospital Research Fund.

Joe earned his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Harvard University and his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where was the managing editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. From 1965-67, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army and received a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service.

Experience

News

Best Lawyers Honors More Than 200 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys to its Best Lawyers in America 2024 Edition

August 17, 2023

Best Lawyers selected 232 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 24 of the firm’s U.S. offices for inclusion in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Business Today Names 32 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys to Its Top 10 Lists

July 28, 2023

These lists recognize lawyers “mastering,” “leading,” “revolutionizing,” and “dominating” their fields in their respective states and nationwide.

Eighty-eight Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 23 Practices Earn Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2023 Guide

June 05, 2023

Of the 88 lawyers ranked, 17 lawyers have been recognized nationally, and eighteen were recognized in Band 1. Eight of the firm's practice areas have been recognized nationally, and nine were ranked Band 1.

The Devil Is in the Details When Handling NFTs and State Taxes

August 30, 2022

Joseph Bright, Cheryl Upham, and Heidi Schwartz address how there is a lack of guidance when dealing with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and what we expect from the states moving forward in Bloomberg Tax.

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch

August 22, 2022

210 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 24 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Chambers Ranks 86 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 22 Practice Areas in Chambers USA 2022 Guide

June 02, 2022

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the United States, has ranked 86 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the guide’s 2022 edition.

More Than 205 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 19, 2021

Best Lawyers selected 210 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

82 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 19 Practices Earn Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2021 Guide

May 26, 2021

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the United States, has ranked 82 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the guide’s 2021 edition; of those, 15 lawyers have been recognized nationally.

200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers selected 200 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2020 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

63 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 16 Practices Earn Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2020 Guide

May 14, 2020

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the United States, has ranked 63 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the guide’s 2020 edition.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

57 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 16 Practices Earn Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2019 Guide

April 25, 2019

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the USA, has ranked 57 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the Guide’s 2019 edition.

Publications

New Jersey Eliminates S Election as of December 22, 2022 [Alert]

May 31, 2023

New Jersey will automatically treat federal S corporations as New Jersey S corporations, effective for periods beginning on or after December 22, 2022.

City of Philadelphia Real Estate Assessment Appeals [Alert]

September 20, 2022

The City of Philadelphia has extended the deadline for the filing of a first level review of real estate assessment appeals to October 14, 2022.

Pennsylvania Enacts Record Tax Reform [Alert]

July 26, 2022

Pennsylvania’s 2022-2023 budget, Act of Jul. 8, 2022, implements sweeping tax reform and revises some of Pennsylvania’s most business-unfriendly tax provisions.

Philadelphia City Councilmember Introduces Bill To Impose Wealth Tax on Stocks and Bonds [Alert]

April 05, 2022

Joe Hill, Joe Bright, and Brianna Westbrooks discuss Councilmember Brooks' proposed tax on certain intangible property, including direct holdings in stocks and bonds, at 0.4 percent.

2021 Could Increase Uniformity of Taxation of Real Estate in Pennsylvania

January 27, 2021

Joe Bright and Heidi Schwartz provide an analysis of Autozone Development Corp.’s appeal of a property tax assessment that is pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

As the Pandemic Spreads, So Does the Reach of State Nexus

December 04, 2020

Heidi Schwartz and Joe Bright co-authored an article in Bloomberg Tax addressing the reporting challenges and potential tax bills confronting employers whose employees are working from home in jurisdictions outside of the employer’s workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Sustains Revenue’s Source Analysis

September 17, 2020

Joe Bright and Heidi Schwartz co-authored an article published in Bloomberg Tax analyzing the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s recent decision in Synthes USA HQ, Inc. v. Pennsylvania.

Automatic Carryforward of Prior Residential Appeals Is Not Evidence of Uniform Assessments in Pennsylvania

August 11, 2020

Joseph Bright and Bob Careless co-authored an article, published by Bloomberg Tax, analyzing a recent decision by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania that is favorable to commercial taxpayers facing selective reverse assessment appeals. Bright and Careless note that decision in the case, Colonial School District v. Metroplex West Associates, L.P., undercuts a common argument by localities in relying on the automatic carryforward of residential appeals when defending against claims of uniformity clause violations.

Real Estate Tax Appeals [Alert]

April 30, 2020

Joe Bright advises real estate owners to consider filing an appeal of the assessed values assigned to properties for the tax year 2021.

INSIGHT: ‘Kaestner’ Opens Door for Challenges to State Taxation of Trust Income [Bloomberg Tax]

October 15, 2019

Heidi Schwartz and Joe Bright explain the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in N.C. Dep’t of Revenue v. Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, holding that a state cannot tax income from an out-of-state trust based solely on the beneficiaries' residence in the state.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Pennsylvania Tax Treatment of Digital Assets

June 18, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

Keystone Conference on Business and Policy

November 19, 2015 - Philadelphia, PA

PBI's Philadelphia and Commonwealth Taxes Program

September 16, 2014 - Philadelphia, PA

June 2014 Tax Supper Group Meeting

June 11, 2014 - Philadelphia, PA

Practice Areas

Education

  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1970
  • Harvard University, B.A., cum laude, 1964

Awards & Honors

Fifty-Year Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association President's Award, 2021

Best Lawyers in America, 2017-2024

Chambers & Partners USA, 2016-2023

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2004-2009

  • Pennsylvania
  • American Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Economy League
  • Philadelphia Bar Association