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Claude Millman was quoted in an article entitled “’Definitely Not a MeToo Thing’: Chair to CEO Accused of Sexual Misconduct,” Agenda on August 30, 2019

Agenda, the magazine for board directors about corporate board news, turned to Kostelanetz & Fink partner Claude Millman for comments about how members of a corporate board should handle an investigation of #MeToo allegations.

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Bryan C. Skarlatos quoted in "Amid Cryptocurrency Tax Questions, IRS Signals Enforcement", Law360

Law360 quoted Kostelanetz & Fink LLP partner Bryan Skarlatos in their recent article on the Internal Revenue Service’s major initiative to ensure that cryptocurrency users pay their fair share of tax.

Mr. Skarlatos told Law360 that "...the 2014 guidance, though incomplete, combined with the assumption that cryptocurrency users would comply with generally accepted tax principles, is likely sufficient for the vast majority of cryptocurrency users to at least make a good-faith effort when filing. I think that for 95% of the transactions out there, you have enough guidance to know what you should do” under the current regulatory framework, Skarlatos said.

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Caroline D. Ciraolo participated in the panel “Cooperation or Compulsion: The Emerging U.S. Experience with Voluntary and Involuntary Disclosures of Foreign Transactions,” at the 37th Annual Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime

In considering how to better discourage and control economic crime we examined the real threats facing our economies and, in particular, those who look after other people’s wealth not just from criminals and terrorists, but also indirectly as a result of law enforcement and regulatory intervention. We also contexted these risks and the responses not only in terms of the law, but also regulation and especially compliance practice. 

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Caroline D. Ciraolo presented "Preserving Confidentiality in Cross Border Investigations," at the 37th Annual Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime

The focus for the 37th symposium was the shared responsibility borne by public and private bodies, across international borders, to fight economic crime. In particular, it looked at the flow of information between agencies and the business world, and how to tackle the issues that this presents. In addition to its keynote speeches and focal discussions each day, there were a host of alternative programmes, plenary sessions and workshops that enabled attendees to share their knowledge, garner new skills, and build new connections.

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The Real Estate Trade or Business Exception from IRC Section 163(j)

By Yoram Keinan
The CPA Journal
August 2019 Edition

The scope of the exception for taxpayers engaged in a real estate trade or business from the harsh consequences of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 163(j) remains uncertain, even in the aftermath of the issuance of proposed regulations under that section. In particular, the scope and definition of what constitutes “real estate trade or business” remains unclear, and the reference to the same definition under IRC section 469 [which is unrelated to section 163(j)] is equally unhelpful. This article lists several activities that have been previously treated by courts and the IRS as “real estate trade or business” under section 469, and thus should equally apply to section 163(j).

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Bryan C. Skarlatos quoted in "IRS to Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, or Else!", The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal quoted Kostelanetz & Fink LLP partner Bryan Skarlatos in their recent article on the Internal Revenue Service’s crackdown on Americans who have not reported income from cryptocurrencies. On his advice to clients who may have made money from crypto, Mr. Skarlatos said, “I tell them, ‘It’s time to put your running shoes on.’ You must get to the IRS before they find you, especially if you got a letter.”

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Six Kostelanetz & Fink Attorneys Recognized in 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©

NEW YORK (August 15, 2019) — Kostelanetz & Fink is pleased to announce that The Best Lawyers in America has recognized six of its attorneys in its 2020 edition. The Best Lawyers in America (2020 edition), released August 15, 2019, recognizes the firm’s attorneys in the areas of Litigation and Controversy – Tax, Tax Law, Commercial Litigation, and Criminal Defense: White Collar. The annual list is based on a peer review process and reflects the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their peers within the same geographical regions and practice areas, according to the Best Lawyers website.  

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Marital Privileges

By Caroline Rule
The Journal of the Section of Litigation
Vol. 45 No. 4 Summer 2019

Marriage is perplexing, and the marital privileges even more so. Contradictory views determine when they apply and what they protect. In many states, statutes, rather than case law, govern, but federal law leaves it to the courts, which sometimes results in conflicting decisions among the circuits.

There are two quite different and separate safeguards for spouses. One is the confidential marital communications privilege, which, with some exceptions, allows a spouse to refuse to testify about, or produce documents evidencing, any confidential communication made during a marriage and allows the other spouse to prevent that testimony or document production.

The other privilege is the adverse spousal witness privilege, which applies in criminal proceedings and allows one spouse to refuse to testify against the other spouse. This privilege belongs only to the non-defendant spouse, however. Unless the defendant can invoke the confidential marital communications privilege, she cannot prevent her spouse from testifying against her if he decides to do so. This form of the privilege applies only while the marriage exists. And numerous states have repealed the adverse spousal witness privilege entirely.

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Bryan Skarlatos quoted in "IRS Leadership Shuffle Continues With New Division Chiefs", TaxNotes

The IRS has selected two longtime agency executives, Eric Hylton and Tamera Ripperda, to take over as heads of the Small Business/Self-Employed Division and the Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division, respectively.

Current SB/SE Deputy Commissioner Ripperda will replace TE/GE Commissioner Sunita Lough, who will take over as deputy commissioner of services and enforcement starting September 1. IRS Criminal Investigation Deputy Chief Hylton will then become head of SB/SE, according to an IRS release.

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Tax Controversy Corner: The Internal Revenue Code Injunction Statutes

By Megan L. Brackney
Journal of Passthrough Entities
May - June 2019 Edition

Under the injunction statutes in the Internal Revenue Code, the U.S. government has broad discretion to seek—and the federal courts to order—the injunction of the preparation of false or fraudulent returns, as well as the aiding and abetting of false tax returns, and the promotion of abusive tax shelters. This power includes enjoining persons and businesses from engaging in specific conduct, and other equitable remedies, such as requiring preparers and promoters to turn over their clients’ identities, notify their clients of the injunction, and disgorgement of fees. The injunction statutes provide a powerful civil enforcement tool for the Department of Justice and the IRS. In many ways, the injunction action is a much worse consequence for a tax promoter or preparer than civil penalties because the action is part of the public record (unlike the results of a preparer or promoter audit, which would be subject to taxpayer confidentiality under Code Sec. 6103), and the court may shut down the preparer’s practice altogether. This column discusses the injunction statutes and two recent cases filed against alleged tax shelter promoters.

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