K&F in the Classroom: Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties and Procedures at NYU Law

Drawing on their deep experience representing clients facing some of the most challenging and complex tax controversy matters, Kostelanetz & Fink partners Bryan Skarlatos and Megan Brackney have for years been bringing their expertise into the classroom as adjunct professors at New York University School of Law.

This spring, Mr. Skarlatos and Ms. Brackney are again co-teaching a course entitled “Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties and Procedures” at NYU.  The course is focused on the competencies that all tax practitioners need for their everyday practice. While most tax courses teach law students about how particular entities and transactions are taxed, Mr. Skarlatos and Ms. Brackney focus on the rules that govern both taxpayers’ and practitioners’ interactions with the IRS, the penalty standards that apply to taxpayers and practitioners, and tax lawyers’ ethical obligations. Whether students plan on representing taxpayers in tax controversies or are pursuing careers as tax planning advisers, the course teaches students how to approach difficult tax issues regardless of the area of tax practice.

Some of the topics covered by professors Skarlatos and Brackney include IRS examination and investigatory powers, taxpayer rights and privileges, and the elements of, and defenses to, civil penalties and tax crimes. The course also covers what advice tax practitioners can give if the issues are complex and unclear, whether practitioners can rely on information provided by taxpayers, what to do if a taxpayer is being audited, and what the difference is between a mistake on a tax return that incurs civil penalties and criminal tax evasion that can land a taxpayer in jail.

Kostelanetz & Fink is proud to be training the next generation of tax lawyers by sharing with  law students the important lessons they have learned from decades of representing a wide variety of corporations, institutions, and individuals in tax controversy matters.