Bryan C. Skarlatos Presented at 2016 AICPA Conference on Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual
Session 23: Tax Practice and Procedure: Tips for Dealing With the IRS
When it comes to dealing with the IRS, knowing the rules of engagement can be critical to protecting your client’s rights and pocketbook. Whether it is responding to inquiries, IRS examinations or assisting clients to come into compliance with offshore income reporting, there are times when the approach the tax accountant takes must be more limited than that available to the attorney. This session shared insights and best practices about:
- Common issues in audit representation; attorney vs. accountant differences
- Limitations of non-attorney practice
- When the accountant needs to have an attorney guard his or her back
Session 38: Procedures and Penalties for Disclosing Unreported Foreign Assets: An Update
The number of taxpayers with unreported foreign accounts, corporations, and other assets is staggering. This session reviewed alternatives for disclosing unreported foreign assets and how to choose the best strategy for different situations. Topics covered:
- What the IRS is doing now to find and pursue taxpayers who have not reported foreign assets
- How to evaluate a client’s level of risk for large FBAR penalties or even criminal prosecution
- When to advise a client to make a voluntary disclosure, a streamlined submission or file amended returns
The 2016 Private Wealth and Taxation Institute was an exceptional program this year. It was highly informative for private clients and their advisors. The speakers will included Paul Lee, from Northern Trust, Gideon Rothschild, Sandy Schlesinger, Professor Jerome Hesch, Dick Nenno and Sharon Klein from Wilmington Trust, Bryan C. Skarlatos and Megan L. Brackney from Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP, and Jeffrey Goldenberg from Goldman Sachs to name a few. In addition, there was also be a strong representation from the public sector including the Taxpayer Advocates for the Federal, State, and NYC governments, a Tax Court Judge, and the Suffolk County Surrogate Court Judge. Of course, there was plenty of local talent that presented, including several attorneys from The Private Wealth & Taxation Group of Meltzer Lippe and presenters from other Long Island Law Firms and Accounting Firms.
Bryan C. Skarlatos Presented at the Wall Street Tax Association Spring Tax Seminar, "Privilege Issues"
Bryan C. Skarlatos presented, "Protecting Privilege for Legal Advice to the Business by In-House Tax Lawyers," at the Wall Street Tax Association Spring Tax Seminar.
Topics included: Protecting Privilege for Legal Advice to the Business by In-House Tax Lawyers
Panelists: Diana Wollman, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
Daniel Dumezich, Deloitte
Bryan Skarlatos, Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP
Moderator: Elena Romanova, CITI
By Lee A. Sheppard
Bryan C. Skarlatos is quoted in the Tax Notes article, "News Analysis: Be Nice to Whistleblowers" by Lee A. Sheppard. With the whistleblower program celebrating its 10th anniversary, practitioners still complain about an unwillingness to take hard cases, lack of communication, and slowness in the payment of awards. In an excerpt from the article:
"LB&I has its own culture and beliefs about how things should be done. "There's a cultural issue," said Zerbe. Skarlatos said that he got the sense that overworked LB&I revenue agents, who are very expert in their specialties, seem to resent the help and may not recognize the value of the information. Zerbe concurred that it is difficult to sell LB&I on a case involving an insider at a Fortune 500 company. "C'mon, guys, this guy got fired for what he disclosed!" said Skarlatos, who praised the quality of the evidence offered by insiders.
LB&I has an audit plan and may be reluctant to take up a case when its audit of the reported company has been completed. "It's tough changing the audit plan," Skarlatos noted. There is no placeholder in the audit plan for issues raised by whistleblowers. Zerbe wanted the Whistleblower Office to have the power to go to the commissioner to change the audit plan, that is, essentially reopen the audit of the reported company."
Bryan C. Skarlatos Presented, "Economic Substance, Judicial Doctrines and Legal Ethics" at the PLI Tax Planning for Domestic & Foreign Partnerships, LLCs, Joint Ventures & Other Strategic Alliances 2016
Impact on partnerships of recent judicial decisions, legislation, and administrative developments relating to economic substance, tax shelters and the codification of the economic substance doctrine, including LB&I Directives; penalty defenses; rules of professional responsibility and conduct, including Circular 230 and related ethical considerations that come into play in evaluating the difference between good tax planning and overly aggressive or even criminal tax advice.
Bryan C. Skarlatos Quoted in Tax Analysts Article, "U.S. Taxpayer Revelations From Panama Leak Expected to Be Modest"
By Amanda Athanasiou
The data are unlikely to reveal large-scale noncompliance by U.S. taxpayers that hasn't already been disclosed or cleaned up, said Bryan C. Skarlatos of Kostelanetz & Fink LLP. "The main contribution of this data is that it's lifted back the curtain, enabling us to see evidence of hidden accounts and bearer share company structures that the public hears about, but never really sees," Skarlatos said. The primary impact in the U.S. will be to raise awareness about how bank secrecy works around the world, through the use of those bearer share corporations, he added.
Law firm Mossack Fonseca had seen its lines of work dry up before the release of the documents
By Ken Brown
The Wall Street Journal
Two months before the release of the Panama Papers, the attorney general of once-secretive Switzerland publicly proclaimed that $4 billion may have been misappropriated from state-owned companies in Malaysia.
The statement set off a bomb under the long-running scandal of a Malaysian government investment fund, known as 1MDB. It also showed how much has changed in the murky world of secret offshore bank accounts and corporations.
The Panama Papers tied 140 high-profile people to offshore tax havens. Here are some things to know about secret offshore accounts
A series of reports Sunday linked 140 public figures, executives and celebrities around the world to offshore tax havens from the British Virgin Islands to Switzerland. A close friend and other allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin were tied to transactions amounting to at least $2 billion; relatives of China's Politburo Standing Committee were connected to offshore companies; and Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson was said to be a partial owner of a British Virgin Islands company, according to international media outlets, which cited millions of documents leaked from Panama law firm Mossack...
Bryan Skarlatos Presented at the Citrin Cooperman In-House Event, "Who Gets Penalized and Who Goes To Jail: Civil and Criminal Penalty Standards for Tax Practitioners"
How sure do you have to be before you can tell a client it is okay to take a deduction or report income as capital gain? Do you have to audit the client’s records, or can you just rely on what the client tells you? What do you do when a client tells you she has not been reporting income or foreign assets? When can the client be penalized and when are you, as the tax practitioner, subject to penalties. Finally, where is the line between civil penalties and criminal prosecution and how can you avoid crossing that line? This program will cover these questions along with many others and will provide real-world practical advice on how to approach sensitive situations.
On January 18, 2016, Bryan C. Skarlatos presented at the Citrin Cooperman In-House Event, "Who Gets Penalized and Who Goes To Jail: Civil and Criminal Penalty Standards for Tax Practitioners”