Taxes are at the heart of our economic engine. Though we have a “voluntary tax system”, it’s not THAT voluntary! The IRS makes a point of pursuing taxpayers who fail to uphold their end of the bargain and is currently pursuing the more than 10 million non-filers, many of whom are high-income earning.
This full-day conference will bring experts from around the country together to review how the process works to bring in non-filers, handle an IRS, and what to watch out for to protect yourself from ethical pitfalls. It will also review reconstruction techniques that come up far too often in bankruptcies, divorce, and civil and criminal tax matters, with an emphasis on how to present the information to the IRS. Finally, we will review how to lay the groundwork early to avoid or abate penalties when these issues arise.
Key topics to be discussed:
Explain how the IRS locates non-filers
Describe the process to bring in a taxpayers through voluntary disclosure
Identify issues to consider when reconstructing records for a taxpayer
Explain how to challenge the application of tax penalties
Date: October 5, 2022
Megan L. Brackney | Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP
Megan L. Brackney is a tax controversy attorney with a distinguished track record of delivering exceptional results for clients facing complicated and difficult tax issues. Ms. Brackney develops innovative strategies to resolve compliance concerns, voluntary disclosures, civil audits, and criminal investigations for individuals, trusts, estates, corporations, and partnerships, including audits conducted under the IRS’s centralized audit regime of the Bipartisan Budget Act. Ms. Brackney advocates for clients in IRS Appeals, and represents clients in litigation in the U.S. Tax Court and federal district courts. Ms. Brackney has successfully defended taxpayers against assessment of tax penalties, including income tax, trust fund recovery, and foreign information return penalties.
Laura L. Gavioli | Alston & Bird
Laura L. Gavioli is a partner in the Federal & International Tax Group and a member of the Tax Controversy Team. As an experienced first-chair trial lawyer, Laura is known for achieving practical, client-driven goals when defending against IRS inquiries. She has represented clients involved in some of the largest white-collar criminal tax evasion cases ever brought in the U.S. and advises clients on the IRS Whistleblower Program. She attained taxpayer victories in civil tax cases in U.S. Tax Court and federal district courts, eliminating IRS penalties.
Laura focuses her practice on the business dealings and asset holdings of U.S. taxpayers abroad. She has extensive knowledge of the IRS’s international exchange-of-information techniques, including treaty requests and other methods of cross-border cooperation among taxing authorities.
Laura has an aptitude for clearly explaining highly technical, complex tax issues. She has litigated numerous cases addressing jurisdictional questions under taxation statutes and setting precedent for statutes of limitations. Laura also advocated for multinational enterprises, relying on plain-language readings of taxation statutes to combat unjustified IRS positions, including those taken in regulations under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Walter Pagano | Eisner Advisory Group LLC
Walter Pagano is a Tax Partner with more than 35 years of diversified and relevant litigation consulting and forensic accounting experience. He has testified in federal and state courts, as well as at arbitration hearings, and has served as a federal, state, and bankruptcy court appointed forensic accountant and special fiscal agent. Walter’s experience, knowledge, and expertise enable practicing attorneys and corporate counsel to rely on his objective and independent critical thinking and judgment as a source to ascertain the financial facts in a wide variety of civil and criminal cases that have included white collar crime, internal investigations, adequacy of internal controls, commercial disputes, civil and criminal tax controversy, internal and external fraud schemes, financial statement fraud, shareholder and matrimonial disputes, guardianship litigation, accounting malpractice and third-party asset misappropriation. Walter has served as an expert witness in diverse cases such as IRS practice and procedure, breach of accounting and tax representations and warranties, damage calculations, criminal tax prosecutions, and guardianship accounting.
Prior to joining the firm, Walter served as Partner-in-Charge of Litigation Consulting and Forensic Accounting at another public accounting firm. His background also includes serving 10 years as a revenue agent with the United States Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In this position, Walter conducted forensic and tax audits of businesses and individuals, and also trained revenue agents and criminal investigation special agents in the applicable provisions of income tax law. In addition, he was an appeals officer, co-authored the IRS’ Commodity Tax Shelter Training Manual, examined abusive tax shelters, and assisted federal prosecutors as a forensic accountant in prosecuting various tax crimes.
Walter is a frequent guest speaker on topics such as forensic accounting, IRS investigations and white collar crime.
Janet M. McHard | The McHard Firm
Ms. McHard founded The McHard Firm in 2009. Prior to that, she was a senior manager at Meyners + Company in Albuquerque, NM. She is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), a certification bestowed upon examination by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). She also holds a CPA in the State of New Mexico.
Janet also is a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics (MAFF), specializing in Fraud Risk Management, a designation offered by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analyst (NACVA). She is Certified in Financial Forensics by the AICPA. Janet has received special training in fraud prevention and investigation from ACFE, NACVA, and through the University of New Mexico’s Financial Investigators Certificate Program.
Ms. McHard has performed forensic and investigative accounting in cases on behalf of clients including governmental entities, nonprofit organizations and closely held companies. Examples include state government agencies, Native American pueblos and tribal governments, school districts, public and private health care organizations, constructions firms, auto dealerships, law firms, professional associations, artist royalty matters and retail organizations, just to name a few. As part of a partnership dissolution case, Janet has overseen the successful reconstruction of decades of business records to determine ownership percentages.
She has also performed detailed analysis of cost billings in multi-million dollar building projects. Janet has specialized interview training and has secured written confessions which have led to successful outcomes in white-collar cases, including securing voluntary repayment of losses.
Ms. McHard has testified as an expert witness in federal and state courts as well as administrative procedures, settlement arbitrations and grand jury proceedings. Janet has offered sworn testimony in cases involving employment matters, criminal investigations, contract disputes alleging fraud, and allegations of professional malpractice. She has testified at the request of prosecutors, criminal defense counsel, civil plaintiffs and civil defendants.
Janet is a contributing author of Fraud Casebook: Lessons from the Bad Side of Business. She has co-authored articles for Fraud Magazine, the publication of the ACFE. She has taught instructional webinars for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) on behalf of the ACFE, and anti-fraud training webinars on behalf of state government.
As a faculty member of the ACFE, Janet has traveled internationally teaching to fraud prevention and investigation specialists. Janet has been a speaker at the AGA’s National Conference of Fraud and Internal Control and AGA’s webcast series. Janet has also taught in-house courses to Fortune 100 companies and worked with the audit committee of a Fortune 50 company to establish internal goals for their fraud prevention program.
Janet is a contributing author of Fraud Casebook: Lessons from the Bad Side of Business. Janet has traveled internationally teaching to fraud prevention and investigation specialists. She has taught Continuing Professional Education (CPE) for CPAs nationwide, and anti-fraud webinars and live-training on behalf of state and local government as well as private firms and publicly traded companies.
Janet holds an MBA from UNM’s Robert O. Anderson Graduate School of Management in addition to a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico. She is former President of the Board of Directors and currently serves on the National Board of Advisors for Keshet Dance Company. Janet is also a volunteer Commissioner for the Albuquerque Housing Authority, Board of Housing Commissioners. She has been a Alexis de Tocqueville member of United Way of Central New Mexico for many years. Janet was recently inducted into the UNM Anderson School of Management Hall of Fame.
Sanford J. Boxerman | Capes Sokol
Sandy defends individuals and corporations in white collar investigations and prosecutions. He also represents taxpayers in civil and criminal tax matters.
Sandy has experience in both the public and private sectors. From 1991 to 1994, he served as assistant public defender in the City of St. Louis, where he gained valuable experience as first chair in numerous jury and bench trials. From 1988 to 1991, and from 1994 through the present, he has worked in private law firms. Sandy was one of the founders of Capes Sokol in 2001.
Miri Forster | Eisner Advisory Group LLC
Miri Forster is a Partner and National Leader of the Tax Controversy practice, specializing in providing tax dispute resolution services to public and private corporations, partnerships and high net worth individuals on a wide range of technical and procedural issues. She has over 20 years of IRS practice, procedure, and tax controversy experience.
Miri represents businesses and individuals before the IRS Examination and Appeals Divisions on complex domestic and international tax issues. She also obtains private letter rulings from the IRS National Office, including 9100 relief requests for missed elections. Miri assists clients with voluntary disclosures of inadvertent income, international information return, withholding, and payroll tax compliance errors, obtains penalty abatements and refunds, resolves IRS account issues, and advises on a broad range of IRS practice, procedure and dispute resolution matters.
Prior to joining the firm, Miri was a Tax Controversy Principal at a Big 4 firm. Miri also previously served as an Attorney-Advisor at the United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C., and is an attorney licensed in the states of New York and New Jersey as well as Washington, D.C.
Miri is a frequent speaker on IRS enforcement trends, the centralized partnership audit regime and its impact on pass-through entities and investors, voluntary disclosures of inadvertent tax compliance matters and related penalties, and other IRS practice, procedure and dispute resolution topics.
Sara G. Neill | Capes Sokol
The Chair of Capes Sokol’s Tax Controversy and Litigation Practice Group, Sara Neill represents clients in civil and criminal tax disputes and litigation involving the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice and Missouri and Illinois Departments of Revenue. Sara was recognized as the St. Louis “Litigation and Controversy—Tax Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in both 2015 and 2018.
Sara handles federal and state tax audits and administrative appeals, as well as litigation before the U.S. Tax and District Courts. She frequently advises both individuals and businesses with sensitive tax problems, such as those who have failed to file returns, underreported their income, neglected to remit trust fund taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, pay significant amounts of tax due, or disclose foreign assets and accounts.
She also regularly represents clients in criminal tax investigations and litigation. Sara has defended several lawyers and accountants in IRS preparer/promoter investigations and appeals, as well as criminal tax cases. She frequently advises tax professionals with respect to matters involving Circular 230 and the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, as well as in ethics and other disciplinary matters involving their professional licensing boards.
In addition to tax matters, Sara represents clients in other white-collar criminal matters involving allegations of financial fraud, including in the healthcare and securities areas.
Guinevere M. Moore | Moore Tax Law Group
Guinevere Marie Moore is a tax litigator who represents taxpayers in civil and criminal tax controversies. She advocates for taxpayers at the IRS examination and appeals levels and, if a settlement with the IRS cannot be reached, in litigation. She is also the Executive Director of US Partnership Representative, Inc., and in that role she serves as a professional partnership representative.
Ms. Moore has represented taxpayers throughout her career, and draws on her experience in working with her clients, with the IRS, and with opposing counsel to help craft and execute the best possible plan to resolve the issues her clients are facing. Ms. Moore has successfully defended taxpayers against assessment of all types of federal tax, including income tax, employment tax, estate tax, gift tax, civil penalties, and criminal penalties.
Ms. Moore’s significant experience in practicing before the IRS and in the United States Tax Court enables her to work together with her clients to determine the best path forward to resolving the tax dispute – whatever Internal Revenue Code section may be at issue. The Internal Revenue Code contains thousands of provisions, and no tax professional has encountered them all. But having years of experience with the procedural hurdles that a taxpayer has to jump through in order to resolve a disagreement with the IRS over how much tax is due facilitates a much easier journey towards agreement or resolution through litigation.
Ms. Moore particularly enjoys the client counseling that she performs in her role as a taxpayer’s advocate. Having navigated hundreds of disputes with the IRS she is able to guide clients through what is often the most difficult crisis they are facing in their lives. Her clients will never wonder what comes next, or how the most recent development will impact them, because Ms. Moore routinely explains the process, the anticipated timeline, our strategy, and how all of the pieces come together. Ms. Moore will either partner with a client’s existing accountant, or, if necessary, engage a new accountant under a Kovel agreement.
Ms. Moore is actively involved in the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation. She is the immediate past Chair of the Standards of Practice Committee of the Section of Taxation. ABA Tax Times recently published an interview with Ms. Moore. Ms. Moore is also actively involved in the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA), where she served as a member of the Board of Directors.
Ms. Moore draws on her many years of experience as a member of the Tax Bar to provide advice and insight to others. She is a co-author of Incompetent Authority, (a play on Competent Authority, the person legally designated authority to opine on matters of double taxation), a humorous advice column for tax lawyers published in ABA Tax Notes.
Ms. Moore is a frequent speaker at national and local conferences on topics related to tax, ethics, and the ethics of tax. Ms. Moore launched what has become an active pro bono program designed to help low income taxpayers receive representation that they could otherwise not afford. As part of this process, she co-authored and designed a four-part training series for representing low-income taxpayers before the IRS. She has been recognized for her pro bono work as the volunteer of the year by LadderUp, and has represented over one hundred clients pro bono.
Ms. Moore lives in Chicago with her husband and her four children. While she lives in Chicago, she represents taxpayers all across the United States and the world.
Karen Hawkins | Yachats, Ore
Hawkins served as the director of the Internal Revenue Service Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), where she oversaw the standards of practice for tax professionals. Prior to government service, she was a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Taggart & Hawkins PC, where she specialized in civil and criminal tax controversy.
Hawkins has held several leadership positions with the section. Prior to serving as last year’s chair-elect, she was selected as chair-elect in 2009, but resigned to serve as director of OPR. She also served as vice chair of professional services (now Continuing Legal Education) and as a member of the section’s council. Hawkins also was former chair of the IRS Liaison Meetings Committee, chair of the Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalty’s Penalty Subcommittee, a member of the IRS Advisory Committee and liaison to the director of OPR.
During her year as chair, Hawkins said she will focus on enhancing the section’s existing pro bono commitments to include tax assistance to the nation’s growing elderly population and to providing support for the Texas and Louisiana communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey.
Shawna Laker | Bench Retro
Shawna Laker is the Manager of the Retroactive Bookkeeping Group at Bench Accounting. Her journey in the Accounting/Tax industry began in 2017 where her passion for helping others grew into creating a specialized department. Through long-term strategic planning and the collaboration across multi disciplinary teams, Shawna shaped and nurtured a specialized department known as Retroactive Bookkeeping. This department, known as Retro, is dedicated to helping small business owners get caught up on large scope historical bookkeeping years. Through assisting small business owners complete their historical bookkeeping and reduce their tax liability, Shawna has provided guidance and reassurance to thousands of financially burdened business owners. Leading with honesty and open communication, Shawna improves performance-based culture by increasing individual accountability, setting goals and collectively celebrating team achievements. Over the last three years, Retro has helped over 1,690 small business owners in the United States get tax compliant. Shawna’s a resident of Vancouver, Canada and enjoys archery in her spare time.
Michael Sardar | Kostelanetz
Michael Sardar has extensive experience on a wide range of tax controversy and white collar criminal defense matters. Mr. Sardar represents clients in all stages of civil and criminal tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state tax authorities, the Department of Justice, and local prosecutors.
Mr. Sardar also represents and advises taxpayers facing audits and investigations of noncompliance with the IRS’ foreign bank and asset reporting requirements, utilizing his skill, creative thinking, and deep knowledge of the law in this area. In addition, Mr. Sardar has a great deal of experience representing corporate and individual taxpayers making voluntary disclosures of unreported income to the IRS and state tax authorities. He has also represented scores of clients with unreported foreign assets, enabling the repatriation of over half a billion dollars of offshore assets through the IRS’ Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and the Streamlined Compliance Procedures.
Mr. Sardar represents clients in criminal tax investigations, in various white collar criminal matters, and in connection with internal investigations regarding corporate and entity noncompliance. Mr. Sardar also represents taxpayers in New York State and City residency audits and investigations, including those before the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Sardar joined Kostelanetz & Fink in 2009, and was named partner in January 2019. Prior to joining Kostelanetz & Fink, Mr. Sardar was an attorney with Heller Ehrman LLP, where his practice was focused on transactional tax matters. Mr. Sardar has also advised many nonprofit organizations on federal and state tax issues including general tax exemption and Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).
Mr. Sardar is Co-Chair of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) Section on Taxation, New York Chapter. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Subcommittee on Offshore Enforcement of the ABA Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties. He is a former Vice-Chair of the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) Taxation Committee. Mr. Sardar lectures and writes frequently on tax controversy topics, including foreign asset reporting and non-compliance.
Mr. Sardar graduated summa cum laude from Baruch College in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and received his law degree from Cornell University Law School in 2007.
Dawn W. Brolin | Brolin, Powerful Accounting, Inc.
Chief Executive Officer – Manager of the IRS Representation, Bankruptcy Accounting, and Forensics Division – Managing Member, Powerful Accounting, LLC
Dawn is a Certified Public Accountant, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Managing Member of Powerful Accounting, LLC – a nationally recognized accounting, tax and QuickBooks Consulting firm. She discovered the importance of the relationship between good accounting records, good business processes and running a successful business through her own experience as a business owner and now strives to “leave people better than she found them”. Working with, but not limited to, small to medium sized businesses including, contractors, non-profits, retailers and service providers, Dawn provides accounting, write-up, reporting, offsite CFO resources, tax return preparation and audit support services.
What’s black and white with a scoop of hilarity and a dash of rockstar energy? Moi (the hilarity and rockstar) crunching your numbers (the black and white) to make your business a fine-tuned, moneymaking machine. You won’t find that stereotypical, boring accounting process with this gal. I was born with this innate ability to make accounting fun, useful, and rewarding – just ask my mom. She said I popped out with an abacus and a laugh track – I made that ER a cash cow by the time I was 5 hours old! I find that when speaking in front of accountants, business owners, managers, etc., I have an ability to entertain while educating. This is one of my greatest speaking characteristics and features. It’s important to make topics interesting whether it is about accounting, growing a business, or a simple success story.
Of all the gin joints – why did I choose QuickBooks and number crunching? Can you believe that I’m an accountant AND I love being with people? I know, I know, crazy combo, but here’s why… Because of the great lessons imparted by my parents, one of my core value beliefs is to leave people better than I found them. When I come across people while in the business world who are “out for themselves”, “out to only make money”, or simply don’t treat people with mutual respect, I intentionally separate myself from them. I’ve worked hard to get here so I might was well share!
Eric L. Green | Green & Sklarz LLC
The focus of Attorney Eric L. Green’s practice is taxpayer representation before the IRS, Department of Justice Tax Division and state departments of revenue. He is a frequent lecturer on tax topics, including handling tax audits and tax controversies. Eric also has the weekly Tax Rep Network podcast, which can be found in Apple Podcasts, ITunes, Spotify and all other podcasting platforms. He is the author of The Accountant’s Guide to IRS Collection and The Accountant’s Guide to Resolving Tax Debts: Offers-in-Compromise, Installment Agreements & Uncollectable Status. Eric is the creator, author and lecturer for the IRS Representation Certificate Program with the University of Connecticut Business School which trains tax professionals to properly represent taxpayers before the IRS. He is a frequent lecturer for national groups, including the AICPA, NATP, ABA and CCH. Mr. Green has been quoted in CNN, the Wall Street Journal, The Street, USA Today, Consumer Reports – Finance, among other media sources, and has served as a columnist for CCH’s Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure.
Eric founded Tax Rep Network, which is an online membership group that trains and supports tax professionals building their IRS Representation practices, and he founded The New England IRS Representation Conference, which is one of the largest tax conferences in the country focused on IRS Representation and controversy hot topics. Eric is also the creator of the Tax Rep App to assist tax professionals in automating their marketing efforts.
Eric developed a national reputation by building a remarkable record of negotiating favorable settlements in thousands of civil cases against government agencies and has also been able to convince government agents and attorneys to forgo criminal charges and civilly resolve many cases. Eric was recognized as a “Connecticut Super Lawyer” in the field of taxation.
Attorney Green has served as adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law where he taught law students to handle taxpayer representation matters in the low income taxpayer clinic. Prior to practicing law, Eric served as a senior tax consultant for national and international accounting firms, including KPMG and Deloitte & Touche.
Attorney Green’s commitment to professional excellence is demonstrated by his involvement in numerous professional organizations. He is a past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Closely Held Businesses Committee, and has served as the chairman of the subcommittees on Business Succession Planning and Estate Planning. Attorney Green is a past Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Tax Section and is a Member of its Estate & Probate Section.
Eric is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, an organization in which membership is an honor reserved for those at the top of their chosen profession. The College’s members, called “Fellows,” are recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments and professional achievements and for their dedication to improving the practice of tax law. Fellows must be nominated by their peers for this honor.
Self-nomination is not permitted. Each nominee must satisfy the established criteria and pass a rigorous screening process before he or she becomes a Fellow. Attorney Green is admitted to practice in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts and is a member of the United States Tax Court Bar. Attorney Green is also a member of the Connecticut and Massachusetts Bar Associations, as well as the American Bar Association. Attorney Green received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting with a minor in International Business from Hofstra University and is an honors graduate from New England School of Law. He earned a Masters of Laws in Taxation from Boston University School of Law.
Welcome and Housekeeping | 8:30 am – 8:40 am
Coming in from the Cold: Dealing with Non-Filers – Megan Brackney, Esq, and Laura L. Gavioli, Esq., and Moderator – Eric L. Green | 8:40 am – 10:00 am
The IRS is pursuing more than 10 million non-filers that they have already identified, plus countless others that get swept up in ongoing audits and investigations. For those taxpayers not yet contacted, interesting decisions await: to simply file or submit a request to be pre-cleared into voluntary disclosure? And which one is best for what situation? Our panel of professionals will review the current state of voluntary disclosure, how to determine which option is best for the client, and how to bring them in without triggering a criminal referral.
Break | 10:00 am – 10:15 am
From Thin Air: Recreating Records That No Longer Exist (or Never Existed) – Walter Pagano, Janet McHard, Shawna Laker, and Moderator – Dawn W. Brolin | 10:15 am – 11:45 am
Maybe the client is being audited and claims they have nothing. Maybe it’s a divorce or a bankruptcy where the records will be critical to getting to the right answer and supporting your client’s argument. And yet there are no records to review. Is all hope lost? Of course not! Our panel of experts will review the options for recreating records, sources to look to and what can be done about records that truly do not exist and estimates or industry standards may need to be used.
Lunch | 11:45 am – 12:30 pm
The IRS Exam Process and Pitfalls for Taxpayers – Sanford J. Boxermann, Esq. and Miri Forster, and Moderator – Michael Sardar | 12:30 pm – 1:50 pm
What do you do when your “routine” exam is no longer routine? Our panel will review the usual audit process and discuss pitfalls that can arise, like indications of fraud, other crimes or false documents. The panel will also review what happens when it goes off the rails and what the practitioner can do to keep it moving in the right direction.
Break | 1:50 pm – 2:00 pm
Sensitive Audits: Ethical Considerations – Walter Pagano, Karen Hawkins, Esq., and Moderator – Eric L. Green | 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
What do you do when the IRS revenue agent asks the question that your client cannot answer? How can a good accountant help you? How can you assess the risk of criminal referral? And most importantly, how can you do all this within your ethical responsibilities? Hear seasoned tax professionals consider these challenging topics.
Break | 3:15 pm – 3:25 pm
Challenging the Application of Tax Penalties: Accuracy and Civil Fraud – Sara G. Neill, Esq., and Guinevere M. Moore, Esq, and Moderator – Eric L. Green | 3:25 pm – 5:00 pm
The IRS frequently applies an accuracy penalty to any exam with adjustments, and the civil fraud penalty where it believes (or should believe) it can carry the burden of proving willful intent by the taxpayer. Our panel of experts will discuss when these penalties can and should be challenged, and how to do so to reduce the impact of adjustments to the client.