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CATWe have recently discussed in several blog posts Oregon’s new Corporate Activity Tax (“CAT”), a gross receipts tax that will become effective January 1, 2020. As we announced in our most recent post on this topic, the Oregon Department of Revenue (the “Department”) will soon commence the rule drafting process. In order to obtain input from taxpayers and tax advisors, it will hold town hall meetings around the state.

Yesterday, the Department announced the schedule of these meetings. Surprisingly, the first meeting is scheduled for tonight in Newport, and meetings will take place later this week in Corvallis and Beaverton. Additional meetings throughout the state will occur over the next few weeks. The meeting in Portland will take place at the Portland State Office Building in the Lloyd District on Thursday, October 3, 2019, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Cleaning houseEarlier this year, rumors surfaced that the IRS plans to clean house and phase out all attorney positions from the Office of Professional Responsibility (“OPR”), an independent arm of the Service tasked with enforcing discipline relating to tax professionals practicing before the IRS. On August 7, 2019, the Taxation Section of the American Bar Association (the “Tax Section”) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig urging him to reconsider this housekeeping plan.

The Tax Section is absolutely correct in its position. Attorney oversight within OPR is critical to ensure OPR’s independence, to ensure the proper interpretation of legal rules applicable to tax practitioners, and to ensure that legal doctrines such as due process and privilege are not undermined.

On June 19, 2014, San Francisco tax attorney, James P. Kleier, entered into a plea agreement with the government for his failure to file tax returns and pay income taxes.  Per the agreement, Mr. Kleier will be imprisoned at the Atwater Federal Corrections Institution for 12 months commencing September 18, 2014.  Following release from prison, he will be subject to a 1-year supervised parole.  In addition, Mr. Kleier is required to pay the IRS a total $650,993.

Mr. Kleier was a partner in the San Francisco law office of Preston Gates & Ellis LLP (now known as K&L Gates LLP) from 1999 to 2005.  Thereafter, he practiced law in the San Francisco office of Reed Smith LLP.  Both of these organizations are large prestigious international law firms.  According to the complaint filed by the government in the U.S. District for the Northern District of California, tax attorney Kleier failed to report income of more than $1.3 million while practicing law at these firms.  Specifically, he earned $624,923 in 2008; $476,088 in 2009; and $200,734 in 2010.  Nevertheless, he failed to file tax returns for these years and pay the taxes due and owing.

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Larry J. Brant
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Larry J. Brant is a Shareholder and the Chair of the Tax & Benefits practice group at Foster Garvey, a law firm based out of the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; New York, New York, Spokane, Washington; and Beijing, China. Mr. Brant practices in the Portland office. His practice focuses on tax, tax controversy and transactions. Mr. Brant is a past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Taxation Section. He was the long-term Chair of the Oregon Tax Institute, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum. Mr. Brant has served as an adjunct professor, teaching corporate taxation, at Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. He is an Expert Contributor to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Catalyst. Mr. Brant is a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. He publishes articles on numerous income tax issues, including Taxation of S Corporations, Reasonable Compensation, Circular 230, Worker Classification, IRC § 1031 Exchanges, Choice of Entity, Entity Tax Classification, and State and Local Taxation. Mr. Brant is a frequent lecturer at local, regional and national tax and business conferences for CPAs and attorneys. He was the 2015 Recipient of the Oregon State Bar Tax Section Award of Merit.

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