News

CLE on Special Needs Trusts

A new CLE on Special Needs Trusts will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center on Nov. 16. This program will navigate you through the tax code to maximize advantages for Qualified Disability Trusts and discuss ethical considerations of using a trust to qualify for Medicaid. There are many duties and ethical considerations associated with serving as a trustee – learn about these issues in this specialized program.

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Knoxville Lawyer Named Federal Administrative Law Judge

Knoxville attorney Benjamin Burton has been selected to serve as an administrative law judge with the Social Security Administration. He will serve at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in St. Louis. Burton worked for the Social Security Administration prior to entering private practice and is one of only 61 Board Certified Social Security Trial Specialists nationwide.
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David Mittelstadt Elected Vice Chair

David Mittelstadt was recently elected Vice Chair of the TBA Tax Section. Mittelstadt works for Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel,PC. He brings 32 years of transactional tax experience to the executive council.

Mittelstadt worked in major firms as in-house U.S. tax counsel for a large multinational group and his own practice before joining Chambliss, so he has seen tax issues from diverse perspectives. His practice has spanned from representation on very large international transactions to representation of small, local and startup businesses.

Practice areas include mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, corporate financial structuring, general corporate, LLC, partnership tax planning and the U.S. tax aspects of international transactions. 

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Global & Tennessee Specific Trade & Investment Perspectives & Policies for 2018 & Beyond

 
The International Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association is sponsoring a free seminar “Global & Tennessee Specific Trade & Investment Perspectives & Policies for 2018 & Beyond” to be held on Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Nashville School of Law, Appellate Courtroom, 4013 Armory Oaks Drive, Nashville, Tenn. 
 
The speakers on the panel include:
  • Terry Olsen, Chair of the TBA International Law Section, as Moderator
  • Clay Banks, Regional Director of Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development
  • James Forde, Prosperity and Economics Officer of British Consulate General, Atlanta
  • Ms. Joanne Chu, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (New York)
  • Mr. Michael Kwan, Deputy Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (New York)
The seminar will provide an overview of the global & U.S. trade & investment landscape as it concerns Tennessee for 2018 & beyond, and both policy & legal views of the ever-changing global standard of Tennessee in the international investment environment.
 
Attendees will also have the opportunity to have direct interactive discussions with the speakers at the end of the seminar.
 
The panel discussion will last from 6pm thru 7pm, and then followed with a FAQ session for attendees, along with a light reception of beverage & desserts. 
 
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Tennessee and Federal Tax Law Annual Forum 2017 Next Week

On Sept. 18, the TBA will host a continuing legal education course on Tennessee and federal tax law. Sessions will include an introduction to international tax issues, tax issues in hiring family members, lien subordination issues, and licensing and taxing issues in a multi-state practice. Representatives from the Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service will be present to provide in-person updates on current topics. Learn more and register.

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Tennessee and Federal Tax Law Annual Forum 2017

The TBA will host a CLE on Tennessee and federal tax law at the Tennessee Bar Center on Sept. 18. Sessions will include an introduction to international tax issues, tax issues in hiring family members, lien subordination issues and licensing and taxing issues in a multi-state practice. Representatives from the Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service will be present to provide in-person updates on current topics.

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Annual Tax Forum

The Tennessee and federal law tax program is set for Sept. 18. Topics will include international tax consequences, tax-related legislation and recent letter rulings, updates on repeal of TEFRA IRS Audits and out of state tax licensing issues.

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A Message from the Chair

As the new chair of the TBA Tax Law Section I wanted to take a moment and introduce myself, as well as discuss briefly some thoughts and issues regarding our section.
 
My name is Michael Goode and I am a tax attorney with Stites & Harbison PLLC in our Nashville office. I'm a graduate of William and Mary School of Law and received my LL.M. in Taxation from New York University. I serve as vice-chair of the TBA Estate Planning and Probate Section, and am on the TBA International Section Executive Council. I am a member of the Atlanta International Tax Study Group, and the Middle Tennessee Estate Planning Council. Although I am a general tax practitioner, I most enjoy international taxation. I frequently speak on international taxation, estate planning and international estate planning, as well as various corporate issues. I not only work in Nashville but live here as well with my wife and our three-year-old son. I also have, through my firm, a secondary office in Atlanta, and I have practiced in both states throughout my career.
 
I hope that all of you have had a chance to register for our Section's CLE on Sept. 18, the Tennessee and Federal Tax Law Annual Forum. This will be an excellent section with a cross section of speakers from both the government and private practice. I encourage everyone to attend.
 
If you have any articles to share with the group then please send to me. We very much would love to publish an article per month, so contributions are strongly encouraged. If anyone has connections to any taxpayer assistance workshops, clinics, etc., for low-income taxpayers, please email me. I would like to share information with the group regarding ways to volunteer, as well as see ways that the section can work with such clinics. If anyone is interested in hosting at their firm any sort of coffee, Meet-up or something like that, please let me know. Several members have expressed an interest in having informal meetings where we can discuss ideas.
 
If anyone has any other thoughts or suggestions for the section, then I would encourage you to email me. In particular, if anyone has any CLE suggestions please let me know,
 
Finally, I have made contact with our local stakeholder liaison at the IRS. She has official IRS distributions regarding current issues designed for groups like ours. I will share this information in our monthly Connect issue. 
 
I am excited for this upcoming year for our Section and I look forward to meeting all of you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Michael Goode
Chair, TBA Tax Law Section
 
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Tennessee and Federal Tax Law Annual Forum 2017

Make plan now to join us for this year’s tax forum. It will focus on both Tennessee and federal tax issues. We will have representatives from the Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service to provide in-person updates on current topics. Topics to be covered during the forum include an introduction to international tax issues, tax issues in hiring family members, lien subordination issues, and licensing and taxing issues in a multi-state practice. Click here to sign up today.

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Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

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Tax Law Section to Meet at TBA Convention

Please make plans to join the TBA Tax Law Section for a business meeting that will be held in conjunction with 2017 Tennessee Bar Association Convention. The TBA Tax Law Section meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date/Time:

Friday, June 16, 2017
4 – 5 p.m. Eastern

Location:

MeadowView Marriott
1901 Meadowview Parkway
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 578-6600

Room Location – Holston-Watauga Room

A conference call will be available for those unable to join us in person. The following are the instructions for joining the call:

You will dial in on the following number: 1-855-795-9620

You will then be prompted to enter the following conference ID number, followed by the pound (#) sign: 4424167#

Items for discussion include:

1.     Ideas for CLE programming and webcasts
2.     What items would you like to see in your inbox?  Getting the most out of your Section Connects.
3.     Pro Bono Opportunities
4.     Networking and Mentoring within the Section
5.     Best way to comment on Legislation

There is still time if you would like to register for TBA Convention. You may register by calling the TBA at (615) 383-7421 or register online at 2017 TBA Convention.

You do not have to be registered for Convention to attend this Section meeting. We hope to see you there!

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Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section members. Your membership in this section shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession.

How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines at http://www.tba.org/submit-an-article, which will tell you about length, notes and other details. Once it’s in the proper format, send it in! It goes to the editor, Suzanne Craig Robertson, who will then get it to the seven members of the Editorial Board for review.

If you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Commission on CLE & Specialization at http://www.cletn.com/.

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TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

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Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

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Email Scam Targets Employee W-2 Information

Nonprofits in Minnesota have reported being targeted by a scam requesting employees’ W-2 information, and the scam is likely spreading, Nonprofit Quarterly reports. The scam begins with an email requesting lists of employees or staff earnings summaries, and it’s working – many have fallen victim to the scam. A computer forensic expert recalls that last year he was retained by four of the top 10 law firms in Minneapolis after they all fell victim. Those who have seen evidence of the W-2 scam can report it to the IRS.
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Filing Deadline Changed for Certain State Tax Returns

The due date for certain Tennessee franchise and excise tax returns, business tax returns and Hall income tax returns will be April 18, instead of April 15, to be consistent with the Internal Revenue Service federal income tax filing deadline, the state Department of Revenue says. For more information, please see the department's website.

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TBA Mashup and Mini Legal Hackathon this Friday

In conjunction with the Law Tech UnConference CLE this Friday, the TBA is also offering a variety of free events and programs for lawyers we’re calling a Mashup. One program will teach you about Legal Hackathons and see one in action. A Legal Hackathon is a collaborative effort of experts in the legal profession collaborating with a computer programmer to find a technology assisted solution to a problem in the legal industry. Join the TBA Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market for a mini legal hackathon that will demonstrate the power of collaborative minds at work. We will have tasty beverages and snacks to help you get your collaborative juices flowing.  
 
Other programs that will be a part of the Mashup include Pro Bono In Action which will show you various pro bono programs you can participate in to help your fellow Tennesseans and Member Benefit Programs that will provide you information on  Fastcase 7, health insurance options for small firms, ABA retirement funds and professional liability insurance.
 
Please sign up now to let us know you are coming.

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State Faces Legal Challenge Over Online Sales Tax

Tennessee is facing a legal challenge to the state requirement that online vendors collect state and local sales tax, according to comments from Gov. Bill Haslam reported by the Times Free Press. Haslam said that the legal challenge was a welcome opportunity to bring the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. Details surrounding the proceeds are secret, with a Haslam official citing state confidentiality laws regarding taxpayer information.

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Tennessee Department of Revenue to Launch New Tax Filing Website in March 2017

The Tennessee Department of Revenue will be launching a new tax filing website, called TNTAP, or the Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point, in March 2017. Returns can be filed through the website for the following tax types:

  • sales and use tax
  • liquor-by-the-drink tax
  • professional privilege tax
  • tobacco tax, tobacco stamp orders, and tobacco licenses

Some Department of Revenue forms may be changing when the new website launches.

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Issues, Legislators to Watch as New Session Starts

Tennessee lawmakers are set to return to Nashville tomorrow to officially convene the 110th General Assembly. According to analysts with the the Tennessean, there are several issues likely to dominate the session. They include: increasing the gas tax with a possible offsetting reduction in food tax; tackling criminal justice reform; allowing marijuana for medical conditions but cracking down on cities that try to reduce penalties for possession; pay raises for teachers; and expanded use of school vouchers. The USA Today network reporting also looks at legislators to watch in the new session.

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State to Launch New Tax Filing Website

The Tennessee Department of Revenue will launch a new tax filing website in March. Preliminary information about the site, dubbed the Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point or TNTAP, is now available on the department’s website. Watch a video about the service or visit a frequently-asked questions page to learn more.

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Chambers of Commerce Lobby for Internet Tax

The state’s four largest chambers of commerce have joined forces to push the legislature to impose a tax on Internet sales, the Tennessean reports. A joint legislative agenda from the Chattanooga, Knoxville Memphis and Nashville chambers lists the tax among their top priorities for the 2017 legislative session. Tennessee currently charges a sales tax, but lacks enforcement for out-of-state retailers that do not pay it according to the paper.

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Have You Heard About the TBA Mashup?

Interested in observing a legal hackathon or getting a hands-on demonstration of the new Fastcase 7 platform? Both will be part of the first TBA Mashup, a full-day of activities and free programming set for Feb. 17 at the Tennessee Bar Center in conjunction with the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program.

In addition to the hackathon and Fastcase 7 demo, the TBA Mashup will feature sessions on: 

  • Current State of Health Insurance for the Small Firms
  • Professional Liability Insurance - What to look for in YOUR Policy
  • A Demo of Fastcase TopForm, a powerful bankruptcy filing software
  • Retirement Planning Guidance from the ABA Retirement Funds
  • Pro Bono in Action: How to help with pro bono events and how to take part in online options

At the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program, you can take as many or as few hours as you need. Registration will be open all day. Payment will be determined at checkout based on the hours you need. Topics will include: 

  • Bill & Phil Tech Show
  • Ethical Considerations for Cyber Security in Law
  • Evolution of the Legal Marketplace
  • Making e-Discovery Affordable 
  • Drone Law
  • Encryption for Lawyers

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Judge Dismisses Mosque’s Discrimination Claims

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger yesterday dismissed a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the Islamic Center of Nashville, saying the case should have been brought in state court. In her opinion, Trauger said state law is clear that tax matters should be handled in state chancery courts, and that a federal district court “does not have jurisdiction over state and local tax matters where a plain, speedy and efficient remedy is available in state court.” The congregation had claimed it was unfairly denied a state tax exemption because it followed its religious teachings, the Tennessean reports.

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Legislative Panel Meets Thursday on Internet Sales Tax

A Tennessee lawmaker says it is unclear what action a legislative panel will take this week on Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed rule to require out-of-state retailers with no physical presence in the state to collect state and local sales taxes on Internet purchases. “What happens Thursday is anybody’s guess right now,” Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell, R-Riceville, told the Times Free Press. The Department of Revenue’s proposed rule would apply to out-of-state Internet retailers and catalog sellers with sales exceeding $500,000 annually. 

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