News

This Issue: Estate Planning, Banking and Nathan Bedford Forrest

This month, the Tennessee Bar Journal welcomes the return of columnist Dan Holbrook, who wrote "Where There's a Will" from 2001 to 2012. Holbrook writes with Bradley C. Sagraves about the effects of tax reform on estate planning. Eddy Smith, who has taken a job in another industry, wrote the column for six years, keeping readers informed about updates in estate planning law. Thank you, Eddy and Dan! Also in this issue, banking columnist Kathryn Reed Edge details how to make banking accessible, and our humor columnist Bill Haltom asks: “Where in the world is Nathan Bedford Forrest?" Enjoy the April issue.

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D.C. Lawmakers Move to Undo Estate-tax Break

The recent overhaul of the federal tax code that doubled the exemption from the estate tax, erasing the tax liability for individuals with estates worth less than roughly $11 million is being challenged by Democratic on the Washington, D.C., council, The Washington Post reports. Their proposal, supported by a majority of D.C. council members, would cut in half the estate-tax exemption in the nation’s capital, to $5.6 million. 
 
The District had loosened its estate-tax exemption as part of wide-ranging tax cuts enacted in 2014. The cuts, funded by excess revenue, were intended to make the District more economically competitive with Maryland and Virginia. Under the new proposal, about $2.5 million of the resulting revenue would go to housing for victims of domestic violence, $1.5 million would be spent on housing vouchers and $1.25 million on education. An additional $500,000 would go to a program that helps poor families buy produce at farmers markets.
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10 Essential Documents for Your Practice

Instructions and rules for client file retention, list of current curse and copy of bank’s form for IOLTA access are three of the top 10 documents attorneys need for succession planning and practice management. Learn more in this 3-hour dual credit workshop with attorney Timothy Takacs.

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New Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Webcast

Join us for an overview of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This presentation will give a high-level overview of the main provisions contained in the new act, including the new corporate rates and the new section on pass through entity taxation.

Speakers include:

•       Cullen Boggus, Holton & Mayberry, PC

•       Michael Goode, Stites & Harbison PLLC

•       Hannah Smith, Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison

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New Tax Law CLE

On March 28, the TBA’s Tax Law Section will be hosting a one-hour webcast on the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. See how the provision in the new act will impact corporate rates and pass through entity taxation.

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Tennessee AG: No Tax Exemption for Whiskey Barrels

Attorney General Herbert Slatery said in a new opinion that the state’s constitution does not exempt whiskey barrels from property taxes, the Times Free Press reports. Whiskey producers have been pushing a bill in the legislature that contends "no article, manufactured of the produce of this State shall be taxed otherwise than to pay inspection fees." Slatery’s opinion says whiskey barrels aren’t “manufactured articles” because they aren’t converted into different items.
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Online: Tax Issues in Hiring Family Members

In this new online program, attorney John Burns will discuss tax issues to consider for your clients when they want to hire family members. Some of the tax issues discussed include the benefits of hiring family members, general considerations, sole proprietorships, and corporations. 
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TBA Gears Up for 2018 Mock Trial Tournament

The Tennessee Bar Association will host the upcoming Tennessee High School Mock Trial Tournament on March 23 and 24 in Nashville. The Mock Trial is a two-day, single-elimination bracket-style competition where 16 high schools face-off against each other in the Davidson County Courthouse. Each team is scored on their trial preparation and skills. 

We need TBA volunteers to help be bailiffs and jurors (scorers) for the event. After signing up, we will send you a Volunteer Memo with all the information you need for competition including; parking, hotel, downtown map, courthouse rules, and reimbursement information. Come be a part of the Young Lawyers Divisions’ March Madness! Feel free to contact YLD Director Stephanie Vonnahme with any questions.

To volunteer for this event, click here.

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TSC: Municipal Taxes Must Be Paid Under Protest Before Seeking Refund

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that a taxpayer must pay disputed municipal taxes under protest before suing for a refund. In Chuck’s Package Store et al. v. City of Morristown, the court concluded that because of a change in state law, as of Jan. 1, 1986, a taxpayer is not required to pay under protest disputed state taxes collected or administered by the commissioner of revenue before seeking a refund. However, the change in state law did not affect taxpayer lawsuits to recover disputed municipal taxes. After Jan. 1, 1986, a taxpayer is still required to pay under protest disputed municipal taxes before suing for a refund. The opinion, authored by Justice Sharon G. Lee, reversed a Court of Appeals decision and the ruling of the Hamblen County Chancery Court.

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How Will the New Tax Law Affect Lawyers and Firms?

How will the new tax law affect lawyers and law firms? The answer is still developing and in the February issue of the Journal, Nashville lawyer Rob Breunig gives an overview of what to expect and where you can look for ongoing updates. And TBA President Lucian T. Pera writes to encourage lawyers to run for office, announcing the upcoming inaugural 2018 TBA Public Service Academy. “We’re committed to strict non-partisanship,” he writes. “Having more lawyers in public office, and in the legislature, is good for lawmaking, good for the profession, and good for the public.”

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Don't Forget: Winter CLE Blast Tomorrow!

Need CLE hours fast? We can help! The annual Winter CLE Blast is less than a day away. With this program, you can complete up to 11 hours of Dual CLE credit on your own time. Our registration desk will be open from 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 21, providing you the flexibility to create your own schedule and take as many or as few hours as you need. Payment will be determined at checkout depending on the number of hours you attend. 

Highlights

  • Flexible to your schedule
  • Up to 11 Hours of CLE
  • Ethics Credits
  • Compliance CLE
  • Live Credit Hours

When: Feb. 21, registration begins at 7 a.m., CST

Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 4th Ave N., Nashville, TN 37219

 

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Morgan County Man Sentenced in Scheme to Hide Millions from IRS

A Morgan County man who concocted a plot to rip off the Department of Energy and hid millions from the IRS was sentenced today to a year and a day in prison, Knoxnews reports. Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips sentenced Joseph A. Armes II, who paid family members off the books using a government contract. Armes is currently a key contractor for Google in its efforts to bring fiber optic cable to Nashville.
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Tennessee Department of Revenue Reaches Agreement with Airbnb

Airbnb recently struck a deal with the Tennessee Department of Revenue to collect and remit state and local taxes on behalf of its 7,700 hosts, according to the Nashville Business Journal. This arrangement has been used in other markets to address concerns regarding tax revenue from their short-term rentals not being on par with that of their hotel competitors. Tennessee joins neighboring states of Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas as areas with similar agreements. 
 
This news comes as Metro Council was scheduled to vote on BL-937, an ordinance amending Title 6 and sections 17.04.060, 17.08.030, 17.16.250 and 17.16.070 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws to add a new Chapter 6.83 pertaining to a short-term rental properties advisory committee and to establish regulations regarding short-term rental properties and distinct land uses for "Short-term rental property - Owner-Occupied" and "Short-term rental property - Not Owner-Occupied." The vote, however, was commuted to Jan. 23 because of inclement weather.
 
The company has long been a source of controversy in the area because of various concerns of taxation, noise complaints, even sparking First Amendment debates regarding anatomically correct sex dolls. In fact, problems with Airbnb rentals have become so numerous, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry established a devoted hotline tasked with aggregating and addressing these concerns.
 
The new statewide tax agreement, which will take effect March 1, is the second such deal Airbnb has struck in Tennessee, following an earlier agreement with Memphis. Airbnb has touted the agreements as a revenue generator and a reason for governments to work with — not against — the company.
 
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Join Us for the 2018 International Law Annual Forum

Make plans to join us for the 2018 International Law Annual Forum. This seminar will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville on Feb. 15.

The forum will be produced by Terrence Olsen of Olsen Law Firm, the program will also feature presentations from James Forde of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), British Consulate General Atlanta Nadia Theodore of Consulate General of Canada, Todd Gardenhire of Tennessee Senate, Marty Ross of Volkswagen of America Inc., Billy Hoover of Southern Champion Tray, Steve Brandon of Oriental Weavers Hospitality Carpet, Dave Pomeroy of Nashville Musician Association, Allen McKendree Palmer of Palmer Global Ink, Daniel Frazier of Touring Manager and Ellie Westman Chin of Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For more information or to reserve your spot today, click here.

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CLE Webcast: How New Tax Laws Impact Lawyers

J. Leigh Griffith and Bradley Sagraves will present a special CLE webcast on new tax laws, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The speakers will review the impact of the new tax laws on lawyers who operate as a sole practitioner, partnership, limited liability company or corporation. If you are unavailable to attend on this date, the webcast will be available online for up to one year.  
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ABA President Pushes for Pass-through Provisions of Senate Tax Bill

American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass is asking House and Senate leaders ironing out differences between Senate and House tax reform measures to include in the final legislation the deduction for qualified business income contained in Section 11011 of the Senate bill. “In our view, the pass-through provisions in the Senate bill are fairer and will promote greater economic growth than the House provisions,” Bass wrote conferees. “Law firms, accounting firms and many other types of professional service providers create a large number of good paying jobs.”

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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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