Let’s begin by answering a philosophical question. Why should you care? I mean after all, all of you here are Business Lawyers; So what if you make a Tax Mistake intentionally or unintentionally? After all you’re not Tax Lawyers.
Let me pose that question to you because all of you are here today for a reason; why do you care? Why did you come here? Why do you think it’s important for Business Lawyers to know how to avoid making International Tax Mistakes?
Audience member answer: “To keep our Clients out of jail.”
Okay, Good one!
Second audience member answer: “The Tax Consequences will affect the Bottom Line…. of your Business.”
Third audience member answer: “It will keep us out of jail too. That helps; don’t you think?”
Other comment: “So far, so good.” (Laughter)
Unknown audience member comment: “I think just to do anything confidently, you’ve got to know a lot about everything.”
Perfect; and I think all of you are right! If I were to summarize it, I would say that a Client will not appreciate if a Business Deal that you pulled together, no matter how perfect it is from the Business World Perspective, results in a tremendous increase in the Client’s Tax Liability, exposing the Client to huge IRS Civil Penalties and potentially Criminal Penalties because the Client could end up in jail for International Tax Noncompliance.
From the tax perspective, a badly structured Business Deal will boomerang back to you; first, in the form of losing a Client (because the Client will not stay with you after that), second, you might be facing a Legal Malpractice Lawsuit (which was mentioned here earlier) and the third thing is that potentially, it could be an Ethical Violation because you would be advising in a very Specialized Area in which you have no knowledge or experience. You might be endangering your Attorney License at that point.