"Q&A With Miller & Chevalier's George Hani"Law360
In a question and answer session, George Hani addresses some of the highlights of his career and discusses the most pressing tax concerns for clients in the coming year. "The most interesting and challenging project I have worked on was defending a taxpayer's claims for tax credits for the production of solid synthetic fuel from coal. This particular credit had been publicly criticized by many, both inside and outside of the government, and labeled as abusive," Hani said. "Our successful defense of 100 percent of the credits required a concerted effort to coordinate members of the industry and resulted in two favorable technical advice memorandums issued to our client by the IRS national office on all open issues."
Addressing the tax concern he expects to be important to clients in the coming year, Hani said, "As a controversy lawyer, the most pressing tax issue concerns facing the taxpayers I work with are whatever issues are being raised by their IRS exam team. One of the main reasons I enjoy being a tax controversy lawyer is the exposure to a variety of industries and the panoply of issues that are raised in the audit process. The most common concern is a procedural one -- the length of time it takes for audits to be completed," he said. "As counsel, we help navigate the administrative process, elevating the issue within the IRS, and identifying the most appropriate dispute resolution forum -- which may be the courthouse."
With respect to the biggest regulatory challenges for 2014, Hani highlights the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Large Business & International (LB&I) division's recent announcement of a revised information gathering enforcement process and the cultural shift required within the IRS and among taxpayers to encourage a meaningful dialogue. "The challenge will be whether IRS exam teams can make this shift to have effective dialogue or whether the administrative process will become bogged down by summons enforcement actions," he said.