Message from the Chair, California Journal of Tax Litigation (Feb. 2015 Ed.)

[Originally Published in the California Journal of Tax Litigation (Feb. 2015 Ed.)]

By Joseph P. Wilson

Welcome to 2015! I want to first mention New Year’s resolutions. The New Year is a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make. This is true for both business and personal matters. I was thinking about my own resolution.

The other day I was putting Joe Jr. to bed. The regular routine: bath, milk, banana, three books, brush, floss, back to the bed and one more book. Finally he fell asleep and I quietly tucked him in, pushed the nightlight and sound machine on and I snuck away to the other room. Just when I sat back down to finally relax, Mrs. Wilson came over and asked how it went. “Just fine,” I stated. Then she asked, “What books did you read him.”

I thought for second and answered, “I do not know.” She said, “Really, you did read him books?” “Yes, of course,” I replied. Sadly I could not remember any of the four books I had just read to him. She asked me why I didn’t know. She said, “Didn’t you just read to him about two seconds ago.” All true but I had no idea what books I read. Why could I not remember? Then it hit me. My body was there, but my mind was elsewhere. Although I was right there reading the books to Joe Jr. my mind was racing miles away. Instead of focusing on the story I was thinking about a client who I needed to call the next day, work that needed attention, a motion I had just submitted to the Court. I could remember all these details, but I couldn’t remember the most important thing of all, what books I had just read to Joe Jr.

I felt awful about the whole experience, which leads me to my own New Year’s resolution. My resolution for 2015 is to be more aware and present in the moment. I plan to do this with my family, my clients, my telephone calls, and whatever else I am doing. I think it’s something my son and daughter will appreciate, my wife will too, and so will my clients and colleagues. Not to mention it should make these experiences more enjoyable for me. What is your New Year’s resolution and what is new with the TPL Committee? The TPL Committee has been busy and there are a number items I want to briefly mention.

The next TPL meeting will take place in Sacramento at the BOE Headquarters on February 6, 2014, from 10:30-3:00 pm. Anthony S. Espolite, Senior Counsel for the BOE Appeals Division, will be delivering a unique and informative presentation on tax appeals before the BOE. It should be an interesting and educational experience, so I hope to see you there. I want to thank Courtney Hopley (Greenberg Traurig, San Francisco) for helping to pull this exciting event together.

The planning for the third and fourth quarterly TPL meetings are in the works. The third meeting will be held in Los Angeles or Orange County in May. The proposed topic is negotiation of plea agreements in criminal tax cases. There will be speakers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and private practice.

The fourth and final TPL meeting for the current Committee will be held in late August in San Francisco. The tentative plan is to have speakers from the settlement divisions of the BOE, EDD and FTB discuss settlement updates and practice procedures. If you have ideas or other topics you want to hear, please let me know.

On January 15, 2015, the TPL Committee hosted a very interesting webinar discussing the ethical responsibilities of tax attorneys regarding safeguarding protected client data when using wireless networks, tablets, notebook devices, cloud technology, etc. I want to thank Jon Feldhammer (Feurzeig, Mark & Chavin, LLC, San Francisco) for this excellent webinar, which was enlightening, informative and scary.

We also have another webinar in the works on how to litigate a case in U.S. Tax Court. The webinar is coming to your computers this summer. So be on the lookout. Special thanks to Carolyn M. Lee (Abkin Law LLP, San Francisco) who has been instrumental with the webinars.

As for Delegations, the TPL Committee has at least one presentation for the Sacramento Delegation and has submitted a proposal for the DC Delegation. Thank you to everyone who submitted a topic.

The Committee will publishing two more editions of the TPL Journal. I encourage members to submit an article or case update. Did you notice that the TPL Journal has an entirely new user friendly format? Kudos to Kevan McLaughlin (McLaughlin Legal, San Diego) for sparking this progress. Also, the TPL Journal is now available online to non-TPL members, as well as TPL members.

The goal is to have a Young Tax Lawyer speak at an upcoming TPL meeting to draw more interaction with senior tax lawyers and to provide speaking opportunities for the up-and-comers. If you are a Young Tax Lawyer (a tax lawyer with 5 or less years of legal tax experience) and want to participate at an upcoming TPL meeting, or if you want to volunteer a Young Tax Lawyer, please contact me about this excellent opportunity. Make it a terrific 2015.

Kind regards,

Joseph P. Wilson, Wilson Tax Law Group
Chair Tax Procedure and Litigation Committee