Tax Lawyer Blog

A Blog written by the Tax Attorneys for Individuals and Businesses

A Q & A with Stephen Moskowitz, Esq., Founding Partner of Moskowitz LLP

Stephen Mark Moskowitz
Stephen Mark Moskowitz
Founding Partner

Steve Moskowitz, Esq. has been a practicing tax attorney for more than 30 years, and continues to handle every case with the unrivaled tenacity that has fueled his success. Read this Question and Answer session to learn more about what drives him as a tax lawyer, and how Moskowitz LLP can help with your tax issues.

How do you add to the vision of Moskowitz LLP?

By understanding and serving the practical needs of business with the sometimes Draconian tax laws and by also delivering practical business solutions that are as creative and aggressive as they come, while still being within the bounds of the law.

We continue to evolve as the tax laws do by keeping our finger on the pulse of the ever-changing tax laws and their interpretations and acting before certain changes taking place by understanding the thinking of the government before the government puts those thoughts into action.

What do you believe drives you as a tax attorney? Why did you want to practice law?

The constant need to help and often defend clients against a monolithic government that could otherwise crush the individual or the small business. I left working for a giant firm that represented the Fortune 500 because I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. Often I am what stands between the client and complete ruination and I take that responsibility very seriously. What I do really matters!

Describe a few of your favorite case highlights

One of my favorite cases that exemplifies the very reason that I left the big firm to start my own tax law practice so many years ago was the one where I was representing a business man that was contesting a large IRS demand that would have left him penniless unless we won. This was a jury trial. My client was very nervous and his family members were watching the trial from the spectator area in the courtroom. When the jury came back exonerating my client from all liability I thought, "this is why I became a tax attorney."

Who was your most rewarding client and why?

In the past 30 years that I have practiced tax law it would be unfair of me to single out one case as my "favorite," but I can tell you the type of case that is my favorite. This is the type of case where the client has been represented by another tax law firm that told him to give up and settle because there was no chance of winning. Then we take the case and perhaps make a new law or the government settles with us and the client walks away without paying anything or being subject to any kind of punishment.

An example of this was a case that I tried many years ago in Tax Court. I took the case over from a big law firm with a fine reputation. The client was advised by the other law firm that he had "no case" and that the client should pay the government the full amount demanded. I took the case. I remember that the IRS attorney greeted me by saying that "there were 26 cases in the favor of the IRS and no case in favor of any taxpayer and that the taxpayer must pay the IRS in full immediately."

I thought that the cases so far did not recognize the true intent of Congress. I researched the Congressional record and found that the Congressman in charge actually expressed the same reasoning that I did. I presented the Congressman's statement in Tax Court and the Judge said; "I know Congressman X and that is the way that he thinks." The IRS attorney asked the Judge for a recess and offered a settlement with the client paying nothing so that the IRS can still say that there are no reported cases that favor the taxpayer. That year I had four different cases that settled with the client owing nothing because the government was afraid that I might make new law.

Describe your work and educational background

Bachelors degree in accounting
Masters degree in accounting
Law degree
Advanced law degree in tax
CPA-New York-currently voluntarily inactive
Member of the New York Bar-currently voluntarily inactive
Member of the California Bar-active-admitted to practice in all courts in the state
of California
Admitted to practice in the United States Federal Bar-admitted to practice in all
Federal Courts in the state of California: Northern District, Eastern District, Central
District, Southern District
United States Federal Bar for Appeals
United States Federal Court of Claims
United States Supreme Court

What is your role at Moskowitz LLP?

I currently head our tax law firm and meet with almost all of the clients. I access a person's situation and determine what I believe is the best for him or her. I lead our team of tax attorneys and tax CPAs to achieve the best possible result for the client. We are always vigilant to the practicalities of the client's life and business and family as well as the demands of the law. Our familiarity with all the varying interpretations within the technical realm of the tax procedures allows us to utilize all the benefits of the procedures while avoiding the traps for the unwary.


Also see: Steve Moskowitz Biography

South Korea and the United States Enter Into Simultaneous Criminal Investigation Program (“SCIP”)

San Francisco CA – October 26, 2011 – The United States (“U.S.”) and Korean Governments have entered into SCIP to combat tax evasion in the partnering countries.  The agreement between the U.S. and South Korea will allow the IRS to obtain records from South Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) to verify and compare information reported by South Korean Americans to both agencies.  The NTS is focused on monitoring illegal schemes by South Korean businesses and individuals that move funds abroad, avoid taxes offshore and participate in money laundering schemes.

The IRS is interested in the actions of U.S. taxpayers centered in South Korea, particularly South Korean investors, who invest money illegally through affiliates in other countries.  SCIP mandates that Foreign Bank Account Holders (“FBA”) properly report their assets.  Since 2009, South Korea has entered into information-sharing agreements with 14 regions and countries including the British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, The Cayman Islands, Malaysia, Panama and, now, the United States. 

Woori Bank, the oldest continuously operating bank in Korea, in response to SCIP, will call upon tax attorney Steve Moskowitz to help South Koreans comply with disclosing overseas holdings to the IRS.  Two seminars addressing SCIP and IRS programs will be held at the Domain Hotel in Sunnyvale, CA on November 3, 2011 and the Walnut Creek Marriott Hotel in Walnut Creek, CA on November 4, 2011.

Mr. Moskowitz, with over three decades of experience in tax law will address The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”) and a proven course of action, among other tax concerns for South Koreans.

“The IRS is targeting South Koreans living in the United States, who are suspected of tax evasion, and has every right to request financial information from the South Korean government regarding Korean-Americans living in the United States,” says Steve Moskowitz.  “This could include real estate records, bank account information, tax returns and other pertinent information.  Many South Koreans living in the United States are nervous because they may have an inheritance from parents, have amassed funds prior to immigrating to the United Sates or possess investment funds and are unsure about reporting these assets,” he adds.

Woori Bank is headquartered in Seoul, Korea and includes the former Commercial Bank of Korea, Hanil Bank and Peace Bank.  Steve Moskowitz is the founding partner of Moskowitz LLP, and routinely provides advice regarding Offshore Accounts, Amnesty Programs, Passive Foreign Investment Companies (“PFIC”), Qualified Electing Funds (“QEF”), market-to-market calculations, informational returns, compliance and all other tax issues.