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Nassau Chapter Federal Taxation


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About the Nassau Chapter Federal Taxation Committee

The taxation and estate & personal financial planning committees will be holding their joint organization meeting on Tuesday, June 2nd at 6 PM at the following location:
Farrell Fritz, PC
1320 RXR Plaza
West Tower, 13th Floor
Please email the following individuals with any questions:
Iola Damante
Hallahan, Christine  


The Taxation Committee is on a mission to provide the chapter members with comprehensive and up to date information on the tax laws that impact your practice and clients. Through the efforts of three committed chairs: Iola Damante, CPA, Robert Barnett, CPA Esq. and Robert Schaffer, CPA, the committee presents a comprehensive slate of technical meetings and conferences that can benefit every practitioner.


The Taxation Committee’s busy season precedes the tax season, starting in September with pertinent information regarding federal, state and local taxes. “To provide the most relevant information, we do joint meetings with the Estate and Personal Financial Planning and Real Estate committees as these practice areas involve a significant amount of tax work,” says Iola Damante, who has been involved with the committee since 2009 and became a co-chair last year.


“We also regularly write articles for this newsletter on new tax laws that are of interest. As a chair, my goal is both to educate myself while helping other practitioners educate themselves and to do my part to preserve the integrity of our profession.”


“We try to do an article for the newsletter every other month, rotating months with estate planning,” adds Bob Schaffer. “Issues that have a big impact, like the Marriage Equality Act or Metropolitan Transportation Tax, will generate a newsletter article, outlining what specific requirements result from the enactment.”


Articles and technical meetings aside, the main events for the taxation committee are its All Day and Half Day tax seminars. The 59th annual all-day seminar was held last month. Traditionally held over the first weekend of December, the seminar is offered on both weekend days for the convenience of attendees.


“Right from the start we always envision the seminar as a very comprehensive day,” says Bob Barnett. “We’ll recap the highlights of the current year and look towards what is expected in the New Year. If there is an area of tax that needs review because of recent tax case or spotlight that may have come up in the last year, we’ll tackle that too. It’s very broad based. This past year we did a program on passive activities, and brought in a leading commentator on IRAs and pensions who gave an update on new tax laws affecting planning in these areas.”


Bob Schaffer adds, “We always do state and federal updates, fiduciary tax, elder care law, estate planning—it’s all very comprehensive. We’ve doubled the amount of time we dedicate to tax updates based on audience feedback. Practitioners really need this information in order to do their compliance and tax returns. We bring in experts from other professions to help our audience go outside the box to assist clients with tax planning in addition to tax returns.”


“A federal or state government tax representative is usually brought in to address the group,” explains Iola. “New York State Taxpayer Rights Advocate Jack Trachtenberg has been making presentations on how he assists taxpayers and practitioners with collection issues.”


In 2011 the committee attracted a record audience of 400 CPAs for the All Day. “We’d like to think that it’s because we offer topics that people want to hear,” says Iola. “The cost, location and quality make these seminars a hallmark of the chapter—they’re both well regarded and well attended. The committee spends a great deal of time choosing useful topics and the best speakers.”


The chairs agree that one of the most important benefits of the taxation committee is the CPE that the committee offers. Says Bob Barnett, “Throughout the course of the year our joint technical events and meetings make for great networking and education. Attendees always ask questions and are able to satisfy their needs. But the two-hour sessions allow for a one on one experience. The need for current information has escalated with the rapid proliferation of tax changes. Our speakers are extremely generous with their time and availability to answer questions, and chapter members can take full advantage of that. Not only the day of the seminar, but afterwards by phone and email.”


“Today clients ask more questions as tax issues are featured prominently in the news,” adds Bob Schaffer. “Practitioners must be up to date or they will lose clients. We structure our seminars to be applicable to everyone. Tailored to an intermediate level, the courses may be a bit of a stretch for a new CPA, but even a seasoned practitioner can refresh his or her knowledge base.”


Each of the three co-chairs brings a different level and perspective to the committee. Iola is a tax senior at Friedman LLP, Bob Schaffer a senior manager at Castellano, Korenberg & Co. and Bob Barnett an attorney and partner at Capell Barnett Matalon & Schoenfeld.


Quite a few new members joined the committee in 2011. “It’s important to stress that membership in this committee is a great opportunity for both young and experienced CPAs interested in the tax field,” concludes Bob Barnett. You don’t have to be an expert in tax to join us. The newcomer can get sage advice and assist with research projects to build a knowledge base. There’s great camaraderie within our committee.”