Focus on what counts

Heard at Heckerling- Day 3

January 12, 2017
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Read our notes from Heard at Heckerling-Day 1 & Day 2 here

Day Three, and we’re hearing many participants compare the Heckerling week to a marathon. Truly, Day Three started with a feeling of having hit our stride, but by the end of the day some of us where wondering if we are actually going to make it across the finish line. Long days of dense education seminars, typical convention food, and no day light; someone has to come up with a training regime for this!

This morning focused on an overview of the issues facing our global community. Regardless of what the new administration ends up accomplishing with regard to estate tax reform or repeal, our clients with international dealings will continue to face special challenges.  Obtaining a charitable deduction for a donation to a charity operating outside the U.S. has been a daunting task, but there are some indications that supporters of the new administration may be pushing to place severe restrictions on any qualifying charitable contributions outside the U.S. Victoria Bjorklund of Simpson Thacher pointed out that not only is this agenda horrifying from a humanitarian and social perspective, but in this era of deadly diseases such as Ebola and Zikka, incredibly shortsighted. Fighting a problem on the ground, inside another country, might be what stops that problem from ending up within our own borders.  We should all be keeping an eye on these developments.

Michelle Graham of Withers gave a general overview on planning for foreign persons investing in U.S. assets in the morning to the full conference, and was later part of a breakout session panel discussion, which went into great detail.  The afternoon had a series of breakout sessions covering foreign and domestic planning, cyber security, charitable giving, and fiduciary liability issues, among other topics. Truly something for everyone, from experts in their fields.
Day Three at Heckerling was akin to a marathon. Lots behind us and the finish line still a distant thought.  But, no effort too much for us to keep our knowledge and skills in top shape to advise our clients utilizing the best information out there.

Topics given attention focused on the ‘what if’ nature of planning as we head into new administration.  Discussions touched on:
  • Tightening or eliminating the tax deduction for donations to charities operating outside the U.S.
  • Michelle Graham of Withers led a discussion on issues and planning for foreigners investing in U.S. assets.
  • Cyber Security. This is a hot topic both here at Heckerling as well in the halls of federal and state tax authorities. E-filing this year will require more identifying data to be embedded in the electronic files.  More on that next week.
  • Charitable giving issues.
  • Fiduciary liability issues.
Many of these topics continue to highlight the importance of focusing on the tax reasons to not lose sight of planning for generational transfer of assets, the need for asset protection arrangements, and all such related questions.
We will have more for you tomorrow from Heckerling 2017, as well as when we return.