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The Panama Papers: How They May Impact You Legally and Taxwise

The Panama Papers: How They May Impact You Legally and Taxwise

In April 2016, over 11.5 million documents, some dating as far back as the 1970’s, were hacked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and released to the worldwide media. The papers include detailed information for over 214,500 offshore entities. Much of the information would normally be considered attorney client communications. These “Panama Papers” have disclosed that some U.S. taxpayers may have tax liabilities and possible criminal exposure.

The U.S. Justice Department has initiated a criminal investigation into these offshore tax schemes and the use of “shell” foreign entities to conceal the offshore holdings by both individuals and corporate entities. This may result in foreign banks turning over any records relating to the Mossack Fonseca firm. Of course, as these documents are analyzed, they may lead to others who were not clients of Mossack, but simply dealt with or were involved with their clients. These events further emphasize that owners of offshore companies and bank accounts must act immediately to identify and mitigate risks of criminal and tax sanctions.

The IRS as of this date has not announced whether taxpayers disclosed in the “Panama Papers” will be eligible for Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) protection.  Taxpayers who have reason to think they or their entities may be disclosed in the” Panama Papers” should immediately seek counsel to explore possible legal and tax exposures.

Regardless of any involvement with the “Panama Papers”, anyone with an offshore entity, bank account or other offshore interests or holdings, should consider a review of their obligations to file various forms with the IRS, including Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBAR), Foreign Trusts Reports (3520 and 3520-A), Interest in a Foreign Corporation (5471), to mention just a few. The OVDP is an opportunity to resolve many of these issues. However, as it recites, it could be discontinued at any time. Further, the penalties to be paid under the program have been periodically increased as the IRS has determined that there is greater public awareness of these requirements. Waiting will not make these issues go away.

ShuffieldLowman’s four downtown offices are located in Orlando, Tavares, DeLand and Daytona Beach.  The firm is a 37 attorney, full service, business law firm, practicing in the areas of corporate law, estate planning, real estate and litigation.  Specific areas include, tax law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, estate planning and probate, planning for families with closely held businesses, guardianship and elder law, tax controversy – Federal and State, non-profit organization law, banking and finance, land use and government law, commercial and civil litigation, fiduciary litigation, construction law, association law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, labor and employment, environmental law and mediation.

ShuffieldLowman Partners Bill Lowman, Heidi Isenhart and Alex Douglas Named 2016 Super Lawyers, Stephanie Cook Named Rising Star

ShuffieldLowman Partners Bill Lowman, Heidi Isenhart and Alex Douglas Named 2016 Super Lawyers, Stephanie Cook Named Rising Star

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – William R. Lowman, Jr., Heidi W. Isenhart and Alexander “Alex” S. Douglas, II, partners with the law firm of Shuffield, Lowman & Wilson, P.A. have been selected as 2016 Florida Super Lawyers. Stephanie Cook has been named a Rising Star.

Super Lawyers, owned by Thomson Reuters, recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice.  The selection process is multi-phased and rigorous.  Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third-party research and validation of the attorney’s professional accomplishments.  The final published list represents five percent of the total lawyers in the state of Florida.

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A founding partner of the firm, Lowman’s practice areas include corporate, business taxation, securities, intellectual property, estate planning, charitable trusts and foundations, families with closely held businesses, executive compensation planning and general tax law.

Isenhart was named by Super Lawyers as one of the top 50 women lawyers in the state of Florida.  In addition to elder law practice, Isenhart also practices in Medicaid planning, guardianship, probate and trust administration, probate and guardianship litigation, estate planning and special needs trusts.

Douglas practices in the area of fiduciary and commercial litigation, with extensive experience in trust, probate and guardianship litigation.

Rising Star Stephanie Cook practices in probate, trust and guardianship litigation, as well as commercial litigation.

ShuffieldLowman’s four downtown offices are located in Orlando, Tavares, DeLand and Daytona Beach.  The firm is a 38 attorney, full service, business law firm, practicing in the areas of corporate law, estate planning, real estate and litigation.  Specific areas include, tax law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, estate planning and probate, planning for families with closely held businesses, guardianship and elder law, tax controversy – Federal and State, non-profit organization law, banking and finance, land use and government law, commercial and civil litigation, fiduciary litigation, construction law, association law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, labor and employment, environmental law and mediation.

Attorney Maia Albrecht Graduates from Leadership Daytona

Attorney Maia Albrecht Graduates from Leadership Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – The law firm of ShuffieldLowman recently announced that attorney Maia R. Albrecht completed the 36th Leadership Daytona class, offered by the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce.  The eleven-week program equips graduates with the skills, knowledge, and contacts needed as they accept the challenge to become a more visible resource in the Daytona Beach community.  Albrecht’s class XXXVI included CEOs, CFOs COOs and upper management from some of Volusia’s largest and most reputable businesses, including the International Speedway Corp. and Daytona Beach International Airport.

For the last 5 years, a key component of the Daytona Leadership program has been completion of a CEO Challenge, specific to a Daytona Beach business, non-profit, or educational institution. This year, the Challenge centered on how Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (“ERAU”), with expertise in fields like engineering, applied science, business, aviation, cyber security and intelligence, could be discovered and leveraged as a resource to drive innovation for the local business community.  The 2016 Leadership Daytona Class presented its solution to representatives of ERAU on May 20th with a presentation, business plan and packet of materials, which was followed by a question and answer session. Graduation festivities were held at ERAU in the evening on May 20th.

Albrecht, working out of the firm’s DeLand and Daytona offices, concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, commercial real estate transactions, lender representation, commercial leasing and secured transactions, including extensive experience in the acquisition, development and financing of commercial properties.  She is a member of The Florida Bar, and a magna cum laude graduate of Washburn University School of Law.  Community and professional involvements includes membership in the Volusia/Flagler Association of Women Lawyers and the Central Florida Real Estate Attorneys’ Council.

ShuffieldLowman’s four downtown offices are located in Orlando, Tavares, DeLand and Daytona Beach.  The firm is a 38 attorney, full service, business law firm, practicing in the areas of corporate law, estate planning, real estate and litigation.  Specific areas include, tax law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, estate planning and probate, planning for families with closely held businesses, guardianship and elder law, tax controversy – Federal and State, non-profit organization law, banking and finance, land use and government law, commercial and civil litigation, fiduciary litigation, construction law, association law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, labor and employment, environmental law and mediation.

Attorney David H. Harris Joins ShuffieldLowman

Attorney David H. Harris Joins ShuffieldLowman

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – ShuffieldLowman law firm recently announced that attorney David H. Harris has joined the firm, working in the Orlando office. Harris brings extensive experience in estate planning, probate, guardianship, elder law and fiduciary litigation.

A veteran of the United States Navy, Harris served on active duty for 21 years, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer. During his service he was the recipient of numerous awards, honors and medals, including the Department of Defense and Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals and a personal letter of commendation from the Secretary of Defense.

Harris is admitted to practice law in Florida and the U.S. Middle District of Florida. He currently serves on The Florida Bar’s Committee on Continuing Legal Education and is Chair of the Executive Leadership Board of the American Lung Association in Central Florida. He holds his J.D. from Barry University School of Law, and an M.B.A. and B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri.

ShuffieldLowman’s four downtown offices are located in Orlando, Tavares, DeLand and Daytona Beach. The firm is a 37 attorney, full service, business law firm, practicing in the areas of corporate law, estate planning, real estate and litigation. Specific areas include, tax law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, estate planning and probate, planning for families with closely held businesses, guardianship and elder law, tax controversy – Federal and State, non-profit organization law, banking and finance, land use and government law, commercial and civil litigation, fiduciary litigation, construction law, association law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, labor and employment, environmental law and mediation.