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Nuts and Bolts of Tax Penalties 2018: A Primer on the Standards, Procedures and Defenses Relating to Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties

Speaker(s): Abigail F. Dunnigan, Bryan C. Skarlatos, Christopher S. Rizek, Erin G. Gladney, Frank Agostino, James G. Hartford, Kathleen M. Pakenham, Marc L. Caine, Megan L. Brackney, Monica E. Koch, Professor Linda Galler, Roland Barral, Sarah E. Paul
Recorded on: Mar. 20, 2018
PLI Program #: 218834

Christopher S. Rizek is a member of the law firm of Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered, in Washington, D.C., specializing in tax practice and procedure, tax controversy issues, and tax litigation.

Immediately prior to joining Caplin & Drysdale, Mr. Rizek was Associate Tax Legislative Counsel in the Office of Tax Policy of the Treasury Department.  During his time at Treasury he was the principal Tax Policy official responsible for regulations and legislation involving tax practice and procedure, including the Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2 (1996) and the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998.  He previously worked as a Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division and in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Miller & Chevalier.  Mr. Rizek has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Dartmouth College and received his J.D. and his LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

Abigail Foster Dunnigan is currently an Associate Area Counsel in the Manhattan office of the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel, Large Business & International Division.  Ms. Dunnigan has been an attorney with the Manhattan LB&I Counsel office since 2003.  Before that she worked for the New York offices of two international law firms, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy.  Ms. Dunnigan has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University, a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University.  She has litigated various leasing tax shelter cases in Tax Court and has also assisted DOJ trial teams with tax litigation.


St. John’s University School of Law (1987); St. John’s University,  B.A. Government (1984) Minors: German and Business  Magna Cum Laude

Academic Experience

  • Adjunct Professor (May 2012—present]
    • College of Management, Long Island University - Post, Brookville, New York
  • Adjunct Professor (January 2017 to present)
    • Hofstra University School of Law, Hempstead, New York

Professional Experience

  • Supervisory Trial Attorney (August 1987 – present)
    • Office of Chief Counsel – IRS
    • Westbury, New York
  • Special Assistant United States Attorney ( E.D.N.Y.) ( April 2007 – December 2014)
    • Recipient of the 1995 “Attorney of the Year” award.
    • Publication: ” IRC 6651(f) v. IRC 6663 – Same Badges, Different Application”, Quarterly Fraud Digest (Nov. 2006)
    • Approved New York Continuing Legal Education Instructor
    • Fraud and disclosure (IRC 6103) coordinator
    • Recipient ofthe 2002 “Cube Award” for significant Tax Court LitigationTaxpayer Advocate contact attorney
    • Translator for Spanish speaking taxpayers
    • Translator of German and French foreign trust documents
    • 30+ published Tax Court opinions
    • National Estate and Gift Tax Coordinator


 Litigating an Innocent Spouse Case, CCH Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure (August-September 2014), F. Agostino, M.E.Koch and L.A. Sannicandro

Erin G. Gladney is a Partner in Baker & McKenzie's New York Office.  Prior to joining Baker & McKenzie, Erin was a tax controversy partner in Mayer Brown’s New York Office. Erin represents clients in all stages of federal tax controversies, including audits, administrative appeals, and litigation. Her experience includes controversies involving transfer pricing, advance pricing agreements, economic substance, substance-over-form doctrines, and summons enforcement.  Erin also has experience defending against civil tax penalties and preserving taxpayers’ attorney-client privilege and work product protection during audit, appeals, and litigation.

Erin is a graduate, of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law (2007), and holds a Bachelor of Arts, from New York University (2000). Erin is a frequent speaker at tax conferences around the country on topics including: privileges and work product issues in IRS audits, appeals and litigation; effective oral presentations before the IRS; transfer pricing documentation- best practices; well-drafted intercompany agreements, and; transfer pricing litigation.

Frank Agostino is the president of Agostino & Associates, P.C., a law firm in Hackensack, New Jersey specializing in civil and white collar criminal litigation, tax controversies and tax planning.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Agostino was an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service’s District Counsel in Springfield, Illinois and Newark, New Jersey. He also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, where he prosecuted primarily criminal tax cases.

As an adjunct professor, Mr. Agostino taught tax controversy at Rutgers School of Law and served as the co-director of the Rutgers Federal Tax Law Clinic.

Mr. Agostino is a frequent speaker and author on tax controversy and litigation matters. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure. Mr. Agostino is actively involved with the American Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers’ Association.

Mr. Agostino is also the President of the Taxpayers Assistance Corp., which provides tax and legal advice to low income taxpayers in the NY/NJ area.

 Recent Publications

  • Tax Practitioner’s Guide to Identity Theft (CCH Inc., 2017, ISBN 978-0-8080-4556-4
  • Recent Developments in FATCA Compliance, 93 Taxes 51 (July 2015)
  • A 21st-Century Approach to Litigating Valuation Issues, 17 J. Tax Prac. & Proc. 47 (Apr.-May 2015)
  • Reviving Disallowed Charitable Conservation Easement Deductions, 146 Tax Notes 449 (Apr. 27, 2015)
  • Be Prepared: The IRS’s Duty to Foster Voluntary Compliance Through Code Secs. 6014(a) and 6020(a), 17 J. Tax Prac. & Proc. 5 (Feb.-Mar. 2014)

Kathleen Pakenham is co-chair of Cooley's Tax practice group, serves on the firm's Management Committee and is the partner-in-charge of its New York office. Kathleen is a seasoned litigator in matters involving complex questions of federal tax law and procedure. She has represented clients in sizable tax controversies relating to tax shelter issues, options trading transactions, summons enforcement actions, tax fraud, subpoena requests and real property tax disputes. She has extensive experience advising clients at the pre-litigation assessment phase. She also represents clients involved in all types of internal and governmental investigations, in addition to state and federal trial and appellate matters. Her clients have included Fortune 500 companies in diverse industries such as banking, energy, telecommunications, and oil and gas.

Kathleen has been recognized consistently as a leader in the tax litigation and controversy practice area by Chambers USA and The Legal 500. Additionally, she was appointed to the prestigious United States Attorney General's Honor Program immediately after her graduation of law school. Kathleen also clerked for the Honorable Steven M. Gold of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York after graduating from law school.

Linda Galler is Professor of Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.  She is the lead author of “Regulation of Tax Practice,” published by Carolina Academic Press as part of its Graduate Tax Series, and is a former chair of the ABA Tax Section’s Standards of the Tax Practice Committee.   Professor Galler also is Senior Tax Counsel to the New York City law firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, where she consults in the areas of international taxation, corporate taxation, administrative practice and court procedure. 

Marc L. Caine is SBSE Senior Counsel in the Westbury, New York office.  Out of law school, Marc was hired into the Honors Program and has worked with Office of Chief Counsel since 2001. Marc is currently the lead attorney coordinating all Conservation Easement issues nationwide. Marc has been regularly selected as an instructor for Chief Counsel core litigation training classes as well as nationwide in house CLE programs. Marc was named Small Business/Self-Employed Attorney of the Year in 2011 and in 2010 Marc and his trial team received the B.J. Williams National Litigation Award for their litigation of Dunlap, et al. Marc received his Bachelor of Science in Finance, cum laude, from Bryant College, and his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Suffolk University School of Law. While not at work, all of Marc's time is spent with wife and three children.

Megan L. Brackney concentrates her practice in the areas of civil and criminal tax controversies.  Ms. Brackney received her J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law and her LL.M. in Taxation from New York University.  Ms. Brackney teaches Tax Procedure as an adjunct professor at New York University.  Ms. Brackney is the Vice Chair of Committee Operations for the American Bar Association Section of Taxation, a member of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section’s Executive Committee, and a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. 

Sarah Paul’s practice spans all areas of white-collar defense, with a particular focus on government, internal, and cross-border investigations, tax controversy, and cybersecurity and privacy law.  She has extensive experience litigating complex criminal and civil cases.

Sarah joined Eversheds Sutherland from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she served for over nine years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division. As a member of the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit for nearly six years, she worked on sophisticated white-collar cases involving the investigation and prosecution of institutions and individuals for a variety of financial crimes, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, wire fraud, bank fraud, cybercrime, international money laundering, securities fraud, health care fraud, and Bank Secrecy Act violations. She also served in the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit, where she litigated substantial asset forfeiture matters, including significant art fraud cases. In 2019, Sarah was recognized by the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, which selected her from a nationwide pool of female federal prosecutors to receive the Top Prosecutor Award.

During her time as federal prosecutor, Sarah led numerous high-profile cross-border investigations, including an investigation resulting in the first US indictment in connection with the Panama Papers leak, an investigation resulting in a $547 million resolution with a Swiss bank and the guilty pleas of two Swiss bankers, and an investigation resulting in the guilty pleas of Cayman Islands investment brokerage and trust companies. Sarah also conducted fourteen federal jury trials, and briefed and argued multiple appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.         

In 2016, she became the Tax Coordinator for the Criminal Division. During her two and a half year tenure as the Tax Coordinator, she supervised all criminal tax matters in the Southern District of New York, including hundreds of investigations and dozens of publicly charged cases, and she worked extensively with the Internal Revenue Service and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice.

Prior to her time as an Assistant United States Attorney, Sarah was a defense attorney for two prominent New York law firms, where she advised clients on anticipating, managing and mitigating legal and regulatory risks related to government enforcement and represented clients in all phases of criminal and civil litigation. She also worked as a federal law clerk for the Honorable Berle Schiller in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

For more than thirty years, Bryan C. Skarlatos has represented individuals and corporations in civil and criminal tax controversies, white collar criminal matters, regulatory investigations, tax whistleblower cases and voluntary disclosures. He is often hired as an expert on tax standards, penalties and procedures. 

Mr. Skarlatos is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, where he teaches a course on Tax Penalties and Prosecutions.  He created and chairs the annual New York University Tax Controversy Forum and the Practicing Law Institute program on Nuts and Bolts of Tax Penalties.  Mr. Skarlatos is a fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel and he also has served as the chair of tax committees for many bar associations including the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association and New York City Bar Association.

Mr. Skarlatos has been recognized by New York Super Lawyers as one of the Top 100 lawyers in New York and he is listed in Best Lawyers in America where he was named Tax Litigator of the Year in New York for 2014 and 2017.  He also is ranked in Band One of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, which describes him as having a, “smart reassuring presence with insight into the government…extremely knowledgeable and very well connected to the various taxing authorities…Clients applaud him as being exceptionally brilliant at coming up with great outcomes.”

Mr. Skarlatos speaks throughout the country on tax-related topics and he frequently is quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Bloomberg, Reuters, Financial Times, Tax Analysts-Tax Notes, and Bloomberg BNA Daily Tax Report.


Jamie currently serves as the Special Counsel (litigation) with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel (Large Business & International) in Washington, DC.  In this role, he assists with IRS’s most complex litigation matters.  He also provides legal advice to the IRS on a myriad of issues.  He assumed that role in August 2017, having most recently served as a special counsel in the Associate Chief Counsel’s Office (Procedure & Administration).  He joined the Office of Chief Counsel in 2009, serving as an attorney and then senior counsel in P&A.  Prior to joining P&A he was Of Counsel with Thompson Hine in Washington, DC (2007-2009).  Before joining Thompson Hine, he was with PwC and then Ernst & Young in their national tax offices, in the international and tax controversy practices (1999-2007).  Mr. Hartford served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Paul Foti and late Barry Schaller on the Connecticut Appellate Court (1998-99).

Jamie has years of experience dealing with the reportable transaction and material advisor regimes from both the government and private sector sides.  He co-authored the BNA Portfolio, Reportable Transactions, is the primary drafter of the section 6707 regulations, and Notices 2010-62 and 2014-58, dealing with the Service’s interpretation of the codified economic substance doctrine under section 7701(o).  He has litigated cases in the U.S. Tax Court, and been on the trial team of a large corporation in district court in a tax shelter refund action. 

Jamie received his LL.M (Tax) from Georgetown in 2000, his J.D. cum laude from Quinnipiac University School of law in 1998, and his B.A. in Political Science from Revelle College at the University of California, San Diego in 1993.

With more than 30 years of experience at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Mr. Barral last held the position of Area Counsel for Financial Services (Large Business and International Division) within the Office of Chief Counsel. In this role, he served as the chief legal and strategic adviser to the IRS on all financial services industry matters. Mr. Barral developed and oversaw high-profile litigation strategies for the IRS and was instrumental in framing alternative dispute resolution strategies.

Mr. Barral also held the position of Northeast Area Leader within the Office of Chief Counsel, charged with cross-divisional oversight and leadership of the office’s field divisions in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Earlier in his career, he served as Acting Division Counsel in the Office of Chief Counsel and as an Assistant District Counsel within Chief Counsel’s Office.  Mr. Barral was responsible for developing and litigating matters before the U.S. Tax Court involving complex U.S. and international issues.  His work encompassed multiple areas, including oversight of taxpayer matters in the financial services industry; mark-to-market issues for valuation of securities; executive leadership related to numerous programs, including the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act; and initiatives for global dispute resolution and settlements on a wide range of issues, including transfer pricing, financial products and debt-equity characterizations.

Since joining Skadden 4 years ago, a major focus of Mr. Barral’s practice has been working with clients in dispute resolution efforts and audit streamlining involving high-stakes and sensitive matters on behalf of clients in the financial services, pharmaceutical, heavy manufacturing, telecommunications, technology and social media industries.

In 2006, Mr. Barral was awarded the Presidential Rank Award by President George W. Bush for his meritorious service to the United States. He also was honored with the IRS Chief Counsel’s Award (2003 and 2014); the IRS Commissioner’s Award (2001, 2006, 2007 and 2010); the Albert Gallatin Award, the United States Treasury’s highest career service award (2014); the United States Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award (2014); and Tax Executives Institute’s Distinguished Service Award (2014).