Austin works with his clients to create custom estate plans and implement sophisticated wealth transfer techniques to help protect and enhance family legacies. He regularly advises individuals, families and institutions on the administration of complex trusts and estates. Austin’s practice also includes the formation and structure of closely-held businesses and nonprofit entities (public charities and private foundations).
Austin is a California native with strong family ties to the Midwest. Prior to joining McGrath North, he spent his formative years representing high-net-worth individuals and families in Silicon Valley. Austin provides sound and effective counsel that allows his clients the ability to face any situation with confidence.
- Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M. in Taxation, with distinction, 2007)
- University of California, Davis School of Law (J.D., 2006)
- University of California, Santa Barbara (B.A., with high honors, 2002)
- Nebraska (2014: Sustaining Member)
- California (2006)
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. Tax Court
- U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska
Benjamin Franklin famously said that there are only two certainties in this world: death and taxes. However, even Franklin would have to agree that some taxes are more certain than others. For example, most people are all too familiar with paying taxes like the income tax, property tax and retail sales tax. But other taxes, like the federal estate tax, are far less common.
Nebraskans received some welcome news recently in the form of a reduction of the state inheritance tax rates and increased inheritance tax exemptions, effective for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2023. (For more details, see our Tax Alert titled “Nebraska To Reduce Inheritance Tax Rates, Increase Inheritance Tax Exemptions In 2023.”) With these changes on the horizon, now is a good opportunity to review the fundamentals of Nebraska’s existing inheritance tax - including what it covers and, perhaps more importantly, doesn’t cover - and also discuss some possible strategies to help lessen its impact.
- Omaha Bar Association
- Nebraska State Bar Association
- California State Bar Association
- Listed: “Best Lawyers in America“, Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships, Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law, Tax Law, Trusts and Estates
- Order of the Barristers
- State Moot Court Competition Team
- Listed: Martindale-Hubbell, Peer Reviewed
- Represented family in connection with “grandfathered” GST trusts holding marketable securities valued at roughly $2 billion. Also prepared new estate plan documents to exercise certain special powers of appointment in order to preserve the grandfathered status of the trusts from the application of federal estate and GST taxes. This planning successfully avoided and delayed the imposition of wealth transfer taxes estimated at approximately $640 million for at least one generation. Also assisted and advised on numerous income, estate, GST and gift tax matters involving a range of advanced issues.
- Represented a decedent’s Estate in connection with a federal estate tax audit in which the IRS had initially proposed adjustments of more than $1 million in additional estate tax. Following several rounds of negotiations with the IRS, the IRS ultimately agreed to adjustments that resulted in a net decrease of total estate tax due.
- Represented corporate taxpayer in response to IRS Notice of Deficiency assessing additional income taxes, interest, and penalties in excess of $5 million dollars. Prepared tax court petition, communicated with IRS Appeals, and coordinated with client’s accounting firm to provide additional documentation to the IRS. Ultimately, the IRS conceded all of the issues and sent a “no change” letter to our client.
- Prepared estate tax return for a taxable estate valued at over $20 million (gross), which reported fractional interest discounts that saved our clients roughly $2.5 million in estate taxes. The return was accepted without adjustment by the IRS.
- Represented individual in response to a proposed reassessment of California property taxes that would have increased the client’s property taxes by approximately $15,000 per year. Obtained opinion from the California Board of Equalization to support our position that the transfer at issue did not result in a change in ownership. Ultimately, the Assessor’s Office reversed its initial determination and canceled the proposed reassessment.
- Represented a farm corporation in connection with a tax-free “split-off” under Sections 355 and 368(a)(1)(D) of the Internal Revenue Code. Assisted with the formation of two new corporations, the buyout of one of the existing shareholders, and the successful division of the corporation’s real estate and other farming assets between the three continuing corporations without the recognition of income tax. Also obtained a favorable IRS private letter ruling confirming that the proposed transactions would not result in any adverse income tax consequences.
- Drafted wills, trusts (revocable and irrevocable), and other estate planning documents for a family with a net worth exceeding $100 million.
- Drafted dynasty trust, prepared stock assignments and other transfer documents for multiple gifts totaling more than $5 million, and coordinated the filing of gift tax returns to provide adequate disclosure of those gifts.
- Formed and advised on the operation of numerous corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies.
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