Correction: Maria Johnson's name was misspelled in the June newsletter article announcing that she will be awarded the 2020-21 Marvin C. Gutter Outstanding Public Service Award. We apologize for the error.
Free Zoom CLE – Ullman Year in Review
This program is typically presented at the Tax Section's Organizational Meeting each year. Since this year's in-person meeting is canceled, the program is being offered to all Tax Section members at no charge via Zoom.
Friday, July 3, 2020
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Tax Section Members free. Non-section Members $75 (includes membership to the Tax Section). The Zoom join link will be provided to registrants prior to the presentation. The registration cutoff is 4 PM on Thursday, July 2.
2019-2020 Section Chair Janette McCurley
Congratulations and thank you to 2019-2020 Tax Section Chair Janette McCurley for a job well done. In a Facebook post on the last day of her term as chair, she thanked everyone who helped her during the year, especially section Program Administrator Leslie Reithmiller. Janette's post included the above tiara photo and concluded, "There may be a few tears tonight and I am thinking I should wear a tiara today in honor of my last day."

Janette led the section during challenging circumstances this year with patience, hu mor and grace—and has earned the right to wear a tiara every day. We are grateful for everything she has done for the section; not just this year but during all the time in which she has served in leadership roles. Janette, thank you for your volunteer service and dedication to the section. You are appreciated.
Section 2020-22 Fellows
New Tax Lawyers Committee Co-Directors Collin Clark and Dee Menzer are pleased to announce that Brittany Cobb and Lauren Kurtz have been selected as Tax Section Fellows for the 2020-22 Bar years.

The Fellowship Program's purpose is to attract, retain and encourage active participation by new tax lawyers in the section. The program is open to all New Tax Lawyers Committee members of the section. The Fellowship Program was created to help New Tax Lawyers experience the section first-hand by providing a subsidy for costs to attend section meetings.

Congratulations, Brittany and Lauren!
Brittany E. Cobb is a recent graduate of the University of Florida’s LL.M. in Taxation program. During law school at Florida State University, she developed a passion for tax law, the intricacies of business transactions and professional development. She is constantly looking for new ways to increase diversity in the legal profession, new people to connect with and new tax problems to solve.
Lauren M. Kurtz is a tax associate at Jones Walker LLP where she practices in the areas of trust and estate planning for both foreign and domestic clients. Her practice includes advising clients on foreign trust planning, foreign investments in U.S. real estate and business interests, and tax compliance and reporting. Lauren also is currently a part-time LL.M. student at the University of Miami’s Graduate Program in Taxation where she intends to complete the Concentration in International Taxation.
Pro Bono Service Opportunities
Florida’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) assist low income taxpayers with IRS controversies, including, collections, liability disputes and Tax Court petitions. Studies show that representation significantly increases positive outcomes for low income taxpayers. If you are interested in representing a low-income taxpayer, please contact directly the LITC nearest you (for a complete list of the LITCs in Florida, go to  and click on the “Get Involved” tab, scroll down to “Volunteer/ProBono” and see Low Income Taxpayer Clinic under Volunteer at a Clinic).

Volunteers needed for the U.S. Tax Court Pro Bono Calendar Call Program. The program is designed to have local tax practitioners volunteer their time to pro se taxpayers during calendar call sessions without entering their names as the attorneys of record. The Fall 2020 Trial Sessions will be conducted remotely:
  • Jacksonville – 10/26/2020 (R)
  • Miami – 10/19/2020 (R); 11/02/2020 (S)
  • Tampa – 10/05/2020 (R); 11/09/2020 (S)

If you are interested in participating in the Calendar Call Program, please contact one of the Tax Section members listed below.
Karen J. Lapekas
Mitchell Horowitz
Harris L. Bonnette, Jr.
Jami Coleman
70 Years of Service Anniversary
July 26, 1952 was the first official meeting of the Tax Section, which previously was a standing committee of The Florida Bar. This was the culmination of a two-year process that started in September 1950. The section will mark its 70th year of service during the 2021-22 fiscal year and plans are underway to celebrate the momentous occasion.
Member Spotlight: French Brown
The Tax Section member spotlight this month is on H. French Brown IV , a shareholder in the Tallahassee office of Dean Mead.

French has been a member of The Florida Bar Tax Section since he joined the Bar in 2007. He serves as a co-chair of the section's State Tax Division and has served in various leadership roles.
French worked with the Florida Chamber of Commerce last spring to notify Gov. Ron DeSantis of the need to suspend the state’s documentary stamp tax on notes and written obligations made pursuant to Title I of the CARES Act. Gov. DeSantis directed the Department of Revenue to issue an emergency order, which ensured that Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government would not be subject to Florida’s tax and more of each loan would go to Florida’s businesses.

French offers clients 12 years of experience practicing in state and local taxation. Prior to joining Dean Mead, he practiced at Hopping, Green & Sams. He began his legal career at the Florida Department of Revenue, where he quickly rose to the position of Deputy Director of Technical Assistance and Dispute Resolution. There he oversaw more than 50 department attorneys, accountants and auditors in charge of legal guidance, agency rulemaking, and informal audit protests. French assists businesses with Florida tax planning and controversies.

He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Florida Coastal School of Law with a Certificate in Environmental Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in General Chemistry from Florida State University. He has been a member of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation since 2013 and was a member of Leadership Florida Connect Class 7.
Section Member Photos
Here's a nice photo of Section Director Mark Brown enjoying some time in his pool. Please send us your working-from-home photos, staycation pictures and/or tips for productivity so we can share them in the newsletter and on social media.

Have you recently made a presentation, written an article or made some news? Tell us about it! The Tax Section wants to feature its members' accomplishments and milestones. Please email Ileana Garcia at
Maria Johnson Awarded 2020 – 2021 Marvin C. Gutter
Outstanding Public Service Award
By H. French Brown, IV, Mark E. Holcomb, and Rex D. Ware

Each year, the Tax Section recognizes a government employee for outstanding public service. The 2020 – 2021 Marvin C. Gutter Outstanding Public Service Award recipient is Maria Johnson, Director of the General Tax Administration Program of the Florida Department of Revenue. 

Maria is a career Department employee, working her way up from the field audit staff to become an integral and invaluable member of the Department’s leadership team. 

As Director of GTA, Maria is responsible for administering the Department’s programs that taxpayers and tax practitioners most routinely encounter: registrations, returns processing, tax collections, audits, refunds, tax enforcement, revenue distribution, and taxpayer education. GTA is responsible for these functions across over 30 different taxes and fees, including all major taxes levied by the State and administered by the Department.

Maria is a dedicated public servant in the truest sense, and has shown exemplary leadership both within the Department and in the larger tax community. Maria embodies the Department’s dedication to taxpayer service, always available and willing to address the sometimes-difficult issues that inevitably arise through the Department’s administration of a broad array of taxes and fees, bringing a balanced perspective and openness to innovative and reasonable solutions (within the bounds of the law, of course) to that process. Maria has, time and again, been willing to assist Tax Section members with the routine and not-so-routine, to help their clients successfully navigate GTA’s core functions.

Maria has also been, for many years, a regular supporter of and speaker at tax programs sponsored by the Tax Section, including the State Tax Conference and the National Multistate Tax Symposium. Her insights, always delivered cheerfully and with good humor, are universally well-received.  
Maria is a native of South Florida and, best of all, she is a delightful person. Regrettably, we think she might be a ‘Cane. 
NEW: Free Tax CLE 24/7 Available on the Section's YouTube Channel
The Tax Section's monthly free CLE series is a benefit of your section membership. Now that the CLEs are recorded on Zoom, we can make them available to you online so you can watch or listen to them any time. The latest additions are:

CLE Pro Tip: Bookmark to go directly to on-demand and podcast Tax Law CLE.
Florida Bar Online CLE Catalog
Need more CLE? Here are some recent CLEs that were offered by the Tax Section and now are available for purchase as on-demand or podcast seminars.

Hall of Champions Interview: Louis T.M. Conti
The purpose of The Florida Bar Tax Section's "Hall of Champions" interview series is to record and preserve the wisdom of those lawyers who have meant so much to the development of tax law and policy in Florida.

In this episode, Sylvia Zwemer interviews Louis T.M. Conti, who served as 2001-02 Chair of the Tax Section and who received the 2011-12 Hart Award.
Louis is a partner with Holland & Knight in Tampa. More information about Louis and his practice can be found here .
Click here to listen on your iPhone through Apple Podcasts.

Click here to listen on your web browser.
Click here to listen to the interview on your Android phone or web browser through Stitcher.  
Previously Reported
New Resource for Florida Lawyers
The Florida Bar has launched a new Florida Lawyers Helpline that is available 24/7 at 1-833-FL1-WELL (351-9355). The helpline is a free, confidential service to connect Florida Bar members with professional counselors who can provide strategies for dealing with challenges and professional pressures.
The counselors are coordinated independently through CorpCare as a Florida Bar Member Benefit. There is no cost for calls to the helpline and you may be referred for up to three free telehealth counseling sessions per year to help you develop strategies to overcome life’s challenges, balance priorities, and better handle both personal and professional pressures. 
Renew Your Section Membership Online
How does Tax Section membership benefit YOU?
More than 2,100 Florida lawyers are members of The Florida Bar Tax Section and enjoy all of the benefits of membership.

  • If you take advantage of the section's members-only monthly, free CLEs—soon to be offered live on Zoom—you'll save $900.
  • If you register for additional section-sponsored CLE programs and use your section-member discount, your total return on investment is greater than $1,000.
  • The Tax Section offers leadership opportunities through committee service, family-friendly retreats and destination CLEs, opportunities to speak and write articles, and much more.

Florida Bar members, Authorized House Counsels and Florida Registered Paralegals may pay their 2020-21 Florida Bar fees online now by signing into the  Member Portal  and clicking the “Pay My Fees” button. We value you and your continued membership in the Tax Section .
Read the Spring Tax Bulletin
The latest Bulletin is online  in PDF format and the print version has been mailed.

The Tax Section would like to say a special thank you to  Mitchell Goldberg   of Berger Singerman in Fort Lauderdale and   Guy Whitesman   of Henderson Franklin in Fort Myers for serving as Bulletin content editors.   Lisa Gallagher   of Fergeson Skipper, P.A. in Sarasota is the publishing editor.

The Bulletin is published three times a year. Each publication accepts up to six articles of approximately 500 to 1,000 words each.
If you have an article to be considered for publication or questions regarding deadlines, please email
Publishing Opportunities With the Tax Section!
Our membership’s interest in writing opportunities is strong and the quality of submissions has been high. This brief article describes the writing opportunities available to you as members of the Tax Section, including the different publications, types of topics and lengths, and procedures for submitting the articles. Publishing is a great way to share your specialized knowledge with other members of the Tax Section and the entirety of The Florida Bar membership in general. Writing articles for publication can increase your internet presence and help boost your profile for Super Lawyers recognition and other accolades. It can also lead to client referrals from within and outside of the section. So here are your opportunities to get your knowledge and name out there!

Florida Bar Journal - Tax Section Sponsored Articles. The Florida Bar Journal is a printed and online publication by The Florida Bar that reaches every Florida attorney. Starting in 2018, the Board of Governors decided to publish six issues per year, down from 10 issues in years prior. The Tax Section can submit one article per issue on behalf of the section. As such, fewer spots are available. In order to “get your name on the list,” reach out to Charlotte Erdmann at to discuss spot availablity and topics. Because your spot may not be for an entire year, you do not need to know your exact topic, but let us know your general area, such as estate planning or international tax. Due to the decease in available spots, the same author cannot have more than one spot for every 10 issues.
Articles are to be 12 pages long, double-spaced, in 12-point font, inclusive of endnotes, although 11-14 pages is usually acceptable to The Florida Bar Journal editor. In terms of topics, we usually look for commentary and explanations of new developments, code sections and case law, but also commentary involving any interdisciplinary topic that has a cross section with a tax issue. Florida Bar Journal articles are edited for content by Tax Section editors. We generally do not accept political commentary articles but understand that legislation is developed through the political process. We currently have spaces available for article authors for issues in 2021.

Florida Bar Journal - Lead Articles. The Florida Bar Journal also publishes one lead article per issue. In a recent discussion with the Bar Journal editor, we received clarification on the process for submitting a lead article for consideration, the article requirements, and whether the Journal would consider a “tax” article. If a tax article discusses an issue that has such impact and interest to the general membership of The Florida Bar, it will be considered. Lead articles are to be 18 pages long, double-spaced, in 12-point font, inclusive of endnotes. Lead articles are selected solely by the editorial board of The Florida Bar Journal and publication is not guaranteed. The voluntary editorial board of the Tax Section plays no role in choosing a lead article. If you have an article you would like to be submitted for consideration as a lead article, please send it to Charlotte Erdmann, who will forward it to the Florida Bar Journal editor for consideration.

Florida Bar Tax Section - Tax Bulletin. The Tax Bulletin of The Florida Bar Tax Section is an online and print publication of the Tax Section. It is distributed to every Tax Section member. There are usually three issues per year that feature at least five articles per issue. Articles are usually between 500 and 2,500 words, although there is some flexibility since it is a Tax Section publication. The importance of the Tax Bulletin should not be downplayed. The focuses of this publication are to enrich other members of the Tax Section and serve them with highly specific information and developments related to their niche tax practice areas. It is a great way to add to your professional accomplishments and can lead to referrals made from within the section. To submit an article for publication in the Bulletin, you can email Lisa Gallagher at

The Section Administration Committee
Florida Bar Tax Section
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You received this email because you are a member or an affiliate member of the Tax Section of The Florida Bar. You may click below to unsubscribe at any time. Questions or comments? Email Program Administrator Leslie Reithmiller or visit . If you have news or announcements that are of interest to section members, please email newsletter content to Ileana Garcia .