D. Michael O’Leary
Tax Section Chair, 2020-2021Welcome to the website of the Florida Bar Tax Section,I am extremely pleased and honored to serve as the Chair of The Tax Section of the Florida Bar for the 2020-2021 year.

This year I will continue the initiative of spending part of our focus on the mental and physical wellbeing of our members. It is so easy to focus on the many demands of our law practices, and neglect our own physical and mental wellbeing.  I hope to continue to introduce some activities we can all use to relax and recharge.  The Florida Bar’s Mental Health and Wellness Center is also a wonderful resource to Bar members.

For the 2020-21 year, we had planned to start with the Organizational Meeting at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort but COVID-19 prevented an in-person meeting.  I have so many great memories from past Organizational meetings at Amelia Island so not being able to have an in person meeting was particularly painful.  However, as they say “it is what it is.”  So from July 1 – 3, 2020 we had our Organizational Meeting via Zoom.  Division and Committee meetings were held on July 1 and 2 and the Directors’ meeting was held on July 2.  The Ullman Tax Year in Review was held on the morning of July 3.  Our Chair-Elect Harris Bonnette did a super job organizing the Ullman Tax Year in Review and the speakers where great.  One advantage of holding these meetings by Zoom is that more members were able to attend.

This year we presented the Marvin C. Gutter Outstanding Public Service Award to Maria Johnson, Director of the General Tax Administration Program of the Florida Department of Revenue.  Maria is a career Department of Revenue employee, working her way up from the field audit staff to become an integral and invaluable member of the Department’s leadership team.  Maria has 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.

I had the great pleasure and honor of announcing at the Organizational Meeting that Michael A. Lampert is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Gerald T. Hart Outstanding Tax Attorney.  Michael served as Chair of the Tax Section in 2012-13 and has continued to be heavily involved, including speaking most years at the Ullman Tax Year in Review.  Michael is a very deserving recipient of this award and is scheduled to be honored at the 2021 Tax Section Fall Meeting at The Breakers in Palm Beach.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Fall Meeting will be held virtually from Tuesday, September 22 to Thursday, September 24, 2020.  There will also be a virtual CLE program on Friday, September 25, which is being organized by Cristin Keane and Mark Brown.  The CLE program is titled Practical Estate Planning in Uncertain Times and will be focused on practical estate planning techniques that you can utilize to help your estate planning clients.

Our Annual Meeting will be in Tampa at the Westin Tampa Waterside, and is scheduled from Thursday, April 29 – Sunday, May 2, 2021.  There will also be a CLE program scheduled for Friday, April 30, which is being organized by Christopher Callahan and Abrahm Smith.  The CLE program will focus on real estate taxation.  We will also honor Cristin C. Keane as the 2019-2020 Gerald T. Hart Outstanding Tax Attorney of the Year on the evening of Saturday, May 1.

I want to thank all of our sponsors who contribute to the success of the Tax Section and its members.  Our sponsors not only provide financial support to the Tax Section, which enables us to provide additional value to our members, but also are available to help our members with services that are needed by clients of Section members.  This year’s sponsors include our Platinum Sponsor, MPI (Roy Meyers), and Silver Sponsors, Business Valuation Analysts LLC (Tim Bronza), Coral Cables Trust (John Harris), Jones Lowry (Mac Lowry), Kaufman Rossin (Mark Scott), MRW Consulting Group (Luis Rivera), and Alliance Bernstein (Craig Storch).  Please keep our sponsors in mind when you have a client who may need the services that they can provide.

Be sure to keep up with all things Tax Section by following us on Facebook and Twitter. Every month, Ileana Garcia provides us with an e-Newsletter that will have the most current events, links to registrations as well as articles of interest to our members. Please be sure to click on the link you receive in your email to read over this great resource.

If you are already volunteering your time to the Section I thank you; if you are not yet and want to get involved please feel free to email or call me. I will be happy to find a spot for you to volunteer. Thank you and I look forward to a productive and fun year.

Mike O’Leary
Tax Section Chair, 2020-2021