If you have ever received a notice from the IRS in the mail, then you know the feelings of terror and helplessness that tax issues can inspire. Hana Boruchov has devoted her career to helping her clients resolve or outright avoid such tax problems. Hana is a nationally recognized speaker and author with a passion for tax law; her expertise has been recognized by such awards as Rising Star, 2019-2021; New York Metro Area Super Lawyers; Outstanding Women in Law, 2021 Hofstra Law School; Diversity in Business, 2020 Long Island Business News; and 40 Under 40, 2019 Long Island Business News. And she brings it all to bear as a founding partner of Boruchov, Gabovich & Associates, P.C., a prominent Manhattan boutique law firm.
Since its founding in 2020, the firm has represented individuals and businesses in matters of tax compliance and controversy, both domestic and international. Among other matters, the firm helps its clients resolve tax liens and levies, avoid audits through ensuring compliance, and assists them in navigating the complexities of innocent spouse requests, always providing effective and affordable legal services.
Hana is also the author of numerous journal articles, including New Tax Law's Potentially Negative Effects on Individuals and Businesses, The Suffolk Lawyer, June-July 2018, Love and Marriage...and Taxes, Nassau Lawyer, December 2017, The Nuts and Bolts of an IRS Audit and the Collection Process, New York State Society of CPA, Tax Stringer, July 1, 2019, and The SALTy Exodus: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, The Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure, June-July 2019, Wolters Kluwer.
The Top 100 Magazine spoke with Hana to learn more about her practice, her specialties, and how she’s helping clients avoid and address tax controversies.
Hana, what led you to co-found your own firm?
I found out I was pregnant just after COVID hit. At that point, I decided that I had to pivot in order to make a better future for my daughter. I thought the best way was to be my own boss. I was already handling all aspects of case management and client matters for other, so it was a logical next step. When you’re working for someone else, you don’t have the luxury of telling a client with limited funds, “Don’t worry about it, we’ll work something out.” I can do that now. Also, I wanted the opportunity to expand into additional areas of legal practice.
Tell us about your work for clients with tax issues. Offers in Compromise is one of your specialties, correct?
I have worked on a lot of these since COVID because many people saw sudden reductions or total loss of their sources of income and could not pay their individual or corporate taxes. Now they are drowning in the resultant tax debt and penalties. I believe I bring a creativity and attention to detail to my practice, which allows me to succeed where others have failed. For example, I had a Hasidic client who submitted an OIC with another attorney. The government rejected it on the grounds that he had too much remaining income at the end of the month. I went through his finances with a fine-toothed comb and argued that he had atypical expenses that should have been considered. The client had unique expenditures specific to the requirements of his religion, such as special clothing and Kosher food. The government also contended that the man should sell his home to pay the liabilities. I argued that a forced sale would impose exceptional hardships to the client, as he had to be within walking distance of his synagogue. This strategy was ultimately successful and the offer was accepted. I reduced the client’s tax liability from almost a million dollars to about one hundred thousand. That particular case was federal, but I do this for clients in every state.
What are some of the consequences of tax liens/levies that people might be unaware of?
With taxes, the collecting entity can levy bank and retirement accounts, as well as sources of income such as a person’s wages. They also may pursue a judgment and attempt to foreclose on a property or seize other tangible assets. Businesses facing tough times often use some of the sales tax money they have in reserve and get in trouble as a result. This can be a serious problem because the business owner will be held personally liable for the sales tax liability along with the business. Audits can also be daunting and stressful affairs for taxpayers, as their records can be subpoenaed, and their personal files examined. Additionally, many people don’t realize that a tax lien on their property will prevent them from selling or refinancing it. Some of the most complicated tax issues arise when a foreign entity wants to start a business in the U.S. without being aware of the negative tax consequences of corporate structures they might employ elsewhere. People who own foreign assets are also often unaware that they have special U.S. reporting obligations. One of the most common is FBAR, which requires annual filings by any United States person or entity that has any financial interest in, or authority over, foreign accounts with an aggregate value over ten thousand dollars.
How do you assist in resolving these issues?
I can often get a tax burden forgiven or reduced, and when that is not possible, I can arrange for a payment plan. Additionally, we work with clients to ensure compliance with foreign and domestic tax regulations and handle other matters, such as innocent spouse requests and voluntary disclosures. Basically, we cover the full spectrum of tax-related law.
What is the Innocent Spouse Relief, and what led you to specialize in this area?
Innocent Spouse Relief is a program that allows a husband or wife to seek relief from tax, penalties, and interest that result from underpayment of tax by their partner. The program was created in part to help people with spouses who did not disclose the entire truth about their finances, and in many of these situations, I can help alleviate the tax burden through Equitable Relief, Innocent Spouse Relief, or Separation of Liability Relief. I get a lot of these cases and have been working on one in particular for some time. It involves a woman who had never worked, whose husband owned a business. He was convicted for financial crimes, and she got hit with the joint tax bill. She had significant health issues and had to work two minimum wage jobs to support herself and her children. I realized that this could happen to myself, my mother, my grandmother, or a friend. As a female and mom, it’s a practice area that I’m very passionate about.
Lastly, Hana, what drives you? What do you enjoy most about your work?
I really enjoy helping people and when they come to me with a problem, I am compelled to solve it. We’re talking about people’s finances—one of the most important aspects of their lives. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that I’ve helped my clients avoid civil and criminal consequences, save millions of dollars in taxes, penalties, and interest, and give them peace of mind.
Hana graduated cum laude from The City College of New York and holds a Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Founding Partner, Boruchov, Gabovich & Associates, P.C.
1180 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 818, New York, NY 10036