Spotlight on transactional tax professional George Koutouras
Our Spotlight series sheds light on the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. This week, the focus is on George Koutouras, a transactional tax professional at global advisory firm Berkeley Research Group.
Koutouras helps companies identify strategies to save money from mergers and helps them manage and maximize tax advantages through critical points, including global expansion and debt restructuring. He is the author of four Bloomberg BNA tax portfolios and has worked as an assistant professor of tax at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Golden Gate University.
In his spare time, Koutouras enjoys watching classic movies on TCM, writing poetry, cooking and dreaming of fronting a hard rock band.
What is your official title and what does it mean? My title is transaction tax leader. This role means that I cultivate and strengthen relationships with clients by providing technical information and actionable solutions to help them solve their challenges. I develop and advance people through training and mentorship, and I manage practice growth by integrating our practice with other complementary practice groups and promoting our distinctive service offering to clients.
Free time: book, audiobook or podcast? My free time is spent expanding my understanding of the world around me by listening to stimulating perspectives in podcasts and reading books. I especially enjoy hearing the views presented through the TED podcast series. Additionally, I enjoy enjoying the outdoors with my family, writing poetry, and cooking.
Taxation is a big subject. What is your particular area of interest? I have focused my career on issues related to critical decision points for companies and their leaders. I have been particularly involved in tax structuring to identify opportunities for tax savings that may result from transactions, as well as to address the historical risk of transactions, through the completion of comprehensive tax due diligence procedures for targets and sellers. Additionally, I have helped companies emerge from bankruptcy by preserving tax assets such as net operating losses and minimizing cash exit taxes for the benefit of company settlors.
What is the last movie or show you watched and liked (DVD, Netflix or at the cinema)? I have kids, so I tend to watch superhero movies, which I enjoy but usually aren’t my thing. For my pleasure, I tune into TCM for classic movies. I’m fascinated by classic Hollywood, especially its romance and glamour. One of my favorite films is by Billy Wilder: “Sunset Boulevard”.
What college did you attend and what did you study? I attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn for an undergraduate degree in accounting and finance, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law for my JD, and Georgetown University Law Center for my master’s degree in law, specializing in tax law .
Pick up: Coffee or tea? For a pick-me-up, I train. If necessary, I’ll drink coffee.
What is the best tax or financial advice someone has ever given you? Buy and never sell real estate.
If you weren’t in the tax field, what would your dream job be? Lead singer of a hard rock band.
If you had the option of making one change in the tax world — an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever — what would it be? Simplification for individual taxpayers.
Favorite food, snack or treat during tax time or another busy time? During busy times, pizza is the breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions.
What tax news or ruling has had the most impact on your practice or clients in the past year? For 2021, we spent a lot of time with customers to help them access Covid-19 relief measures, including employee retention credits.
If you got a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Get another midlife crisis tattoo (see hard rock reference, above).
You can find Koutouras on LinkedIn.
You can read more about Koutouras’ company, Berkeley Research Group, on its website.
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