Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s focus is on George Koutouras, a transactional tax professional with global consulting firm Berkeley Research Group.
Koutouras helps companies identifying strategies to save money following mergers and helps them manage and maximize tax benefits through critical points, including global expansion and debt restructuring. He has authored four Bloomberg BNA Tax Portfolios and has worked as an adjunct tax professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Golden Gate University.
In his spare time, Koutouras enjoys watching classic movies on TCM, writing poetry, cooking, and dreaming about fronting a hard rock band.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? My title is transaction tax leader. This role means that I cultivate and reinforce clients’ relationships by delivering technical insights and implementable solutions to help address their challenges. I develop and advance people through training and mentorship, and I manage growth of the practice by integrating our practice with other complementary practice groups and creating awareness of our distinctive service offering among clients.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? My free time is spent expanding my understanding of the world around me by listening to thought-provoking perspectives in podcasts, and by reading books. I particularly enjoy hearing points of view presented through the TED series of podcasts. Additionally, I enjoy experiencing the outdoors with my family, writing poetry, and cooking.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? I have concentrated my career on matters related to critical decision points for companies and their managers. I have been particularly involved in tax structuring to identify tax saving opportunities that can result from transactions, as well as addressing historic risk in transactions, through the performance 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 taxes on exit for the benefit of the companies’ constituents.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? I have kids, so I tend to watch superhero movies, which I enjoy but which are generally not my jam. For my enjoyment, I tune in to TCM for classic movies. I am fascinated with classic Hollywood, especially its romanticism and glamour. One of my favorite movies is by Billy Wilder—"Sunset Boulevard.”
What college did you attend and what did you study? I attended University of Michigan-Dearborn for an undergrad degree in accounting and finance, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law for my J.D., and Georgetown University Law Center for my Master of laws, specializing in tax law.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? For a pick-me-up, I work out. In a pinch, I will drink coffee.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? Buy, and never sell, real estate.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Lead singer for a hard rock band.
If you had the opportunity to make 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 candy during tax season or other busy time? Through the busy times, pizza is the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of champions.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? For 2021, we spent a lot of of time with clients helping them access Covid-19-related relief measures, including the Employee Retention Credits.
If you received 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 learn more about Koutouras’s firm, Berkeley Research Group, on its website.
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