Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Michael Wiener, a partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP in Los Angeles.
As a member of the firm’s Corporate, Finance & Securities Practice Group, Wiener structures real estate and corporate transactions, analyzes complicated tax issues, and helps his clients find creative solutions.
Wiener, who is married, spends some of his free time reading Star Wars novels as well as history books, especially ones about sports and organized crime. A fan of mafia movies, “The Godfather” films are some of his favorites. He also is a Lego enthusiast who builds architectural models as a stress release.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? My official title is tax partner, but I like to think of myself as more of a “tax consigliere.” I enjoy helping my clients find creative solutions to their tax and business issues.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? All of the above, but I probably spend the most time listening to podcasts.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? My interests include Section 1031 exchanges, qualified opportunity zones, partnership tax, and California property and transfer tax issues. Having said this, I always like it when new issues come up that allow me to learn something about other areas.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? I recently finished bingeing the last season of “Cobra Kai” on Netflix. It’s very well done and tough to stop watching. I like how they build on “The Karate Kid” movies.
What college did you attend and what did you study? Though I grew up in L.A., I went to Columbia University in New York for college. I majored in history with a focus on U.S. history. I wrote my senior thesis on Thomas Dewey’s organized crime prosecutions in the 1930s. My J.D. and LL.M. are from New York University School of Law.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Coffee!
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? A dollar saved is two dollars earned.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? General manager for an NBA team.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever —what would it be? As a California resident, I would have to say repealing the limit on SALT deductions. California has provided some relief over the past year, but, if I had my way, the whole limit would be repealed.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? I’m a big shwarama fan, and that tends to be my go-to food when things get really busy. I also try to make it a point to stay hydrated during busy times—I don’t think people realize just how important that is.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? The discussion about restricting 1031 exchanges definitely caught my clients’ attention. While nothing has come of it (so far), it continues to be a frequent topic of discussion with both current and potential clients.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Save and invest it.
You can find more about Wiener on LinkedIn.
You can learn more about Wiener’s firm, Greenberg Glusker, on its website.
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