If you think you know everything there is to know about tax havens, you might be surprised to hear what John Pantekidis has to to say: Pantekidis has written a paper that examines how wealthy foreign families are beginning to favor the U.S. over locations like Switzerland and Hong Kong as a tax haven. It’s a subject Pantekidis knows a lot about since he focuses on wealth and families in his role at TwinFocus Capital Partners. Here’s what John had to say:
1. Where are you now?
I am at TwinFocus Capital Partners. We are a multi-family office and investment boutique in Boston, Massachusetts, catering to ultra-high net worth families situated around the world.
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
I am the General Counsel and Chief Investment Officer. My job description is intentionally broad because I am responsible for overseeing the firm’s investment team as well as the client advisory group, where we focus our attention on complex estate, tax and financial planning. I am fortunate enough to work in close coordination with some of the nation’s top tax attorneys on the one side, and some of the best and brightest money managers on the other.
3. What books are on your night stand?
Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed and Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century by Jeffry Frieden.

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
The only other job I would like to have would be the United States Secretary of State.
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theatre)?
The Great Gatsby
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Taxation of Investments as well as international taxation as it applies to wealth management for ultra-high net worth families are of great interest to me.
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
“Dumb money is only dumb when it listens to smart money.”
8. Coffee or tea?
Coffee for sure, make that a house blend.
9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Sting, Barbra Streisand, John Ploutarhos, Boney James, Lionel Richie
10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
In my next life, I would like to be a men’s clothing designer.
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
Boston University, BA in Economics; Boston University School of Law, Juris Doctor & LL.M. in Taxation.
12. If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code tomorrow – an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?
I would change the gift tax laws to allow for larger amounts of non-taxable gifts. The marginal propensity to consume for an ultra-high net worth person is negligible. However, if larger gifts were allowed to younger generations with new families, their consumption appetite is much larger. I would also allow for larger charitable deductions of appreciated securities by removing limits based on AGI.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Documentaries, because I have an insatiable desire to learn new things, even when I am watching TV.
14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
Probably AMT because they will get a bigger bang, as the AMT applies to a far larger universe of taxpayers. I believe, contrary to public opinion, that we may not see a repeal of the estate tax when the dust settles because President Trump may need to use it as a bargaining chip.
15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Partially invest and partially pay off a home loan.
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
I would say Trump based on his rhetoric to date. We stand to have monumental shifts in tax policies not seen in decades. This has been spurred by Trump, although others will play very influential roles as well.
17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related web site?
Bloomberg BNA; Tax Adviser.

Thanks, John! You can find out more about John on his website here.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured send your suggestions to kelly (dot) erb (at) taxgirl (dot) com with the subject: Getting To Know You Tuesday (it’s tax season: use anything else and it could get lost, you’ve been warned). Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged!

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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