How Germany, the UK and the US target and audit high-net-worth individuals. 10 December 2020

Host group
Host Left
Hosted by
STEP Web Events
Event Type
Web Event


  • Alan Winston Granwell, Of Counsel, Holland & Knight LLP, Washington, DC


  • James Austen, Partner, Collyer & Bristow LLP, London, UK
  • Andrea Darling de Cortes, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP, Tampa, FL
  • Gerd Kostrzewa, Partner, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, Dusseldorf, Germany

Program Description:

The US has the most members in the top one percent of the global wealth group, and, in 2019, accounted for 40% of the world's millionaires. Germany, in 2019, ranked fourth in the world according to total wealth, and wealth inequality is higher in Germany than in other major Western European nations. The UK has the fourth highest population of individuals that are in the top one percent globally. 

The UK and the US established specialized units to audit the tax affairs of high net worth individuals while Germany does not have a special unit.

Our panelists will describe:

  • How each country identifies potential audit targets
  • The initiatives that the tax authorities of Germany, the UK and the US have implemented
  • The role of international cooperation and exchange of information in the process
  • The scope of the audit; i.e., single return or an examination of the complete financial picture of the taxpayer and the enterprises they control
  • The audit process
  • Defenses
  • Penalties
  • How non-compliant individuals can remediate their non-compliance in each of these countries.


James Austen is a solicitor specializing in Trusts, tax and estate planning, specifically acting for high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs and business owners. Mr. Austen is head of the firm's tax disputes practice. Much of his time is spent advising in the context of contentious and semi-contentious situations, including tax and domicile enquiries and trust disputes. In addition to his practice, he sits part time as a Judge in the Tax Tribunal, hearing and determining appeals against decisions by HMRC in respect of both direct and indirect taxes.

Andrea Darling de Cortes focuses her practice in the areas of inbound international income and estate tax planning, international tax controversy and compliance, cross-border tax planning and related transactional matters. She has in-depth experience in assisting noncompliant U.S. taxpayers to become U.S. tax compliant. Over the past several years, she has served as lead counsel or co-counsel and has successfully resolved more than 1,000 taxpayer disclosures under the various Internal Revenue Service Voluntary Disclosure Programs, Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures.

Alan Winston Granwell is a tax attorney with nearly 50 years of experience in the area of international taxation. He counsels both corporate and private clients on cross-border planning, controversy and tax compliance. He is a former International Tax Counsel and Director, Office of International Tax Affairs, US Treasury Department.

Gerd Kostrzewa is a German tax lawyer who advises private clients on planning and civil and criminal compliance and controversy matters. He is a former Chair of the Individual Tax and Private Client Committee of the International Bar Association

Cost group
Event Cost
No cost to STEP USA members
12:00-1:30 EDT
Eileen Budd
Add to Calendar Disabled