Tax Law

French American Chamber of Commerce

In our latest Meet the Member feature, we had the opportunity to speak with Alexandre Leturgez-Coianiz, Partner at Roche Legal. Alexandre joined the FACC-NY

in February, but has been a NY resident since 2015. As an attorney admitted to both the NY and French bars, he puts his expert knowledge of both systems to benefit the clients he represents. Keep reading to learn more about his background and how Roche Legal provides counsel for cross-border operations and business development.

FACC: You've been admitted to the bar in both France and New York. What was most challenging about reaching these milestones in each country, did one prepare you for the other or did you take very different approaches to each?

ALC: ·Preparing for a bar exam can be compared as preparing for a marathon. It is an extensive time of constant focus and hard work, especially when you prepare for an exam that is not in your native language. France and the United States have two different legal systems and the bar admission requirements are different as well. The New York State Bar Exam is a full written exam and is known to be highly demanding and strict. The French bar is more traditional as it is in both oral and written formats that require extensive knowledge and skills. Interestingly, I passed the New York bar and then the French bar, and I can say that my U.S. experience and education from Fordham Law prepared me for the French bar which is under high scrutiny by judges, attorneys, and faculty examiners who evaluate your fitness to be knowledgeable and independent.

FACC: One of Roche Legal's practice areas is corporate planning and cross-border operations. As either a French or American company considering expanding their business abroad, when is the right time to consult a lawyer and how valuable is it to have the assistance of a counsel who thoroughly understands both sides?

ALC: Corporate decisions should be taken with a full knowledge of the economic market, targets, financial projections, work forces, not to mention legal pitfalls through a comprehensive legal framework. Planning is "the process of deciding in detail how to do something before you actually start to do it" and Roche Legal offers a dedicated office for its clients. The right time to consult your attorney is when thinking and building your business. Understanding both American and European cultures, with so many differences and nuances, is a key element for successfully implementing a new business.

FACC: You've been in New York since 2015 (correct?), both for education, internships and professional experience. Do you feel that living in the United States has changed your perspective or given you additional professional or interpersonal skills that you did not have before?

ALC: I moved to New York in September 2015 with the project to go to Law School for a one-year program. As months and years passed, I found myself loving the American culture and being very happy practicing law in the U.S. I would say that having spent those years learning English and American culture and facing the daily challenges of living in the U.S.–in New York City, deeply changed my vision of life and work. I became accustomed to going out of my comfort zone and nowadays I am challenging myself regularly toward new goals. Life is a reward for actions you take and staying humble and focused is essential.

FACC: Do you have any goals to expand the Roche Legal Firm, either in practice areas or with additional associates?

ALC: The goals to the end of 2019 are to grow and hire associates and maybe partner with other attorneys. Roche Legal specialized in tax and corporate law and should expand its practice to intellectual property law to answer entrepreneurs and companies' needs.

FACC: What makes your practice unique?

ALC: Roche Legal offers tax and corporate legal services for both individuals and corporations. That means that clients will receive a full customized service in the U.S. regarding tax compliance and planning, tax filings, business compliance and planning and more. We also practice in France and therefore we offer a unique and dedicated transatlantic office. Roche Legal is also proud of its professional network. I noticed that nonlegal persons may have a hard time finding the right legal professional with whom they would be comfortable working with. Whether looking online or asking friends and family for an attorney can be cumbersome and disappointing. Roche Legal was designed to offer full and customized legal services to its clients from A to Z. Roche Legal is building a strong intercontinental network that benefits its clients through referrals when they need specific legal advice in a specific area of the world. Roche Legal is assessing its clients' demand by either handling the matter, or if out of Roche Legal's scope, referring to a trusted legal professional from its network. Clients can be confident that their legal matters are taken care of.

FACC: How did you learn about the FACC and what are you most looking forward to this year as a member?

ALC: The FACC's reputation is well-known among the French working community doing business and/or living in New York and I was encouraged to become a member. I am really looking forward to meeting with the FACC members and also participating actively to the FACC events thorough the year.

Originally posted on the FACC's website:

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1/ Check your Withholdings and Quarterly Payments

In order to avoid underpayment penalties, check your 2019 withholdings and payments made during the year. Both at the federal and state level.

2/ Tax Status for 2019

You filed 2018 either as single taxpayer, married filing a joint return, or married filing a separate return. If your situation changed during the year 2019, or if you are thinking about changing your status early 2020, it is still time to take action before the end of 2019 to see what will be the optimum status and best fit for your tax situation.

3/ Donations

If you donated to charities, it is still time to send your gifts before 12/31! Also understand that you will be able to take a deduction if your total itemized deductions are above a certain threshold. An estimation can be made.

4/ Foreign Properties

If you owned foreign properties in 2019, you might want to make sure you optimized your assets. Also, if you owned foreign bank accounts in 2019, you might need to be compliant with the regulations and report such accounts.

5/ Business Owners

It is this time of the year to foresee what will be your tax liability for 2019 and make sure you are compliant with laws and regulations.

2020 is around the corner and we want you to wind up 2019 the best way possible!

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