Category Archives for "Publications and Resources"

Partner Andrew M.J. Bernstein To Present Upcoming CLE “White-Collar Criminal Defense Litigation Update” for Lawline

In 2021, there has been a change in the White House, the make-up of Congress, and in leadership roles at the DOJ, SEC, and other criminal and regulatory enforcement bodies. Coupled with a new Supreme Court composition and the fallout from pandemic era-related frauds, the white-collar defense landscape is ever changing.

In another collaboration with Lawline’s virtual CLEs, Andrew M. J. Bernstein, Partner and leader of Sichenzia Ross Ference LLP’s White-Collar Defense and Investigations practice, will be presenting “White-Collar Criminal Defense Litigation Update” on Thursday July 22, 2021 at 12:30 PM (EST). 

The course will offer a recap on the important developments for the first and second quarters of 2021 and offer insights on how to defend clients against common pandemic era allegations and advise clients on how to avoid the extra scrutiny brought on by pandemic-related enforcement. 


Partner Andrew M.J. Bernstein to Present CLE on “Preparing Your Client to Testify Before a Grand Jury” for Lawline

Press Release – New York, NY – January 11, 2021 – Andrew M. J. Bernstein, Partner and leader of Sichenzia Ross Ference LLP’s White-Collar Defense and Investigations practice, will be presenting “Preparing Your Client to Testify Before a Grand Jury” on Monday January 25, 2021 at 11:30 A.M. EST. The CLE course is Mr. Bernstein’s third collaboration with Lawline in the past six months.

The course will cover how to effectively prepare a client, who is either a defendant in a criminal case or a target of a government investigation, to testify before a grand jury. The course will be live-streamed and a recording will be available any time after online.


Client Alert: New York Adopts Revised Regulations for Individuals of Registered Investment Advisers


In an effort to modernize its registration function, to better conform to the federal securities registration regime, to cure industry confusion as to certain registration requirements and to better track exam requirement compliance of thousands of investment adviser representatives (“IARs”) providing investment advice to New Yorkers, the New York Investor Protection Bureau of the Department of Law (“Department”) has proposed revisions to its current regulations.

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2020 Income Tax Rates and Deductions

Sichenzia Ross Ference has prepared a tax chart showing all proposed tax changes under Biden vs. current under Trump.

It is a downloadable PDF titled “2020 Income Tax Rates and Deductions” that you can access by clicking the link below.

Click here for 2020 income tax rates and deductions


This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on as, specific tax, legal or accounting advice. Each individual’s situation is unique and may require customized advice.  We recommend that you consult your own tax and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.  Please contact Robert M. Birnbaum, Esq., or Carolyn M. Glynn, Esq. if you are interested in learning more about this or other estate planning topics.

60 Days And Counting: “Regulation Best Interest” Is Nearly Here. Are Independent Broker-Dealers Ready? What They Need to Know and Do

On June 5, 2019, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) adopted Rule 15l-1 (“Regulation Best Interest”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), which has a compliance date of June 30, 2020.[1]  Regulation Best Interest became effective September 10, 2019.  Notwithstanding the host of issues arising from the global pandemic, an economic recession and significant market volatility across essentially every sector, the Commission has made clear that the deadline for compliance with Regulation Best Interest and the related Form CRS requirements will not be delayed or extended.

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SRF CLIENT ALERT: Major Changes for Your IRA Account

Congress has made major changes for IRA accounts effective January 1, 2020:

The End of the Stretch IRA

Before 2020, anyone who inherited an IRA account was able to delay taking distributions from it over the course of his or her lifetime.  This frequently enabled the IRA beneficiary to stretch out the mandatory withdrawals over many decades, meanwhile allowing the IRA account to build up on a tax-deferred basis.  Beginning in 2020, with certain exceptions, anyone who inherits an IRA will have to take all of it out within 10 years.  The timing of the withdrawals during the 10 years is up to the beneficiary, but by the end of 10 years the entire account has to be taken down and all of the deferred income taxes have to be paid.

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Time to Make a Personal Estate Plan for Your (Financial) Exit or IPO

Your years of hard work have finally come to fruition.  Your company is going to go public or your business is going to be sold and what was once a dream is now about to become a reality.  This is the time when many entrepreneurs make million-dollar mistakes and forget about their partner Uncle Sam.  He has been waiting patiently in the wings for you to get rich; the richer you get, the happier he is.

The United States does not have a wealth tax yet, and it may never have one unless Elizabeth Warren is elected President.  However, it does have a death tax and so do a number of states, including New York; the less you plan the higher the death tax will be.  Whether your company will be going public or will be sold privately, you will be in a position to potentially save millions in estate taxes by putting a solid estate plan in place to protect your family.

Here’s the bad news: right now, the federal government has a death tax that will take 40% of everything you own over $11,400,000.  The amount exempt from tax is scheduled to be cut in half in a few years and possibly sooner, depending on the 2020 election.  Many States take a bite as well; for example if you live in New York, the State government has a death tax with rates that could take up to 16% of your assets.

But there’s good news: your company going public or selling your business presents you with an opportunity to potentially save millions in taxes.  It also enables you to structure a plan that will benefit your family and provide for their future well-being for many decades to come.  For more information and guidance on how this can be accomplished, please get in touch with Robert Birnbaum at or Jodi Zimmerman at of our Trusts and Estates department. You can also call our office at (212) 930-9700 to speak with our attorneys.

Client Alert: U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Approve 2018 Farm Bill

The long-awaited resurgence of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, colloquially referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill, became more promising yesterday as its latest iteration received overwhelming bipartisan approval as it decidedly passed through the Senate on Tuesday, by a vote of 87-to-13, and easily passed through the House of Representatives, by a vote of 369-to-47. Now, the reality of the 2018 Farm Bill awaits the hand of President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it into law before the end of the month.

Most notable, the 2018 Farm Bill is set to legalize hemp, a plant that’s nearly identical to marijuana and is a key source of the highly popular health and wellness ingredient cannabinoid, or CBD. If signed into law, the 803-page Bill would be the most significant change to the Controlled Substances Act (the “CSA”) since 1971, which is illustrative of the federal government’s recognition that outdated federal regulations do not sufficiently distinguish between hemp, including CBD derived from hemp, and CBD derived from marijuana.

In contrast to its predecessor, the voluminous 2018 Farm Bill expressly and unambiguously provides that the definition of “marihuana” under the CSA would be amended to exclude “hemp”, which, in turn, is defined as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” Succinctly, if signed into law, the 2018 Farm Bill would be the first piece of federal legislation that explicitly carves out certain permutations of CBD containing tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), the active ingredient that causes the psychoactive effect of marijuana, from the CSA.

Against this backdrop, financial institutions that have been reluctant to establish relationships with hemp-related business because of the inclusion of “hemp” in the CSA’s definition of “marihuana” and the February 14, 2014 guidance from the Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, may now turn a new leaf and embrace the estimated $1 billion industry.

Relatedly, and in furtherance of the federal government’s progressive initiative toward the proliferation of the rapidly increasing hemp market, the 2018 Farm Bill also places far-reaching limitations on the States’ abilities to prevent the transport of hemp across interstate commerce. Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill states, in relevant part, that “No State or Indian Tribe shall prohibit the transportation or shipment of hemp or hemp products,” so long as such hemp or hemp products are produced in accordance with discrete guidelines set forth elsewhere in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Notwithstanding, this monumental shift in cannabis reform should not be misconstrued as a blanket legalization of hemp at the state level. Conversely, the 2018 Farm Bill provides a roadmap for states and Indian tribes to become the “primary regulators” of hemp production by submitting “a plan under which the State or Indian tribe monitors and regulates” the production of hemp within its borders. In this regard, those interested in getting involved in the hemp industry, in any capacity, are cautioned to review the applicable state law, which may carry more stringent restrictions than the 2018 Farm Bill, as well as any other pertinent federal authority.

Finally, it is worth noting that nothing in the 2018 Farm Bill implicates the status quo of marijuana or CBD derived from marijuana, both of which remain illegal under federal law. And while the legal landscape remains somewhat hazy, bipartisan agreement of the 2018 Farm Bill marks a long-overdue, massive step forward for the U.S. hemp industry.

About the authors

S. Ashley Jaber
Latest posts by S. Ashley Jaber (see all)
    Robert Volynsky
    Latest posts by Robert Volynsky (see all)

      California’s New Commercial Financing Disclosure Legislation


      On August 31, 2018, the California State Senate passed novel legislation, Senate Bill 1235, which requires new disclosures for certain commercial financing, such as loans, factoring transactions, and, potentially, merchant cash advances (MCAs). California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign this legislation, and it appears likely that he will. continue reading >>

      Under new tax law, sales by foreign partners of U.S. partnership interests are once again taxable.

      In an August 2017 posting we reported that the U.S. Tax Court had held that, notwithstanding an IRS revenue ruling to the contrary, the sale by a foreign partner of his interest in a U.S. partnership was not a taxable transaction to him (assuming he was not otherwise a U.S. taxpayer), just as the sale of stock in a U.S. corporation is not a taxable transaction to a foreign shareholder. (“Tax Court: Foreign investors not taxable on sales/liquidations, of U.S. partnership interests.”)

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      Partner Jeff Fessler Joins Client ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. at NASDAQ Opening Bell Ringing

      Press Release – New York, NY – March 22, 2016 – Sichenzia Ross Friedman Ference LLP partner Jeff Fessler joined representatives of client ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies, at the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square to ring the March 21 closing bell. continue reading >>

      Blog Post – Founding Partner Marc Ross Shares “Regulation A+: Funding The Start-up”


      Start-ups looking to raise no more than $50 million now have the ability to do so by a Regulation A+ offering.  The recent amendments to Regulation A, which is Regulation A+, under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), allow companies to increase the amount of capital that they can raise in a Regulation A offering from $5 million to $50 million over a 12-month period. continue reading >>

      FAST Act Includes Changes to Securities Laws

      By Avital Perlman

      President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, into law on December 4, 2015.  The FAST Act, which is aimed at improving the country’s surface transportation infrastructure, also contains several sections that amend securities laws to ease regulatory burdens for smaller companies.

      Improving Access to Capital for Emerging Growth Companies, or EGCs continue reading >>

      23 States Legalized Marijuana – Bankruptcy Courts Remind Us That It’s Legal in None of Them

      “There was a time a few years ago when the United States was spoken of in the plural number.
      Men said ‘the United States are’ — ‘the United States have’ — ‘the United States were.’ But the war changed all that.”   The Washington Post, April 24, 1887.   The phrase “United States” became a singular noun after the Civil War. continue reading >>