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(The goals and objectives of the Tax Executives Institute under its 45th president, Ralph J. Weiland.) (President's Page)

For an incoming leader, transitions are at once an exhilarating and a humbling thing. They are exhilarating because you are given an opportunity to lead an outstanding organization that truly does make a difference. They are humbling because, as you are tempted to bask in that achievement, you realize that your new post involves hundreds of challenges, thousands of nuances, and millions of different details. You also realize that you did not attain the new post all by yourself - that you owe a debt of gratitude to many people. Perhaps most humbling, you realize that you will need help, for there is no way you can do the job by yourself. At least that's the way I feel as I prepare to become TEI's 45th President.

I joined TEI 13 years ago, and have belonged to both the Pittsburgh and Chicago Chapters. I have served on both the chapter and Institute Boards of Directors, have been a member of several committees, have chaired the Federal Tax and IRS Administrative Affairs Committees, and have served on the Executive Committee. TEI has contributed to my professional growth, and I know that I owe a personal debt of gratitude to many, many people. From my family and my coworkers, to the members who have served with me on Institute committees and the Board, to the tax executives who have been willing to share ideas and experiences - all made it possible for me to grow as a person and a tax executive. All helped prepare me for becoming President of TEI. I thank them all, and I thank all of you for the vote of confidence.

A special note of appreciation is due my predecessor, Bob Perlman. Bob has been an outstanding President. He assembled a strong leadership team, infused it with enthusiasm, set ambitious but achievable goals, and went at it. I commend Bob for accomplishing what every TEI President strives to do: moving the Institute forward. Last year, when Bob became President, The Tax Executiue headline read "What about Bob? He's TEI President." If the magazine were to answer the question this year, the story would go like this: "What about Bob? He's done a faaaantastic job!" Thanks, Bob.

Goals and Objectives

After many years of TEI membership, I know that the strength of the Institute lies not with any one person. It lies with the membership as a whole. It lies with its diversity. My primary goal as the Institute's President is to play to TEI's diversity and its strengths, and to build upon the accomplishments of prior years by harnessing the talent and energy of as many members as possible. Printed elsewhere in this issue is a list of the Institute's Officers, Executive Committee members, and committee chairs. These men and women will form the Institute's brain trust during the coming year, and I have the utmost confidence in their ability to focus the Institute and thereby to advance the interests of the membership on educational, technical, and management issues.

TEI rests on a solid foundation. We have an unequalled reputation for sponsoring exceptional educational programs. We intend to keep that reputation intact by organizing a series of conferences, courses, and seminars. On technical matters, too, we have a good record of professionalism and accomplishment, and we intend to keep pushing forward in that area as well. Our pending projects list reflects the breadth of the Institute's activities. As the year proceeds, I am sure the list will grow. Our ability to represent the business community - whether the issue is a pending Supreme Court case, a legislative proposal, a set of proposed regulations, or a draft administrative procedure - depends on the help we receive from the general membership. Last year, Bob Perlman set a goal of getting more members involved in Institute-level activities. I am pleased to say he succeeded. Our 1993-1994 committees feature many newcomers, and there is always room for more. If you see a project on the list that you want to become involved in - or don't see a project you believe should on the list - please give one of the committee chairs or a member of the staff a call. You can make a difference, and we do need your help.

Quality Improvement Efforts

Another initiative undertaken during Bob's tenure was a Membership Satisfaction Survey. The survey was part of TEI's ongoing quality initiative and highlights areas where we are doing a good job and the areas where we need to improve. The results of the survey were reprinted in the May-June issue of The Tax Executive. They speak to a broad range of issues, and they provide much grist for the mill. Are our education programs too long? Too short? Should they be held only at airport hotels or should we search out more contemplative locations? How can we improve our liaison efforts with government agencies? How can the TEI and its staff provide better service to the members?

These questions and more were addressed in the 1,300 survey responses. Overall, members think the Institute is on the right track. But there is always room for improvement. In other words, the maxim "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" won't work for TEI as it prepares to enter its sixth decade. We must be on the alert on ways to improve what we do. Quality is not a one-shot deal. It is an ongoing process.

The survey itself, of course, was only the first step. We must now analyze the responses and decide what actions should be taken to keep TEI the vibrant, constructive organization we all want it to be. A special task force of the Executive Committee has been charged with preparing an action plan. Although it may not be possible to implement all of the suggestions - indeed, many of them are contradictory - TEI is committed to taking all appropriate action.

I want to mention two projects that are already underway. First, the Membership Committee is developing a comprehensive strategy on expanding the membership. A special subcommittee on recruitment and retention is being formed, and will develop proposals to reach out to tax executives throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Mexico. As part of this process, the Membership Committee will work with the chapters, many of which have already put together successful recruiting drives.

Our goal, however, is not growth for growth's sake. TEI wants to better represent the entire business community, and the best way - the only way - is to reach out to those individuals, companies, industries, and geographic sections of North America that are not now represented in the membership. Quality, not quantity, remains our watchword.

The second initiative is admittedly a little mundane, but nevertheless important. We intend to move forward on a project to overhaul our By-Laws and Chapter Regulations. The overall scope of the project has not yet been fixed, but it will have several dimensions. First, we hope to remove the "deadwood" from our rules - those things that may have made sense in the past, but clutter up the current rules. Second, we want to revise the language to make it gender-neutral and remove unnecessary "legalese." Most important, the Membership Satisfaction Survey highlighted a number of substantive issues that need to be addressed, including the timing and procedures for the election of Officers and the composition of the Board of Directors. Although it is unclear how the Board will resolve these issues, it is important to address them. I invite your personal suggestions on how the By-Laws and Chapter Regulations might be revised.

A final initiative that deserves note is the Institute's 50th anniversary celebration. Our task force is hard at work on our anniversary strategy, which we will unveil at the 1993 Annual Conference.

Technical Activities

I would be remiss if I did not mention TEI's recent technical activities. Obviously, the 1993 tax bill looms large, and this issue contains reports on the comments that TEI filed with the tax-writing committees. You will also find TEI's testimony on the Administration's corporate information reporting proposal (which has been dubbed the "service industry noncompliance" (SINC) initiative). Even before President Clinton formally unveiled his corporate 1099 proposal, TEI began meeting with IRS, Treasury, and congressional staff. In the ensuing months, we have kept up the pressure. We have catalogued the administrative burdens that corporate information reporting would spawn. At the same time, we have suggested ways in which the burdens of SINC could be reduced. With the proposal in the House bill, but not in the Senate version, it is unclear whether SINC will be part of the final bill. If it is, please be assured that the Institute won't sit in a corner and sulk: we will begin immediately working with the IRS to ensure that the implementing regulations are as reasonable and "user-friendly" as possible.

This issue of the magazine also includes a major position paper on the proper treatment of environmental remediation expenses and TEI's proposed revision of the IRS's record retention procedure. Our environmental clean-up analysis is intended to persuade IRS National Office officials to back off the "no current deduction" rule announced in two recent technical advice memorandum, but it should also prove useful to companies in contesting particular proposed adjustments. As for the proposed revision of Rev. Proc. 91-59, this project is an outgrowth of the many criticisms that have been leveled at the procedure since it was issued in 1991, and reflects the views of a broad base of TEI members.

Finally, I should note the Institute's amicus brief in the Colgate case (on worldwide combined reporting) and the two Canadian position papers that round out the issue. These projects underscore the breadth of the Institute's technical activities. If it is not as broad as you would like it to be, though, please let us now. We are only as far away as your telephone or your fax machine.

Concluding Thoughts

In closing, I want to thank the entire Institute for electing me its 45th President. With your help, I am confident that TEI will move forward during the coming year.
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Author:Weiland, Ralph J.
Publication:Tax Executive
Article Type:President's Page
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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