Look to the chapters and your fellow members for the secret of TEI's success.
During my tenure, I have spoken many words about the strengths of TEI and the benefits of membership, and I have heard many more. Among the most eloquent are those of New York Chapter President Bob Levy at the symposium luncheon on December 16. Bob began by recognizing the outstanding efforts of three associate members of the chapter--Jerry Palmiero, Joe Gadalata, and Al Derwin--whose day-in and day-out efforts in the Institute's behalf are remarkable. He then read the following words from plaques that were presented to these long-time members:
When most others would have long since chosen to view their commitment as having been fulfilled, you have chosen to remain involved in a most meaningful way. You have been, and continue to be, an indispensable part of everything this chapter stands for. We thank you, applaud you, and honor you.
Bob next recognized the effort of a chapter member who had been nominated to receive the Institute's Meritorious Chapter Service Award, a new award intended to highlight how members' local efforts elevate the stature and effectiveness of the organization on an Institute-wide basis. (Once the award becomes final, the recipient's name will be shared with the membership at large.)
Finally, Bob used the occasion to place efforts of the named individuals (and the chapter's many "unsung heroes") in the context of TEI's six decades of stellar performance:
Once more our Symposium has risen to the highest level of quality in continuing professional education, and I'm confident the afternoon sessions will be as strong as this morning's. I hope you'll take advantage of networking opportunities with your fellow attendees whether from the corporate tax world, government, consulting firms, or publishers. But TEI is more than just education and networking. We are a family as witnessed by the devotion of members whose names I've mentioned and those whose names are too many to recount in the time allotted. We also are an organization dedicated to the integrity of the tax system. Members of the New York Chapter are among the leaders of the tax world. Witness Tom Wharton's service as a member of the elite IRS Advisory Counsel and Paul Heller's recent appointment to the prestigious Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee. As part of our mission to help maintain and preserve the integrity of the system, we have reached out our hands of cooperation to the IRS and the various state and local tax administrators. And we have staunchly defended the IRS against unfair attacks by politicians and the media and would do the same for other tax administrative bodies if necessary. We also take our ethical responsibility as professionals very seriously. We have conducted ethics programs, and we have spoken out against the marketing of abusive tax schemes and counseled our companies to avoid them. But we, at the same time, have a duty to our corporations to allow them to pay no more tax than is legally due. And IRS and the state and local tax administrators have the very same duty. Differences of position are inevitable in a complex tax system and cases such as Black & Decker, Coltec Industries, and Castle Harbor underscore the notion that not all creative tax planning is a sham, that there is no patriotic duty to pay any more tax than one legitimately owes, and that "economic substance" and creative tax planning can co-exist within the same transaction. The IRS and the other tax administrators, under pressure of Congress, other legislative bodies, and the media, have placed undue emphasis on "enforcement" as if all taxpayers are abusing the system. I believe this is a temporary overreaction to recent events and am confident that they will soon realize that most corporations need more emphasis on "service" in the form of timely guidance. I encourage my fellow TEI members to "continue on the high road" and become more active in the work of the Chapter. And, I encourage all non-members who are eligible for membership to join.
Kudos from a Retired IRS Executive
The strength and vitality of TEI were brought home to me not only in Bob Levy's remarks in December, but in a letter that accompanied a holiday greeting from Tom Wilson, recently retired Director of the Large and Mid-Size Business Division's Communication, Technology, and Media Industry Group. Tom, who is now with PricewaterhouseCoopers, took the occasion to express his appreciation for TEI's support during the decade he worked at the national level of the IRS (including a stint as Assistant Commissioner (Examination)):
A lot of good things have come out of the relationship. In 1994, TEI joined us in looking at our processes. That gave birth to the first rendition of Joint Audit Planning or Planning with the Taxpayer as we then called it. Linda Burke [TEI's 1994-1995 International President and subsequently LMSB's first Division Counsel] helped us very much. One of my other quality groups looked at the Information Gathering Process. It was there we discovered the importance of having a discussion with the taxpayer before issuing the IDR. Paul Schaffhausen [of the Chicago Chapter] assisted with the video that we made at "McDonald's U." Bill Blaylock [of the Dallas Chapter] approached us regarding electronic filing of Forms 1120.... A few years later, TEI joined us in looking at the role of specialists. Of course, the local chapters had various partnership efforts also. I won't even try to quantify the number of speaking engagements. However, one of the things I remember most is the support IRS and CEP (now CIC) received during the hearings that led up to RRA 98. While not saying there was no room for improvement, TEI clearly presented the positive relationship and customer outreach efforts in the large case program. In fact, I remember one of the Senate staffers coming to me and asking how the same relationship could be carried into other areas.
Final Notes--Good News, an Apology, and Welcome
Tom Wilson's was not the only Christmas letter that deserves to be shared with the membership. One member wrote a simple note at the bottom of his card, inquiring "Could you let me know how Lonnie Murphy's doing." Lonnie, of course, is the better half of the "Mike and Lonnie" team that graced TEI during Mike's decade as the Institute's Executive Director. During the past year, Lonnie underwent treatment for breast cancer, and I'm delighted to report (with Mike and Lonnie's full blessing, by the way) that she's doing great. A recipient of the New York Chapter's Distinguished Service Award, Lonnie plans on accompanying Mike to the Midyear Conference ... assuming the April 3-6 meeting does not interfere with her frequent trips to Atlanta to be with her two grandchildren.
One final "correspondence note": Following the publication of the November-December issue, 1968-1969 President Bill Horne penned the following lines: "I enjoyed the magazine, as the pictures of Morris Rinehart and the 20 TEI past presidents reminded me of the good time we had at the TEI conference in New Orleans. In my reminiscences, there were two 'typos' which I hope, as a former editor, were 'not' in my original copy."
As the current editor, I confess that the errors Bill referred to were mine, not his, and I offer my apologies. (I also offer my thanks for the gentle nature of his chastening.) A corrected version of his contribution appears in this issue.
Finally, I wish to welcome DaKeia Williamson to TEI's staff as the Institute's new Membership Coordinator. Until recently, DaKeia worked in the membership department of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. I am pleased to say that she has already brought a better sense of organization to TEI's membership function, and has implemented changes that will benefit the organization and its members. A report on the improvements will be included in our next issue.
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|Title Annotation:||Tax Executives Institute|
|Author:||McCormally, Timothy J.|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2005|
|Previous Article:||In memoriam.|
|Next Article:||New Circular 230 regulations impose strict standards for tax practitioners.|