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TEI's educational programs remain the cream of the crop.

Year after year, tax executives report that education and networking, both locally and at the Institute level, remain the primary reasons for belonging to TEI. While the Institute's advocacy efforts are important, the Institute especially shines in providing unmatched value in our technical programs and networking opportunities for in-house tax professionals. This spring's programs demonstrate the depth and breadth of TEI's offerings. Before discussing the Institute-level programs on the horizon, I wish to pay tribute to the outstanding efforts of TEI's chapters and regions.

Whether it's the European Chapter's recent program in Zurich or the Pittsburgh Chapter's joint meeting in early March with two other organizations (which will feature IRS Commissioner Everson) to Region V and VI's upcoming liaison meeting with the Large & Mid-Size Business Division to Region VIII's May conference in Santa Barbara and Region VII's later program on Kiawah Island, the quality of the educational sessions and the consistency of their networking value are undeniable. Equally important in this stubborn economy is that the cost of these programs is without match. A special mention is due the Houston Chapter, which this year is hosting its Sixteenth Annual Tax School--a series of training modules that will attract in total approximately 3,000 participants!

Midyear Conference: A Six-Decade Tradition Continues

Fortunately, TEI at the Institute level complements (and, indeed, benefits from the intra-family competition provided by) the programs offered by our chapters and regions. A perfect case in point is out 54th Midyear Conference, which will convene in Washington on the first day of spring. Among the keynoters for the conference will be Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, and IRS Commissioner Everson. (Secretary Show and Chairman Thomas will be reprising their roles at prior conferences, and the Commissioner will be making his first presentation to a TEI conference.) These high-ranking officials--joined by colleagues from Capitol Hill, the Treasury, and IRS--will provide first-hand reports on everything from FSC/ETI to tax shelters to R&D to budget and trade policy.

Registrants, moreover, will have a rich array of technical sessions to choose from, including special roundtables on emerging corporate management and state and local issues and a series of "LMSB Bonus Sessions" that TEI is cosponsoring with the Large and Mid-Size Business Division. (LMSB's Commissioner, Debbie Nolan, will also address the conference.)

I would be remiss if I did not call attention to three facets of the Midyear Conference: First, the Institute will be unveiling its new website during the March meeting, demonstrating the communications and networking functionalities that will enhance the value of your membership. Among other things, the new site will enable each of TEI's 53 chapters to maintain their own satellite website, and permit members to establish their own ad hoc networking groups.

Second, TEI's Empowering Members Working Group will host a panel discussion, aptly titled "Play or Pay," on why tax executives should become involved in tax advocacy efforts in their company's behalf, through TEI if not otherwise.

Finally, the conference will feature a special performance by monologist Josh Kornbluh whose one-man show, "Love and Taxes," has garnered excellent reviews from coast to coast.

All in all, the conference promises to be outstanding. I hope to see you there.

Running the 21st Century Tax Department: TEI's First Ever Senior Executive Conference

While TEI repeats certain programs each year--from conferences to our just-completed IRS Audits and Appeals Seminar--the Continuing Education Committee is always searching for new ways to serve the members. For example, we continue to hold telephone seminars on breaking developments, delivering up-to-date information on emerging issues without requiring you to leave your office. Our most recent offering, on the Treasury's new capitalization regulations, attracted more than 500 listeners.

A new chapter in TEI's outreach effort is a two-day plus conference designed to meet the special needs of senior tax executives. On May 13-15, senior tax executives from around the country will join with top practitioners and other experts in Scottsdale to discuss the most pressing tax management, policy, and administration issues confronting business taxpayers. The program will feature roundtable discussions, technical sessions, and both formal and recreational networking opportunities. Among the topics to be addressed are the following:

* Post-Enron Tax Planning Risk Assessment in the Current Environment

* Interaction with the Board and the Audit Committee and Section 404 Reviews

* Tax and Financial Statement Disclosures

* IRS Compliance Reengineering

* Staffing the 21st Century Tax Department

* Performance Measures & Productivity Metrics

The full program for the conference has been posted on TEI's website, and I urge you to review it carefully. If you do, you will sec further proof that TEI is without equal in the education field. Indeed, unlike similar programs offered by others, in planning this conference the Institute was not constrained in the range of speakers: We have secured the participation of the best and brightest from numerous firms as well as the government.

Advocacy Efforts Continue

This discussion of TEI's educational programs is not intended to give short shrift to the Institute's continuing efforts on myriad legislative and regulatory projects. From Europe to Canada to the United States, from federal forms and schedules to international legislation to state tax regulations and studies, from Canadian court cases to Capitol Hill hearings on the strategic direction of the IRS ... your Institute has been actively and effectively representing the interests of you and your fellow tax executives.

I was especially pleased to represent TEI at the IRS's hearing on the section 482 services regulations, and also to lead the Institute's delegations to our annual liaison meetings with the Treasury Department, IRS, and LMSB, as well as the Joint Committee on Taxation. The liaison meetings will be reviewed in the March-April issue, but our other efforts are covered elsewhere in this issue (as well as on TEI's website). I thank all those members who participated in the development of out submissions or attended one or more of our liaison meetings. I encourage all members to read about our recent activities, and then join in us so TEI con do even more.

With Appreciation

The Institute expresses its appreciation to the following firms that have become sponsors of the Institute's Midyear Conference:


Baker & McKenzie * Deloitte & Touche * Ernst & Young * Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw * McKee Nelson * RIA


ADP Tax Credit Services * DuCharme McMillen & Associates * Foley & Lardner * Planitax * Ryan & Company * Steptoe & Johnson * Sutherland Asbill & Brennan * Vertex * Wachovia Exchange Services


Alston & Bird * Baker & Hostetler * Fenwick & West * Jones Day * King & Spalding * Miller & Chevalier * Shaw Pittman * Thompson Hine


Caplin & Drysdale * CBIZ Valuation Group * Duane Morris * Grant Thornton * Management Insights * McDermott, Will & Emery * Morrison & Foerster * Net Profit * Sullivan & Cromwell


Question: Since becoming IRS Commissioner, Mark Everson has emphasized the need for the IRS to step up its enforcement efforts, and while there have been references to high-wealth individuals and middle-market corporations, some of the comments emanating from Capitol Hill and elsewhere have impugned the integrity of large business taxpayers. As a group, CIC taxpayers--which, of course, are under continual audit--have a very high compliance rate. Yes, they have disputes with the IRS, but the controversies are more the result of a complicated and ambiguous tax code than anything else. What's TEI doing to ensure that "get tough" efforts don't undermine the progress that's been made?

Answer: The key word here is "balance." There is no denying that Commissioner Everson has pursued an ambitious agenda of recalibrating the IRS's balance between customer service and enforcement. In the meetings he's had with TEI's leadership--in September, November, and most recently, in early February at out liaison meeting--he articulated a clear vision of a more compliance-oriented IRS. (Note: After the last-minute scheduling of a congressional hearing required Commissioner Everson to cancel his plans to address TEI's Atlanta Conference, he participated in a pre-thanksgiving conference call with the Board of Directors.) The Commissioner also made no secret of his impatience with how long change takes, candidly seeking a breakthrough (or "rupture") in the audit process. At the same time, the Commissioner has recognized that for the agency to succeed, it must work with compliant taxpayers (separately or through groups like TEI) and build upon the successes that come from cooperative efforts. The Commissioner is expected to address these issues during his remarks to TEI's Midyear Conference.

Have a question about TEI or its activities? Send an email to
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Title Annotation:Tax Executive Institute
Author:Rossi, Raymond G.
Publication:Tax Executive
Article Type:President's Page
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Previous Article:Pending excise tax issues: December 3, 2003.
Next Article:At your service--TEI testifies on section 482 services regulations: comments on PA bulletins and MTC's tax shelter report letter; testifies before...

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