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TEI 59th annual conference summary.

The following summary of TEI's 2004 Annual Conference was prepared by Monika M. Siegmund, chair of the Institute's Communications Committee.

TEI celebrated its 60th anniversary in style. High-spirited members, all finely decorated in colorful beads and boas, descended on New Orleans. TEI extends its special thanks to the sponsors who hosted a variety of welcoming receptions with true southern hospitality.

TEI worked just as hard as it played in the Big Easy. Lynn Jordan and Judy Zelisko opened the conference with a preview of the Corporate Tax Department Survey results. Members shared their thoughts and suggestions on how the data should be presented. Detailed findings from the survey will be available soon, as the final report is now at the printer. News of the survey's release will be posted on www.tei.org.

President Bush had not yet signed the 2004 tax bill as the conference convened; therefore, the legislative update was devoted more to a question-and-answer session. The provocative questions from Lindy Paull of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Richard Grafmeyer of Capitol Tax Partners (both in Washington, D.C.) were posed to the Treasury Department's Helen Hubbard. Shortly after the conference, the government issued substantial guidance that answered many of the questions.

The presentation by Stephen Boocock of Deloitte & Touche (Chicago) and Louis Carlow of PwC (Washington) was significantly updated from that which appeared in the binders to take into account new legislation. They outlined what actually happened to various proposed penalties and pointed out that there is an extended statute of limitations, which has retroactive effect. (Note: The updated handout was included on the CD-ROM distributed to registrants after the conference.)

LMSB Commissioner Deborah Nolan spoke at Monday's luncheon. In her remarks, she concentrated on the IRS goals of service, enforcement, and modernization, as well as the need for the IRS to balance those goals and ensure they are carried out responsibly. On the enforcement front, the IRS is planning to increase the audit coverage of the non-CIC (large case) group. LMSB's top priorities are the implementation of recent legislation, transfer pricing, and abusive tax transactions.

Tuesday's keynote address by Donald Nicolaisen, Chief Accountant for the SEC, focused on the need for including income tax discussions in the Management Discussion and Analysis. He also stressed the expectation that the tax function of a company be discussed during at least one audit committee meeting of the company. The standing-room-only crowd engaged in a lively question-and-answer period following Mr. Nicolaisen's remarks.

The conference session on FAS 109 and the Accounting Issue Update proved to be the perfect precursor to TEI's November seminar on financial accounting developments. The main message was that the rules are in a constant state of flux. This was followed by yet another session to demonstrate TEI's advocacy work in respect of the OECD's working groups on permanent establishments and the allocations of profits to such.

Addressing the conference at Tuesday's luncheon, Donald Korb, Chief Counsel of the IRS, reiterated the goals of his office: to (1) help the Commissioner achieve the agency's goals of service, enforcement, and modernization; (2) drive a stake through tax shelters; and (3) create a culture of client service.

Richard Larsen of Ernst & Young in Washington, D.C. provided a very timely presentation on tax department governance--an issue currently at the forefront of most tax executives' agenda.

The session on International Tax Controversies presented by Thomas Linguanti and James O'Brien, both of Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, focused on some of the issues facing taxpayers in resolving their disputes and how to use the Competent Authority process effectively. Unfortunately, there seem to be some problems currently between the Canada and the U.S. Competent Authorities, and many disputes are not being settled as expeditiously as one might hope.

Those that stayed until the end of the conference were rewarded by some very good sessions on state and local tax planning (and "un"-planning) from Jeffrey Friedman of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan in Washington, D.C., and Raymond Carpenter of Holland & Knight in Atlanta. Closing sessions also included the subject of transfer pricing defence strategies from Al Meghji of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt in Toronto and John Magee of McKee Nelson in Washington, D.C. Last but not least, Mark Ely from KPMG in Washington, D.C. offered much sought after guidance on IRS refund procedures.
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Title Annotation:Tax Executives Institute
Author:Siegmund, Monika M.
Publication:Tax Executive
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:718
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