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The Many Masters of the Tax Department: industry sessions shifted to Wednesday to aid networking.

Being a tax executive has never been easy, but it used to be a more focused profession. No longer is that the case: Far from being beholden solely to tax officials from the IRS, LMSB, CRA, FTB, DOR, and OECD (as well as to elected officials), tax executives are today increasingly faced with mandates from an alphabet soup of non-tax regulatory agencies and quasi-regulatory bodies including the SEC, PCAOB, IASB, and FASB. Sailing between the Scylla of tax and the Charybdis of non-tax demands, tax executives face unparalleled challenges.

"As a result of a sea change in the tax profession during the past three years," TEI President Mike Boyle observed, "CEOs and CFOs expect tax departments to mind many more p's and q's, especially as they navigate the unchartered waters of SOX." To ensure that tax executives maintain their bearings, the theme of TEI's 60th Annual Conference is The Many Masters of the Tax Department. The conference will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California, from October 23rd to the 26th.

"The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 has spawned oceans of guidance from the government on a tidal wave of new provisions," Mr. Boyle said. "At the same time, the IRS has continued to keelhaul tax shelter participants and anchored tax practitioners with new requirements under Circular 230." Moreover, he added, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has weighed in with an exposure draft on accounting for uncertain tax positions. "The Annual Conference in San Diego is well timed to provide tax executives with the information they need to be the Masters and Commanders of their own ships."

Mr. Boyle announced that the changing landscape (or seascape) contributed to the Institute's moving the

conference's industry sessions from Monday afternoon to Wednesday morning. "By shifting the industry sessions to the third day of the conference," he explained, "conference registrants will have had an opportunity to learn about the myriad developments affecting their work before walking into their choice of our 21 industry sessions. For six decades TEI has served as a sextant for tax executives, keeping them from going adrift. This year's conference will continue that tradition."

Conference Overview

TEI's conference embarks on Monday morning October 24, with a plenary session devoted to the recommendations of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Following a keynote address by Yale Professor Michael Graetz on the prospects for a new course in tax policy, a group of current and former government officials will address legislative developments in the current Congress as well as the likelihood of additional legislation, including enactment of a technical corrections bill, before the end of the year. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Charles Rossotti, former IRS Commissioner who serves on the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, and Susan Markel, the Chief Accountant for the SEC's Enforcement Division.

Noting that the mantra in real estate is "location, location, location," Mr. Boyle observed that the new mantra in tax and financial reporting circles has become "disclosure, disclosure, disclosure." To address developments in tax and financial reporting, Mr. Boyle said conference planners had scheduled a number of plenary and concurrent technical sessions on the new realities of disclosure-oriented tax environment. For example, a plenary session on Tuesday will address why tax executives need to keep apprised of initiatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Another session will focus on "The Evolving Art of Giving and Receiving Advice" in an environment governed by the new Circular 230 rules.

Separate technical sessions will be devoted to the exposure draft on accounting for uncertain tax positions and its effects on tax reserves; managing tax risks in an imperfect world; learnings and lamentations under section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley; the effect of the reportable transaction rules on IDRs; state reportable transaction rules; and whether--and how--privilege for sensitive documents and tax opinions can be maintained in a disclosure-oriented environment.

Robert Green, Director of International Tax Programs for the IRS Large & Mid-Size Business Division, and Hal Hicks, Associate IRS Chief Counsel (International), will participate in a session on the widely anticipated update of the cost-sharing regulations. In addition, Mary Bennett, newly installed Head of the Tax Treaty, Transfer Pricing and Financial Transactions Division of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, will brief participants on OECD developments.

Other international tax sessions will address the new section 362(e) provision on loss importation, global compensation plans (including the effect of new section 409A) and the treatment of foreign pension and stock option plans, Canadian cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and commodity tax developments. Panels of TEI members and practitioners will provide insights and practical guidance on capturing data to maximize the section 199 deduction; dealing with developments affecting stock basis, duplicated losses, SRLY, and 382 rules; complying with the IRS's mandatory e-filing requirements; mining gold in reverse state audits; and the IRS's new Compliance Assurance Process (involving so-called real time audits).

The popular corporate tax management workshops will return as optional bonus sessions on Wednesday afternoon following the morning's industry sessions. Separate workshops will be held to address the different management challenges confronting large and small tax departments.

"This year's conference in San Diego continues TEI's tradition of providing timely, in-depth education and a wealth of networking opportunities for participants," Mr. Boyle said.

When TEI last held its Annual Conference in San Diego in 2000, early arrivals enjoyed a special treat of watching the fleet based at the San Diego naval station parade from the harbor as it set sail on a training mission. Mr. Boyle added, "We can't guarantee it will happen again, but Sinbad the comedian and actor--not the sailor--will be certain to entertain us at the banquet on Tuesday night with his unique blend of stories, jokes, and manic physical comedy."

"Finally," Mr. Boyle concluded, "I would be remiss if I did not mention two special conference events: First, TEI will present its distinguished service award to the long-serving Executive Officer of the California Franchise Tax Board, Gerald Goldberg. In addition, it will be a privilege and honor to present Past Institute President Jim Murray of the Portland Chapter with his honorary membership award."

All in all, TEI's 60th Annual Conference in San Diego will be the place for tax executives to make port late October. Logon to for more information and to register.
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Publication:Tax Executive
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Previous Article:Mike Boyle installed as TEI's president.
Next Article:TEI files amicus brief in Cuno case, citing danger for economy if Ohio ruling stands: e-Filing, mutual assistance procedures prompt IRS meetings.

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