As TEI's Annual Conference in New Orleans came to a close, I could not help reflecting on the fact that we had just concluded our seventy-fourth such gathering during one of the most consequential periods in U.S. tax history as well as in TEI's history. Let me explain.
First, we, the members of the in-house tax community, continue to confront the far-reaching implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the pervasive influences of technological innovation, and the shifting paradigms and operating structures of the tax departments we serve.
Second, this year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of TEI's founding. Three quarters of a century ago in New York City, Paul Smith (a tax executive from Schenley Distillers) and his colleagues created a vision for an organization dedicated to the professional needs of the in-house tax community--an association committed to helping create and sustain sound and administrable tax systems and to providing unparalleled education, networking, and advocacy for the benefit of its members.
Seventy-five years later, TEI, without question, remains vibrant, strong, and true to Paul Smiths vision of service and support to the in-house tax community.
Indeed, the just-concluded Annual Conference represents strong evidence of our continuing commitment to fulfilling Smith's vision: in-house tax professionals engaging with peers and subject-matter experts while building personal and professional networks.
I can only speculate how Smith and his fellow founders would marvel (or perhaps be shocked) at the scope and sophistication of the departments we now lead and serve and the range of technical, policy, and management-related content we must master.
A few data points for comparison. In 1944, the Internal Revenue Code of 1939 was a single slim volume; the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of me Treadway Commission (the organization that created the framework for modern-day internal controls) was still decades away, as were tax policy organizations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the statutory and regulatory regimes of Subpart F.
Fast-forward and consider that the regulatory framework alone for the TCJA exceeds 1,500 pages, that internal control guidelines are extensive (i.e., Accounting Standards Codification or its predecessor sequencing, the Fair Accounting Standards Board Interpretations or "FIN"), and that volumes of treaty, treatise, and interpretative commentaries already...