Riny Mathai.

Date01 November 2021

It's complicated." That buzz phrase often carries a negative connotation. But for Riny Mathai, not so much. Mathai first became interested in tax during a tax research class at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. "I liked the complexity of some of the issues presented and how we had to think through them before arriving at a justifiable conclusion," she explains.

Mathai, now senior manager of income tax at Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc., credits her previous employment for the skills she developed: "The importance of being a good communicator and getting buy-in from the right stakeholders cannot be underestimated. It is so important to think through issues thoroughly and then present your thoughts in a concise, organized manner so people can rely on your judgment. Often, you are operating in a fast-paced environment, and you don't get the time to formulate. That can be a challenge. Figuring out how to translate those complex, often boring tax issues into a couple of simple sentences that are interesting enough to your key stakeholders to conceptualize and provide feedback on is one of the most sought-after skills for a tax professional these days."

It was the culture at Love's that drew Mathai to her current professional home. "Love's is known to have a great culture and is just a wonderful place to work. A lot of the employees have been here for a long time, and so we have had a chance to form close relationships with each other," she explains.

What's the most interesting tax issue Mathai has worked on at Love's? "Being one of the largest passthrough structures in the nation, one of the most interesting issues was working through [Tax Cuts and Jobs Act] proposals and communicating how Section 199A impacted us. We are a poster child for tax reform, with travel stops in forty-one states and 33,000 employees. We are currently going through a similar exercise with all the ongoing activity in Washington," she says.

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