Toast to Women in Tax

JurisdictionCalifornia,United States
AuthorWritten by Adria Price
CitationVol. 31 No. 2
Publication year2022

Written by Adria Price

Since the inaugural Toast six years ago, the Toast to Women in Tax has become a highly anticipated networking event at the Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar and California Tax Policy Conference. Back in person after a virtual Toast in 2020, the 2021 Toast to Women in Tax honored three female tax practitioners who have distinguished themselves in the profession: Kristen Kane, Chief Counsel, Office of Tax Appeals (KK), Caroline Ciarolo, Partner, Kostelanetz & Fink LLP (CC), and Robin Klomparens, Partner, Wagner Kirkman Blaine Klomparens & Youmans (RK). Moderated by another female tax practitioner with an impressive resume of professional accomplishments, Kathryn Meyer, Area Counsel (Area 7), SB/SE, (KM).

Here is a look at some of what was discussed during the Toast:

KM: How did the OTA respond to Covid.

KK: The OTA is an agency that is only 4 years old. We didn't have permanent offices, had laptops already issued to every employee and were cloud based. We were able to pivot. The issue is oral hearings. They have been on hold for 16 months now. Instead we have been conducting virtual hearings. Still on Webex now and take the place of oral hearings. We have found them to be convenient. We will keep them going after the pandemic.

KM: What about private practice?

RK: Believe it or not, I am one of the 3 youngest partners. Our office space is huge. Some staff came in so we could get filings, get checks, keep office going. Most went remote. We got everyone computers and printers. Some of them are still at home and are more productive in that setting.

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CC: We are members of the "do what you wanna club". More boutique firm with 40-50 employees, half of which are attorneys. We already had laptops. Staffed admins with whatever I.T. they needed-printers, etc. It's been an extremely busy time. We've onboarded six new attorneys and six to eight admins. We do not have mandatory return to office, but we do have mandatory vaccination if you do want to return to office. We are fine so long as you are working and producing. It's a whole new world and I love it.

KM: Do you have any other challenges that you have looking forward.

CC: We have challenges in training. Everyone is Flat Stanley on their computer screens. I learned a lot by watching my mentors. Being with people is an important part of growth.

RK: Zoom fatigue. Being stuck at your desk.

KM: Any other advice or suggestions on how to adjust to this new world?

CC: People are pushing back on zoom. I am tired of doing my hair for you. However, there are a lot of benefits. We are getting more done in less time. We are able to conduct sentencings and hearings remotely.

KK: We have definitely learned that the best that we can do for the hearings is getting people comfortable with the technology...

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