Tax transparency (be it trend or trope) portends trials and tribulation: TEI's 60th Midyear Conference focuses on recent tax law changes, IRS announcement 2010-9.

PositionTax Executives Institute

Amid tumultuous legislative changes overhauling health care and expanding information reporting (related to foreign bank accounts and payments to corporations)--as well as the scope and potential effect of the IRS's proposal to seek information on uncertain tax positions--TEI President Neil Traubenberg welcomed more than 450 members and guests to the 60th Midyear Conference, which was held in Washington, D.C., from April 11 to 14. Tax transparency and the effect of IRS Announcement 2010-9 on tax administration were focal points of several conference sessions.

Opening the conference, Mr. Traubenberg referred to IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman's remarks to the National Association of Corporate Directors--the "conversation with the boardroom" speech. He said that the Commissioner has since acknowledged that many companies are "trying to get it right" and have tax-risk management mechanisms supervised by top-notch tax professionals. Next, Mr. Traubenberg noted, Announcement 2010-9 "has evoked considerable emotion--'shock and awe'--in the corporate tax community." The Institute swung into action immediately, he said, requesting an extension of the deadline for comments--a request agreed to by the government. Acknowledging the urgency of the issue, he said "We've probably heard from more members on this issue than any other topic in recent memory." He encouraged the members to continue providing input to help frame the Institute's formal submission on the Announcement.

Following Mr. Traubenberg's opening remarks, TEI Executive Director Timothy McCormally and Tax Counsel Daniel De Jong provided a demonstration of the Institute's new website. Mr. McCormally reported that in the first week of operation following site's launch, thousands of records were updated, and many members commented on the site's improved navigability. He invited feedback from the members for areas of improvement, noting that efforts were underway to address issues identified by members. The new site, he said, will afford Institute chapters an online meeting registration and payment function, which the Institute's web team is working to launch at the leadership seminar in late June. Kenneth Koskay, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Thomson Reuters, also provided an update on CPE benefits available to TEI members.

Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Emily McMahon gave the opening keynote address and reported that the top guidance priorities for 2010 include not only implementing tax provisions in newly enacted legislation, such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, but also...

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