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alliantgroup Hosts Landmark Houston IRS Roundtable Discussion

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IRS Head of Natural Resources & Construction and
National Director for Engineering & Software Development Attend.

On June 14, 2011 (Houston, TX) –
alliantgroup hosted the second of a series of landmark regional roundtable discussions with top IRS executives. Held in alliantgroup's Houston headquarters, the meeting featured a discussion with IRS Large Business & International Division (LB&I) executives, including the IRS Industry Director for Natural Resources & Construction , the IRS Director for Field Specialists, the IRS Territory Manager for Natural Resources & Construction, the IRS Sr. Program Analyst for Natural Resources & Construction, the IRS Director (East) for Natural Resources & Construction, former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, former Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN), former Senior Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee Dean Zerbe and top alliantgroup CPA partners. The purpose of this meeting was to begin a dialogue between CPAs and LB&I concerning the issues that most affect small and medium sized businesses. 

The IRS Industry Director for Natural Resources & Construction (Houston) stated “I wish to thank alliantgroup for setting up this roundtable discussion with their premier CPA firms. We look forward to building a relationship with these CPA firms ...” During the ensuing interactive four-hour roundtable discussion, the IRS clearly stated that they were looking to put a renewed emphasis on “Service”.

Participants in the Discussion:
IRS Participants:
LB&I Executive (Industry Director, Natural Resources & Construction)
LB&I Executive (Director, Field Specialists)
LB&I Executive (Territory Manager, Natural Resources & Construction)
LB&I Executive (Sr. Program Analyst, Natural Resources & Construction)
LB&I Executive (Director, East, Natural Resources & Construction)

alliantgroup Guests:
Barry Resnick (The Resnick Druckman Group LLC)
Candy T. Graham  (Alerding & Co LLC)
Chris J. Loughran (Perkins & Co PC)
David Donnelly (Gainer Donnelly & Desroches LLP)
Denise Dolin (K.B. Parrish & Co. LLP)
Doug Mayr (Cohen & Company)
Ellis Roussel (LeGlue & Company CPAs)
Gil Greene (Gumbiner Savett, Inc)
Jeff Resnick (The Resnick Druckman Group LLC)
Jim Schmidt (Schmidt Westergard & Co., PLLC CPAs & Business Advisors)
Ken Jones (BerryDunn)
Kevin H. Begley (Decosimo, CPA)
Mark F. Schroeder (Fenner, Melstrom & Dooling LLP)
Norm Kellerman (FGMK, LLC)
Randy Markowitz (FGMK, LLC)
Richard J. Greene (Reznick Group)
Robert Corbin (Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corporation)
Robin M. Stoner (Echelbarger, Himebaugh, Tamm & Co., P.C.)
Ron H. Larrow (Simione Macca & Larrow, LLP)
Russ Bradshaw (Child, Van Wagoner & Bradshaw)
Scott Swanholm (Eide Bailly LLP)

alliantgroup Participants:
Dhaval Jadav (CEO, alliantgroup)
Shane Frank (President/COO, alliantgroup)
Sonny Grover (EVP, alliantgroup)
Jeremy Fingeret (Managing Director of Operations, alliantgroup)
Mark Everson (Vice Chairman, alliantgroup; former IRS Commissioner)
Jim Ramstad (Senior Advisor, alliantgroup; former Congressman (R-MN))
Dean Zerbe (National Managing Director, alliantgroup)
Lynn Hedlund (National Managing Director, alliantgroup)
Kevin Corley (Sr. Managing Director, alliantgroup)
Michael Siegel (Managing Director, alliantgroup)
David Ji (Managing Director, alliantgroup)
Brad Mols (Managing Director, alliantgroup)
Steffanie Gunn (National Director of CPA Relations, alliantgroup)
Greg Knarr (Director, alliantgroup)
Estefania Quesnel (Director, alliantgroup)
Debbie Huang (Director, alliantgroup)
Brian Aumueller (Director, alliantgroup)
Andy Gerstenhaber (Director, alliantgroup)

IRS Roundtable Discussion
LB&I officials cited two problems in particular:  a need for overall IRS process improvements; and second, evolving taxpayer expectations associated with the mid-market audit process. LB&I officials noted that there is a proactive desire to improve process and personnel by looking for systemic changes and issues.

Current IRS Goals:
“We want to reduce the audit cycle time to 12-18 months in order to make the process more current.”
- LB&I Executive

“As a way to decrease the cycle, the IRS needs taxpayers to have a quicker response rate to an Information Document Request (IDR).”
- LB&I Executive

“We also need to evaluate the quality of our issues and address them with strategic importance.”
- LB&I Executive

“We would like to emphasize that we want taxpayers and IRS employees to resolve matters, when possible, prior to appeals and we encourage CPAs to raise issues up through the IRS management chain, Manager to Territory Manager for example, for consideration before going to appeals.”
- LB&I Executive

Expediting the Audit Process:
“The Compliance Assurance Process (CAP) allows a client to pre-file and receive a risk assessment before actually submitting their returns. It also shortens the time between filing and completion.”
- LB&I Executive

“We find that Fast-Track Mediation is an expeditious means of resolving specific questions in an audit, because a mediator can be requested to take care of an issue quickly.”
- LB&I Executive

Washington Update
Former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, former Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and former Senior Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee Dean Zerbe, provided the CPA attendees a briefing on the latest tax news coming out of Washington.

“The reason I joined alliantgroup is because they perform a critical role in the tax administration system. alliantgroup's combination of engineers, software developers, scientists, lawyers and accountants provides for a unique process by which they can tease out information from clients which otherwise wouldn't be possible. alliantgroup conducts studies in a manner that the IRS wants to see.”
- Mark Everson, Former IRS Commissioner and Vice Chairman, alliantgroup

“Nothing immediate on the horizon in regards to tax reform. The President needs to show leadership and produce a detailed plan.”
- Dean Zerbe, National Managing Director, alliantgroup

“There is not enough follow-through in regards to measuring legislative success and statistics.
I have found that alliantgroup does more research on these matters than Congress.”
– Jim Ramstad, former Congressman (R-MN) and Senior Advisor, alliantgroup

alliantgroup Industry Specialization Overview
Several members of alliantgroup's Industry Specialization Teams dedicated to Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Software, Manufacturing, Electronics and Tax Controversy Services, discussed recent trends in these industries and the applicability of the R&D credit to activities in these industries.
“There is a reality you cannot see when you look at numbers and talk to clients on the phone.  When visiting a plastic injection molding company, the controller answered the front door and showed me through a hallway of empty offices. I proceeded to take a tour through a half vacant manufacturing facility. Quickly, I found my purpose in helping my client survive the horrific downturn that has decimated the automotive industry. As a result of our work we have identified over $1.8M in credits that will help them rebuild in these difficult times.”
– Walter Marvin, Manufacturing Team Director, alliantgroup

“Having worked in Tax Controversy Services (TCS), I've seen firsthand how our work allows our clients to keep their doors open. We visited a company with a spacious office and the President noted that if they did not win the audit they would have a lot more empty space (implying that many employees would lose their jobs). By sustaining 94% of the credit, alliantgroup was able to help that company save jobs.”
– Thomas Folsom, Director of Quality Control, alliantgroup

“In the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, we're seeing an increase in contractors qualifying for the R&D credit by simply increasing technical staff and conducting BIM modeling.”
– AEC Team Director, alliantgroup

“The benefits that clients receive from the credits and incentives I assist them in claiming, allows companies to create innovative products that the general public enjoys.”
– Rizwan Virani, Electronics and Semi-Conductors Team Director, alliantgroup

“As a member of alliantgroup I have been able to help more companies than when I was actually a programmer doing programming work. The 300 studies I've already conducted have been both exciting and rewarding.”
– Angelique Garcia, Software Team Director, alliantgroup

In Summation
alliantgroup's goal is to strengthen the relationship between CPAs and their clients and the IRS, as well as provide a voice for them. It is alliantgroup's mission to bring these types of valuable discussions to our VIP CPAs across the country.”
– Dhaval Jadav, CEO, alliantgroup

Stay tuned for our next IRS roundtable discussion, August 1st & 2nd, in Northern California!