Mark Everson (former IRS Commissioner) and Dean Zerbe (former Sr. Counsel and Tax Counsel on the Senate Finance Committee) recently met with CPAs and CEOs both privately and in general sessions in Los Angeles and Orange County, respectively.
More than 100 attendees in Orange County and approximately 50 in L.A. came out to meet with Mark Everson and Dean Zerbe by special invitation. They had the opportunity to ask the questions they and their clients wanted to hear answered by those who know the tax system intimately, from both the policy/legislative (Zerbe) and administrative/enforcement (Everson) perspectives.
In addition to the CPA firms and business owners in attendance, alliantgroup senior management were on hand to meet with attendees, many of whom were interested in setting up appointments for further discussions with Everson or Zerbe, and to learn more about some of the government-sponsored tax incentives that both men insist the government wants eligible taxpayers to utilize.
A Few Highlights of Mark and Dean's Message
A few of the issues addressed in Mark and Dean's presentations and in the private sessions were health care reform, the estate tax, the AMT, FIN 48, carried interest, and the implications of the recent Massachusetts Senate election. Mark also spoke for a few minutes about why he became affiliated with alliantgroup and the reasons why alliantgroup is so successful at assisting CPAs and their clients.
- There is no reason to expect a letup in the increasing complexity of income tax law. The reason: politics. A change to a more simple tax code will only happen as the result of pressure from a strong President who is committed to such change.
- Do not expect a radical change to the AMT. The tax is not understood by the majority of taxpayers, who are more focused on the "regular" tax.
- The "staggering" federal budget numbers will make health care reform more difficult to pass. While the current health bill is as good as dead, some features of the bill will probably be enacted.
- A new jobs bill will be the priority, rather than health care. Such a bill will include tax credits and some form of payroll tax break for hiring new employees.
- The IRS is in revenue-generating mode, and there will be a general increase in the number of IRS audits across the country. The audits will be more targeted, as the IRS tries to generate more dollar assessments per audit.
- Changes to FIN 48 will likely impact the relationship between the practitioner and the client, requiring practitioners to take on a greater role in overseeing the financial statements of private companies.
The Reaction of Attendees
A number of attendees told alliantgroup representatives that the information provided by Mark and Dean, and they way they interacted with both each other an attendees, left them wanting more – they could have “stayed for hours,” they said.
“Having the opportunity to hear from and speak to two top tax authorities is not something that mid-size accounting firms are usually able to coordinate. alliantgroup gave us the opportunity to speak directly with the most recent IRS commissioner and former Sr. Counsel of the Senate Finance Committee. Hearing what happens on the inside provides a tax planning prospective that cannot be achieved easily. How those in Washington think was made very clear. It brought the real world of tax legislation and compliance right to our doorstep. Just let us know when you will be having your next event and we will be there.”
Michael D. Milam, CPA, CVA
Milam, Knecht & Warner, LLP
“I am glad I joined you, Mark, Dean and everyone else for lunch today. Mark is the kind of guy I think everyone in the room can relate to, and Dean was informative and entertaining as always. Most impressive. Keep up the good work.”
Belden Hutchison & Co., LLP
Advancing The Dialogue
alliantgroup, LP sponsored this event as part of our ongoing commitment to serve as a sounding board and the “voice” of CPA firms and small-to-medium businesses throughout the country. Information gleaned from this session will be used to reach out to policy makers on the Hill and at Treasury (and IRS) so that the voice of alliantgroup's key constituents, CPA firms and the businesses that they serve, will be heard at the highest levels of government. Traditionally, at the Congressional level and at the upper echelons of government, only the voices of the Fortune 1000 and their Big 4 advisors are heard. This is not the case anymore, as alliantgroup has over the past year become more vocal as to its constituents' needs – and Congress and others are listening!