Over two hundred years ago, Thomas Jefferson observed that “a little rebellion every now and then is a good thing.” Well, there are rebellions and then there are rebellions. The recent 2016 presidential election arguably belongs in that second category, with its pushed envelopes, destroyed conventions, and overturned expectations about how campaigns are or will be conducted. The hows and whys will (or at least should) be left to the so-called experts, including pundits, academics, and conspiracy theorists.
That said, this “little rebellion” presents TEI with significant opportunities to serve its members, some obvious and others somewhat less so.
Most specifically, the prospect for some measure of tax reform has moved from remote to likely or even highly likely, if for no other reason than that all three arenas of the legislative process are party-aligned for now, and signals have been sent supporting some form of tax-focused legislation. While most of the details regarding scope and content are missing, the winds are certainly blowing in the direction of tax-specific legislation.
These developments have energized TEI’s Tax Reform Task Force, which has mobilized a series of industry-specific “SWAT” teams to evaluate tax legislation proposals as they emerge. This strategy is designed to ensure that TEI’s members, across all industries, have a forum through which to understand how tax proposals may affect them (and their industry group) as well as the effects those proposals might have on their peers and others. What we expect to emerge from these efforts is a detailed listing of issues that can inform member action and collective TEI action. Moreover, these analyses will likely bring to the surface important issues in tax administration, compliance, and documentation, points that we expect would serve as the basis for written submissions, direct contact, and discussion with legislators and their staffs.
Tax Reform Task Force
Sustained and broad-based member involvement in the Tax Reform Task Force’s work will help define its success. The outpouring of interest has been excellent—but we always welcome more involvement. So, please reach out to John Mann, Task Force chair, or John Schoenecker, legal staff liaison, to get involved.
The prospect of tax reform has broad implications for TEI members worldwide. In particular, events in the United States will influence the activities of global tax authorities, whose actions our members must be able to understand and, as appropriate, act upon or react to. The potential implications of U.S. tax legislative actions should not be underestimated. As a broad-based, member-driven association, we are obligated to provide our members with clear insights that address the question, “What does it mean for me?” Here, TEI’s rich record of providing top-quality education will be put to the test. In particular, we must emphasize how our institutions enact legislation. The details—and there are plenty of them—matter. What does “reconciliation” mean? Is there a difference if a measure gets fifty-one or sixty votes in the U.S. Senate? These details and many others will become part of your expanded tax lexicon. And TEI will be there with you at each stage. Our educational programming for 2017, starting with the Midyear Conference, will emphasize tax policy and process, from all points of view, including those of legislators, regulators, and practitioners from around the world. The terms “at home” and “abroad” mean different things to different people. We want to ensure that you will be able to find in our educational programming your lens, one that will provide you with the most accurate line of sight for understanding and processing these developments.
Stewards of Tax Administration
As stewards of our systems of tax administration, all TEI members have an affirmative duty to make our systems of taxation and tax governance work. That’s what democracy is all about. And that’s what TEI is all about. TEI provides you with unique platforms to get and stay connected, share your knowledge and insight, and have your voice heard on issues that may affect you and the department and company you serve.
Use this “little rebellion” as the impetus to get better connected with your industry peers, your chapter, and TEI in general.
TEI International President