Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Cody S. Rogers, a partner at Stinson, LLP, in the firm’s real estate and public finance group in Washington. He focuses on impact investment and community development projects throughout the country with particular experience in new markets tax credit, or NMTC, and historic tax credit, or HTC, transactions.
Rogers was born and raised in Utah and made his way to Washington, initially as an intern for a U.S. senator while completing his undergraduate degree. After graduation, he returned to the East Coast for law school at the University of Virginia, and during that time, he clerked for a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission. Since graduating from law school, his practice has focused on impact investment projects in low-income communities.
What’s your official title, and what does it mean? I am a partner at the law firm Stinson LLP. I am a brand new partner, so I am learning what it means to be a partner. Having said that, to me, it’s a recognition of the faith and confidence that Stinson has in my abilities as an attorney. This is not just about my legal skills but also my ability to represent the values that the firm stands for.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? I am starting a book by a dear friend titled “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America” which explores how fast food played a role in generating Black wealth in America.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Tax is huge, and I like to think of myself as a community development or impact investment lawyer because tax law does not quite capture my practice. More specifically, I focus on the NMTC program found in Section 45D of the Code. I also have experience with federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, or HTCs.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? I loved the recent adaptation of Dune, and we’ve been binge-watching (as much as you can with a newborn) Westworld. I also love to listen to podcasts while I run. A few favorites include the Office Ladies podcast, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, and Up First.
What college did you attend, and what did you study? My undergraduate degree is from the University of Utah, where I majored in Political Science with a minor in Campaign Management. I earned my J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Neither. I am usually just a water drinker, but I do have my favorite sparkling water brands.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? Know your worth. If you are not being valued by the company you work for, then work towards finding a place that values you. Sometimes that means gaining new skills. Sometimes that means being brave and taking a leap into the unknown. But you must be your own best advocate.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? I would love to run political campaigns as a campaign manager, or be a speechwriter.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? Make the NMTC permanent and increase the total NMTC allocated each year to $5 billion adjusted for inflation.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? I have a really bad sweet tooth, so I try to keep myself away from candy, but I have a weakness for jelly nougats. Luckily, they’re not readily available, so I’m able to avoid them for the most part. I also like to joke that I run so that I can eat ice cream. On top of all that, my mom still sends me care packages that are usually filled with some goodies (even home-baked ones!), and no matter what anyone says, you are never too old for care packages from your mom.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? I feel like the elephant in the room across industries is the Covid-19 pandemic and trying to determine how to manage the virus’s risks. More specifically, the New Markets Tax Credit industry has been focused over the past year on proposals in Congress that are included with many of the versions of the Build Back Better bill that would make the NMTC permanent.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Make sure there was no mistake and that it was a legitimate tax refund.
You can find out more about Rogers’ firm, Stinson, LLP on their website.
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