Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Ashley Hogsette, the chief legal officer for Synergi Partners, an incentive and tax credit consulting and processing company.
Hogsette specializes in federal and state tax credit programs, as well as disaster relief incentives, for employers across the US, and she helps clients interpret and understand legislation to maximize tax credit benefits. A graduate of both the Charleston School of Law, and New York University School of Law she served as outside counsel to Synergi Partners before joining as general counsel in 2020.
When she’s not enmeshed in legal matters, you might find Hogsette enjoying frozen coffee and watermelon Jolly Ranchers—but likely not at the same time—or watching “Power Rangers” with her 4-year-old son.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? I am the chief legal officer at Synergi Partners. As an in-house lawyer for a growing company, I tend to wear many hats. I not only help with contract negotiations but also help clients understand and interpret the complexities and intent of tax credit legislation. Also, due to numerous updates these types of legislation undergo, I frequently educate employees on changes in the laws. In the event of an audit, I work closely with clients to provide audit support. I get to be a part of our service delivery every step of the way, including getting to see and hear how much it helps clients and their employees. There is nothing like seeing the impact of the work you do.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Podcast. With two young children and a busy job, I don’t have as much time to read as I once did. So podcasts work well for me.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Tax credits and incentives—it’s in my DNA. I grew up with my father in the tax credit industry. He and his partners have operated multiple businesses in this space, so I’ve seen firsthand how tax incentives can help businesses and communities that have faced financial hardships. It is interesting to watch how tax credits and incentives can be used not only as a tool to boost local economies but also to aid employers through disasters such as Covid-19.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? “Power Rangers” ... with my 4-year-old son. He is at such a fun age where so many things are a new discovery for him. He brings me along on his adventures.
What college did you attend and what did you study? Clemson University, where I studied marketing. After graduation, I went on to Charleston School of Law, then to New York University School of Law, where I earned my LL.M. in taxation.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Coffee, but not just any coffee. There is an amazing little coffee shop in downtown Florence, S.C., that makes the best frozen coffee I have ever had.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? “Hustle—anyone can be slow,” and “Don’t try to boil the ocean.” It’s pretty easy to get consumed the intricacies of tax law. It taught me to know the breadth and depth of my material but focus on the major issues for each project. That still works with every piece of legislation and tax credit and incentive program. I break things down to inspect, analyze, and interpret each item.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? I was accepted into the Savannah College of Art and Design at the same time I got into law. Initially, I was a bit torn between studying law or pursuing a career in graphic design. But now, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else besides this job. It’s thrilling to work side-by-side with the professionals at Synergi, in an industry that I love, that provides enormous benefits to businesses and individuals.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world - an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever - what would it be? It’s a small one but one with a huge impact. I would add back Q4 2021 of the CARES Act Employee Retention Credit. Many employers were relying on this credit to recover from the negative impacts of Covid-19, and there were major impacts in Q4.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? Watermelon Jolly Ranchers.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? The CARES Act Employee Retention Tax Credit, which was designed to aid employers impacted by the pandemic. We receive thank you notes and messages from clients all the time telling us the impact this credit has made on their business. They are so grateful.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? It may not be the most exciting answer, but I would add some to my emergency savings account and invest the rest in my children’s education fund.
You can find out more about Hogsette on LinkedIn.
You can learn more about Hogsette’s company, Synergi Partners, on its website.
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