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Week in Insights: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Before Times

June 12, 2022, 2:00 PM

Last week, you couldn’t click through Twitter without seeing #Engage22—the hashtag for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) hybrid event in Las Vegas. I don’t know about you, but I was happy to see it. It felt… normal.

It was on the heels of other conferences in May, like Avalara’s CRUSH Global, which took place virtually, and the American Bar Association Tax Section Meeting in Washington, D.C. My colleague, Rebecca Baker, made an appearance at the ABA May meeting and will be headed to the Latino Tax Fest in Las Vegas next month.

As for me? I’m lining up some speaking engagements for fall—so far, it looks like I’m off to Bogota, Colombia, and Salt Lake City, Utah—but not before I host a Fireside Chat with Jarod Koopman, Acting Executive Director, Cyber and Forensic Services, IRS—Criminal Investigation, at the Bloomberg Tax Leadership Forum, a virtual and live event—you can register here.

Whether they are virtual, hybrid, or in-person, legal, tax, and accounting conferences are definitely back. And I get that you might be a bit rusty. When I was at the AICPA conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, I struggled a little bit with etiquette. Could I still shake hands? Was it rude to sit a space or two over from my colleagues? Should I keep my vaccination card in my pocket just in case?

There’s a lot to sort out. But some conference tips are universal—pandemic or not.

Have a plan. While it can be fun to live in the moment, it’s best to plan ahead to get the best out of a conference. Most conferences will make the schedule and speaker list available in advance on their website or app. I like to go through and note the ones I don’t want to miss so that I can plan around them.

Business people having a refreshment break at a conference.
Getty Images

Meet people. When I’m not listening to speakers, I make a point to check out vendor halls and hang out by the coffee pot—not just because I love coffee (and you know that I do) but also so I can squeeze in some quick hellos. And don’t forget the lounges—they offer a place to plug in and check email, and you can also have some great conversations.

Stand out. It’s so easy to sit in the back of the room and not be noticed, but that’s not the point of a conference. If you’re not great at small talk or find it difficult to approach others, do something to stand out so that folks come to you. Wear the fun glasses or don some company swag. Display the Wi-Fi password prominently next to you at the table. One of my friends used to bring along a power strip and sit near the outlet, making her one of the most popular folks in the room.

Bring your business cards. I know we live in a (mostly) digital world, but there is still value in having a business card to hand out. It can be hard to remember all of those names, titles, and companies—relying on a business card to keep that information handy means you can spend more time listening and having a great conversation.

It’s possible that you’re not ready to get back out there just yet. That’s fair, and there are some great virtual and hybrid opportunities available to help you stay on top of your game from the comfort of your office. I would encourage you to seek them out.

And, of course, you can also lean on the great resources at your fingertips. At Bloomberg Tax, we help you stay informed with great commentary and insightful analysis on federal, state, and international tax issues—all with the click of a mouse. And if you’re up for some virtual networking, say hello on social media, including our dedicated LinkedIn group—let us know how we can help.

The Exchange… It’s where great ideas intersect.
—Kelly Phillips Erb

Quick Numbers Trivia

Business travel dropped considerably due to the pandemic and has not yet recovered. Last year, business travel made up what percentage of spending compared to 2019?
Answer at the bottom.

Our Roundup

Our experts touched on a wide range of tax topics, from defamation damages to NFTs. For a look at what’s making news, here’s our roundup.

Global Economies

Alice Pearson of Mercer & Hole looks at the role of the “non-dom” preferential tax system internationally and considers the future of this regime in the UK as it comes under increasing scrutiny.

Sanjay Sanghvi and Raghav Kumar Bajaj of Khaitan & Co. consider a recent significant ruling by the Indian Income Tax Appellate Tribunal on whether the requirement of “beneficial ownership” can be read into a tax treaty.

Federal Issues

A lot of decisions need to be made when considering the proper tax structure for the purchase of a company. Still, it all comes down to whether the buyer wants to purchase assets or buy stock and forgo the step-up tax basis advantage. The Section 338(h)(10) election gives the buyer the potential to have it both ways and still achieve that advantage, says Porte Brown’s Mark Gallegos.

The recent defamation lawsuits between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have garnered a great deal of attention. In light of that attention, it’s worth looking at the tax implications of judgments and settlements in these and other defamation cases, says Lewis Taub of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and CPAs.

State and Local Tax

The State Unemployment Tax Act, or SUTA, is in the spotlight. As unemployment rates increased in 2020, state funds for unemployment insurance did the opposite. Now, replenishing those funds will partially come from higher employer payroll taxes for many states, says Paycom’s Craig Boelte.

The retroactive nature of Virginia’s and Colorado’s pass-through entity elections leaves unanswered questions and creates unique challenges concerning future years, say Williams Mullen’s Stephanie Lipinski Galland and Kyle Wingfield.

Tech

Accounting, finance, and tax teams holding the key to the data businesses need to not only operate in our digital economy but thrive in it, says Avalara’s Liz Armbruester.

Aleksandra Bal of Stripe looks at the value-added tax treatment of non-fungible tokens and hopes for much-needed clarity from legislators and tax authorities.

Some forms of crypto are likely outside the scope of US taxation. But US federal estate or gift tax may apply to certain types of cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance products owned by non-US persons, says Moses & Singer’s George McCormick.

Commentary

In May, Connecticut followed Minnesota and Louisiana in passing a stillbirth tax credit. But a federal stillbirth tax credit would create a much easier pathway for states to provide this needed respite to families experiencing loss, says Brittney Crystal, founder of the Iris Fund.

Congress must perform its basic constitutional duty and fund the government on time to ensure the IRS can keep moving forward with agency modernization plans. One-off initiatives like mandating 2-D scanning will not bring the IRS into the 21st century, says Professional Managers Association Executive Director Chad Hooper.

Learning accounting concepts for the first time can be hard and overwhelming, but it won’t be a first time forever, says Martha Yasso of Yasso Bookkeeping Solutions.

A Closer Look

While the breadth and depth of how and if companies embrace ESG varies significantly by industry and company, many companies are moving toward more sustainable business practices. Given this change, companies need to reevaluate the value drivers of their business to determine if they need to modify their transfer pricing policies, say KPMG’s Jessie Coleman and Jack O’Meara in this edition of “A Closer Look.”

Columnists

Freelance work remains appealing for many Americans since it offers a combination of income and flexibility. If you’re a member of the growing gig economy, here’s what you need to know about taxes.

Reader Responses

At The Exchange, we welcome responses from our readers, and encourage diversity and civil discussion. We are especially interested in responses that add to the conversation, or introduce a different point of view. If you have a response to one of our published Insights, we’d love to hear from you.

Listen In

One of the hottest issues in the corporate-tax world is when multinational companies can use the taxes they pay in foreign countries to defray their US tax bills. Last December, the Treasury Department tightened US foreign tax credit rules, narrowing the range of taxes that qualify.

On this episode of Talking Tax, Bloomberg Tax Senior Reporter Michael Rapoport discusses the dispute over the foreign tax credit rules with Rafic Barrage, a partner in the North America Tax Practice Group at Baker & McKenzie LLP in Washington.

Student Writing Competition

Do you have an original take on current events and tax practice and policy issues—but you’re not yet a tax professional? Our second annual tax writing competition is the perfect opportunity to show off your work: The competition is intended to highlight the very best of student writing. Our deadline has been extended to June 30, 2022.

Get Caught Up

It’s been a busy week in tax news from state capitals to D.C. Here are some of the stories you might have missed from our Bloomberg Tax news team. 

*Note: Your Bloomberg Tax login will be required to access Tax News.

Spotlight

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s focus is on attorney Duane Pinnock, a shareholder in the tax group of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Career Moves

Polsinelli has added tax credit finance attorney Jerome Garciano as a shareholder in the Boston office, joining the tax credit, real estate, and real estate finance practices.

Tax risk management specialist Sam Dean has joined Grant Thornton UK LLP as an associate director in the London office.

Jeremy Arnold has joined Charles Russell Speechlys as senior counsel within the tax trusts and succession group in London.

If you are changing jobs or being promoted, let us know. You can email your submission to TaxMoves@bloombergindustry.com for consideration.

Upcoming

Do you want to start an internship program at your firm but don’t know where to start? Do you have an internship program where you work but want to improve it? Or are you a student who wants to know what to look for in a great tax internship?

Join Bloomberg Tax Insights on June 29 from Noon to 1 p.m. for “How to Get the Most Out of an Internship Program,” as part of our monthly virtual Lunch & Learn series.

We’re bringing a hiring executive from Ernst & Young and two recent law school graduates whose tax internships led them to full-time job offers at prestigious firms. You can learn more here.

Quick Numbers Answer

According to US Travel Association, business travel spending was just 41% of 2019 levels in 2021.

Be Social

Follow Bloomberg Tax on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn—and check out Bloomberg Law on TikTok.

We also have a growing LinkedIn group where our authors, contributors, and readers can share tax-related stories and exchange ideas. We hope you’ll join the conversation!

What Did You Think?

Your feedback and suggestions are important to us, so don’t hesitate to reach out on social or email me directly at kerb@bloombergindustry.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Phillips Erb in Washington at kerb@bloombergindustry.com