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Week in Insights: The Differences Are What Make Us Better

Jan. 22, 2023, 3:00 PM

A few months ago, my book club was discussing novels we’d read in the past that had made an impact on us in some way. We each listed seven books, and of the 10 or so in attendance, three of us mentioned “The Giver.” The conversation inspired me to reread Lois Lowry’s award-winning YA novel for the first time since childhood.

Jonas, the book’s protagonist, has grown up in a world with no music, no variations in temperature, and not even any color. There’s no such thing as difference or choice in this world—because, you see, differences and choices can create danger.

When Jonas first sees what we know to be color in the flickering “change” of an apple, he can’t quite figure out what has happened. I won’t spoil the rest of the novel for those who haven’t yet read it, but the book, though geared toward young adults, teaches a poignant lesson to people of all ages. A world of sameness may be safe and orderly, but it lacks most of what makes us human, including the most crucial element: the ability to feel.

Jonas, the protagonist in “The Giver,” first notices color in the flickering “change” of an apple.
Photographer: Stock photo via Getty Images

In the book’s afterword, Lowry saliently points out, “Each change, painful though some of them will be, will make us a little better than we were before.” Without a world that includes low points, how can you truly appreciate life’s joys?

At Bloomberg Tax, we like to celebrate the high points, as you can see in our career moves section. Our experts also represent all corners of the tax and accounting world, so “sameness” is never a problem. And they provide you with great commentary and insightful analysis on federal, state, and international tax issues—so we can all be “a little better than we were before.”

The Exchange… It’s where great ideas intersect.

—Melanie Cohen

Quick Trivia

Lois Lowry won Newbery Medals for two of her novels. “The Giver,” published in 1993, was one—what was the other?
Answer at the bottom.

Save the Date

Find out how you create and cultivate your own brand by joining Bloomberg Tax and Bloomberg Law Insights & Commentary teams on Jan. 25 from noon to 1 p.m. ET for “Personal and Professional Branding in Transition,” part of our free virtual Lunch & Learn series.

We’ll provide concrete tips and tools and address different scenarios, touch on potential pitfalls, and suggest areas to develop, particularly in sensitive, client-driven industries such as tax and law.

State Insights

Multistate tax guidance meant to address state nexus questions in the age of the internet has raised a slew of other questions about online activities that go beyond sales solicitation. Plante Moran’s Tony Israels, David Landwehr, and Jeanette Tolar discuss what businesses can do in the absence of state legislation or court rulings on the matter.

The Mayo Clinic won its bid for an $11.5 million tax refund after a court declared it to be an educational organization under the tax code. Attorney Richard L. Fox looks back at the twists and turns in Mayo Clinic v. US , a case that started nearly seven years ago.

With the future of digital advertising taxes in Maryland up in the air, state and local governments across the country will have to take into account some of the key aspects of the case as they look to tax digital advertising within their own jurisdictions, says Avalara’s Toby Bargar.

Federal Insights

Tax practitioners often disagree on whether to use the US Postal Service or a private delivery service to deliver forms to the IRS. The two options are more equitable than some would think, say Greenberg Glusker’s Zachary M. Nolan, Sally James, and Alexa Steinberg.

Fraudsters have had the benefit of underfunded tax authorities for years, but sophisticated tools such as advanced analytics processes and machine learning can make auditors and analysts more effective, efficient, and productive, says G2Lytics LLC’s Steven Purcell.

Global Insights

Amy Ling of Baker McKenzie and Tingting Guo of Baker McKenzie FenXun (FTZ) Joint Operation review recent developments in tax incentives and R&D policy, as well as efforts by the Chinese government to enhance transfer pricing administration, to attract investment.

In the fifth and final part of a series on the introduction of corporate tax in the United Arab Emirates, Parwin Dina of Global Tax Services highlights some of the key aspects of the recently issued law. (You can find the other articles in the series here, here, here, and here.)

Commentary

In the first of a two-part article, Oliver R. Hoor and Samantha Schmitz of ATOZ Tax Advisers argue that the European Commission’s initiative for a new framework for corporate taxation doesn’t make sense, particularly considering the transformation of the international and European tax landscape following the OECD base erosion and profit shifting project.

A Closer Look

State and local authorities recently have used decisions and enforcement to go beyond the language in tax statutes. In this edition of “A Closer Look,” Eversheds Sutherland’s Jeff Friedman and Liz Cha look at examples of these attempts to expand the tax base and the challenges faced by those who litigate such cases.

Columnists

Photo Illustration: Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Tax; Photos: Getty Images

Legal precedent management is an expensive business. Civil society organizations need funding—and a lot of it—specifically earmarked for this essential aspect of their tax justice and anticorruption work, says Don Griswold.

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.

Career Moves

Clifford Chance tax partner Philip Wagman has been appointed chair of the tax section of the New York State Bar Association for a one-year term, the firm said.

Gabriel Quevedo has joined Gunster Yoakley & Stuart as an associate in the tax law practice in the Tampa Bayshore, Fla., office, the firm said.

Rebecca Farley has been appointed to partner at UK-based Kitsons, the firm said Thursday.

William Noe has joined the property tax team at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Texas, the law firm said.

Big Law veteran Andrea Kramer, who spent 30 years at McDermott Will & Emery, is launching the ASKramer Law firm, a Chicago tax and regulatory boutique.

John Pindard has joined UK-based Ashfords as a tax partner, the firm said.

Fleur Benns, Sarah Lane, and Martin Luff have joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as partners in the London office, the firm said.

Osborne Clarke said it has appointed Miguel Lorán as co-managing partner of the firm in Spain, along with Jordi Casas.

Christina Leomy-Voigt and Andreas Medler, who both specialize in international and corporate tax, have been named as partners with ATOZ Tax Advisers, the tax advisory firm said, and Gilles Sturbois has been appointed to tax regulatory and reporting partner with ATOZ Services.

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

Visitors take photos on the steps that are covered in rainbow colors for Pride Month at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, June 14, 2019, in New York City.
Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Spotlight

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Lesley Adamo, a partner and vice chair of Lowenstein Sandler’s tax group in New York. In her spare time, you’ll likely find Adamo spending time with her two young children, attending her book club, watching “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” or drinking “lattes on repeat.”

News

It’s been another busy week in tax news from state capitals to Washington. Here are some stories you might have missed from our Bloomberg Tax news team.
*Note: Your Bloomberg Tax login will be required to access Tax News.

Wish List

What’s on our Bloomberg Tax Insights wish list right now? For January, we’re looking for pieces that deal with planning for the year. What should tax professionals be doing to get ready for tax season? How should they be preparing for the SEC’s annual release of Form 10-K reports? What trends should practitioners and their clients be aware of in 2023? How should they be handling the slew of year-end IRS guidance? We’re looking for thoughtful takes that will get tax professionals talking.

Our Insights articles—about 1,000 words—are written by tax professionals offering expert analysis on current tax practice and policy issues, tax trends and topics, and tax and accounting firm practice and management. If you have an interesting, never-published article for publication, we’d love to hear about it. You can contact our Insights team at TaxInsights@bloombergindustry.com.

Our Team

We talk about tax a lot. But there’s a lot more that you might hear us talking about if you popped into one of our Teams meetings. Here’s a quick look at what some of us are watching, reading, and listening to this week:

Watching:

  • Alison Lake (Team Lead, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Law): The Lebanese soap opera “Stiletto.” It reminds me of “Desperate Housewives” and is available on Shahid, a streaming service that shows media from North Africa and the Middle East.
  • Maria Menezes (Practice Lead, International Tax, Bloomberg Tax): “Break Point” on Netflix, a documentary following professional tennis players on the WTA and ATP tours. I’m an avid tennis player, so it’s really interesting to see the professionals do and don’t cope with the mental side of the game.=

Reading:

  • Melanie Cohen (Editor, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): “Your House Will Pay” by Steph Cha, a novel about Korean and Black tensions that came about during the L.A. riots in the early 1990s.
  • Rebecca Baker (Editor at Large, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): “The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act” by Isaac Butler, a deep dive into how the roots of modern acting stretch back to late 19th century Russia and how they developed in the US.

Listening:

  • Andrew Leahey (Columnist, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): I’ve been revisiting some old favorites, and the Weakerthans have been on heavy rotation. A Winnipeg-based indie rock band from the early ‘00s (and late ‘90s), their 2007 album “Reunion Tour” is nearly perfect. If you’re unfamiliar, start with the track “Sun in an Empty Room.”

Quick Trivia Answer

Lowry also won a Newbery Medal for “Number the Stars,” a Holocaust-era children’s novel published in 1989.

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What Did You Think?

Your feedback and suggestions are important to us, so don’t hesitate to email us directly at taxinsights@bloombergindustry.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melanie Cohen at mcohen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Baker at rbaker@bloombergindustry.com;