D.C. Bar Taxation Section Annual Report 2013-2014

In General
The Taxation Section has 1,820 members (FY 2012-2013) and operates primarily through its ten Committees: Corporation Tax; Employee Benefits; Estate Planning, Exempt Organizations; Financial Products; International Tax; New Tax Practitioners; Pass-Throughs and Real Estate; State and Local Taxes; and Tax Audits and Litigation. The Steering Committee meets on a monthly basis. The Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs of all Committees attend every other Steering Committee meeting.
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Committee Activities
Consistent with past years, each Taxation Section Committee has continued to sponsor timely and informative educational programs for its respective membership. Each Committee has between 5 and 9 scheduled meetings each year. In total, the Taxation Section Committees expect to host approximately 62 luncheon programs during the 2013-2014 year on matters of current interest to tax practitioners. In addition, special luncheon programs may be scheduled to address important new developments.

The featured speakers at the programs are typically high-level government officials responsible for formulating federal and local tax policy.  For that reason, the Section’s programs are regularly covered in the national tax press. Special admission rates are available for luncheon series subscribers in every category (e.g., non-Section members, Section members), for Government and non-profit employees, and for law students. To increase participation by government attorneys, the Taxation Section also has a no-charge “brown bag” option for government employees. This affords our members greater access to government attorneys and policy makers. 

To assist our Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs in providing the best service to their members, the Steering Committee has developed a list of “Best Practices” that Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs are asked to adopt. For example, all Committee Chairs are asked to make early program decisions, have written handouts prepared for each program, write thank-you letters or emails to speakers, give caveats if needed for government speakers, alert the tax press of important programs, and distribute flyers of upcoming events. In addition, Committee Chairs are asked to maintain separate email lists for their respective committee members so that program information can be sent to all committee members on an expedited basis as necessary. This list is reviewed and updated as necessary.

An important committee of the Taxation Section is our New Practitioners Committee. Last year, the New Practitioners Committee, as it had for several years, partnered with other substantive tax committees to sponsor “back-to-basic” programs that focused on the basic rules of the particular tax specialty. 

The section held a lunch on July 24, 2013 at which Erik Corwin, Deputy Chief Counsel-Technical, with the Internal Revenue Service was the featured speaker. He is responsible for overseeing the published guidance program at the IRS, which is carried out by approximately 600 Counsel attorneys working with the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy. The program was designed to appeal to tax practitioners generally and was a nice event for summer associates interested in tax. It was very well attended.

The Steering Committee is currently developing plans for an event to take place in the summer of 2014 honoring Thomas Barthold of the Joint Committee on Taxation in connection with a series of panels presenting information about the Tax Reform Act of 2014 Discussion Draft. We believe this event will benefit existing Section members and attract new members to the Section.
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CLE and Special Activities
The Taxation Section held one CLE and we continue to co-sponsor a number of regularly recurring CLE classes with other sections, and throughout the year we co-sponsor various non-Taxation Section programs that might be relevant to our members’ practices in order to broaden the types of programs made available to our members.
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Community Outreach
The Taxation Section has an active community outreach component. As an ongoing activity, we help staff the Pro Bono Program’s monthly Advice and Referral Clinic with a tax lawyer. Our Section will participate as a co-sponsor of the annual Youth Law Fair in the spring, and also supports the Community Economic Development Project of the Bar.
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