During this especially busy year, with Governor Granholm's Tax Loophole Closing Proposals on the state level and enactment of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 on the federal level, the Taxation Section Council has continued to focus on maintaining the broad range and high quality of education services and information made available to our members. In addition to the After-Hours Tax Law Series which consists of five educational seminars co-sponsored with ICLE, the two-day Summer Tax Conference, the Tax Court Luncheons, and the numerous presentations organized by our five committee chairs, the Tax Section has also looked to provide educational information to its members through its tri-annual publication, the Michigan Tax Lawyer and use of its website and list serve. The Tax Section also cosponsored with the Business Law Section an ICLE Seminar on the 2003 federal tax act. None of this would be possible without the commitment of the section's council members and committee chairs, whose activities for the past year are described below, and for the many section members who have spoken at seminars, contributed articles, or otherwise participated in these activities.
After-Hours Tax Law Series
(Shirley A. Kaigler, chair)
The After-Hours Tax Law Series consists of a series of seminars on tax-related topics. All presentations are made at the MSU Education Center in Troy, Michigan, in the late afternoon. In addition to Shirley who has the responsibility of planning the series for the upcoming 2003-2004 fiscal year, I would like to thank Aaron H. Sherbin who planned the series for the 2002-2003 fiscal year as well as all of the speakers who contributed both their time and talent to preparing outlines and delivering the presentations.
(Jay Kennedy, chair)
The section's Annual Meeting is scheduled to be held in Lansing on September 12, 2003, in connection with the State Bar of Michigan's Annual Meeting. On that date the section will hold its last regular council meeting for this fiscal year and its annual business meeting. Those meetings will be followed by a Michigan Tax Legislation Update presentation by State Senator Nancy D. Cassis, chair of the Michigan Senate Finance Committee.
Commissioner's Advisory Groups
James H. Novis and Jay Kennedy, chairs)
With the 2002 departure of June Summers Haas from the position of the Commissioner of Revenue for the State of Michigan, followed by Public Act 657 of 2002, which amended the Revenue Act to eliminate the Revenue Division and the Revenue Commissioner position and transferred all of their responsibilities to the Department of Treasury, the Business Tax and Individual Tax Commissioner's Advisory Groups have ceased to exist. Those groups, to which Jim Novis and Jay Kennedy were our representatives, had provided a useful vehicle for individuals from the Michigan Department of Treasury and the private sector to work together to achieve common goals for the benefit of the people of Michigan. We encourage and look forward to the future formation and utilization of similar groups by the Michigan Department of Treasury under the administration of our new State Treasurer, Jay B. Rising.
(Michael O. Love, chair)
Michael Love has been working with the State Bar to update and improve the content of our section's website. The website can be accessed either through the state Bar website at www.michbar.org or directly at www.michigantax.org and contains regularly updated information regarding section activities.
(Thomas J. Kenny, chair)
The goal of the legislative committee is to insure that information concerning new tax-related laws is disseminated to our members through our committee chairsor directly through e-mail or on our website.
Membership and Outreach Coordinator
(Steven Z. Ettinger, chair)
The Taxation Section has been working diligently to both increase its membership and attract a more diverse group of individuals. This includes speaking before law school students in our state for purposes of describing the section's activities to future tax attorneys and encouraging their participation in the various activities of the Taxation Section.
(Trevor T. Wetherington, chair)
Every other year, the Taxation Section publishes a directory containing a list of all of our members, as well as providing information on individuals or groups within the IRS and the Michigan Department of Treasury. Trevor T. Wetherington is responsible for the preparation of the 2003 directory which will for the first time be in electronic format. Distribution of the 2003 directory is planned for later this year.
Michigan Bar Journal Liaison
(Thomas J. Kenny, chair)
Approximately, every two or three years, the Taxation Section contributes a group of tax articles for an issue of the Michigan Bar Journal dedicated to the subject of taxation. The last such issue was published in June of 2001. Thomas J. Kenny has been working with the State Bar with regard to a future tax law themed issue, which is tentatively scheduled for September of 2004.
Michigan Tax Lawyer
(David B. Deutsch, chair)
The Michigan Tax Lawyer is published three times a year. Each issue contains articles dealing with substantive tax law, as well as special features of interest to tax practitioners and information concerning Taxation Section activities. The editor's job is very demanding and involves the coordination and editing of all articles and materials submitted, as well as the publication, printing, and dissemination of approximately 1,800 copies per issue. This difficult undertaking has been handled this year by our editor, David B. Deutsch.
Summer Tax Conference
(Anthony J. Caputo, chair)
Our Sixteenth Annual Summer Tax Conference was held on June 27 and 28, 2003, at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, Michigan. Tony arranged an excellent group of national and local speakers to present topics covering partnerships, estate planning, business valuations, exempt organizations, as well as Michigan Tax and nationwide state tax developments. We thank all participants and attendees who, throughout the years, have made this a most enjoyable and worthwhile event. Henry P Lee has been working on organizing the Seventeenth Annual Summer Tax Conference which is presently scheduled to be held at the Soaring Eagle Resort in Mt. Pleasant during June of 2004.
Tax Court Luncheons
(Thomas J. Kenny, chair)
Whenever the Tax Court sits in Detroit and holds a regular calendar, our section hosts a luncheon in honor of the presiding judge. The luncheons are designed to provide practitioners with an opportunity to meet with members of the court, the IRS Counsel, and other representatives, as well as other members of the Tax Section in an informal setting.
Business Entities Committee
Ronald T. Charlebois, chair)
The Business Entities Committee provides information concerning planning and litigation involving corporations, partnerships, and limited liability entities. During the year Ron arranged programs with local practitioners, IRS and Michigan Department of Treasury Personnel on (1) tax planning for intellectual property and (2) personal liability of members and managers for unpaid limited liability company taxes.
Employee Benefits Committee
(Mary Jo Larson, chair)
Under Mary Jo's leadership, the Employee Benefits Committee has continued its history of being one of our most active sections and has continued to attract outstanding speakers to its well-attended meetings. During the year, prominent IRS personnel made presentations on (1) what's happening and what's new at IRS' Employee Plans and (2) insights on 403(b) and 457 plans. Local practitioners made presentations on the proposed IRS age discrimination regulations, HIPPA compliance and 401(k) safe-harbor plans. In addition the committee co-sponsored the ASPA/IRS 2002 Great Lakes Area Employee Benefits Conference held in Chicago.
Estates and Trusts
(George H. Runstadler III, chair)
George put together programs of interest to estate planning attorneys (who make up this traditionally strong and active committee) which consisted of presentations by practitioners and IRS Personnel on the topics of (1) asset protection planning and (2) federal estate and gift tax return audits with a focus on valuations and discounts.
Practice and Procedure
(Jess A. Bahs, chair)
The Practice and Procedure Committee provides information to its members on procedural aspects as well as substantive areas of law in connection with examination issues, collection matters, and tax litigation. Under Jess' direction, this committee has held joint programs with both of the Business Entities and Estate's and Trusts Committees and Jess coordinated our section's participation in an Internal Revenue Service Practitioner Liaison Meeting.
State and Local
(John M. Neberle, chair)
The State and Local Committee provides information concerning state tax law, procedure, and litigation. During the year John organized presentations by Wayne State University Professor Michael J. McIntyre on Michigan Business Taxation and the Looming State Deficit and by our new State Treasurer Jay B. Rising on Governor Granholm's Tax Loophole Closing Proposals.
Over the span of my eight years of service to the Taxation Section which has culminated with the chair position this year, it has been my pleasure to have met and worked with many dedicated, knowledgeable and hard working individuals who have generously shared of their time and talent for the betterment of the Taxation Section Council, section members and the taxpayers of the State of Michigan.