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The IRS Targets TTOs: Hot Spots for Tax Compliance and Audit Avoidance Strategies

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Originally presented: September 24, 2009

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In October 2008, the Internal Revenue Service put colleges and universities on notice that it is putting their finances, policies and practices, and revenue generating activities under a magnifying glass. The first step in this process was the lengthy compliance questionnaire in which about 400 universities were asked by the IRS to answer questions related to such financial matters as executive compensation, endowments, student demographics, and handling of “unrelated business income.”

For TTOs, how you structure and account for licensing revenues and start-up activity, according to many tax experts and IRS watchers, is likely to be a primary focus of future audit activity.

So far no information regarding the surveys has been released. But that doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels… Keep in mind:

***Universities are in the top 10 target areas on the 2009 IRS Work Plan***

Ensure tax guideline compliance and prepare your TTO for a possible audit by attending this crucial audioconference led by three top university tax attorneys: Sean P. Scally of Vanderbilt University, Lorrainne Sciarra from Princeton University and Bertrand M. Harding, Jr. an Alexandria, VA-based attorney and author of The Tax Law of Colleges and Universities (3rd ed.):

The IRS Targets TTOs: Hot Spots for Tax
Compliance and Audit Avoidance Strategies

During this critically important 90-minute session, your expert presenters will cover:

  • How to avoid adverse IRS determinations by putting recommended safeguards into place
  • Create and improve your policies and processes to achieve compliance related to:
    – Executive Compensation
    – Unrelated Business Income
    – Conflict of Interest Procedures
    – Charitable Spending
    – Gift giving
  • An overview of the basic rules in the executive compensation area
  • How the unrelated business income tax rules apply to TTOs
  • Plus, get your most challenging tax compliance questions answered during the interactive Q&A portion of the program.

Your Expert Presenters

Sean P. Scally came to Vanderbilt University’s Office of General Counsel in January, 1998, after spending six years as Assistant Attorney General, tax division, for the State of Tennessee. Mr. Scally served as Attorney-Advisor to the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C. from 1989 to 1992 and clerked for the Honorable William A. Goffe, senior judge for the Court. In addition to his duties at Vanderbilt, Mr. Scally is a member of the executive committee for the Nashville Area Research Network for the Chamber of Commerce, and a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) tax preparer for the Internal Revenue Service. He is also a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Lorraine Sciarra has over twenty-five years of experience in not-for-profit law and taxation. Within the context of a broad portfolio, she provides primary support to Princeton University’s Treasurer’s Office, as well as to the Provost and Human Resources regarding the structure and application of the University’s benefits plans. Prior to coming to Princeton in 1989, she was associated with the Washington, D.C. office of Morrison & Foerster, and also worked for and represented several not-for-profit organizations including Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts in San Francisco. She clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York. Ms. Sciarra is a former chair of the ABA’s Exempt Organizations Education Subcommittee.

Bertrand M. Harding, Jr. is a tax attorney who operates his own law firm in Alexandria, VA, specializing in tax issues facing colleges and universities. After graduating from George Washington University law school in 1975, he clerked for a Judge on the U.S. Tax Court. He joined the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie in 1977 and was elected to partner in 1984. He left Baker & McKenzie in 1996 to establish his own firm. Mr. Harding currently represents many public and private colleges and universities in connection with ongoing tax issues and has represented a number of schools in connection with IRS audits. He is the author of The Tax Law of Colleges and Universities (3d ed.), which is published by John Wiley & Sons, and he publishes a monthly newsletter that is subscribed to by over 150 colleges and universities. He is a frequent speaker at NACUA and NACUBO tax conferences.

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