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Deloitte Pre-Conference Tutorial (Full-Day)


Hotel / Venue Information


Brochure (PDF)


2018 Golf Event (Free to all Attendees)


2018 Taxation "Just Beachin" Party


About the Sponsors


CPE Information


For more information about the program agenda, contact Matthew Lucas by email: mlucas@telestrategies.com


For more information about exhibiting or sponsorship, please contact Jeanette Townsend (email) -- or by phone (703.622.3524).


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Adams CATV
Alianza
Altaworx
Amazon
American Tower
Assurant
AT&T
Avalara
Birch Communications
CenturyLink
Charter Communications
Comcast
Compliance Solutions
CoreLogic
Cox Enterprises
Crown Castle Fiber
Davis Wright Tremaine
DayStarr Communications
Deloitte Tax
Disney Financial Services
DXC Technology
Edgeconnex
Ernst & Young
Equivoice
Everglades Technologies
Eversheds Sutherland
Extenet Systems
Fletcher, Heald & Hilredth
Frontier Communications
Garmin International
GCI
General Motors Company
Global Data Systems
Global Strategic Accountants
Globalstar
Google
Grant McCarthy Group
Grant Thornton
Hargray Communications
Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis
Horwood Marcus & Berk
IDI Billing Solutions
IDT
Inteliquent
Intermountain Infrastructure
Keiter
Keller and Heckman
Kelley Drye & Warren
KPMG
Lammert & Davis
Locus Telecommunications
LogMeIn
Low Latency Communications
Marashlian & Donahue
Marwood Land Company
MBC
Mediacom Communications
MegaPath Cloud Company

MetTel
Microsoft
Midco
Missouri Telecom
Morrison & Foerster
NEC Corporation
Netflix
Network Innovations
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Onepath
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Pitney Bowes
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Ryan
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TaxConnex
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TELUS Communications
The Switch Enterprises
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TSI
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U.S. Cellular
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Uniti Group
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Testimonials

“Jim Nason was exceptional. His knowledge and communications skills made for a knowledgeable and thorough subject presentation. Great job!”
– Bonnie Boggs, Sierra Telephone



“I attend this program every year. There are always knowledgeable people with great information.”
–Rasheda Murphy, Powernet Global Communications



“After attending last year’s conference, I came away with information from one of the sessions which prompted a refund totaling over $4.2M”
– John Figueirdo, Verizon Wireless



“… exceeded my expectations. It seems to be becoming more informative and relevant to our job functions in this increasingly difficult time of doing more with less”
– John Dolan, Verizon



“Excellent content – well worth the time”
– John Boyles, Comcast



“Very valuable information.  Great speakers. Excellent networking!”
– Amy Karpf, Cavalier Telephone



“The speakers are top-notch.”
--Bill Thiemann, Centennial Communications



“Very good, very focused discussion.”
--Jay Goodrich, Verizon Wireless



“So much to learn!  The materials and speakers were very well organized.”
-- Amy Karpf, Talk America



“The most comprehensive telecom taxation conference available today.”
-- Joe Hartman, Radianz Americas



“A must attend conference for anyone in the telco tax world.”
-- Norene Hartug, Frontier Communications



“Excellent content yet again.  Well worth the time.”
-- John Boyles, Comcast



“This is a must attend for anyone in the field of telecommunications taxation.”
-- Terri Westover, Frontier Communications



“This is the number one conference to identify best practices in the telecom tax world.”
-- Roy Drukker, Fairpoint

 

Communications Taxation '18

Look who is attending! List of registered companies below.
If you are having trouble booking a room please contact Bernadette, (beaton@telestrategies.com) for help.

About TeleStrategies' Communications Taxation Conference (17.5 CPE Credits)

TeleStrategies' 20th annual Communications Taxation Conference brings together the nation's top tax professionals to address the challenging and complex domain of telecommunications taxation and compliance.

About the program: Communications Taxation provides comprehensive coverage of all aspects of telecom taxes, regulations and fees. The program typically attracts over 300 tax professionals from all sectors of the industry -- including wireline, mobile, cable, Internet, VoIP, enterprise services as well as emerging areas such as content, device manufactures, entertainment and cloud providers.

Why you should attend: Whether you are new to communications taxes and fees, or an industry veteran, the experts at Communications Taxation will show you how to lower your tax bill, improve compliance, streamline tax operations, pro actively prepare for audits, better defend your company's audit position, leverage case studies/precedent to lower liabilities, manage digital/cloud/content offerings, prepare for "what's next" and -- most importantly -- network with your industry peers to learn and share experiences.

Questions about the Program? Please feel free to contact me for any reason.

Sincerely,
Dr. Matthew Lucas, Program Chair
mlucas@telestrategies.com


Communications Taxation '18 - May 14-16, 2018

Pre-Conference Tutorial: Monday May 14, 2018 (8:30AM - 4PM)

Conference Sessions Day 1 -- Tue May 15, 2018 (8AM - 5PM)


CSI

Matthew Lucas -- TeleStrategies


The New Regulatory Shockwave from Taxes to Net Neutrality: What it Means for the Telecom Industry

The political landscape has changed at an unprecedented pace this year, with new initiatives throwing conventional operating models into flux. From tax reform to telecom/internet reform, communications companies are transforming and grappling with change. This panel will consider how these regulatory reforms hit you, including the impact on telecom services, partnerships, and technology investments; what federal tax reform means for telecoms now and into the future; and lastly, predict what shocks to our system are yet to come.

Brian Goldstein – Partner, PwC
Henry Kelly
– Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren
Alison Kutler
– Partner, PwC
Scott McCandless – Partner, PwC




Private Line - “Shades of Grey”

What makes a private line “private?" It isn't exactly clear. This session will decipher which services are classified private voice and data services, how an auditor would test this and how the FCC, State PUC and State DOR authorities have exercised authority over these services. The speakers will also consider if “private line” necessarily bears the same legal effect as “private carriage” under the recently clarified FCC position on “private” vs. “common” carrier services, as well as how the technologies used to carry the traffic affect the real world applications of these services.

Samantha MaqueoEVP, Professional and Corporate Services, Global Strategic Accountants
Jonathan Marashlian – Managing Partner, The CommLaw Group


What’s Next in Taxation?

Think back a few years, nobody would have predicted gigabit networks, self-driving cars, the domination of cloud services, virtual currency or the billions of IoT devices transforming industries. But, all of that - and more - is a reality today. This session will peek around the next corner of technology and help you make sense of the key innovations, technologies and shifting business models that are driving the communications industry forward, and address both the tactical and long-term impact on your tax department.

Joe Greco – Vice President, Transaction, Property and Regulatory, Verizon
Matthew Lucas – TeleStrategies
Jim Nason – Tax Managing Partner, Telecommunications, Deloitte Tax


Exemptions and Current Audit Findings

This session focuses on common exemption audit exceptions for Federal, State and Local certificates. The presenters will bring together perspectives from a CPA, a SME in telecommunications exemptions and a carrier to discuss reasons the FCC (USAC), State (DOR), and Local tax authorities commonly reject exemptions, as well as discuss their experience and approaches in defending their exemption positions from auditors.

Joe Solana – President- Global Strategic Accountants
Zach LaHood – Treasury and Audit Manager, Global Strategic Accountants
Julie Oost – VP Regulatory Affairs and Contracts, Peerless Networks




Wait, We Are Selling What? 

Marketing & sales are constantly rolling out new promotions and sales offerings.  One seemingly simple change to how your company offers a service could dramatically impact compliance with state and local telecommunications tax laws.  This session will cover why educating company marketing & sales teams during initial discussions regarding new service offerings is important to reduce tax exposure and financial losses.  Specific topics considered include tax inclusive and other “simplified” service plans, offers with “free” products or services, bundled service plans, prepaid vs. postpaid telecommunications service, and sales that include your company billing on behalf on another company.

Audra Mitchell – Audra Mitchell, Tax Managing Director, KPMG
Elizabeth Bopp -- Assistant Vice President of Tax, AT&T
John Barnes – Sr. Director, Transaction Tax, T-Mobile
Jeremy Blocher – Managing Director, State and Local Tax, KPMG


The Real World of Effective Transaction Tax Reporting, Integration of Tax Mapping, Audit Defense and Tax Research

This session addresses the entire picture on telecom tax compliance -- from tax mapping to being audited by a Tax/Regulatory Agency.  We will discuss strategies for effective, real world audit defense.  The audits, in short order, turn into thorough reviews of your billing system and testing of tax mapping/calculations on your customer invoicing.  Depending on the nature of the audit being New York Excise tax, City of Los Angeles Utility Users Tax or anything in between there are many critical elements that must be considered to have audit results return favorable findings to the telecom companies.  We will discuss trends from auditors in the past 20 years, and review a case study. 

Mark Lammert, CPA – President & CEO, Compliance Solutions
Kristin Hoover, CPA – Executive Vice President, Compliance Solutions
Chuck Cowan, CPA – Audit Defense Director, Compliance Solutions
Dustin Davis – Principal, Ryan LLC


Automated Review & Monitoring of Indirect Taxes

Indirect tax has many complexities, one of which is access to, management of, and structuring of big data in a format that’s useful for compliance, controversy, and planning opportunities. This session discusses how to harness the power of your data through advanced technology tools. We will focus on the use of advanced analytics (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive), automated review & monitoring tools, and how artificial intelligence is progressing to assist taxpayers with technology driven detection and correction of errors in the sales and use tax function.

Kevin Boyer – Indirect Tax Partner, Ernst & Young
Rudy Blahnik
– Indirect Tax Executive Director, Ernst & Young
Chris Aiken
– Advisory Executive Director, Ernst & Young


KPMG

Audit Defense Strategy 

Carriers spend an inordinate amount of time and money defending prior positions in the face of auditors armed with 20-20 hindsight. Meanwhile, the same jurisdictions are facing budget crises never before seen, thereby making audit recovery their first priority. This session presents views from seasoned veterans from some of the largest providers regarding current audit issues and industry trends, as well as pragmatic perspectives on audit defense best practices and success strategies. 

Kathy Saxton – Multistate Tax Service, Deloitte Tax
Vicki Anger Director – Transaction Taxes, Windstream
Kiran Seshagiri – Senior Director of Tax Systems and Billing, CenturyLink


Sales and Excise Tax of Digital Products and On-line Services: Developments and Defenses  

States and localities continue to aggressively pursue the taxation of various digital products and services.  This session will address the key issues and arguments digital service providers should be aware of to defend against the various ways states and localities seek to subject them to both new and existing sales and excise taxes.  The presenters will analyze recent case law developments impacting the taxability of digital products and services as well as evaluate the latest developments in physical and attributional nexus.  

Michael J. Hilkin – Associate, Morrison & Foerster
Rebecca M. Ulich-Balinskas – Associate, Morrison & Foerster


The Pitfalls of Unclaimed Property for Telecommunication Providers

Unclaimed property is particularly problematic for telecommunications providers due to issues such as rebates, prepaid gift cards, mobile phones, subscription refunds, proration, customer credits, and more. This session will cover the basics of unclaimed property as well as the most recent state legislative updates affecting the industry (e.g., Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA)). The speakers will discuss exposure areas when under examination or while pursuing a Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA); the revised Delaware program; recent wave of notices to potentially noncompliant holders; and best practices for maintaining compliance.

David Glad – Director & National Unclaimed Property Leader, Grant Thornton
Doug Kleiner – Director & National Communications Tax Industry Practice Leader, Grant Thornton
Guinevere Seaward Shore – Experienced Manager, Grant Thornton


CSI

Real World Help with Telecom Tax and Fee Line Items

Our panel of seasoned practitioners will help you navigate the challenges of presenting telecom tax and fee line items on your bills so that you can avoid pitfalls and mitigate risk, both from a customer and audit perspective. The panel will focus on bill presentation, truth-in-billing, bundled service charges including NY’s rules, customer privacy, and Universal Service Fund pass-through, and will round out the session with thoughts on how changes at the Federal Communications Commission may impact these issues.

Toby Bargar – Senior Tax Research Consultant - Telecom Business Unit, Avalara
Rick Heller – Managing Director, SALT Telecommunications & Cloud Services, Deloitte Tax
Brita Strandberg – Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis


USF Contribution Rules - Dealing with a Hardening of the Arteries

USF contribution reform remains a non-starter even as a 20% contribution factor looms on the horizon and despite the May 2017 GAO Report calling out the FCC for inaction on USF contribution reform and delays in responding to USAC requests for guidance.  One outcome is strained arguments and positions underlying USAC audit findings looking to maximize assessable revenues.  This session will offer insights on best practices for audit preparation, review persistent service classification and jurisdictional issues, including the Wireline Competition Bureau’s 2017 decision on physically intrastate private lines, offer suggestions on allocating revenues for bundled services and discuss the implications of the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

Steven Augustino – Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Douglas Jarrett – Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP    


Tax Tech Solutions for Exempt Sales

In an effort to increase revenue, state tax auditors have stepped up efforts to assess untaxed sales during their audits.  These efforts include increased scrutiny of exempt sales, demands for extensive documentation to support these sales, and with regards to exemption certificates a shift of the burden of proof from the purchaser to the vendor.  This discussion will detail how technology can mitigate audit exposure related to exempt sales and identify best practices for your tax department in order to prepare for the next audit.  

Ray Diaz Senior Manager of Indirect Tax, Grant McCarthy Group
Larry Powers – Director of Tax Technology, Grant McCarthy Group
Priscilla Quinn – Lead Tax Accountant, AT&T



Leveraging Next-Generation Software Technologies to Streamline Tax Processing

Advances in software technologies hold promise to dramatically improve the efficiency and accuracy of tax departments by eliminating mundane repetitive work of tax processing. This session will look at the emerging technology options, implementation considerations and potential ROI. Specific topics covered include process workflow tools, robotic process automation (RPA), data analytics, machine learning & artificial intelligence (AI) platforms and tax calculation optimization systems.

Scott Coffin – Senior Tax Technology Director, Charter Communications
Tiffany DeBerry – Senior Tax Manager, T-Mobile
Andrew Steinhaus – Senior Tax Manager, KPMG
Steven Frazee – Tax Manager, KPMG
Craig Wood – Tax Systems Manager, Charter Communications


Tax Inclusive Pricing - How the Market and Need for Transparency are Upending Traditional Thinking on the Presentment of Taxes

This session will explore the tax, regulatory issues and risks associated with providing customers a tax inclusive price. The speakers will focus on State anti-absorption statutes, methods of allocating taxes, required customer disclosures and some of the barriers companies must overcome.

Eric Tresh Partner, Eversheds Sutherland
Maria Biava – Assistant General Counsel, Verizon


Corporate Income Tax Issues for Telecom Entities  

This session addresses the top-level federal and state income tax considerations specific to the telecom industry. The speakers will first look at certain states that have specific telecom company statutes and/or recent tax decisions to ensure that the correct returns are being filed and reporting is in accordance with these statutes; secondly, provide a top-level understanding of the differences between federal and state tax bases and describe documentation that you need to ensure compliance with state DOR audits; assess trends in apportionment methods at the state levels to assist you in keeping up with the state tax changes; and, finally, will provide an open forum for attendees’ experience in dealing with these issues in audits. This session is suitable both as an industry primer, as well as an update for veterans.

Stephen Davis, CPA – Partner, Lammert & Davis CPA 
Mark Lammert, CPA – President & CEO, Compliance Solutions


Avalara

Avalara

Conference Sessions Day 2 -- May 16, 2018 (8AM - 12PM)

CSI

Transaction Tax Audits: The Best Offense is a Good Defense

This breakout discussion will focus on proactive approaches to managing audits and negotiating liabilities to minimize potential audit assessments. The session will look at the alternatives to traditional audits and provide real-world examples of negotiated settlements to consider as you navigate through your current and future audit activities.

Jamie Brenner – PwC
Scott Adams – AT&T
Mark Swan – Charter
John Barnes – T-Mobile


Always Connected, But Not Always Telecom Taxable

In both our personal and professional lives, we are driven to be always-connected. Fueled by often awe-inspiring innovation, traditional telecom is expanding its core service offerings and other industries are crossing over into new territory. How do responsible parties decide what is subject to telecom taxes and fees? It can be a dilemma for not only businesses when classifying services provided, but also taxing authorities trying to keep up.  This session examines the tax challenges presented by emerging and rapidly growing areas of connectivity, as well as considers what’s not so far over the horizon.

Tony Susak – General Manager Telecom, Avalara
Samantha Michaels – U.S. Indirect Tax Compliance Lead, General Motors Company


State Tax Cases to Watch: Pending Litigation You Should Be Aware Of

Sudden, unexpected changes in tax law can create compliance headaches.  When the surprise change comes from a court decision, it can also expose lost opportunities for minimizing risks and protective refunds.  This session will give you a heads up regarding pending litigation matters around the country that have yet to result in a published decision—giving you an inside look into issues and controversies that haven’t hit the state tax press.  For each case, you’ll also hear practical tips for how your company can respond and prepare.  Topics include income, sales and use, and other transactional tax litigation.

R. Gregory Roberts – Reed Smith
Robert E. Weyman – Reed Smith
Kenneth R. Levine – Reed Smith
Henna MirzaTax Attorney, General Motors Company



USF Fees and Non-Traditional Services

Is your company providing call center platform, conference calling, audio bridging, calling card services, or other new-fangled configurations of VoIP?  This panel will discuss how the FCC addresses these services, as well as the complicated and politicized rules that affect your USF contribution. The presenters will also consider the current state of play in federal USF contribution issues, including how changes in the FCC’s net neutrality rules and recent contribution decisions will shape the debate.

Danielle Frappier – Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine
Carl R. Geppert – Partner, Telecommunications Industry Leader, KPMG


Sales and Use Tax -- Top Ten Developments

This breakout discussion will focus on the latest trends and state developments throughout the last year. Keep up to date with how states are approaching nexus, trying to expand their tax bases, and continuously stretch the meanings of their statutes and regulations.

Jennifer Jensen – PwC
Tim Gorton – PwC
Arti Deliaj – PwC


Telecom Due Diligence – Mitigating Taxation and Regulation Risk

Due diligence in the telecom and information technology industries is particularly complex and, historically, a very costly endeavor because of the sheer scope, diversity and uncertainty associated with regulation and taxation. This creates significant risk and financial exposure for buyers, sellers as well as financial institutions for merger, acquisition and other events. This session will cover best practices for reliable due diligence; how to manage the complexity and cost; and approaches to mitigating exposure for buyers and sellers.

Matthew LaHood – CEO, Global Strategic Accountants
Jonathan Marashlian – Managing Partner, The CommLaw Group



Alternative Apportionment for Telecom Companies

This session provides a deep dive into what documentation and analysis is needed for telecom companies when implementing market-based sourcing and addressing the associated issues. The session includes a discussion of when an alternative apportionment method may be required and what is necessary to support that alternative method.

Breen M. Schiller – Partner, Horwood Marcus & Berk Chartered


Unclaimed Property Industry Focus: Tips and Traps for Telecoms

Hear about unclaimed property issues of unique concern to telecommunication companies.  Telecom companies have unclaimed property issues that may materially impact the bottom line, such as: whether to remit unidentified payments; whether to report as a utility; incorporating merged entities into compliance; how to minimize risk for prepaid calling cards; how to structure rebate programs; and record retention challenges.  We will discuss best practices, preventative measures, refund opportunities, and general ways in which the tax group can help steer UP policies and practices to minimize exposures and maximize returns.

Sara A. Lima – Reed Smith
Freda L. Pepper – Reed Smith


VAT and International Jurisdiction Considerations

Over 150 countries have VAT regimes. In addition, 50+ countries have introduced, or are actively seeking to introduce, legislation to tax remote digital suppliers. If not carefully planned, global contracting structures could lead to costs offsetting any potential VAT benefits. This session will highlight common pitfalls and mitigation opportunities as well as discuss the changing landscape, so businesses will not be caught by the increasing blurry VAT rules and compliance requirements.

James Freed – Principal - International Indirect Taxes Group (SALT), KPMG
David Mielke – DXC Technology Inc.




Using Geospatial Data to Minimize Audit Risk

Inaccurate jurisdictional assignments are a common source of sales & use / tax calculation errors. One of the biggest issues is keeping up with the seemingly endless jurisdiction changes, whereby 2017 alone saw the addition of over 164 new special tax districts, 6,003 municipal boundary changes and 394 county boundary changes. This session will discuss how to use geospatial data (such as parcel boundaries, parcel centroids, extensive or advanced geocoding, and updated tax boundaries) to enable accurate, defensible tax jurisdiction determinations prior to an audit.

Hans Dumke – Senior Leader, Geospatial Operations, CoreLogic


Tax and Fee Litigation Update

Hear the latest updates on litigation and controversies involving taxes and fees imposed on a broad range of services, including voice, applications, data, and video.  The presenter will include a discussion of litigation by both state administrators and local jurisdictions over the taxation of new technologies like streaming video and alternative voice offerings.

Todd Lard – Partner, Eversheds Sutherland
Liz Cha – Associate, Eversheds Sutherland


Taxing the Blockchain

Telecoms, cloud and software providers are rapidly rolling out blockchain services, which hold promise to not only disrupt commerce through cryptocurrency (e.g., bitcoin), but also opens the doors to a range of new applications such as smart contracts, inventory control, network / security services, digital rights / payments, and so much more. This session will provide an introduction to blockchain technology and services, and discuss how to treat them from a taxation, compliance and audit perspective.

Joel Waterfield – Managing Director & National Technology Tax Industry Practice Leader, Grant Thornton
Pat McCown – Partner, Grant Thornton
Guinevere Seaward Shore – Experienced Manager, Grant Thornton