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Deloitte "Understanding Taxing" Pre-Conference Tutorial (Full-Day)


"Understanding USF" Pre-Conference Workshop (Half-Day)


"State Regulation" Pre-Conference Workshop (Half-Day)


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2019 Golf Event (Free to all Attendees)


2019 Taxation 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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“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



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--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 '19 -- May 13-15, 2019

2019 Sessions and Times Posted Below

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 '19 - May 13-15, 2019

Monday -- May 13, 2019
8AM-4PM Pre-Conference Tutorial "Understanding Taxation"
8AM-11AM Pre-Conference Workshop "State Regulation"
12PM-4PM Pre-Conference Workshop "Understanding USF"
4PM Sponsored Golf Event, at the hotel, everyone invited, free
Tuesday -- May 14, 2019
7:15AM Breakfast (sponsored by EY) and registration opens
8AM-12PM AM conference sessions -- descriptions below
12PM Lunch -- sponsored by KPMG
1:15-5PM PM conference sessions -- descriptions below
5PM Networking and conference reception -- sponsored by Vertex
8PM Avalara Party -- on the hotel lawn, everyone invited, free!
Wednesday -- May 15, 2019
7:15AM Breakfast (sponsored by DWT) and registration opens
8AM-12PM Conference sessions -- descriptions below
12PM Conference ends


Pre-Conference Tutorial and Workshops
Monday May 13, 2019 -- 8AM - 4PM










Conference Sessions - Day 1
Tuesday May 14, 2019 -- 7:15AM - 5PM



Dr. Matthew Lucas -- TeleStrategies, Conference Chair


The Impacts of Digitization in the Telco World

The telecommunications industry has been critical to the process of digitization. From a 30,000-foot industry view down to the implementation realities facing tax departments, this panel will discuss how digitization is transforming communications providers. Executives from all segments of the industry will cover the key issues related to digitization, including: telco acquisitions of content and streaming providers, partnerships with technology companies, and the evolving business models that impact telco operations, compliance and taxation. In a world of convergence, what is the next generation of trends in the digitization of our industry.

Moderator: Jamie Brenner – Partner, PwC
Invited speakers pending confirmation: Microsoft, AT&T





Taxing the Internet, the Next Frontier

Just when everyone thought that the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act would kick in and exempt internet access forever, state and local governments around the country have come up with new theories on why their taxes should remain in place. The speakers will discuss several ongoing challenges to the Internet Tax Freedom Act and how providers should be preparing to defend their cases.

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


Network Spend – The Love/Hate Tax Relationship

With a projected $71.5 billion in network related capex spend in 2019 between wireless and cable operators, it has never been more important for vendors and network operators to collaborate in order to get taxes right. But this collaboration is not easy due to many reasons, including: (1) the complexity of the spend trajectory; (2) the contradictory risk continuums; (3) the confusion of data accessibility; and (4) the obvious competing demands of margin enhancement. This session will present these issues from both the vendor and the customer perspective, giving both sides' insights into the tax, procurement and issues that are commonly debated and managed.

Kevin Boyer Moderator, Indirect Tax Partner, EY
Mary Farnsworth Director Tax, AT&T
Invited sourcing and industry panelists


The Future of 5G is Now, But Taxes are Still Yesterday

5G has the power to transform nearly every facet of our lives. From a technical perspective, the possibilities are nearly limitless for IoT, AI, VR, AR, and telematics. What we imagined only last year is already here. But what’s on the tax and regulatory horizon, particularly as voice becomes less of a player in the telecom bundle? Join this interactive and informative session to learn more about the potential tax impacts 5G enabled technologies bring across multiple industries.

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



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 LLP
Vicki Anger – Director Transaction Taxes, Windstream Services
Kiran Seshagiri – Senior Director of Tax Systems and Billing, CenturyLink
Marie Harris – Senior Manager, Tax Audit, T-Mobile


Prepaid Mobile Telephony Surcharge (MTS) Ends - What’s Next?

On November 15, 2018, the United States District Court (in MetroPCS California, LLC v. Michael Picker,) enjoined state agencies from enforcing the provisions of the Prepaid MTS Surcharge Collection Act citing conflict with federal law -- thus ending CDTFA's enforcement of the Prepaid MTS Surcharge Collection Act. What comes next for prepaid providers? This session's topics include: How are the major rating systems implementing this change? What are prepaid providers trying to figure out (Retail/Wholesale) implications? What about open audits? What comes next to recoup this imposition? What are the broader implications for telecommunications and other pre-paid providers going forward?

Joe Solana – President, Global Strategic Accountants
Jeffery Forrester – OSS/BSS Manager, Global Strategic Accountants
Invited telecommunications providers


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. 

Eric Vatinyan – Managing Director, Ignition-Tax, KPMG
Samantha Michael
– U.S. Indirect Tax Compliance Lead, General Motors Company ​​​​​
Steve Frazee 
- KPMG
Andrew Steinhaus 
- KPMG
Inna Gulber - Tax Manager - Transaction Tax, Verizon


KPMG

Getting Your Bills Right: Real World Help with Invoice Presentation of 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, limit opportunities for customer confusion, and mitigate risk. The panel will focus on bill presentation requirements, truth-in-billing, bundled service charges, customer privacy, recovery items and Universal Service Fund pass-through. They will also explain how to best navigate the many differences between regulatory fees and telecom taxes - among the wide variety of jurisdictions that impose them - and address 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 LLP
Brita Strandberg – Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP


What's New and Upcoming in Sales and Excise Tax of Digital Products and On-line Services

State and local taxing authorities continue to pursue the taxation of various digital products and services and an FCC advisory committee has proposed a new tax on businesses that require Internet access to operate. This session will address key issues and arguments being advanced in the various states by reviewing recent legislation and litigation. For example, the presenters will address issues involving the Internet Tax Freedom Act as well as the FCC's 2018 ruling that text messages are information services.

Priscilla Ayn Parrett – Reed Smith
Jon Maddison – Reed Smith  


Beyond the Pale: 2019 Outlook on State Tax Sourcing Policies for Indirect Tax and Income Tax

The applicable sourcing methodologies for indirect and direct taxes share notable similarities and differences. While sourcing is becoming an increasingly complex and controversial issue in the telecommunications industry, taxpayers and tax jurisdictions alike are struggling to adapt, leading to sometimes inconsistent outcomes. Sourcing considerations for: various products and services; performed vs benefit received; cost of performance vs market based sourcing; technology - ppu, goldberg, SSTA sourcing rules, other states (recent HI example); sourcing for telco ... users, traffic studies, IP address, phone number, ‘service’ location, billing address, population statistics, market data.

Brian Goldstein – Partner, PwC
Invited speakers to be confirmed: Altice, Verizon, AT&T



Riding the Tax Refund Rollercoaster - Processes, Procedures, Policies, and Positions

State and local governments can be unique in their review approach, methodology, and requirements for issuing transactional tax refunds. This session will consider some of the hurdles and roadblocks claimants often face along the sometimes long and difficult road to refund approval. We will discuss our experiences submitting large refund claims across multiple jurisdictions, and cover topics such as best practices, working with the auditor, navigating government bureaucracies, and other general strategies. We will also discuss issues such as ‘paying to play’ by first reimbursing customers, statute of limitations issues, data and documentation requirements, actuals vs estimates, appeals, and trust tax nuances.

Moderated by Vertex
Invited speakers pending confirmation: PwC, AT&T


Am I Selling Telecommunications Service?

The evolution of technologies that has given rise to new transmission services, and the change in how traditional telecommunications services are being offered, create new and unique issues for companies attempting to classify those services for state and local transaction tax purposes. Are you selling telecom service, SaaS, Internet access, information or data processing service, or something else? This session will walk through questions companies should consider when making service classification decisions as well as other decisions, such as service taxability and sourcing, that may vary widely based on that classification.

Audra Mitchell – KPMG
Jeremy Blocher
– KPMG
Liz Bopp
– AT&T
Toni Mincic – Director, Tax Audit & Appeals, Global Tax Department, CenturyLink


Improving Accuracy of Tax Processes Using Geospatial Data and Tools 

Inaccurate tax jurisdictional assignments are a significant source of tax calculation errors and are often caused by problems in underlying data such as out-of-date tax boundary data. For example, in a typical year, there are thousands of municipal boundary changes and hundreds of county boundary changes along with the additions of hundreds of new tax district boundaries. This session will discuss how tax professionals can incorporate geospatial data (e.g., tax jurisdictions, parcel boundaries/centroids) and geospatial tools (e.g., advanced geocoding and spatial analysis) into automated workflows to support accurate tax jurisdiction determinations thereby improving accuracy of tax processes, minimizing audit risks and reducing costly errors and fines.

Mark Taetz Product Management, Market Lead – Utilities, Telecom, Energy, CoreLogic 



Audit Defense

This session addresses real world audit defense and case studies across the entire picture of telecom tax compliance. The presenters will discuss trends from auditors over the past 20 years, looking at how audits quickly 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 – the speakers will consider the critical elements that must be address to have audit results return favorable findings to the telecom companies. 

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


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
Dr . Matthew Lucas – TeleStrategies
Jim Nason – Tax Managing Partner, Telecommunications, Deloitte Tax


Tax SWOT Analysis of Billing & Rating Integration

Who are the key players in today’s market and how have they changed in the past decade? When implementing a new billing and rating system or selecting a new billing or rating system, what should a tax professional be looking for? What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with the integration from a tax front? How can a seamless tax integration or implementation make tax personnel look like business strategy leaders?

Joe Solana – President, Global Strategic Accountants
Jeffery Forrester – OSS/BSS Manager, Global Strategic Accountants
Invited Telecommunications Providers


Avalara

Avalara


Conference Sessions - Day 2
Wednesday May 15, 2019 -- 7:15AM-12PM



davis wright

Taxing 5G:  A Service Provider’s Perspective

The wide range of services (medical, transportation, utility, fitness, entertainment) that are contemplated with the roll-out of 5G networks have Telecommunications Service Providers looking ahead at the state and local tax implications these services might have and how Providers need to be ready to respond.  Some topics that will be discussed include changing sales or service models, resale/exemption certificate considerations, sourcing, billing system requirements, and SALT service classification.

Audra Mitchell (Moderator) – Managing Director, WNT, KPMG
Gary Johnson – AVP, Transaction Tax, AT&T
Steve King
– Sr. Manager, Transaction Tax, T-Mobile
Joe Greco – Vice President, Transaction, Property and Regulatory, Verizon


Tax Efficient Procurement: Structure Topics and Related Technology Post-Wayfair

A significant shift from company accrued use tax to vendor collected sales tax is underway post-Wayfair due to many more vendors having nexus everywhere, thus requiring sales tax collection from their customers. Purchasing companies (and related entities) have been used for decades by many communication companies, but there is a renewed interest in these strategies in many industries because of Wayfair, as well as other value-added strategies that can be obtained through strategic use of these structures. This session will review the time-tested proco strategies as well as emerging value opportunities, along with examples of technology that can support an efficient maintenance of these structures. The session will focus on sales/use tax and property tax, as well as benefits that might be obtain from customs/tariff planning and credits/incentives through these structures.

Kevin Boyer Indirect Tax Partner, EY
Megan Mahony Indirect Executive Director, EY
Rudy Blahnik Indirect Tax Executive Director, EY


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



The Influence of Exemption Certificates on Untaxed 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 session will explore recent trends for mitigating and addressing audit exposure with respect to untaxed sales, as well as explore best practice options for acceptance of proper documentation.  

Ray Diaz – Director of Operations, CertifyTax
Larry Powers
– Chief Strategy Officer, CertifyTax


It’s Software, It’s Telecom, It’s ... What is it???

The emergence of high-tech software and cloud-based telecommunications companies is rapidly growing. From API’s, to digital goods, to conferencing, this convergence of software and telecommunications services creates complicated taxing scenarios. This panel will explore the complexities in accurately defining the services provided and applying accurate taxability decisions.

Dustin Davis – Principal, Ryan LLC
Tod Matthiessen – Manager, Ryan LLC
Invited Service Providers


Complex Universal Service Fund Revenue Reporting Issues and USAC Audit Practices & Policies

This will be a “Hands On” collaborative session on recent changes to FCC Form 499 revenue reporting, USAC’s audit team’s expectations with respect to 499 Filer practices, and USAC’s increased use of “mini” audits. The session will focus on the following: a) “Service-by-Service” specific USF Exemptions and the “reasonable expectation” standard for exempting wholesale revenue, b) increased granularity with respect to International revenue reporting, c) Private Line revenue reporting, and d) USAC’s increased use of “mini” audits.  Be prepared to engage and learn through shared experiences!

Jonathan Marashlian – The CommLaw Group / Marashlian and Donahue



Exemption Certificate Management: Part 1 – Purpose and Basics

Part 1 of this session will go over setting up an exemption certificate management process in the telecommunications industry. This includes finding or creating the right certificate, validating, storing, auditing, and updating the billing system. This session will walk through practical first steps a professional can take to manage exemption certificates manually or software solutions.  

Diane Seidule – Managing Partner, Tax Consulting Group
Robert Banagay – Partner, Tax Consulting Group (former Tax Director at Sun Healthcare)
Ken Contrera – Executive Director, Tax Consulting Group (former Director of Taxes at Myers Industries, Inc.)
Christine Ramos – Director, BT Americas
Shon Holyfield – CEO, TTR, Inc. (former Tax Director at Cox Communications)


State Tax Legislative and Litigation Update

This session will provide an update on legislation initiatives impacting the telecommunications industry. The presenters will focus on key litigation and controversies by both state administrators and local jurisdictions over the taxation of new technologies like streaming video and alternative voice offerings as well as those involving taxes and fees imposed on traditional voice, applications and data services.

Brandi Drake – Charter Communications
Maria Todorova – Eversheds Sutherland

Audit Reserve ASC450 Management

Best practices in indirect tax audit management, from tracking audits, to prioritizing, and closing, and tying to ASC 450 reserves. Do your indirect tax accruals make you nervous? Worried that you haven't taken into consideration the pre-Wayfair and post-Wayfair nexus expansion laws? How do you decide how much to reserve? Please join PwC as we discuss these issues and some of the challenges being faced by others in your industry.

Arti Deliaj – Director, PwC
Invited speakers pending confirmation: AT&T, Charter, Altice



Exemption Certificate Management: Part 2 – Best Practices

Part 2 of this session will go over best practices in exemption certificate management for the telecommunications industry. A panel of former corporate tax executive directors will walk through practical next steps a professional can take to manage exemption certificates, incorporating industry best practices.

Diane Seidule – Managing Partner, Tax Consulting Group
Robert Banagay – Partner, Tax Consulting Group (former Tax Director at Sun Healthcare)
Ken Contrera – Executive Director, Tax Consulting Group (former Director of Taxes at Myers Industries, Inc.)
Christine Ramos – Director, BT Americas
Shon Holyfield – CEO, TTR, Inc. (former Tax Director at Cox Communications)


Taxing Marketplace Providers

Communications companies are increasingly selling their digital products and services through third party providers, including online platforms, in order to broaden their reach through additional market channels. In recent years states have demonstrated growing interest in requiring these online marketplaces to charge and sometimes remit transaction taxes on behalf of the vendors selling through their platforms. This session will consider the growing trend of targeting marketplace providers for tax collection, review current case law and developments, and discuss some of the issues and challenges faced by communications companies selling through these platforms.

Rob Morse – Director, PwC
Invited speakers pending confirmation: AT&T


Automated Business Assurance Systems for Taxation, Regulatory Compliance and More

Taxation and regulatory compliance requires service providers of every size and background to have a set of robust processes that control (and provide analytics over) a wide array of business functions. Specifically, most service providers find themselves managing multiple channels, assets in various logistics stages, partners, customers in every demographic, revenue models with thousands of permutations, and product portfolios that would intimidate other industries.  This presentation discusses the new breed of automated Business Assurance controls that give a real-time view into the dozens of processes impacting the business financial position including: taxation and compliance; service billing; business integrity; assets; retail and wholesale partners; and more.

John Brooks – VP, Subex