Register Online

COVID Guidelines and Updates

Pricing Information and Discounts

Hotel / Venue Information

Deloitte "Understanding Communications Taxation" Pre-Conference Tutorial

"Understanding USF" Workshop

"Telecommunications Technology Basics" Workshop

"Emerging Technology Compliance" Workshop

"Tax Technology and Automation" Workshop

Taxation Party
(Tue 10/12/21 - by Avalara)

Reception Party
(Mon 10/11/21 - by CSI)

About the Sponsors

CPE Information

For more information about the program agenda or to exhibit/sponsor the event, contact Matthew Lucas at:

TeleStrategies' Homepage

American Tower
Atlantic Broadband
Blackfoot Communications
BullsEye Telecom
C Spire
CCG Consulting
Charter Communications
CLA Telecom
Co-Mo Connect
Compliance Solutions
Consumer Cellular
Davis Wright Tremaine
Deloitte Tax
Dixon Hughes Goodman
East Kentucky Network
Eastern Telephone
Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority
Education Networks of America
Ernst & Young
Everglades Technologies
Eversheds Sutherland
Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth
General Motors Company
Genesys Cloud Services
Granite Telecommunications
Grant Thornton
Grizzly Broadband
Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis
Home Telecom
Hunter Communications
IdeaTek Telcom
IDI Billing Solutions
Illinois Telephone
Infotel Systems
Intermountain Infrastructure Group
Kelley Drye & Warren
Lumen Technologies
Marashlian & Donahue
Marwood Land Company
Mediacom Communications
Miron Enterprises
Mitel Cloud Services
Missouri Telecom
Momentum Telecom
MNJ Technology Services
Modas Systems
NEC Cloud Communications America
NEC Corporation
Optical Communications
Pavlov Media
Premiere Global Services
Public Service Telephone Company
Reed Smith
Sandy Beaches Software
Satcom Direct
Sho-Me Technologies
SkyLine Membership
Smart City Telecom
Strata Networks
Syringa Networks
TELUS Communications
The CommLaw Group
Tor Daley
Tracfone Wireless
Union Telephone
Uniti Fiber
US Signal
Verizon Wireless
WIN Technology
Wolters Kluwer
Ziply Fiber
Zoom Video



Avalara PWC KPMG Vertex CLA Deloitte

Wolters Kluwer



kelley drye

davis wright

Reed Smith



“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 2021

Nashville is OPEN! Tax 2021 is on this October! Click here for COVID guidelines.

Tax 2021 will be an "in-person" only event.

About Communications Taxation

Communications Taxation brings together the nation's top tax professionals to address the challenging and complex domain of telecommunications taxation, regulatory compliance and fees.

Who attends: The program typically attracts between 300 and 400 tax professionals from all sectors of the communications and technology industry -- including wireline, mobile, cable, Internet, VoIP, enterprise services as well as cloud, social media and content providers. See the list of attending companies for the last tax program / pre-registered attendees below.

Why you should attend: Whether you are new to communications taxes and regulatory compliance, 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? Interested in exhibiting / sponsoring? Have feedback from prior years? Please feel free to contact me!

Dr. Matthew Lucas, Program Chair

Communications Taxation 2021
October 11-13, 2021 - Nashville, TN

Pre-conference Workshop and Tutorial - Monday October 11, 2021
8:30AM-4:30PM All-Day Tutorial "Understanding Communications Taxation"
9:30AM-11:45AM AM Workshop "Telecommunications Technology Basics"
9AM-11:45AM AM Workshop "Emerging Technology Compliance"
12PM-4PM PM Workshop "Understanding USF"
1PM-4PM PM Workshop “Tax Technology and Automation
5:30PM - 8PM Conference reception and party at "ACME Feed and Seed" - everyone invited, free, sponsored by CSI (details)
Conference Day 1 - Tuesday October 12, 2021
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
4:30PM Networking and conference reception
8PM - Till Avalara Party -- everyone invited, free!
Conference Day 2 - Wednesday October 13, 2021
7:15AM Breakfast (sponsored by DWT) and registration opens
8AM-12PM Conference sessions (descriptions below)
12PM Conference ends

October 11, 2021 - Pre-Conference Tutorial

October 11, 2021 - Pre-Conference Workshops

Conference Sessions - Day 1, October 12, 2021

Dr. Matthew Lucas -- TeleStrategies, Conference Chair

Digitally Upskilling the Tax Department

Nothing great ever came from sticking to the status quo, especially in today's marketplace where companies must maintain an open mindset and try new things to remain competitive and profitable. The communications industry is particularly dynamic since it operates in an environment that is continually disrupted by digital technology. The question is, how can telcos and digital service providers convert/leverage this disruption within their tax departments? This distinguished panel will address the changing landscape within their businesses and strategies for how companies can digitally upskill their tax and compliance departments.  

Jamie Brenner (Moderator) – Partner, PwC
Distinguished PwC & industry panelists

The Future of Telecom Policy & Regulation: How COVID Changes Everything

In addition to everyone's personal lives, the COVID-19 pandemic is making a profound impact on the communications and tech industries - promising to change and challenge regulatory constructs on everything from video conferencing and collaboration, the integration of “non-traditional” A2P services, the next generation of VoIP services, social media, cloud and 5G.  This panel of top attorneys will set the stage for how COVID has changed universal service, how to pay for it and the regulation of advanced communications services.  Our panel will update you on the views at the FCC, in Congress and with the Administration, highlighting the future of COVID programs like the EBB, ECF and Telehealth Fund, the status of USF reform proposals and the impact of FCC leadership changes on broadband and “Big Tech” regulation.  Finally, as we move beyond the pandemic, the panel will look at COVID’s lasting impact on our industry.

Steve Augustino – Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Jonathan Marashlian – The CommLaw Group / Marashlian and Donahue
Brita Strandberg – Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

What’s Next in Taxation?

Think back a few years, nobody would have predicted gigabit network service, self-driving cars, cloud architectures revolutionizing IT, virtualized 5G networks, autonomous robots, virtual currencies 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
Additional panelists to be confirmed

ASC450 Exposures & Remediation - Asking for Forgiveness

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? This session will cover the best practices in indirect tax audit management and remediation, from tracking audits, to prioritizing, and closing, tying to ASC 450 reserves and remediation via VDAs, private letter rulings or other informal methods, as well as some of the challenges being faced by others in your industry.

Brian Goldstein – Partner, PwC
John Barnes – T-Mobile
Other distinguished PwC & industry panelists

Tax Policy Considerations in Tax Engine Implementation; The Hidden Weak Links

Your telecommunications tax calculation system determines the tax consequences for each transaction based on many different factors. But, are the results correct? How do you really know if your telecommunications tax calculation system is properly determining and applying tax - thereby creating tax exposure and increasing risk of noncompliance? This session will review best practices in ensuring your telecommunications tax policy is effectively implemented in your tax engine, discussing issues such as the mapping of products and services, unbundling, sourcing, system overrides and other relevant considerations. The speakers will also look at how to identify gaps in your processes and how to ensure proper maintenance of your system's setup.

David Rubenstein – Wolters Kluwer
Jeremy Blocher – Partner, KPMG
Curtis Carter – Manager, 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 LLP
Toni Mincic – Director Tax Audit & Appeals, Lumen Technologies
Shannon Wagner Director Tax Accounting, Windstream

Network Spend – Vendor/Customer Dynamics Regarding Taxation

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. This collaboration is not easy due to many reasons, including: (1) the complexity of the spend trajectory; (2) the contradictory risk continuum; (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 Partner, Ernst & Young
Rudy Blahnick Managing Director, Ernst & Young 
Glen White
Director – Tax, AT&T
Natalie Haynes Partner, Ernst & Young
Max Chyobotov Head of Tax, Nokia

Taxing the “New Normal” ... The Policies of Transactional Tax Base Expansion in a Post-COVID World

The pandemic served as a driver for many changes in the world, including the overhaul of some antiquated state tax regimes trying to cover revenue shortfalls.  This session will explore the drivers, policies, and inherent risks associated with implementing taxes on disruptive technology and business models.  We will compare and contrast states that expand their tax bases by changing taxing statutes to address a digital/remote economy vs. informal interpretations that apply historical tax statutes to world that was not conceived of at the time when the statute was drafted.  Attendees will gain a more holistic perspective on the developing legal and regulatory landscape of taxing the digital/remote economy, including: how to recognize varying state rules and interpretations to avoid unintended tax consequences; identifying the most important changes to state income tax rules in the wake of evolving focus on the digital/remote economy; understanding the different methods for expanding the tax base to the digital/remote economy; and strategies for managing state changes to nexus and sourcing rules.

Brent Beissel – Reed Smith
DeAndré Morrow – Reed Smith

State Tax Legislative and Litigation Update

This session will provide an update on key litigation and controversies involving the taxation of newer technologies like streaming video and alternative voice offerings as well as the taxation of traditional voice, applications and data services. The session will also review legislative initiatives impacting the telecommunications industry.

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

Perspectives and Predictions on Technology Change, Tax Shifts, and Industry Evolution

A 47% increase in time spent streaming.  11.7 billion connected devices. Two trillion text messages exchanged. What do these numbers have to do with tax? More and more each day. The proliferation of communications tax over the last five years has been remarkable. As voice, video, SMS, and connectivity services continue to be woven into the fabric of our everyday business and personal lives in unexpected ways, where will technology go next? That’s a question for the innovators, but we – the tax experts – need to be prepared. As the technology landscape and user preferences continue to drive change, taxing jurisdictions and regulatory bodies will react. Join this panel of communications tax leaders as they examine shifts on the horizon to help you understand how you can be prepared for any challenges the evolving industry may hold.

Toby Bargar – Senior Tax Strategist, Avalara
Shane Bridges – VP Corporate Treasurer, Consumer Cellular
Arti Deliaj – Director, State and Local Tax, PWC
Steve Lacoff – General Manager Communications, Avalara
Matthew Lucas – TeleStrategies (Moderator)

FCC CALEA Compliance

Do you know anything about CALEA compliance? The FCC requires your company to comply with law enforcement request for communcations records and content. This session covers the truth and myths behind CALEA compliance. The session will cover the purpose of CALEA -- such as wiretapping, subpoena compliance, preventing crimes / terrorists actions / school shootings / mass society shootings, etc. -- and use studies from well-known law enforcement cases to discuss how CALEA and subpoena compliance makes a real difference.  You will walk away learning significant issues and will assist you in designing your company’s CALEA compliance strategy.

Steve Bock -- President, Subsentio
Mark Lammert CPA -- President, Compliance Solutions

Think State Taxes are Complicated? Don’t Overlook Local Taxes

Local telecom tax compliance is consuming more and more tax department time.  This session focuses on the multiple and varying local taxes that apply to the services sold by Telecom Service providers.  The session will include an update on current local tax issues, such as audit or legal challenges, updated policies, outdated definitions, and lack of written guidance, in multiple specific local jurisdictions around the country.

Audra Mitchell – Managing Director, KPMG
invited guests pending approval

Getting Your Bills Right: Real World Help with Invoice Presentation of Telecom Tax and Fee Line Items

This 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 Strategist, Avalara
Rick Heller – Managing Director, SALT Telecommunications & Cloud Services, Deloitte
Brita Strandberg – Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis

Keys to Successfully Implementing Billing/Tax Systems

The implementation and/or upgrade of billing or tax systems is a significant undertaking that requires a close partnership between internal corporate tax and technology departments as well as external professional service providers retained to provide tax, software, or other expertise. This panel considers the governance and quantitative/qualitative analysis to reduce risks, specifically: How should such a project fit into the overall corporate IT environment? What levers are available to help secure funding for the project? How do you scope the project? How can you prevent scope creep and keep the project on schedule and on budget? What’s needed of Tax and IT to the project successful? How do you successfully test and resolve preproduction issues? What’s covered in post-production analysis? And more.

Michael Bernard – Chief Tax Officer, Vertex
Jamie Brenner – Partner, PwC
Invited Telecommunications Providers


Conference Sessions - Day 2, October 13, 2021

davis wright

Exemption Management Pays in Dividends

Customer and vendor exemption management is critical. When handled accurately, exemption management can save your company thousands of dollars and directly impacts profit margins. When handled incorrectly, the direct and indirect costs can be staggering. This session will cover cost savings attributed to vendor exemption management, the pitfalls of customer exemptions management, and the importance of customer exemptions during an audit (USAC, State – DOR, Local tax authorities).

Natasha Freeman – CLA Telecom
Jason Cantrell – CLA Telecom
Industry partners

The Devil is in the Mapping Details

Telecoms often utilize a myriad of billing systems, tax engines, and processes for transaction tax determinations. With that, it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the granular details that can lead to substantial exposure if not accurate and precise. This panel will explore the pitfalls and issues that can arise from a lack of focus on the inner workings of these systems, including a deep dive into product codes and descriptions, taxability determination matrices, customer invoicing procedures, and more. The speakers will also discuss concerns in the acquisition due diligence process where these systems were not focused on and integration challenges, as well as best practices and solutions.

Dustin Davis – Principal, Ryan
Tod Matthiessen – Ryan
Eric Molinar Telecommunications Transaction Tax Sr. Manager, Twilio
Sam Guevara – Global Practice Leader, Tax Technology, Ryan

Dealing with Emerging Services in Telco Taxation

As new communications services and technologies change the landscape of telecom, so must a provider’s tax approach. This session will provide a deeper understanding of how the tax and regulatory regime treats “non-traditional” telecom providers, specifically: How do PSTN calling, video, SMS text, A2P text, and other telecom services interact with emerging technologies? How are new and innovative services and technologies challenging existing regulatory and tax structures? What invoicing, tax, compliance, and disclosure considerations are necessary when bundling such services? And more!

Michael Bernard – Chief Tax Officer, Vertex
Jamie Brenner – Partner, PwC
Invited Telecommunications Providers

Can “Gross” ever be Removed from Gross Receipts Taxes? The Expanded Application of Gross Receipts Taxes

Gross receipts taxes are making a dangerous come-back at the state level. Additionally, local jurisdictions are increasingly adopting an expansive view of the application of gross receipts taxes. This session will discuss the policy considerations for and against gross receipts taxes (such as pyramiding) and current issues and controversies associated with the proper application of those taxes.

Maria Todorova Partner, Eversheds Sutherland
Brandi Drake  Director, Transaction Tax, Charter Communications

Don’t Sleep on Sourcing - Old Topic, New Challenges  

SALT revenue sourcing is an increasingly complex and controversial issue in the telecommunications/technology industries as taxpayers and tax jurisdictions alike are struggling to adapt to rapidly evolving offerings. The similar-but-different treatment for transaction tax versus income tax further muddies the waters. This session will consider the tax sourcing issues for new products and services for both tax types: Is it where performed or benefit received, and where is that anyway?  What about PPU, Goldberg, the SSTA sourcing rules, other state specific rules? What about traffic studies, IP address, phone number, ‘service’ location, billing address, population statistics, or consumer market data? How to source wholesale transactions and whether there are sourcing look-through requirements to the customer’s customers?  How to source charges for purposes of nexus, marketplace sales, new digital and digital services?

Rob Morse – Director, PwC
Elizabeth Bopp – AT&T
Other distinguished PwC & industry panelists

Evolving SALT Treatment – Video Streaming & Digital Goods

How many “telecommunications service” tax definitions include the word video? How does that impact video streaming service taxability? This session will look at how state or local jurisdictions are either directly or indirectly attempting to apply SALT indirect taxes (i.e., sales tax, telecom tax, amusement tax, utility user tax, video service provider tax, etc.) to video streaming services either as digital goods or in another manner.  The session will further look at how the taxes apply if the streaming service is bundled or provided for “free” with other services.

Audra Mitchell – Managing Director, KPMG
John Vann – Senior Manager, KPMG
Paul Fortney Director Tax, DIRECTV

Using “Big Data” to Measure Your Activity and Receipts for State Income Tax Purposes

For state income tax apportionment purposes, states have increasingly moved away from traditional cost-of-performance in favor of market sourcing. However, obtaining the necessary and relevant data is often a struggle for many operators. Fortunately, the telecommunications industry collects massive amounts of data, including call detail records, mobile phone usage, network equipment, and billing processes. This session addresses how to leverage structured and unstructured data using big data methods to more fairly and accurately compute state income apportionment factors.  Topics for discussion include software tools and methods for consolidating data; analyzing your company’s big data to recognize apportionment patterns and potential tax opportunities; and visualization techniques and dashboards to help convince state revenue officials to accept alternative apportionment approaches. 

Dave Gutowski – Reed Smith

What Does Being a Non-Traditional Service Provider Mean?

With the evolution of new communications services and technologies, companies that were previously never viewed as "telecom" are now competing with the industry titans that we are all familiar with. This session looks at the unique set of tax and regulatory challenges facing non-traditional service providers, specifically: What is a non-traditional service provider and how do they differ from the traditional telecoms? What tax and regulatory complications do these non-traditional providers need to look at that other telecom firms have learned already with their longer industry experience? What are some innovative services that may cause regulators to view a company as a provider, where it wasn't one before?

Michael Bernard – Chief Tax Officer, Vertex
John Vann – Senior Manager, KPMG 
Invited Telecommunications Providers

Too Many Cooks in the Compliance Kitchen?

With the magnitude of regulations and complexities in the telecom space, many carriers are reliant upon utilizing multiple service providers to accomplish their back office needs. However, with more cooks in the kitchen than ever, and the right hand not understanding what the left hand is doing, more and more gaps and risks are exposing themselves to carriers. We see this quite often from something so simple as regulatory utilizing different data sets than indirect tax providers. The complexities could be even more evolved to something like Pennsylvania, where the Corporate Income Tax doesn’t coincide or tie to sales tax, the public utility reports, and the gross receipts items. With everything becoming so specialized, it’s the generalists who prevail that complete the back office.

Noelle Ard – Tax Director, CLA Telecom
Doug Hoff – Regulatory Director, CLA Telecom
Industry partners

Tax Efficient Procurement – Structure Topics for SUT and Property Tax

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
Rudy Blahnick Managing Director, EY

Use Tax Management – Best Practices

The level of information necessary to correctly calculate and remit use tax is increasing (i.e., Is the equipment used to provide telecom service, video service, or multiple services?  How is the software delivered or accessed and what is the software used for?  Is the software downloaded to or accessed from multiple locations? And more.).  Lack of granular purchase information can result in underpayments or overpayments of use tax.  This session will look at what detailed purchase information would assist in increasing use tax compliance, how that information could be gathered or stored, and whether the collection of that information can be automated into the use tax accrual process.

Andrew Steinhaus – Senior Manager, KPMG
Kathy Makas – Director, Transaction Tax, Verizon 

Telecom Tax Issues in M&A Deals       

As the 4th industrial revolution continues to develop and 5G becomes the platform for tomorrow's economy, M&A volume is expected to edge up as many companies seek to transform themselves through acquisitions into a hybrid of telecom, technology and media content providers. In this session we will examine transactional taxes issues arising during an M&A deal (buy side or sell side), including stock vs. asset purchases, successor liability, material exposure areas and post deal integration issues. We will highlight tax due diligence practical approaches including effective data requests, and analysis, management queries, and due diligence report formats.     

Arti Deliaj (Moderator) – Director, PwC
Raghu Rao – Zoom Video Communications
Distinguished PwC & industry panelists