Among those in attendance included former Alabama Governor Bob Riley, former U.S. congressmen Jim Ramstad and Rick Lazio, former Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Dean Zerbe, and former IRS commissioners Mark W. Everson, Steven Miller and Kathy Petronchak.
During the first day of the event, congressman and newly elected Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady gave the keynote address, covering a broad range of issues on the minds of CPAs and businesses in an open “town hall” style session. The congressman’s chief concern related to finding ways to further accelerate the nation’s economic recovery seven years removed from the 2008 financial crisis, a recovery that Brady called “the most disappointing in a half century.” Noting that while government and consumer spending have largely bounced back in the last seven years, Brady highlighted a key missing ingredient that has subdued the recovery by 6 million jobs in his estimation.
“It’s business investment,” said Brady. “That’s the missing ingredient in this recovery. So we are taking a hard look at every tax provision that actually helps in that (area).”
To bring the economy all the way back and ensure future economic growth, Brady emphasized the importance of creating tax policies that encourage rather than block the competitiveness of U.S. businesses. In Brady’s view, both short-term and long-term tax reform will be an absolute necessity in promoting a more dynamic and competitive economy, underlining the need for reforms that encourage companies to reinvest back into their businesses. Specifically, Brady discussed the need for tax policies that encourage innovation, create jobs and keep U.S. companies on American shores.
As the incoming chairman of Ways and Means, Brady made clear that under his leadership, the committee will lead the charge in reforming the code to ensure that it works for all businesses, stating that one of his highest priorities will be getting a tax extenders bill passed before the end of the year. The extenders bill, which includes extensions of business-friendly tax provisions such as the R&D Tax Credit and the 179D tax deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings, also includes expansions of these same incentives. Specifically, the bill would open the R&D Tax Credit to startups and allow non-profits and tribal governments to allocate their energy-based tax savings to design and construction companies just as government entities are currently allowed to do.
Congressman Brady also expressed his hope that tax extenders will be made permanent in order to give businesses more certainty. His intent is that this extenders bill will serve as the basis for more comprehensive tax reform in 2016 and beyond. With the right leadership lined up, Brady elaborated on what he described as a unique opportunity.
“This committee is all about doing big things,” said Brady. “For example, fixing this broken tax code. It’s costly. It’s complex. But mainly, it’s unfair. With Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House, we have a once in a generation opportunity to create a tax code built for growth.”
In addition to the session with Congressman Brady, the summit offered an in-depth look at the current state of the U.S. economy and provided attendees with an overview of the potential legislative and tax policy changes on the horizon for 2016. The event concluded with an overview of the current state of the IRS and what tax practitioners can anticipate from the Service in the year ahead.
“I would like to thank Congressman Brady and everyone who took the time to attend this event,” said alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav. “Our goal in hosting these conferences is to provide thought leadership to our CPA firms and the businesses they serve. By providing our partner CPAs and businesses the information they need to stay ahead of emerging economic and policy trends, it is our hope that we are offering another avenue to ensure their continued success.”
Through its ThinkTank series, alliantgroup strives to provide thought leadership to its partner CPA firms and the businesses they serve.