in respect of tax notes talkIn episode 200, we review some of our favorite interviews and discussions from the past 100 episodes.
This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
David D. Stewart: Welcome to the podcast. I’m David Stewart, Editor in Chief Tax Notes Today International, This week: Celebrating 200 episodes.
Yes, this is our 200th episode. To honor this we are going to take a look at the last 100 episodes. And if you want to hear about our first 100 episodes, you can watch a related matter,
Now, we’ve covered a number of interesting topics over the past two years and 100 episodes, from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on all aspects of the tax – including how it affects women in tax – to some of the biggest developments. US and International tax with news makers around the world.
So, join us as we dive into some of our favorite interviews and discussions from these past 100 episodes.
In 2020, our parent company Tax Analysts celebrated its 50th anniversary. On the podcast was Cara Griffith, our CEO and President, to talk about the organization’s history of advocating for transparency in tax policy and its legacy. Here she explains why the world still needs tax analysts today.
Kara Griffith: The world still needs tax analysts without a doubt. They need tax analysts because we do a lot. At the end of the day, we serve as a teacher, we provide a forum for debate, and we act as a watchdog. They are all really, really necessary so that eventually that good debate happens and ends with good tax policy that leads to good tax administration.
We try to educate our readers every day by explaining facts logically and making difficult issues understandable to the extent that, “Here’s what happened. Here’s what everyone is saying.”
That being said, we never downplay our stories. a reading of someone tax notes The publication is proof of this. We tackle the tough technical issues that really need to be covered. There are issues that are best covered by a publication such as tax notes who is so familiar with the issues. You won’t find it in the mainstream press.
We also challenge our readers to think broadly and be exposed to a wide variety of different ideas and opinions. We are not in the business of cherry-picking our thoughts and ideas. We put them all there. Even those that might not be so popular. In fact we are that teacher.
By doing this we are a forum for debate. We continue the conversation. Our founder Tom Fields truly believes that from that debate, that clash of ideas, is going to lead to good tax policy.
I will say, I drank the Kool-Aid years ago and I really believe so. It is that you should be able to go out, consider all issues, and accept opinions that are not your own and that you may not agree with. But it’s really so important to take a look at them, understand, see where the other side is coming from.
Tax analysts have served as a watchdog for both tax authorities and public institutions for many years. We have been engaged in many litigations over the years. We have also scrutinized many private institutions. This is an important role that journalism outlets like ours serve.
No doubt, tax analysts are needed today as much as they were when Tom founded the organization.
David D. Stewart: Like the rest of the world, news of the COVID-19 pandemic dominated our discussions here on the podcast. Over the past 100 episodes, we spoke with newsmakers, practitioners and others in the tax community about how the coronavirus is affecting all aspects of life and the tax implications.
In early 2020 we chatted with a professor at the lockdown in Shanghai about the early impact of the pandemic on China and the role of the tax. Afterwards, we spoke to state experts about the US legislative response, including Nicole Kedding, formerly of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Here she is talking about whether the $2 trillion package was a stimulus or a relief.
Nicole Kedding: What was the CARES Act economic relief about. It was based on the idea that for the next several weeks, perhaps for the next several months, we have asked businesses to close their doors. Barring a few favorite industries like groceries and banks, everyone else is at home. We need to do this to control the public health response to the virus, but it means those businesses are losing revenue, and we see more and more examples of this in the newspapers every day.
The CARES Act was not trying to boost aggregate demand. It was about trying to build a floor below people and making sure businesses can stay running so they don’t have to lay off as many people. Then, we can help those affected who have been laid off to meet their obligations.
We want them to be able to pay their rent and their mortgage, and we want them to be able to buy groceries. We know they are not going to go out and book the vacation just yet. We know that businesses are not going to expand operations in a big way.
This bill is about economic relief. We are not trying to push the economy forward by this. We are trying to stop it from slipping back even further.
David D. Stewart: Almost a year later, in 2021, US lawmakers passed another COVID-19 relief package. The American Rescue Planning Act contained a number of tax provisions, including the popular Advance Child Tax Credit.
Before its passage, we spoke with Rebecca Thompson of the Washington, D.C. nonprofit Prosperity Now about why credit is so important to low-income families.
Rebecca Thompson: Extending the Child Tax Credit is beneficial to support families with children. I don’t think it will be enough just because the asset gap is so wide and so big. This is just one step in the process. There are many other policies that we would like to see enacted to support the whole family.
While this is a step in the right direction, it is not enough. I am a single mother of four sons and hence I am also very excited about the prospect of extended child tax credit.
I would say that a good thing that has come up, but also raised a concern and an issue, is that what we are finding is that low- and middle-income filers, especially people of color, are paying attention. Huh. They are watching and they have a high level of awareness about what is happening with the COVID-19 relief package.
For example, a friend of ours in New Jersey commented a few weeks ago that as their site was opening, they already had tax filings coming in. They were reviewing returns with a client and she looked at the numbers and said, “Okay, what happened to my $3,000? Where’s my $3,000 child tax credit that I was promised was COVID-19 Was it in the relief package?”
People know what’s in the package. They understand how it can benefit them. They are looking for it now because they don’t have a complete understanding of the legislative process. And just because it is in the relief package that the President has proposed is not a deal.
David D. Stewart: In the last 100 episodes, we have interviewed several high-ranking government officials. Before his departure from the IRS, we chatted with the former Don Forte, head of the Criminal Investigation Department and east Eric Hilton, Head of the Small Business/Self-Employment Division,
We also interviewed US Tax Court Chief Justice Maurice Foley about his path to the bench and his second term as Chief Justice. Here we asked him about the unique challenges of being the first black tax court judge:
Maurice B. Foley: I was so blessed that I was raised to really focus on taking advantage of opportunities. I grew up in places like Utah and Minot, North Dakota. My dad was in the Air Force and worked on Minuteman missiles. We were often located in places that were very isolated and isolated.
It was not unusual for me to be alone and alone. I became quite comfortable being alone and only to the point where it never dawned on me.
But I was raised by parents who emphasized the importance of faith and education. While there were obstacles, they were never obstacles that I considered very important because I had a priority. I preferred to emphasize my faith and education. I knew and my father used to tell me that with education and blessings anything is possible. In my life, this has proven to be the case.
David D. Stewart: Last October we had National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins on the podcast to discuss her role in the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges she and the IRS face.
Now this interview means a lot to us. this was the last podcast interview tax notes Senior journalist William Hoffman. While we were preparing for this episode, we got the news that Bill passed away suddenly on January 1.
Bill was an excellent reporter, and I always enjoyed working with him on podcasts or running into tax analysts’ hallways with him. He was always working on an interesting story, and he was happy to make government officials a little uncomfortable with his tough, but always fair, questions.
In this interview, Bill asks Collins about the IRS changes she made to her FAQ in 2021, and what she wants to see from the IRS next.
William Hoffman: Do you believe this is the last word from the IRS on the matter? Or do you think they are open to revision or revision in the light of public criticism?