IRS Nationwide Tax Forums are Right Around the Corner
Summertime is here, so the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums are right around the corner. For many tax professionals, the Forums are an affordable way to stay up-to-date on tax law changes and earn continuing education credits. Here’s a summary of what to expect and a few tips to help you get the most out of your Forum experience.
There are five Forums this year, starting in Chicago (July 1-3) and ending in Orlando (August 26-28). Stops in between are San Diego (July 15-17), New Orleans (July 22-24) and Washington, DC (August 19-21).
The main draw for most participants is continuing education, and those attending every session over the three day period can earn 18 credits. There is also a keynote address and a plenary session, usually featuring a high-ranking IRS official. Currently, new IRS commissioner John Koskinen is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the Chicago Forum.
Another big draw is the exhibit hall where, this year, 68 different vendors are scheduled to participate in at least one forum. If you are looking to purchase reference materials, study for the EA exam, buy or sell a practice (or franchise), research bank products or join a trade association, the exhibit hall is the place to be. Many vendors offer discounts to Forum participants and there are raffles and give-aways galore. Make sure to stop by the Drake Software booth to get a free demo of the software, learn what enhancements are in store for next filing season, and meet some great folks!
Two other things to check out are the 990 workshop and the case resolution room. The 990 workshop is by reservation only and fills up fast. The case resolution room is for circular 230 practitioners with unresolved IRS cases. IRS representatives will be on hand to meet with tax professionals one-on-one to work toward resolution on your most difficult case.
Here are three tips to get the most out of your Forum experience:
Register early to get the best rate as prices go up about two weeks before the event. Also, check with your trade association to see if they offer additional discounts.
Plan ahead to get the most out of your experience. There are 39 different seminars on the schedule this year and most are offered one or two times over the three day Forum. Seminars are organized in groups so that there’s something for everyone. Scheduled groups for this year are Federal Tax Law, Federal Tax Law Updates, Ethics, Advanced and a Certified Financial Planner track. A little advance planning will help you get to the seminars that are most relevant to you and your practice.
Finally, all speakers are not created equal. Seminars conducted by IRS officials provide unique insight into how the Service works, the theory behind the law and what the Service has planned for the future. However, there are also speakers from seven different trade associations including NAEA, AICPA and the ABA. Those speakers tend to have more insight into how tax law is applied in the real world – the takeaways from these seminars are more practical.
To register for the Forum, check out the schedule and research the presenters, visit the Forums on-line at www.IRSTaxForum.com. And for those of you with social media savvy, you can also connect with the forums on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jerry Gaddis, EA is the Founder and CEO of Tropical Tax Solutions, a full-service tax firm located in the Florida Keys. He earned a BS Degree from the University of Florida and an MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Enrolled Agents and you can interact with him on LinkedIn and Twitter (@TropicalTax).