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Houston, TX, United States, 2012/08/13 - alliantgroup was honored to host more than 100 CPAs & business leaders in our Houston headquarters for the Strategic, Tax and Legislative Think Tank on August 6th and 7th with Senator John Cornyn and alliant's strategic advisory board - AlliantGroup.com.
It was alliantgroup’s great honor to host more than 100 CPAs and business leaders from across the country in our Houston headquarters for the Strategic, Tax and Legislative Think Tank on August 6th and 7th. The high energy event featured lively interactive discussions and in-depth talks with top experts in tax law including Gale Crosley, founder and president of Crosley+Company, U.S. Senator John Cornyn, and alliantgroup advisory board members former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, former Congressman Jim Ramstad, former Governor Bob Riley, former HOK Group CFO Bob Pratzel, and Dean Zerbe and Dawn Levy who both served as Tax Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.
Senator Cornyn’s presentation focused on the importance of small and mid-size companies taking advantage of the tax incentives the Congress intended for them to use to survive the tough economic climate. “The most significant economic growth is happening with companies who have fewer than 1,000 employees,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for companies to utilize services like alliantgroup to figure out the complexities of the tax code and take the incentives they deserve even if they don’t have an army of accountants.” Cornyn answered questions from the attendees about the importance of communicating their concerns to their representatives, advising them that “if a Congressman gets 15 to 20 letters on a topic, he assigns a staffer specifically to the issue; if he gets 500, it’s all his office talks about.”
After Cornyn’s insightful talk, alliantgroup’s vice chairman Mark Everson moderated a panel discussion with Jim Ramstad, Bob Riley, Dawn Levy, and Dean Zerbe on the current economic state of the nation and the possible future of tax incentives. Ramstad kicked off the discussion by observing that the U.S. is going through the “most challenging and dangerous time since World War II” and that a second recession is a possibility. In Levy’s opening remarks, she noted that in terms of tax credits, she predicts some “will go away while some will stay and get bigger” as a result of the fiscal cliff. Riley shared an anecdote about how, when he was governor of Alabama, he learned about the 179D credit for environmentally friendly building compliance. He immediately called the presidents of the major universities to see if they were utilizing it for their new campus buildings and was shocked to learn they were not. Zerbe spoke on the absolute necessity of simplifying the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) credit for businesses.
The conference also included a roundtable for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction, led by Jadav, Everson, and Pratzel. They spoke on challenges facing the three industries, with Pratzel noting that 40% of architects are currently out of work and building in the commercial and retail sectors being down. The speakers outlined several solutions to these challenges including positioning their clients to reap the benefits of global markets, preparing for long-term focused strategies, and utilizing tax credits to ensure their clients maintain a competitive edge.
The event was notable for its encouragement of interaction and discussion between the speakers and the attendees. As alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav jokingly told the attendees,“please interrupt our speakers” to encourage them to guide the discussion to focus about the issues they are dealing with.
alliantgroup’s managing director David Ji believes the ideas shared at the event will have an impact far beyond Houston. “The Think Tank was a great success for everyone involved,” Ji said. “The attendees thoroughly picked the brains of the D.C. insiders and tax experts we brought to them and came up with some great ideas, information, and strategies that they will take back to their clients about effectively securing tax incentives for them.”