2019 NESTOA Annual Meeting


This agenda is updated as of August 30, 2019.  Please check back regularly for updates as we are regularly making updates.   


Monday, September 9

6:00 – 8:00        Opening Reception at the Skyline at Waterplace Park

Tuesday, September 10

7:30 – 8:30        Breakfast                   

7:30 – 8:30        Commissioners’ Breakfast (Commissioners or their representative)

General Session

8:30 - 8:40       Welcome and Conference Notes
Charlie Helms, FTA

8:40 - 8:45        Welcome to Rhode Island
Neena Savage, Tax Administrator, Rhode Island Division of Taxation

This year, we are trying a new approach to the Commissioners' Roundtable. We are breaking the session up into three panels, during which each agency head or their representative will present a program or topic being pursued in their state. FTA's motto is "Let No Good Idea Go Unstolen," and we anticipate you are going to take away lots of great ideas from these sessions. 

8:45 – 9:30        Commissioners’ Session 1 

Neena Savage, Rhode Island Division of Taxation: Individual Mandate 
Jennifer Hudson, Delaware Division of Revenue: Successful Planning for DE's Modernization Program
Alex Weber, Maine Revenue Services: MRS’s Schedule Change for Taxpayer Assistance
Sharonne Bonardi, Comptroller of Maryland: Maryland's Cultural Change Program and Organizational Transformation
Michael Schmidt, New York Department of Taxation and Finance: Leadership Transition 

9:30- 10:15         Murphy v. New Jersey

The US Supreme Court in 2018 overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which prohibited states from allowing sports betting within their borders. While the ruling focused on sports betting, the implications from Murphy may have much broader reach, perhaps even affecting federal limitations on states’ taxing authority. This panel will discuss the impact of this landmark case.
Greg Matson, Multistate Tax Commission
Joe Huddleston, Ernst & Young 

10:15 – 10:45   Break

10:45 - 11:30    Change Management

The winner of this year's FTA Management award, Maryland has undertaken a change management process as it works through a modernization effort.  Learn how to lead staff and processes through the change process.   

Erin Wilkerson, Comptroller of Maryland 


11:30 – Noon   What FTA Can Do for You

FTA staff discusses resources available to tax agency personnel. 
Ryan Minnick, FTA

Noon – 1:30       Lunch (provided)

 Audit Breakout

1:30 – 2:15        Remote Sellers Compliance Panel
A panel will discuss steps they are taking to enforce compliance among remote sellers

Kevin Milligan, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue
Andrew J. Maschas, Comptroller of Maryland

2:20 – 3:05        The Ins and Outs of Using Data in Audit Operations

The speakers will discuss how to use data from returns and other sources to select desk and field audits, and how to use internal data to better understand and manage operations.

Joe Carzo and Kristin Dence, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

3:05 – 3:25        Afternoon Break

3:25 – 4:10        The Other Side of the Audit

A private practitioner shares perspectives from taxpayer's side of the audit process. 

Drew VandenBrul and Michael Cronin, Grant Thornton

4:15 – 5             Audit Roundtable

Learn from your fellow tax administrators as participants engage in a free-flowing conversation on audit-related topics.

Andrew J. Maschas, Comptroller of Maryland, facilitating

Collection Breakout

1:30 – 2:15        Automating the Levy Processes

Learn about bank attachments using the X9 protocol.  Also, you will hear from Wisconsin about a project to automate the wage garnishment process.
Argi O’Leary, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
Susan Dukes, Wisconsin Department of Revenue

2:20 – 3:05       “Why Did You Do That?” Dealing with Negative Feedback on Your Collection Process

Pushback from the public, tax practitioners, legislators, etc. is part and parcel of the of a tax administrator's daily work life.  New Hampshire and New Jersey share challenges faced and the tactics and methods we use to educate and explain our actions.  

Marita Sciarrotta, New Jersey Division of Taxation 
Ora LeMere, New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration

3:05 – 3:25        Break       

3:25 – 4:10        Specialized Collection Approaches

Innovative collections techniques and processes can be integrated into your traditional collections workflows to provide a boost to your collections. Explore such topics as robotics, “nudge utilization”, intelligent mail barcode(IMB), out of state judgments and other ideas.

Mark Morabito,  Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

4:15 – 5             Collection Roundtable

Learn from your fellow tax administrators as participants engage in a free-flowing conversation on collection-related topics. 

Argi O'Leary, New York Department of Taxation and Finance, and Mark Morabito,  Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, co-facilitating                

IT/Modernization Breakout

1:30 – 2:15        Sponsorship Series:  Government Digital Transformation and the Cloud

As technological and regulatory issues of government computing drive decisions toward the cloud, citizens expect greater digital experiences, cybersecurity diligence and rapid technological advancement. Creating meaningful transitions to cloud implementation has never been more critical. Join us as discuss cloud adoption in taxation and the architectural design choices behind them.

John Walker, RSI

2:15 – 3             Sponsorship Series: Tax Administration Around the World

This presentation will discuss trends in tax administration around the world with emphasis on the ways in which tax agencies are adapting to new technologies and business models that are challenging traditional approaches of tax administration. It will include unique examples and insights from tax agencies throughout the world.

Joe Milack, FAST Enterprises

3 – 3:30             Afternoon Break 

3:30 – 5:00        Modernization Projects Panel (Government Only Session)
Panel of states in different stages of modernization projects.  Discussion leads into a roundtable discussion.

Neena Savage, Rhode Island Division of Taxation
Meggan Swisher, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

5:00 - 6:00         Sponsors Reception

All government representatives and private sector sponsors at the "table-top" level or higher are invited to join us for a special reception.  Attendee-only, private sector guests are not invited to this event.  

Wednesday, September 11

General Session

7:30 – 8:30        Breakfast          

7:30 – 8:30        Commissioners’ Breakfast
(Commissioners or their representative)

8:30 – 9:15      Commissioners’ Session 2

Lindsey Stepp, New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration: Modernizing the Org. Chart 
John Ficara, New Jersey Division of Taxation: Creative Initiatives to Respond to Federal and NJ Statute Changes  
John Kaschak, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue: Pennsylvania’s Transformation Plan 2017-2022
Doug Farnham, Vermont Department of Taxes: Lessons Learned in LEAN Implementation

9:15 – 10:00      Update on State Tax Conformity with Federal Tax Reform

This panel will provide an update on how states are conforming (or decoupling) from key provisions in the federal Tax Cuts and Job Act (TCJA).  The discussion will also focus on emerging administrative issues relating to GILTI, FDII, interest expense limitations, NOL limitations, and immediate expensing of capital investments.

Karl Frieden, COST, Facilitating
John Ficara, New Jersey Division of Taxation 

10 -10:30      Break

10:30 – Noon    Reviewing Wayfair & Resulting State Law and Policy Changes

This panel will discuss implementation of the Wayfair v. South Dakota decision. Discussion topics will include remote seller registration, compliance efforts and unexpected situations.

Karl Frieden, COST, facilitating
Michael Fatale, Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Neena Savage, Rhode Island Division of Taxation
Richard Cram, Director, National Nexus Program, MTC
Jeff Friedman, Eversheds-Southerland 

Noon – 1:30       Lunch (on your own)         

 Customer Service Breakout

1:30 – 2:15        Text, Chat and Email:  Communicating Securely Using 21st Century Tools

The District of Columbia Government, Office of Tax and Revenue launched a new online tax portal; MyTax.DC.gov.  MyTax.DC.gov has made viewing and paying taxes in the District easier, simpler and more efficient.  The portal has benefited businesses and individual in many ways. 

Warren Farrar, Washington D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue

2:20 – 3:05    New Hampshire’s Public Outreach Strategy

Learn more about what New Hampshire discovered when it engaged a public relations firm to complete a communications audit on the effectiveness of the agency’s communications strategy and how the NH Department of Revenue has leveraged that information to improve communications to key constituencies.  

Carollynn Lear, New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration

3:05 – 3:25        Afternoon Break       

3:25 – 4:10         Evolution of Customer Service and Outreach

This session focuses on trends in customer service and outreach. The PA Department of Revenue will share the evolution of their customer service, outreach, and customer feedback methodologies. It’ll touch on trends that led to success, as well as glimpses into where they are heading in the future.

Adria Senft, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

4:15 – 5             Customer Service Roundtable

Learn from your fellow tax administrators as participants engage in a free-flowing conversation on customer service-related topics. 

Susanna Coburn, Rhode Island Division of Taxation      

Management breakout

1:30 – 2:15        Benchmarking for Success

Benchmarking for Success – In this session we will discuss the process to develop and use metrics to drive customer service, employee performance and continuous improvement initiatives.  Attendees will hear about what’s been attempted, what has/hasn’t worked, and what we learned with our efforts.

John Biello, Connecticut Department of Revenue Services

2:20 – 3:05        Employee Engagement: Lessons Learned

This session focuses on lessons learned in employee engagement. The PA Department of Revenue will share results and insights after the first two years of measuring employee engagement. Additionally, it’ll focus on the employee engagement initiatives that came about as a result of the first year of employee feedback.

Adria Senft, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

3:05 – 3:25        Break

3:25 – 4:10        Managing in a Union Environment

Managing a union workforce presents unique challenges and opportunities.  This panel will discuss strategies on engaging with unions to improve relations and improve processes. 

Neena Savage, Rhode Island Division of Taxation
Lindsey Stepp, New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration
Kathleen McColgan, 
Philadelphia Department of Revenue

4:15 – 5             Management Roundtable

Learn from your fellow tax administrators as participants engage in a free-flowing conversation on management related topics.      

Radee Skipworth, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, facilitating

Tax Policy Breakout

1:30 – 2:15        Marketplace Facilitators

Panel discussion on what states are doing to tax online marketplaces rather than individual retailers.

Elissa Borges, Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue 
Michael Fatale, Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Richard L. Cram, Multistate Tax Commission

2:20 – 3:05        Court Case Round-up – Important Cases Affecting State and Local Tax Administration

This panel will take a look at recently decided cases as well as those making their way through the courts that will have an impact on state and local tax administration.

Alysse McLoughlin, McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP
Helen Hecht, Multistate Tax Commission

3:05 – 3:25        Afternoon Break   

3:25 – 4:10        New Interesting and Weird: Innovations in Tax Policy

Join us for an interesting discussion about recent innovations in tax policy.   

Marita Sciarrotta, New Jersey Division of Taxation, Facilitating
Keith Richardson, Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue
Drew VanderBrul, Grant Thornton

4:15 – 5             State Tax Issues - NOT Wayfair!

This panel will focus on three topics:  the first is TCJA related:  the new IRS charitable contribution regulations in light of the $10,000 state and local tax cap.  The other two are qui tam or whistleblower statutes (False Claims Act) and the Taxpayer Advocate positions around the country. 

Alan Levine, Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue
Marilyn Wethekam, HMB Legal Counsel, Chicago, Ill               

5:30 – 9            Evening Event at thRoger Williams Park Zoo

Additional details on transportation from the hotel to the park will be available soon.  Free parking is available for those who drive. 

Thursday, September 12

7:30 – 8:30        Breakfast

General Session

8:30 – 9:15   Commissioners’ Session 3

Frank Breslin, Philadelphia Department of Revenue: Behavioral Science Driven Compliance
Chris Harding, Massachusetts Department of Revenue: Massachusetts’s Recreational Marijuana Tax Implementation 
Shared Responsibility Payment/Penalty, and Other Legislative Highlights 
Scott Jackson, Connecticut Department of Revenue Services: Connecticut's Payroll Tax Commission
Eva Liggins, Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue: Sports Betting 

9:15 – 10:00    Customer Service and Change Management

Eva Liggins, Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue

10:00 – 10:30    Break

10:30 - 12:00 Unleashing Your Superpower: Why Persuasive Communication Is The Only Force You Will Ever Need

This session empowers attendees to unleash their inner super hero and teaches performance strategies to win like the Avengers.

The heart and soul of this presentation is the emotional story of adopting a baby from Haiti during a time of civil unrest while the government was collapsing.

Within the session, Jeff shares the three Cs of persuasion—everything you need to know to find success in accomplishing your goals, increasing your effectiveness, and positively impacting your organization. It ends with a focus on the greater good, and how our actions have impact on the lives of so many others beyond ourselves.

Jeff Tippett, Author, Public Relations Expert, Podcast Host

12:00 Ending Remarks and Adjourn

Charlie Helms, FTA