Speaker Bios

January 10, 2024

8:25 – 8:30 a.m. – Welcome and Opening Remarks
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. – Department of Revenue (DOR) Update
Commissioner Snyder: What’s New from the DOR for the CPA community?
Rebecca Forter: Latest in Guidance – What should we know, what should we expect?
Sharen Brown: Looking ahead to the Tax Year 2023 Filing Season

9:40 – 10:20 a.m. – Appellate Tax Board Update
Mark DeFrancisco, Esq., Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board
In this session, we’ll provide an update on state tax decisions from the Appellate Tax Board (ATB) and appellate courts. We’ll also discuss best practices for appearance before the ATB and procedures for participating in remote hearings at the ATB. 

10:30 – 11:20 a.m. – Concurrent Sessions (choose one)

Channel 1: Resurgence of Section 965
Rita Ryan, LL.M., Wolf & Company, P.C.
In this session, we’ll discuss the resurgence of 2017/2018 Section 965 reporting, which was the one-time “deemed repatriation” provision included as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) for U.S. shareholders of specified foreign corporations, including the one-time “toll charge” tax, how it could easily be missed, the connection to Global Intangible Low Tax Income (GILTI) reporting and how to remedy late filings with the IRS. We’ll also discuss the current U.S. Supreme Court case of Moore v. U.S., which challenges the constitutionality of Section 965 and how the petitioner’s arguments distinguish Section 965 from other sections of the code.

Channel 2: New England State & Local Tax Update
Leanne Scott, JD, LL.M., Baker Newman Noyes (BNN)
Lori Paci, JD, Baker Newman Noyes (BNN)
In this breakout session, we’ll provide an update on recent developments, trends and other topics of interest for the other New England states (Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). As our clients expand their footprint and states continue to look for new ways to raise revenue, it’s important to keep a close eye on our neighboring states as well. This session will provide important updates for practitioners as we head into another filing season.

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. – Massachusetts Tax Reform Bill
Lu Awdeh, RSM US LLP
Aaron Agarwal, RSM US LLP
This session will provide an overview of the Massachusetts Tax Relief recently signed into law. We’ll discuss the potential impact of these provisions on businesses and individuals as well as the impact of the 4% millionaires’ surtax and the pass-through entity (PTE) election.

12:20 p.m. – Day 1 Closing Remarks

January 11, 2024

8:25 – 8:30 a.m. – Day 2 Welcome
8:30 – 9:20 a.m. – National Trends in State and Local Tax Policy
Morgan Scarboro, MultiState Associates, Inc.
Karl Frieden, Council on State Taxation
States have been handed unprecedented revenue surpluses over the past two years. The Federal Reserve’s action to restrain inflation, combined with massive increases in state general fund spending, guarantees this will come to an end soon. At the same time, several states, including Massachusetts, will change political control following the 2022 elections. In this session, we’ll analyze trends that will accelerate, trends that will not and new issues that will come to the forefront.

9:30 – 10:20 a.m. – Sales Tax in a Digital Age
Gregory Devlin, BDO, USA, P.C.
The sales taxation of digital services and products continues to evolve. This session will discuss certain issues associated with the taxation of the digital economy, services and products, including classification and sourcing. We’ll also discuss the background for taxation of digital services in a post-Wayfair era as these taxes continue to gain attention. The session will also address recent developments, other state initiatives to tax digital services and what legal challenges those efforts could face.

10:30 – 11:20 a.m. – Non-resident Tax Issues
Rich Jones, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Caroline Kupiec, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
As many former residents of Massachusetts have learned, leaving the state does not necessarily mean leaving behind the obligation to pay Massachusetts income tax. Nonresidents are taxed on Massachusetts-source income, which encompasses income effectively connected with a trade or business, including employment, in Massachusetts. There continues to be uncertainty and an evolving landscape about what is considered Massachusetts-source income, particularly with respect to a nonresident’s sale of an interest in a business operating in Massachusetts. In this session, we’ll address several nonresident tax issues, distilling the clear obligations from the gray areas, and highlighting overlooked opportunities. Among other things, the panel will discuss the often-vexing task of calculating Massachusetts-source income attributable to the ownership of pass-through entities, compensation of remote or travelling workers and income from stock options and other kinds of deferred compensation.

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. – Massachusetts Legislative Update
Governor Maura Healey
Zach Donah, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
Molly Sullivan, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
This session will kick off with MassCPAs President and CEO Zach Donah, CAE, and Vice President of Government Affairs Molly Sullivan giving a recap of what happened in the legislature in 2023, including the tax reform package. They’ll also give a preview of what to expect in 2024 along with a discussion on priorities for Congress.

They’ll later be joined by Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, who will discuss the $1 billion package she signed into law last fall, which includes the first tax cuts in more than 20 years. Governor Healey will review key proposals she has long championed, including an expanded Child and Family Tax Credit that is now the most generous in the country, increases to the Rental Deduction, the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit and Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) and changes to the Estate Tax and Short Term Capital Gains to address areas of the tax code where Massachusetts is an outlier.

Speaker Bios

Lutof Awdeh
Lutof Awdeh is principal of tax services at RSM US, LLP, providing tax consulting services in all aspects of state and local taxation, including corporate, individual, sales and use and income tax for clients in a broad spectrum of industries. Awdeh also represents clients in state tax audit and controversy matters before the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) as well as other state and local tax authorities and is a member of the RSM national mergers and acquisitions practice. He has over 19 years of experience in public accounting serving as a state and local tax practitioner with a Big 4 firm and a regional firm that was acquired by RSM US LLP in 2010. Prior to public accounting, Awdeh spent more than eight years at the Massachusetts DOR’s Litigation Bureau, representing the Commissioner of Revenue in state tax and bankruptcy litigation matters.

Mark DeFrancisco, Esq​
Chairman, Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board Mark DeFrancisco, Esq., serves as chairman of the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board. He has nearly 40 years of experience in the area of state and local taxation, in both the public sector and in private practice as a state and local tax litigator. DeFrancisco is an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Law’s Graduate Tax Program and has spoken frequently on matters relating to Massachusetts taxation, including numerous conferences sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers, county assessors associations, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), MassCPAs and the tax committees of the Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations.

Sharen Brown​
Senior Deputy Commissioner of Tax, Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) Sharen Brown is the senior deputy commissioner of tax at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). Brown oversees end-to-end management of the tax administration process, including the tax, operations and resolution division. In her 19-year career with the DOR, she has served in various roles in the tax division including most recently as chief of the Business Income Tax Bureau.

Zach Donah ​
President and CEO, Massachusetts Society of CPAs Last year, a selection committee of the Society’s Board of Directors unanimously elected Zach Donah, CAE, to succeed Amy Pitter as president and CEO, effective January 1, 2024. As part of this planned leadership succession and in connection with his promotion, Donah was named Deputy CEO, effective May 1, 2023. In that role, he worked with the Society’s leadership team on the overall management and oversight of the Society and its Educational Foundation, including advancing the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. Donah has been a member of the Society’s staff since 2013, serving in various role in the organization’s government affairs team, most recently as the vice president of advocacy where he oversaw the Society’s government relations and the academic and career development programs and the MassCPAs Educational Foundation. Prior to joining the Society, Donah served as a legislative director and chief of staff in the Massachusetts State Senate.

Gregory Devlin, BDO USA, P.C
Senior Manager, State and Local Tax, BDO USA, P.C. Gregory Devlin is senior manager of state and local tax at BDO USA, P.C. With nearly 10 years of state and local tax consulting experience in multi-state income tax and sales and use tax matters, Devlin has served a wide variety of clients in almost all industries. His primary focus is on sales and use tax matters, including tax controversy, compliance and filing methodologies, technology improvements and various state and local tax aspects that arise from mergers and acquisitions or restructuring transactions. He has also assisted businesses, including U.S. inbound companies, in determining their nexus footprint, taxability of their products and services and helped them obtain voluntary disclosure agreements (VDAs) to bring them into state tax compliance.

Karl Frieden​
Vice President/General Counsel, Council on State Taxation Karl Frieden is the vice president/general counsel of the Council on State Taxation (COST), where he is responsible for writing amicus briefs for cases at state supreme courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, working on state and local tax-related legislation, developing research studies for COST’s State Tax Research Institute and speaking at state tax forums throughout the U.S. Prior to joining COST, Frieden was a tax partner with EY and before that a tax partner with Arthur Andersen. He has spoken on state, local and global indirect tax issues at business, government and tax policy forums in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and has testified before state legislatures and the U.S. Congress on state tax policy issues. He is an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center where he co-teaches a course on State and Local Taxes: U.S. Subnational Taxation of Multijurisdictional Entities and has authored numerous articles on state and local taxation as well as a book, Cybertaxation: The Taxation of E-Commerce (CCH 2000) — the first comprehensive book written on the taxation of the digital economy.

Rebecca Forter
Deputy Commissioner for Tax Policy and Chief of the Rulings and Regulations Bureau, Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) Rebecca Forter is deputy commissioner for Tax Policy and chief of the Rulings and Regulations Bureau at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). She is responsible for ensuring the state’s revenue statutes are supported by clear regulatory and other guidance, and that the department communicates effectively with media outlets, legislators, taxpayers and tax practitioners about the state’s tax laws. Prior to joining the DOR, she practiced at law firms in New York and Boston, where she advised clients on the federal and international tax consequences of a variety of transactions, including private investment fund formations and investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and restructurings.

Rich Jones
Partner, Tax Department, Sullivan & Worcester LLP Richard Jones, Esq., is a partner in the Tax Department in the Boston office of Sullivan & Worcester LLP. His concentration is on state tax litigation and transactional planning involving corporate, franchise, personal income and sales/ use tax matters. Jones has broad experience before the Appellate Tax Board (ATB), the Supreme Judicial Court, various state Departments of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on a range of issues, including corporate nexus, domicile, apportionment, step transaction and unitary reporting.

Lori Paci, JD
Manager, Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) Lori Paci, JD, is a manager in the Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) tax practice, and a member of the firm’s state and local tax (SALT) practice. She offers more than 10 years of experience providing highlevel tax and business services to private industry, public agencies and nonprofit organizations. Paci is skilled at distilling complex tax language into understandable and workable solutions for her clients. She has worked in both government and the private sector and draws from her varied experience to help clients navigate multi-state tax issues in multiple areas of state and local taxation, including sales and use, income and franchise taxes and credits and incentives.

Caroline Kupiec
Tax Associate, Sullivan & Worcester, LLP Caroline Kupiec is a tax associate at Sullivan & Worcester, LLP, representing clients from a range of industries before state and federal authorities at all stages of the tax controversy process. She regularly represents technology and life science companies before the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) and in litigation at the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board (ATB). Previously, Kupiec clerked for the Honorable Joseph H. Gale of the U.S. Tax Court.

Rita Ryan
International Tax Services Lead, Wolf & Company, P.C. Rita Ryan, LL.M., leads Wolf & Company, P.C.’s International Tax Practice, where she focuses on tax planning and compliance for international holdings. Ryan has extensive experience advising clients on the tax aspects of cross-border business activities, structuring international investments and U.S. compliance obligations relating to these activities and investments for both entities and individuals. Prior to joining Wolf & Company, P.C., she was in private practice as an associate attorney at the law firm of Vacovec, Mayotte & Singer, LLP where she focused on the areas of international and domestic taxation, estate planning and tax controversy. Ryan is an adjunct professor at the Graduate Tax Program at Boston University School of Law where she co-founded and co-teaches “Foreign Information Reporting and Withholding.”

Leanne Scott
Senior Manager, Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) Leanne Scott, JD, LL.M, is a senior manager in the Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) Boston tax practice. Scott specializes in the state and local taxation of businesses and individuals, working across multiple areas, including income, franchise and gross receipts taxes, sales and use tax and premium tax. In addition, Scott’s experience includes tax consulting, multi-state tax planning, tax controversies, credits and incentives and return preparation and review. Prior to joining the firm in 2018, she served as the director of state and local taxes for a Boston-based financial services and insurance company and spent 15 years with various public accounting firms. Scott is also a frequent author and speaker and regularly conducts internal trainings for colleagues on a variety of state and local tax topics.

Morgan Scarboro
Vice President, MultiState Associates, Inc. Morgan Scarboro joined MultiState in 2018 and currently serves as vice president of Tax Policy and Economist, where she uses her expertise in state tax policy to advise clients on policy trends, manage state advocacy coalitions and track corporate income tax legislation across the country. Scarboro is a frequent panelist for state tax policy events and updates and has presented to a wide range of groups, ranging from policy experts, general business communities and government affairs professionals. Her work has been cited in national and state-based publications, including the Associated Press, CNN Money, Law 360, NPR, Politico, State Tax Notes and The Washington Post. She is a co-chair of the Women in Government Relations’ State Relations Task Force and prior to joining MultiState, she worked as a policy analyst at the Tax Foundation.

Geoffrey Snyder
Commissioner, Department of Revenue (DOR) Geoffrey Snyder is the commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) where he is responsible for administering the tax, child support and municipal finance laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has several decades of seniorlevel leadership experience in the financial industry and previously served as the deputy commissioner of administrative affairs and acting CFO at the DOR from 2016 to 2019. In his role as deputy commissioner, Snyder provided oversight of finance, human resources, facilities management, the Office of Ethics and Employee Responsibility, internal audit, labor relations and risk management functions.

Molly Sullivan
Vice President of Government Affairs, Massachusetts Society of CPAs As vice president of Government Affairs, Molly Sullivan leads the Society’s government affairs team dedicated to advancing legislative and regulatory policy priorities that protect the integrity of the CPA license and move the profession and economy forward in Massachusetts. Before joining the Society, Sullivan was vice president at a public affairs firm where she represented a wide range of clients, from nonprofits and associations to national corporations. Prior to that. she was a legislative and budget director in the Massachusetts State Senate.

Aaron Agarwal, Senior Manager, RSM US LLP
Aaron Agarwal is a senior manager at RSM US LLP. He has over 10 years of experience specializing in state and local tax with a primary focus on multistate tax consulting, compliance and audit defense for medical devices companies. Agarwal has assisted clients with nexus studies, apportionment methodology reviews, state audits and controversies, state tax compliance, voluntary disclosures and general state tax planning. Prior to joining RSM, Agarwal was a field audit team leader for the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration and a tax manager for two multinational medical device companies.

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