How did you get into the world of corporate tax?
I started out at UNC Charlotte as a chemistry major planning to be a pharmacist, but by my junior year, I realized accounting was the right fit.
KPMG offered me an internship during college, and after graduation, I started full time in state and local tax. My first assignment was helping a client do compliance in Corptax. I became one of KPMG’s Corptax people doing custom calculations for clients, as well as implementations and general compliance for their state calculations.
After a couple of years, I went into industry where I continued to use Corptax – followed by a return to KPMG. Corptax came naturally to me and in 2017, I joined the company. It was inevitable!
What is your position at Corptax and your responsibilities?
I’m a manager on the Tax Law Analyst team. I read tax law for the states I’m assigned and make sure that our calcs match a given state’s income tax laws. My role entails reading the law and making sure that what the state says is the correct calculation for their income tax matches what Corptax is publishing.
Before the recent tax law changes, there would be few changes from year to year for a state. But now, we’re having major changes across the board for every state. It’s really interesting and keeps me engaged. It may be “tax-nerdy” to some, but it’s exciting to me. The last few years have made life very busy and fun!
Is there a hidden gem of info that a client may not know?
Yes— the State Conformity Tracker in the Support Knowledge Base, which lets clients know about state implementations of recent federal changes. It’s extremely beneficial if you file a lot of state returns. Customers love it and tell us, “We’re so glad you did this. It saves us time when we don’t have to research every calc!” It’s been available for the past two filing seasons, and it’s updated annually. We also recently added CARES Act information that impacts states, too.
What changes have you seen in your field in the last five years?
Similar to other fields, we’re seeing much more automation. If an action or task can be automated, that’s what our clients want. On the state side, we’re automating federal numbers that we can pull down into our state calculations to prevent clients from having to re-enter. We’ve tried to automate detailed things, too, like your name, place of business and addresses. We’re also doing a data-mining project to make that process even better. Clients prefer automation because it saves so much time and eliminates the possibility for error. You enter data once and use that account throughout every state return. It’s a lot less work.
What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?
I’m staying up to date with all the new federal tax law changes — the CARES Act and TCJA —and all the guidance the states are releasing. I’m assigned to three states, which entails getting the partnership, S Corp, and C Corp information. Plus, I look at the extensions, estimates, and amended categories, so clients get everything they need.
In addition, I’m the owner of the TCJA Tracker, so I actually stay on top of all states. I reach out to state owners and ask about recent changes. I review every state for their provision state impacts.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Every state’s guidance and the way they implement changes is so different; it makes my job challenging and interesting. Last year, the IRS was very late getting out regulations and final provisions, which prevented states from being able to read it and see the impacts to their calculations, budgets, and planning, so it can be difficult. The good news is, it’s getting better.
As for working at Corptax, I love the flexibility—like the ability to work remotely and still feel connected and engaged with my group. It’s an amazing attribute I truly appreciate and enjoy.
What is the best advice you ever received?
I was already established in the tax field, and a co-worker told me, “It’s not where you work, but the people you work with.” At the time, I didn’t fully understand it. But after working at several different places, I realized that the people you work with affect your happiness. Now when I am being interviewed, I think, “Could I go to you as a manager and feel comfortable? Would we interact well?” Once I looked at it like that, I realized it was great advice.