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2017 Call for Speakers

Deloitte Pre-Conference Tutorial (Full-Day)

About the Sponsors

CPE Information

For more information about the program agenda, please contact Matthew Lucas by email at:

For more information about exhibiting or sponsorship, please contact Jeanette Townsend (email) -- or by phone (703.622.3524).

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American Tower Corporation
Anybill Financial Services
Birch Communications
Blackfoot Telecom
Bloomberg BNA
BT Americas
BullsEye Telecom
Cable One
Cahill Gordon & Reindel
Charter Communications
China Unicom (Americas)
Clarity Communications
Compliance Solutions
Comview Corporation
Consolidated Communications
Cox Communications
Crown Castle
Davis Wright Tremaine
Deloitte Tax
Dial 800
DISH Network
DLA Piper
Dover Dixon Horne
Electronic Tax Systems
Ernst & Young
eTax Sys
Everglades Technologies
Focused Business Solutions
GCI Communication
General Motors Company
Geotab USA
GMG Consulting
Granite Telecommunications
Grant McCarthy Group
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn
Horwood Marcus & Berk
Hotwire Communications
IDI Billing Solutions
IDT Corp
Impact Telecom
Internap Corporation
IPiFony Systems
Keller & Heckman
Kelley Drye & Warren
Level 3 Communications
Lightower Fiber Networks
LMK Communications
Marashlian & Donahue
The CommLaw Group
MATRIXX Software
Mediacom Communications
MegaPath Cloud Company
Ministry Communication and Information Technology
Modas Systems
Morrison & Foerster
Network Communications
NW Financial Group
Opportunity Associates
Pavlov Media
Peerless Network
Pitney Bowes
Plumas Sierra Telecom
Primus Telecommunications
Rackspace Hosting
Reed Smith
Robert Susko
San Carlos Apache Telecom
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Silver Williams & Ford
Singapore Telecom USA
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Smart Choice Comm
Southern Light
Suddenlink Communications
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan
Sullivan & Associates
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T-Systems North America
Telecom Compliance Assoc
Telephone and Data Systems, Inc
TeleQuality Communications
Think, LLP
Time Warner Cable
Tower Cloud
Transaction Tax Consulting Group, LLC
Transaction Tax Resources
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United Fiber and Data
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Reed Smith






“Jim Nason was exceptional. His knowledge and communications skills made for a knowledgeable and thorough subject presentation. Great job!”
– Bonnie Boggs, Sierra Telephone

“I attend this program every year. There are always knowledgeable people with great information.”
–Rasheda Murphy, Powernet Global Communications

“After attending last year’s conference, I came away with information from one of the sessions which prompted a refund totaling over $4.2M”
– John Figueirdo, Verizon Wireless

“… exceeded my expectations. It seems to be becoming more informative and relevant to our job functions in this increasingly difficult time of doing more with less”
– John Dolan, Verizon

“Excellent content – well worth the time”
– John Boyles, Comcast

“Very valuable information.  Great speakers. Excellent networking!”
– Amy Karpf, Cavalier Telephone

“The speakers are top-notch.”
--Bill Thiemann, Centennial Communications

“Very good, very focused discussion.”
--Jay Goodrich, Verizon Wireless

“So much to learn!  The materials and speakers were very well organized.”
-- Amy Karpf, Talk America

“The most comprehensive telecom taxation conference available today.”
-- Joe Hartman, Radianz Americas

“A must attend conference for anyone in the telco tax world.”
-- Norene Hartug, Frontier Communications

“Excellent content yet again.  Well worth the time.”
-- John Boyles, Comcast

“This is a must attend for anyone in the field of telecommunications taxation.”
-- Terri Westover, Frontier Communications

“This is the number one conference to identify best practices in the telecom tax world.”
-- Roy Drukker, Fairpoint


Communications Taxation '17 - May 15-17, 2017

Mark your calendars! The 2017 date and venue are confirmed.
Call for speakers is posted (PDF) - first deadline 12/15/2016.

About TeleStrategies' Communications Taxation Conference (17.5 CPE Credits*)

TeleStrategies' annual Communications Taxation Conference brings together the nation's top tax professionals to address the challenging and amazingly complex domain of telecommunications taxation and compliance.

About the program: Now in its 18th year, Communications Taxation provides comprehensive coverage of all aspects of telecom taxes, regulations and fees. The program typically attracts over 300 tax professionals from all sectors of the industry --including wireline, mobile, cable, Internet, VoIP, enterprise data as well as emerging areas such as content, entertainment and cloud services.

Why you should attend: Whether you are new to communications taxes and fees, or an industry veteran, the experts at Communications Taxation will show you how to lower your tax bill, improve compliance, streamline tax operations, pro actively prepare for audits, better defend your company's audit position, leverage case studies/precedent to lower your liabilities, prepare for "what's next" and, most importantly, network with your industry peers to learn and share experiences.

Communications Taxation 2017 Agenda: The 2017 agenda will be posted by mid-January 2017. To get a feel for the sessions and types of presentations, please refer to the 2016 agenda (posted below). If you are interested in presenting, please contact Matthew Lucas by email:

Communications Taxation 2017 Sponsorship: For more information about exhibiting or sponsorship, please contact Jeanette Townsend ( -- or by phone (703.622.3524).

Questions about the Program? Please feel free to contact me for any reason.

Dr. Matthew Lucas, Program Chair

TeleStrategies' Communications Taxation 2016

Pre-Conference Tutorial (Confirmed for May 15, 2017)

Pre-Conference Tutorial
-- "Understanding Communications Taxation" led by Deloitte. Click here for a detailed agenda and description.

Conference Agenda (Previously held May 2016 -- Phoenix, AZ)

Keynote session – Tax Challenges 2016: What’s New Facing Communications Providers

Our hands-on executive panelists will present a fresh perspective on the challenges facing today's telecom tax professionals and managers. Topics covered include: managing new and contradictory regulations and taxes; Internet-based product confusion; state/local tax strategies; keeping up with the new end evolving technologies/services; managing ever-changing industry partnerships and bundled service delivery models; bracing for an economic downturn/contraction; and more.

Brian Goldstein – Brian Goldstein, Partner, PwC
John Barnes – Director Transaction Tax, T-Mobile
Michael Wall – Vice President, Sprint
David Spradlin – Manager Business Administration, AT&T

Three Lawyers and an Auditor Walk into a USF Panel

With its uniquely arcane and sometimes conflicting rules, universal service contribution is no laughing matter. Our four experts will kick off this interactive session by discussing the top five audit pitfalls, the challenge of FCC inaction on USF appeals, and questions that FCC guidance or Form 499-A instructions address but don’t resolve. The panel will provide an overview of the current state of play in federal USF contribution issues, including how the FCC’s Open Internet Order could completely change the USF contribution system and how recent FCC enforcement activities are shaping audit defense strategies. The session will then be open for your questions.

Steve Augustino -- Partner. Kelley, Drye & Warren LLP
Danielle Frappier
-- Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine
Carl R. Geppert -- Partner, Telecommunications Industry Leader, KPMG LLP
C. Douglas Jarrett -- Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

Resales, Exemptions and Bundled Transactions: An Update on Current Sales Tax Issues for the Telecommunications Industry

Telecoms continue to face many challenges in the world of sales and use tax compliance. Whether it is the complexity of the products and services they offer or state and local governments need to raise revenue – or both – telecoms have numerous sales and use tax issues to confront. Three of those are resales, exemptions and bundled transactions. This session will take a deep dive into those topics and explore issues such as exempt customers, differences among the states in the sale for resale exclusion, and the approaches that states use to tax bundled transactions.

David Hughes -- Partner, Horwood Marcus & Berk (Chicago)
Jonathan Perl -- Managing Partner, Telecom Compliance Associates

Industry Best Practices for Tax & Surcharge Presentation on the Invoice, Bundled Charge Issues, Customer Data Protection and Privacy Compliance

Indirect tax professionals faced with managing the challenges of compliance and audits often have little time left to oversee the actual presentment of taxes and surcharges on customer bills. However, ignoring what you collect and how it came to be there is a path that can only make matters worse. Just what exactly are you allowed to put on the customer’s bill in the first place? How can you unbundle charges for the purpose of revenue reporting and/or taxation? This session will look at these issues plus the FCC’s truth-in-billing rules, including the rules governing USF pass-through charges, customer proprietary network information (CPNI) requirements, the FCC’s new “proprietary information” obligations along with how to comply/mitigate risks with overlapping FCC and FTC requirements.

Toby Bargar -- Senior Tax Research Consultant - Telecom Business Unit, Avalara
Rick Heller -- Director, SALT Telecommunications & Cloud Services, Deloitte Tax LLP
Brita Strandberg -- Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

Corporate Income Tax Issues for Telecom Entities

This session addresses the top-level federal and state income tax considerations specific to the telecom industry. The speakers will first look at certain states that have specific telecom company statutes and/or recent tax decisions to ensure that the correct returns are being filed and reporting is in accordance with these statutes; secondly, provide a top-level understanding of the differences between federal and state tax bases and describe documentation that you need to ensure compliance with state DOR audits; assess trends in apportionment methods at the state levels to assist you in keeping up with the state tax changes; and, finally, will provide an open forum for attendees’ experience in dealing with these issues in audits. This session is suitable both as an industry primer, as well as an update for veterans.

Stephen Davis, CPA -- Partner, Lammert & Davis CPA
Mark Lammert, CPA -- President & CEO, Compliance Solutions, Inc.

The Non-Stop Rise of Digital Goods and the “Netflix Tax”

Streaming media, mobile apps, e-books and music. What things are considered digital goods and how are states taxing them? Which nuances make taxes different for seemingly similar goods, or in specific states? This round table discussion will help answer all the questions that surround the taxation of these “things”. It gets tricky….bring your questions for this hot topic!

Sandra Thomas -- Senior Tax Consultant, - Telecom Business Unit, Avalara

Audit Defense Strategy

Carriers spend an inordinate amount of time and money defending prior positions in the face of auditors armed with 20-20 hindsight. Meanwhile, the same jurisdictions are facing budget crises never before seen, thereby making audit recovery their first priority. This session presents views from seasoned veterans regarding current audit issues and industry trends, as well as pragmatic perspectives on audit defense best practices and success strategies.

Audra Mitchell -- Audra Mitchell, Tax Managing Director, KPMG
Kathy Saxton
-- Multistate Tax Service, Deloitte Tax LLP
Kiran Seshigiri -- Director of Tax Systems and Billing, CenturyLink
Toni Stimmler – Senior Manager, Audit & Appeals, Level 3 Communications

Wires or Wireless, Don’t get Tangled by Unclaimed Property

Most communications companies have unclaimed property resulting from normal business operations. Yet, few companies are aware that noncompliance of unclaimed property can have significant ramifications for the accuracy of the company's financial reporting. Every state has an unclaimed property law to which compliance is mandatory. Further, facing budget deficits, states have aggressively expanded their enforcement of their unclaimed property laws as a means of increasing revenue. This session will provide practical information for defining unclaimed property, discussing who must comply, addressing the consequences of noncompliance and suggested proactive measures to achieve full compliance, including an in depth discussion of unclaimed property related to rebates, gift cards, stored value cards, customer credits, and more.

Samantha Petersen – Tax Managing Director, KPMG

Sales and Excise Tax: Developments in State Taxation of Digital and ‘Cloud’ Products and On-line Services

Once again there were significant developments in the taxation of digital and cloud products and on-line services over the past year.  In this ever-changing field of taxation, state departments of revenue continue to aggressively pursue the taxation of various digital products and on-line services under the guise of existing taxes imposed on software, or telecommunications services and/or new categories of taxable services. In addition to discussing recent developments in the various ways in which states seek to tax digital and cloud products and on-line services, this session will address the key issues and arguments service providers should be aware of to defend against attempts to subject such products and services to both new and existing taxes.  This presentation will also evaluate the latest developments in physical and attributional nexus, as well as the diverse sourcing rules adopted by the states.

R. Gregory Roberts -- Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Rebecca M. Ulich-Balinskas -- Associate, Morrison & Foerster LLP

What’s Next in Taxation?

The world is innovating at a relentless pace. Social media, cloud computing, enterprise IT, cars, UAVs, homes, TVs and just about any device consuming power are all calling for unprecedented coverage and capacity from our communications networks. The goal of this session will be to help you make sense of the key innovations, technologies and gadgets that are impacting the communications industry. The panel will focus on the advances in network technologies that enable these markets; the evolving and often complex business models between industry segments; and address the impact both on today’s tax department and into the future.

Joe Greco -- Vice President, Transaction, Property and Regulatory, Verizon
Dr. Matthew Lucas -- Vice President, TeleStrategies
Jim Nason -- Tax Managing Partner, Telecommunications, Deloitte Tax LLP

Line Based Taxation – How Complicated is it?

The technology and infrastructure of telecommunications has come a long way since the invention of the copper wire. Not only is it difficult for a government body to understand the different line types in an effort to raise revenue, but technology continues to morph. In this session we will review how different jurisdictions have chosen either to simplify the descriptions of technology for ease in revenue collection, specifically address the technology in an effort to design creative taxation, or generalized laws to accommodate the changing landscape. Topics covered include:

Dale Varga - Senior Tax Research Analyst, Vertex Inc
Joe Solana -- President, GSA
Michael Fink -- Accountant, TekLinks

Creating a Great Tax Department – People

This two-part presentation is for new and experienced telecom tax professionals, giving a walk-through of the “life cycle” of a telecom tax department -- specifically covering the principle areas of transaction taxes.

Part One of this session will focus on the most important part of your tax department – your people. The characteristics to look for in hiring great tax professionals, the characteristics to encourage in developing great people, how to get the most out of yourself and your people, and tips on creating a great work environment.

CEO and founder of two tax companies – both of which were voted “The 2016 - 100 Best Places to Work in Oregon” will share how these two tax companies transformed from “tax shops” to two of the best places to work on the west coast.

Shon Holyfield -- CEO and Founder of TTR, Inc. and TTCG, LLC
Diane Seidule – Managing Partner, TTR, Inc.
Robert Banagay -- Partner, Transaction Tax Consulting Group, LLC

A Look Ahead – Forecasting Trends in State Tax Litigation for Communications Companies

This panel will preview a number of cases that are making their way through the appeals process and discuss how those cases create issues and opportunities for communications companies. The panelists are directly involved in many of the pending matters that impact TeleStrategies attendees and will discuss steps that are being taken today to prepare for both favorable and unfavorable outcomes over the next twelve months.

Maria Biava -- Associate General Counsel, State and Local Tax, Verizon
Eric Tresh -- Partner, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan

Creating a Great Tax Department - Simplicity and Understanding

The presenters will go over the four (4) parts of a transaction tax department:

(1) Sales and billing systems, purchases and automation, and
(2) General ledger set up.
(3) Tax return preparation (compliance), and
(4) Refunds and audits.

This is an excellent opportunity for new and experienced telecom tax professionals to get more out of themselves, their people, and walk away with the ability to easily communicate what gets done within their group and possibly identify areas of improvement.

Session is followed by Q&A.

Shon Holyfield -- CEO and Founder of TTR, Inc. and TTCG, LLC
Diane Seidule – Managing Partner, TTR, Inc.
Robert Banagay -- Partner, Transaction Tax Consulting Group, LLC

Trends in State and Local Taxation of New Technologies

Streaming services, cloud computing, in-vehicle telematics, infotainment services and other innovative services are both a challenge and source of confusion among states and local tax authorities. This presentation will look at (i) recent revisions, rulings, statutes and cases involving the taxability of new technological advancements in telecommunications; (ii) possible challenges to the imposition of taxes on new technologies; (iii) recent cases in the qui tam area involving telecommunications; (iv) recent consumer fraud cases; (v) a case study on a major technology company¹s experiences and reactions to these developments; and (vi) ways to reduce the risk of being caught up in these recent trends.

Adam P. Beckerink – Counsel, Reed Smith LLP
Kenneth R. Levine – Counsel, Reed Smith LLP
Fred DiIorio – U.S. Transaction Taxes Manger, Global VAT and Indirect Taxes, General Motors Company

Ask a Lawyer! Get Straight Answers Regarding Complex and Confounding Regulatory and Telecom Tax Issues

Are you struggling to understand conflicting, unclear or uncertain FCC rules & regulations? Worried about a potential USAC Audit, FCC Enforcement Action or state Telecom Tax Audit? Questioning how your services should be treated from a tax/regulatory perspective? This is your chance to have your questions and concerns answered by Jonathan Marashlian, Managing Partner and co-chair of the Communication Taxes & Fees practice group at The CommLaw Group. Bring your questions with you. Or, if you would like a specific question answered with a specific response, please email your issues in advance to (Upon request you may remit questions confidentially, with no attribution to your company; simply indicate your preference when submitting).

Jonathan S. Marashlian -- Managing Partner, Marashlian & Donahue, PLLC, The CommLaw Group

Managing Canadian Tax Risks for US Communications Providers

Canadian and US tax laws are fundamentally different! This session will help US communications providers understand key Canadian differences and risk factors. Topics will be geared towards providers who are already in Canada and also to providers who are looking to enter the Canadian marketplace, including:

Brent Jay -- Director, International Tax, TELUS

Federal Legislation Policy Discussion

This session will discuss the changing statutory/ administrative/ judicial landscape effecting telecommunications companies, focusing on federal legislation.  This includes updates on the Internet Tax Freedom Act. the Marketplace Fairness Act, and any other related legislative/administrative/judicial activity.  We will discuss how telecommunications companies are effected by these and other nexus expanding rules.  Additionally, another regulatory change is the new revenue recognition standard in which GAAP is incorporating certain key IFRS concepts that can have a significant impact on how telecommunications recognize their revenue.  This discussion will review some of the potential impact on state and local taxation.

Jennifer Jensen – Director, PwC
David Prebut – Director, PwC

Unraveling the Mystery of how to Apportion 911 Charges to SIP Trunks

With the proliferation of SIP Trunks in the VOIP space, jurisdictions and carriers are struggling with how to unbundle, allocate, and identify call paths. This session will explore how some jurisdictions have codified the parameters of how to address SIP trunks and call paths, as well as methods that carriers can use to mitigate potential risks.

Joe Solana -- President, GSA
Ted Gonzales -- Tax Accountant, Shoretel

Insights into Global VAT Strategies for an Increasingly Global Communications Industry

Currently over 160 countries have a VAT regime -- the US being the only OECD country without a VAT system in place. With rates as high as 21.5% (the average rate in the EU - and rising rapidly), VAT is having a huge financial and regulatory impact on multinationals. For global communications providers, navigating the world of VAT adds yet another layer of complexity to what is already a challenging industry from a tax perspective. This session will focus on the key features of the VAT regimes in the major and complex VAT countries/territories that impact global communications providers. In addition to outlining the salient features of these VAT regimes, the presenters will look at key developments in the taxation of communications and electronic services as well as look at the main areas of risk and opportunity globally for communications providers and provide insights into how companies are addressing these areas to drive benefit for the business.

Elizabeth Bopp -- Executive Director - Tax, AT&T
James Freed -- Tax Managing Director, KPMG
Vinay Mohan – Senior Manager, KPMG

Applying Sales/Use Tax Manufacturing Exemptions to Telecommunications Services

While all states impose sales and use taxes on telecomm services, states are often reluctant to equally apply the exemptions to these taxable services.  This session will explore the application of the manufacturing exemption to telecommunications services focusing on recent court cases challenging exemption denials.  Panelists will provide a discussion of winning and losing strategies, barriers to the exemption and actions for future application and qualification for these exemptions.   

Seth Kaufman -- General Attorney, AT&T
June Summers Haas -- Partner, Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn

The New FCC Enforcement Bureau: One Year Later

Following up on last year’s well-received session, this presentation will provide an update on the brave new world of FCC enforcement. How has the “new sheriff in town” further changed enforcement in the past year? What is happening with FCC and Congressional criticism of the enforcement process? This year’s session is guaranteed to give you a fulsome view of a process you don’t want to view up close.

Steve Augustino -- Partner. Kelley, Drye & Warren LLP

Local Taxes - Managing Your Burden

Local transaction taxes continue to be a concern for all types of communications providers as localities increase audit activity and attempt to apply often vague local ordinances to new, complex service offerings. Ordinances governing local taxation are typically less developed than similar state provisions, creating significant compliance risk for providers at the local level. This session will cover specific examples of local challenges related to the taxability and sourcing of both sales and purchases made by communications service providers. The session will also focus on application of exemptions, audit risks, and the refund claim process. It will also explore the latest trends such as qui tam and class action suits related to local taxes.

Megan Mahony -- Executive Director, National Tax - Indirect Tax Consulting State & Local, Ernst & Young LLP
Natalie Haynes -- Senior Manager, Ernst & Young LLP

Internet Delivery Methods

Today's society is continuing to deliver more and more content and services over the Internet, and states are taking notice.  This session will discuss how states are addressing new business models including the use of platforms to bring customers and providers together, the increased volume of content being delivered over the Internet, and the challenges with gaming and virtual currencies. 

Jamie Brenner -- State and Local Tax Partner, PwC
Jennifer Jensen
– Director, PwC
Cherie Kiser -- Partner, Cahill Gordon & Reidel LLP

A Geospatial Approach for Managing Dynamic Tax Jurisdiction Challenges

In 2015 over 120 new special tax districts were enacted and over 4,000 municipal boundary changes occurred. Keeping up with these numerous tax jurisdiction changes can be a daunting challenge for the telecommunications tax professional, who must have a defendable process for sale & use and telecom tax compliance at the ready. Inaccurate jurisdictional assignments due to imprecise, outdated location information is often a main source of sales & use/telco tax calculation errors. The presentation will show how tax professionals can leverage geospatial data, such as parcel boundaries, building footprints, and updated tax boundaries, to more accurately determine tax jurisdictions and ultimately mitigate potential issues prior to an audit.

Hans Dumke -- Director of Geospatial Operations, CoreLogic

Defending Untaxed Sales

In an effort to increase revenue, state taxation departments have stepped up efforts to assess untaxed sales during their audits. These efforts include increased scrutiny of exempt sales, demands for extensive documentation for out-of-state sales and comprehensive reviews of tax decision matrices used in the coding of nontaxable products like Internet Access. This session will explore recent audit trends and best practices for mitigating and addressing audit exposure with respect to untaxed sales.

Amanda Gebicki -- Partner, Grant McCarthy Group
Larry Powers -- Director, Grant McCarthy Group
Margaret Rooney -- Director, Grant McCarthy Group