2019 NESTOA (Northeastern States) Conference Presentations

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 8:45 am – 9:30 am

Commissioners’ Roundtable 1
This year, we are trying a new approach to the Commissioners' Roundtable. Appearing in three panels, 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 great ideas from these sessions.

Neena Savage, Rhode Island Division of Taxation: Individual Mandate
Jennifer Hudson, Delaware Division of Revenue: Successful Planning for Delaware’s Modernization Program
Alex Weber, Maine Revenue Services Maine’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 am - 10:15 am
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

10:45 am - 11:30 am
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 am – 12:00 pm
What FTA Can Do For You?
FTA staff discusses resources available to tax agency personnel.
Ryan Minnick, FTA


1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
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 pm – 3:05 pm
The Ins and Outs of Using Data in Audit Operations
Learn 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

3:25 pm – 4:10 pm

The Other Side of the Audit
A private practitioner and a state representative present perspective of both sides of the audit process.

Drew VandenBrul and Michael Cronin, Grant Thornton


1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Automating the Levy Processes
Learn about bank attachments using the X9 protocol and how 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 pm – 3:05 pm
“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 they use to educate and explain their actions.

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

3:25 pm – 4:10 pm
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


1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
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 pm – 3:00 pm
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

Wednesday, September 11


8:30 am – 9:15 am
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
Chris Harding, Massachusetts: Massachusetts’s Recreational Marijuana Tax Implementation Shared Responsibility Payment/Penalty, and Other Legislative Highlights

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

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

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



1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Text, Chat and Email: Communicating Securely Using 21st Century Tools
The District of Columbia’s, 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 pm – 3:05 pm
New Hampshire’s Public Outreach Strategy 
Carollynn Lear, New Hampshire Department of Revenue


3:25 pm – 4:10 pm
Evolution of Customer Service and Outreach
This session focuses on trends in customer service and outreach. The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will share the evolution of their customer service, outreach, and customer feedback methodologies. You will learn about trends that led to success, as well as glimpses into where they are heading in the future.
Adria Senft, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue


1:30 pm – 2:15 pm Benchmarking for Success
Discuss the process of developing and using metrics to drive customer service, employee performance and continuous improvement initiatives. Attendees will hear about what’s been attempted, what has and hasn’t worked, and what Connecticut learned from its efforts.
John Biello, Connecticut Department of Revenue Services

2:20 pm – 3:05 pm
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

3:25 pm – 4:10 pm
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


1:30 pm – 2:15 pm

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 pm – 3:05 pm
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

3:25 pm – 4:10 pm
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 VandenBrul, Grant Thornton

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm
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, Horwood, Marcus, and Berk, Chicago, Ill



8:30 am – 9:15 am

Commissioners’ Session 3
Frank Breslin, Philadelphia Department of Revenue Behavioral Science Driven Compliance
Scott Jackson, Connecticut Department of Revenue Services
Connecticut's Payroll Tax Commission
Eva Liggins, Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue Sports Betting

10:30 am - Noon

Unleashing Your Superpower: Why Persuasive Communication Is The Only Force You Will Ever Need
This session empowers attendees to unleash their inner superhero 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 affecting 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