What is FTA
The Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA) was organized in 1937 to improve the quality of state tax administration by providing services to state tax authorities and administrators. These services include research and information exchange, training, and intergovernmental and interstate coordination. The Federation also represents the interests of state tax administrators before federal policymakers where appropriate.
ORGANIZATION AND MEMBERSHIP
FTA serves the principal tax collection agencies of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Philadelphia, and New York City. The work of FTA is directed and governed by an eighteen-member Board of Trustees composed of tax administrators representing all regions of the country. The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service is an ex-officio board member. The FTA staff consists of 10 full-time positions, headed by an Executive Director appointed by the Board of Trustees.
FTA is financed primarily from annual dues assessed to member tax agencies. Other sources of revenue include the sale of publications to non-members and proceeds from conferences and workshops. FTA is organized as a nonprofit corporation under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
FTA was organized in 1937 by representatives of the North American Gasoline Tax Conference (NAGTC), the National Association of Tax Administrators (NATA), and the National Tobacco Tax Association (NTTA). In 1984, the three associations consolidated into a single organization the National Association of Tax Administrators. NAGTC became the NATA Motor Fuel Tax Section and NTTA became the NATA Tobacco Tax Section. In June 1988, NATA merged with FTA, assuming the Federation of Tax Administrators as its name.
RESEARCH AND INFORMATION EXCHANGE
FTA serves as a source of information and expertise for state administrators and others on the workings of state tax agencies and systems as well as issues generally affecting tax policy and administration. FTA staff regularly monitors the activities of state tax agencies and the federal government in order to serve as a clearinghouse on topics important to administrators. FTA also conducts research projects in such areas as state tax policies and structures, compliance and enforcement programs, and federal and state court decisions. In addition, significant effort is devoted to inquiries from tax administrators on special problems and issues.
FTA uses a variety of vehicles to communicate with members.
TaxExPRESS, is a weekly electronic newsletter designed to provide information on current events. TaxExPRESS is delivered by email and publishing to state tax administrators.
FTA issues frequent bulletins on developments affecting state taxation. These bulletins often cover developments in Congress, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Supreme Court. FTA also publishes annual directories of state tax administration officials and other periodic research reports.
FTA hosts an Internet site at www.taxadmin.org that provides information and Web links of value to tax administrators and the general public alike. Content includes links to state tax agency home pages, state tax forms and electronic filing sites, general information on state tax structures, and information about upcoming meetings and workshops. Specialized information is available on state-taxpayer efforts to promote uniformity in the administration of taxes on motor fuels as well as efforts to facilitate and promote consistency in state approaches to electronic tax administration.
FTA also maintains limited-access content for state tax administrators at www.taxadmin.org, accessible with a member log-in. Content includes in-depth material on federal legislation affecting state tax administration, a compendium of exemplary state tax administration practices, and information relevant to functional areas such as audit, legal, public information and federal relations.
FTA publications and access to the Web sites is provided free of charge to members. Non-members are charged for some publications.
An integral component of the FTA mission is to provide members with training opportunities and programs. FTA conducts a number of meetings, conferences and workshops each year. The FTA Annual Meeting is devoted to a substantive discussion of emerging state and federal tax policy and administration issues and other topics of concern to state tax administrators and practitioners. Similar forums are conducted each year by the Motor Fuel Tax Section and Tobacco Tax Section.
FTA also organizes and conducts other training workshops to improve the skills of technical and administrative personnel through the examination of exemplary state tax administration programs and general peer group discussions. One workshop focuses on compliance, education and criminal investigation matters. Others concentrate on the application of technology to tax administration and FTA also conducts a yearly conference on revenue estimating and tax policy research as well as periodic seminars on specialized topics.
FTA also works with the four regional tax administrators' associations:
- Midwest States Association of Tax Administrators (MSATA)
- North Eastern State Tax Officials Association (NESTOA)
- Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators (SEATA)
- Western States Association of Tax Administrators (WSATA).
INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND INTERSTATE COORDINATION
FTA works with state tax agencies and the Internal Revenue Service to foster cooperative tax administration projects among states and with IRS. In recent years, most of these efforts have involved assisting states in applying emerging technologies to tax administration as well as to simplify the administration of current taxes on a multistate basis.
Activities in this area include promoting uniformity in the administration of motor fuel taxation, leading national efforts to develop standard formats and procedures to facilitate the filing of state tax returns and remittances using electronic means, coordinating the joint electronic filing of state and federal individual income tax returns and working with states and taxpayers to assess the impact of new business processes on tax administration.
FEDERAL COORDINATION AND REPRESENTATION
FTA also devotes considerable effort to monitoring and reporting on activities in Congress, Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies that affect state taxation. These efforts include insuring that state interests are effectively represented before Congress and federal agencies when appropriate. Particular attention is paid to federal legislation that would improperly preempt state tax sovereignty and authority. Positions taken by the FTA are approved by the membership at the Annual Meeting or by the Board of Trustees.
Among the current and recent activities on the FTA agenda:
- working with states to assess the issues involved with the sale of goods and services using the Internet and other on-line service;
- augmenting the utility and content of www.taxadmin.org as a full-service web-based resource for state tax administrators;
- coordinating the activities of a joint state-taxpayer task force analyzing the impact of various electronic business processes (e.g., EDI, procurement cards, evaluated receipts settlement) on state tax administration;
- working with states to develop electronic return filing standards;
- coordinating state activities in the development of joint electronic filing programs and the electronic exchange of information between state and federal tax agencies;
- promoting uniformity in the administration of motor fuel taxes and facilitating the uniform implementation of means to electronically file motor fuel tax returns; and
- developing and conducting basic and advanced training seminars on motor fuel audit and investigation.