American Bar Association
Section of Taxation: DIVERSITY COMMITTEE

Section of Taxation:

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Diversity Committee website!

The ABA Section of Taxation enthusiastically embraces the concept of diversity, and believes that diversity in our membership brings a variety of unique and valuable skills and perspectives to the Section and to its lawyer members. The primary goals of the Diversity Committee are (i) to provide lawyers of color, women lawyers, LGBT lawyers, young lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, and lawyers from diverse backgrounds with opportunities to become involved in the ABA Section of Taxation and in the leadership of the Diversity Committee and other ABA Section of Taxation committees and (ii) to present programs on diverse areas of tax.

Diversity can be thought of in many different ways. Each person can bring a diverse perspective to any panel, whether it be with respect to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, years of experience, geographic location, or professional background. We hope that you will consider adding your diverse prospective to our Committee.

Please check here periodically to see the programs the Committee is working on and what we have planned for the next meeting. We welcome new members to the Committee and also encourage suggestions for programs!

If you would like to be updated on the upcoming programs of the Diversity Committee, please join our committee and subscribe to our listserve or feel free to contact me. Please let me know if you have any ideas for panels or if you would like to participate on a panel!

We hope that you will become involved in our Committee and look forward to seeing you in May 5-7, 2015 at the May Meeting in Washington, DC!

-Cathy Fung, Chair

Committee Materials from Recent Meetings

Did you know thousands of pages of cutting-edge committee program materials are available to you as a Tax Section member? These documents contain analysis of the latest federal tax policy, initiatives, regulations, legislative forecasts, and planning ideas developed by the country's leading tax attorneys and government officials. Access these materials now.

Join Us



Fung, Cathy


Cano, Jairo
Ishmael, Olu
Kucia, Audrey

Committee Roster  


2015 Midyear Meeting

Committee Events

Diversity Luncheon

January 30, 2015

Join us for lunch at the Diversity Luncheon!

Does One-Size-Fit-All? Creating a Tax Code that Fits Everyone

January 30, 2015

The Internal Revenue Code can be a powerful tool for alleviating poverty and reducing income inequality. However, the Code’s “one size fits all” approach sometimes fails to address the needs of underrepresented communities and instead creates barriers for the taxpayers that it intends to benefit. This panel will explore the effects of tax policy on diverse taxpayer populations, with a particular focus on tax credits and non-traditional families, and the effects of recent changes to the ITIN program on immigrant taxpayers. Panelists will share their perspectives and discuss potential tax policy changes that may benefit underrepresented taxpayer populations.

Moderator: Anna Tavis, South Brooklyn Legal Services, Brooklyn, NY
Panelists: The Honorable Juan F. Vasquez, United States Tax Court, Washington, DC; Professor Francine J. Lipman, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

Co-sponsored by: Teaching Taxation

Tax Issues Affecting Immigration Cases

January 30, 2015
Visa, green card holders and undocumented workers are frequently faced with immigration law, employment law and tax law issues that have a direct impact on their day-to-day lives. The panelists will discuss the policies and the common tax compliance issues that are raised in these cases including how and when to report income, how to correct issues in prior filings with the IRS and how to balance enforcement of immigration laws with the need to ensure that outstanding tax liabilities are collected.

Moderator: Jessie G. Campbell, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Houston, TX
Panelists: Frank Agostino, Agostino & Associates, PC, Hackensack, NJ; Lany L. Villalobos, Philadelphia Legal Assistance (Pennsylvania Farmworker Project), Philadelphia, PA; Avideh Moussavian, National Immigration Law Center, Washington, DC

If It Quacks Like a Duck: Substance Over Form

January 30, 2015
This panel will explore various incarnations of the economic substance doctrine as it applies to so-called tax shelter transactions, debt vs. equity issues, the step transaction doctrine, including recent case law on these topics. The number of cases on this topic can present a seemingly insurmountable challenge to a young lawyer. The panelists will introduce several essential concepts to assist the new practitioner with an understanding of the economic substance doctrine.
Moderator: Alfred Bae, KPMG, Houston, TX
Panelists: Maury I. Passman, Branch Chief, Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Corporate), IRS, Washington, DC; Lee A. Sheppard, Contributing Editor, Tax Analysts, Falls Church, VA; Jaime Vasquez, Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry LLP, San Antonio, TX

Section Program: A Primer on Tax Treaties

January 31, 2015
The United States has income tax treaties with over 70 foreign countries.  These treaties serve to reduce the threat of double taxation for U.S. entities and individuals either living in or engaging in business in foreign countries (and vice versa for foreign persons and entities with attachments to the U.S.). Additionally, the treaties reflect countries’ agreements on taxation matters such as permanent establishments, withholding rates, and definitions of “resident.”  This program will provide an overview of tax treaties, including the classification of residency, identification of treaty benefits, and methods by which treaty benefits are claimed. The panelists will discuss modes of researching with respect to treaty matters, Competent Authority Agreements and requests for assistance by taxpayers, and issues relating to residency certification and arbitration.

Moderator: Janine Burman-Gage, KPMG, New York, NY
Panelists: M. Grace Fleeman, Senior Technical Reviewer, Office of Associate Chief Counsel (International), IRS, Washington, DC; Professor Bret Wells, University of Houston Law Center, Houston, TX; Emin Toro, Covington & Burling, LLP, Washington, DC; Dianne C. Mehany, Caplin & Drysdale, Washington, DC; Kapree Harrell, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC; TBD

Sponsored by: Diversity, U.S. Activities of Foreigners and Tax Treaties, Hispanic National Bar Association

Section Events

    What's a Young Tax Attorney to Do When...?


    This webinar will explore the kinds of ethical problems young lawyers are likely to encounter in their first years of practice and will remind them of the applicable rules in Circular 230 and the Code and Regs, as well as the aspirational standards set forth in Circular 230. How can young lawyers make ...

    15th Annual Tax Planning Strategies - U.S. and Europe

    Hotel Bayerischer Hof

    Wealth Management Workshop Venue (15 April)P+P Pöllath + Partners, Hofstatt 1, Entrance Färbergraben 16, 80331 Munich Tax Executives Workshop Venue (15 April)P+P Pöllath + Partners, Hofstatt 1, Entrance Färbergraben 16, 80331 Munich Conference Venue (16-17 April)Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Promenadeplatz ...

    Emerging Issues for Tax Practitioners with Respect to the Attorney-Client Privilege


    Emerging Issues for Tax Practitioners with Respect to the Attorney-Client Privilege

Modified by Cathy Fung on February 1, 2015

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