Tightening Up Tax Strategies

Kaitlyn McQuown • April 3, 2023
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The 2023 Tax Institutes addresses changes in the industry and how corporations and individuals can adapt

The Tax Institute celebrated 75 years of educating tax professionals at its 2023 conference January 23-25. The continuing legal education institute, titled “Tightening Up Tax Strategies,” explored the latest industry trends and highlighted changes due to recent legislation and current events.

Hosted by USC Gould School of Law, the three-day conference brought together more than 500 tax lawyers, accountants and other professionals who either attended online or in person at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

Each year, the Tax Institute features a keynote lecture in honor of the late Edward Kleinbard, USC Gould professor, tax expert and regular speaker at the institute.

UCLA School of Law Professor Kimberly Clausing delivered the 2023 Edward Kleinbard Keynote, discussing the future of international tax cooperation and lessons from her experience at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “Global problems benefit from cooperative solutions,” she said.

The second day of the institute opened with an overview of recent developments in partnership and real estate guidance led by James Jennings and Eric B. Sloan of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Keynote Speaker Hon. Mary Ann Cohen (JD 1967), senior judge in the U.S. Tax Court, discussed what changes to the court have resulted from developing technologies in response to COVID-19.

A USC Gould School of Law alum, Hon. Cohen recounted attending and speaking at the Tax Institute since her career began, and how the U.S. Tax Court has changed in the last 40 years.

“The last three years have seen more changes than any of the last prior 37 — and that’s because of the pandemic, the establishment of our new case management system and the allowing of limited entries of appearances by lawyers,” she said.

The final day of the institute centered on recent changes in estate tax law, tips for how to best serve clients and predictions for future developments.

In his luncheon keynote, titled “The Past, Present and Future of Wealth Transfer Taxation,” USC Gould Professor Edward McCaffery outlined his own conceptualization of the effectiveness of the estate tax on the fair distribution of wealth.

“The estate tax has always been a voluntary tax,” he said. “Why are we still talking about this thing that didn’t work when it looked on paper that it might work, and now it doesn’t even look on paper that it will work?”

Following the daily luncheon keynotes, participants attended session tracks on corporate tax; partnerships and real estate tax planning; individual tax planning; and ethics, compliance and enforcement.

Concurrent evening workshops offered attendees a deeper look into a particular area of tax law. They covered topics including S corporations, compensation tax issues in M&A, entertainment industry tax, tax issues for multistate businesses, planning for expatriation and more.

Dozens of experts throughout the institute addressed how tax law has adapted in response to fluctuations due to recent elections, global economic shifts and current events. In the session “The Future of Tax Policy,” Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s Eric Solomon boiled it down: “There’s inherently instability in our tax system.”

Since its founding in 1948, the Tax Institute has been a mainstay conference in the industry, with many attendees returning year after year — some for decades. The 2023 conference brought participants back together in person for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The institute also offered a virtual attendance experience for remote attendees, who were also given on-demand access to recorded sessions to view at their convenience.

USC Gould School of Law offers continuing legal education opportunities for professionals who want to learn and network with leading experts in their industries. A fixture of the Los Angeles legal community since 1948, USC Gould Continuing Legal Education hosts six annual conferences for professionals at every level to learn from, and network with, the biggest players in entertainment, estate planning, business, tax and intellectual property. To learn more, visit or subscribe at – and follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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