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New tax advisory committees to study tax code, improve tax department communication with tax practitioner community

Oct 18, 2019 | Press Releases

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has directed the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department to lead two expert tax committees that will study the state’s tax system and recommend changes to ensure fairness, efficiency and equity.

The Tax Policy Advisory Committee and the Tax Practitioner Advisory Committee, both chaired by Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke, will analyze aspects of the state tax code, reporting their findings to the governor.

The committees’ analysis should benefit the New Mexico business community and local economic development by identifying mechanisms to boost job creation and retention. They will also provide for a regular venue for communication between the tax department and taxpayer representatives.

“Tax policy is an important way we express our values as a state and raise the revenue to meet our goals,” the governor said. “These committees will study reform measures thoroughly and help us make sure we get it right.”

The governor – who vowed in her campaign for office to establish a bipartisan tax commission in order to study significant reform measures – signed a tax reform package in April that will raise an estimated $70 million in additional state revenue, although the primary goals were fairness and revenue stabilization. Among other things, the law eases the tax burden on working families and puts mainstreet New Mexico retailers on a level playing field with internet retailers by taxing online sales for the first time.

“We chipped away at some of the inequities in our tax system in the last legislative session, and now we need to know if that was enough. Is our tax system fair to all New Mexicans? Businesses of every size? Is it stable enough to provide consistent revenue to fund much-needed programs? These committees will help provide those answers,” the governor said.

The Tax Policy Advisory Committee will study the strengths and weaknesses of New Mexico’s tax system and its competitive advantages and disadvantages as compared to other states. The group also will identify needed statutory and regulatory improvements.

Under the leadership of Schardin Clarke, as chair, the members of the Tax Policy Advisory Committee are:

– Clinton Turner, tax policy director, Taxation and Revenue
– Sen. Clemente Sanchez, chair of the Interim Revenue and Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee and the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee
– Rep. Jim Trujillo, chair of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee
– Bill Fulginiti, executive director of the New Mexico Municipal League
– Helen Hecht, general counsel, Multistate Tax Commission
– Richard Anklam, director of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute
– James O’Neill, former tax policy director for the Taxation and Revenue Department
– James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children
– Sen. Steven Neville of Aztec
– Rep. Jason Harper of Rio Rancho
– Steve Kopelman, executive director, New Mexico Counties

The Tax Practitioner Advisory Committee will advise the governor and secretary on administration and enforcement of the tax code, trends in tax auditing and litigation and potential process improvements in tax administration.

“It is important for tax lawyers, CPAs, and enrolled agents who represent taxpayers in audits, refund claims, and other tax matters to have a regular venue to communicate with the tax department,” Schardin Clarke said. “By listening and learning from one another, we can reduce unnecessary taxpayer burden and improve customer service for all New Mexicans.”

Members of the Tax Practitioner Advisory Committee are:

– Emily Oster, deputy secretary of Taxation and Revenue
– Tim Van Valen, chief legal counsel, Taxation and Revenue
– Helen Hecht, general counsel, Multistate Tax Commission
– Richard Anklam, director of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute
– Brian VanDenzen, chief hearing officer, Administrative Hearings Office
– Bobbi Kay Nelson, CPA, tax specialty group practice leader at Atkinson & Co.
– Suzanne Wood Bruckner, CPA and head of the tax law division at Sutin, Thayer & Browne
– Sam Baca, CPA and financial forensics expert at Baca & Howard
– Peter Wanco, president of the New Mexico Society of Enrolled Agents, and of H&R Block

“New Mexico is fortunate to have attracted incredibly strong advisers to help guide us as we work to make our tax structure more fair and effective and to improve communication between the tax department and tax practitioners,” Schardin Clarke said. “These two groups provide a wealth of knowledge, expertise and diversity of opinion.”

The committees will meet quarterly.

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The Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is located on the fourth floor of the New Mexico State Capitol in Room 400.

490 Old Santa Fe Trail Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Phone: (505) 476-2200
Toll free: (833) 520-0020

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