And tax software vendors and tax material publishers and tax preparers. Plus get fun tax swag and, if you're a tax pro yourself, get credit for attending.
That's the plan at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums.
OK, the IRS isn't in charge of all the promotional items. But based on my personal experiences at a couple of these events, you do get some nice takeaways, both actual and intellectually.
"This is a good opportunity to learn the most recent things about what's going on at IRS and in federal taxation," IRS spokesman Anthony Burke told me in a phone conversation yesterday. "You hear directly from the IRS, both from the legislation standpoint and administration standpoint."
These annual events, now in their 19th year, are held in six cities each summer and early fall, For three days, attendees have access to seminars and workshops, led by IRS staff and reps from partner organizations, that provide info on tax law changes and administration of those new laws.
If you're interested, early registration will save you $129. Sign up by the pre-registration deadline for the Forum of your choice and your cost will be $206 per person. If you enroll after the pre-registration date, your Forum cost will be $335.
The table below (or in this IRS announcement if you're reading this in a format that doesn't show the table) lists the 2009 Tax Forum locations, dates and money-saving early registration deadlines.
Las Vegas, Nev.
Sand Diego, Calif.
New York, N.Y.
If you want to go to Las Vegas, you need to get on the stick. I'd consider it, but the hubby and I just went there last month, so I'll probably head to Dallas in September.
Not just for pros: Yep, as I mentioned earlier, I've gone to past Tax Forums, one in Orlando when we were living in Florida and in Chicago (now replaced by Dallas) in 2007.
At that 2007 event I also spent some time staffing the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel table, telling folks about TAP's work, but I was able to slip away to a couple of seminars.
And yes, I am not a tax pro. That's OK with the IRS. They'll take your money and let your learn about tax laws anyway. Nice of 'em, isn't it?
In both Forum instances, I learned a lot, some of which found its way into stories and blog items I later wrote. Last year I was tied up writing my book -- shameless plug alert: The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes -- so I didn't get a chance to go. But given all the stimulus law changes, I feel like I can't afford to miss this year's event. Now that it's even closer to my home makes it a no-brainer.
If you're a tax pro, I
definitely recommend that you consider attending the Forum nearest you.
You can get an idea of what's discussed at this online Forum Web page.
Yes, some stuff eventually makes it online, but well after Forums end and you miss out on the personal interaction.
Plus, by attending you'll have the chance to work though one of your difficult cases with IRS representatives in the Case Resolution Room available at each Forum.
Just as important, when you show up in person at a Forum you can fulfill continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. This year, each event offers 40 seminars and three workshops, several of which will enable you to earn up to 18 CPE credits.
And there's the swag: OK, I know my harping on this makes it sound like I'm a sucker for freebies.
And I'm the first to admit that the Forum goodies might not be as glamorous as the gift bags that celebrities get at Hollywood awards shows.
But what you can pick up -- gratis! -- is not bad stuff for tax geeks.
Here's how the swag deal works. In addition to the hands-on tax information, you also find out whats going on in the commercial tax world thanks to the trade show component of each Forum.
Between Forum sessions, you can drop by the booths where vendors give you a glimpse, and samples, of their products, ranging from books to software to creative tax tchotchkes. I'm still using my specially-logoed ruler and paper clip holder from years ago.
The IRS also has a couple of booths. I got good information at each Forum on issues such as e-file and the earned income tax credit (EITC).
Business expense deductions: OK, time for the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum bottom line.
There's the enrollment cost. But if you register early, you can reduce that.
Plus, discounted enrollment rates are available to members of the American Bar Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Enrolled Agents, National Association of Tax Professionals, National Society of Accountants and National Society of Tax Professionals.
And yes, in addition to the Forum registration fee, you also will have to pay for your travel, lodging and meals. But you can get a special room rate at the participating hotels.
Remember, too, that for tax pros or others whose work revolves around taxes (c'est moi), you can deduct the qualifying costs as business expenses.
So check out the IRS' details on the 2009 Nationwide Tax Forums, including how to register online.
And I'll see you in Dallas in September!