SJSU Professor named as chair of AICPA Tax Executive Committee

Annette Nellen

Annette Nellen
Photo by David Schmitz

The American Institute of CPAs has named Annette Nellen, CPA, CGMA, Esq., chair of its Tax Executive Committee. Nellen is the director of San Jose State University’s (SJSU) graduate tax program and a professor in the program. She teaches courses in tax policy, high-tech tax, property transactions, employment tax, accounting methods, ethics and tax research.

The AICPA Tax Executive Committee is authorized to act on behalf of the Institute in tax matters and oversees the work of the 14 other tax committees and technical resource panels. Its members represent CPAs working in accounting firms of all sizes, business and industry, and academia. Prior to becoming chair, Nellen served as vice chair of the Tax Executive Committee; her appointment was effective October 25.  Nellen succeeds Troy K. Lewis, whose term as chair began in October 2014.

“Annette is a strong leader with exceptional insights about the effect of the tax law on individual and business taxpayers from her decades of experience as a tax practitioner, IRS agent and educator,” said Edward S. Karl, CPA, CGMA, AICPA vice president of taxation. “She is a nationally recognized tax policy expert who has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and U.S. House Ways and Means Committee about various aspects of federal tax reform. Her expertise has been invaluable as a member of the AICPA’s Tax Reform Task Force. The entire AICPA membership will benefit from Annette’s leadership.”

Nellen has been an AICPA volunteer for more than 20 years. In addition to serving on the Tax Executive Committee for six years, she has chaired and been a member of the AICPA Individual and Self-Employed Tax Technical Resource Panel. She has also been a member of the Tax Policy and Simplification Committee, Tax Legislation Task Force, the Partnership Taxation Committee, the Tax Accounting Committee and the Tax Forms Committee. She was the lead author of the AICPA’s 2001 tax policy concept statement #1, Guiding Principles of Good Tax Policy: A Framework for Evaluating Tax Proposals, which is still in use today. Nellen is a monthly contributor to the AICPA Tax Insider e-newsletter.

The AICPA Tax Division recognized Nellen’s dedicated service in 2013 by awarding her the Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award, which is the highest award given by the accounting profession in the area of taxation.

Annette Nellen Shares Tax Research at Fall University Scholar Series lecture

Annette Nellen

Annette Nellen
Photo by David Schmitz

Professor Annette Nellen will launch the fall 2016 University Scholar Series with a lecture about her research on tax policy and reform, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Room 225/229. The event is free and open to the public.

Nellen, a professor in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business master of science taxation (MST) program, will discuss federal, California and multistate tax issues. She is particularly interested in how to help tax systems follow principles of good policy while addressing the ways people live and do business in an ever-evolving economy.

“I got more interested in the mid-1990s when Congress was very actively discussing tax reform,” Nellen said, of her focus on tax policy and reform. “My volunteer work with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) got me further involved.”

She chaired a task force that developed a set of principles of good tax policy that is still actively used by AICPA and others today. The group advocates for simplifying the income tax rate structure, consolidating education tax incentives, eliminating temporary provisions that cause uncertainty for taxpayers, retaining the cash method basis for accounting and making the tax system (including retirement plan administration) friendlier for small businesses.

“Our federal and state tax systems have some significant flaws in terms of complexity, inequities and lack of transparency,” Nellen said. “Many proposals we hear about only make it worse. People need to know more about the tax system and how it interacts with government budgets to better understand how our tax system can be improved, which can also improve our economy and environment.”

In addition to that work, she also became involved in Joint Venture: Silicon Valley while they studied emerging e-commerce in the mid-1990s. She was a fellow at the New American Foundation from 2006-2008 and publishes a blog regularly. She often shares the articles she writes for the AICPA Tax Insider with her students and helps the MST students develop ideas for a student-run, online tax journal.

Nellen is an author and editor of the Southwestern Federal Taxation textbook series and vice chairchair-electct) of the AICPA’s Tax Executive Committee. She also participates in SJSU’s Faculty Experts program as a resource for media outlets when they cover tax-related news.

The University Scholar Series is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the University Library and the Spartan Bookstore. Other speakers in the series are Associate Professor Lionel Cheruzel, who will present his work on light-driven biocatalysts to meet the demand of green and sustainable synthesis of pharmaceuticals, fragrances and fine chemicals, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, from noon to 1 p.m. in MLK 255/257; and Professor Susan Shillinglaw, who will present her scholarship on John Steinbeck’s works, on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from noon to 1 p.m. in MLK 255/257. Light refreshments will be served at each lecture.

Professor Annette Nellen engages with students in a master's of science taxation course.

Professor Annette Nellen engages with students in a master’s of science taxation course.