Tuesday, September 16, 2014
THE NATP TAX FORUM IN ATLANTIC CITY
Last week I attended the National Association of Tax Professionals Tax Forum in Atlantic City.
The NATP Tax Forums are formatted the exact same way as the IRS Nationwide Forums (except that the IRS Forum is 3 days while this event was on 2), copying both what was good and what was bad. My main complaints with the IRS Forums was the fact that the individual educational topics were limited to a single “50-minute hour” presentation (often not enough time to properly cover a topic and take questions from the “audience”), there were no tables set up in the “classrooms” (forcing us to take notes on our knees), and the overcrowding in the popular classes, and these complaints also applied to NATP’s offering.
The locations of the two Forum offerings by NATP, Atlantic City and Las Vegas (Sept 23 and 24), were chosen to take the place of the IRS Forums that had in past years been held in these cities, with New York City alternating with AC (the northeast location is now National Harbor, MD and the west coast location is San Diego). The AC or NYC and Las Vegas IRS Forums were usually the best attended of the 5 offerings.
The one thing unique to the IRS Forums that NATP could not provide was hearing the IRS voice on various issues. While the Forums included presentations from NATP, NAEA, NSA, NSTP, and other organization’s instructors, many were given by IRS personnel.
Each day’s sessions in AC, 7 “50-minute hour” classes with a selection of 6 topics per “hour” (each topic was offered twice during the two days), began at 8AM and ended at just after 6 PM, with 11AM - 2PM off for lunch and strolling on the Boardwalk and through the vendor booths in the “Expo” area. Of course the list of session topics included the obligatory 2 hours (100 minutes) of repetitive ethics preaching. I passed on the first class of each day, allowing for an extra hour of sleep, and the last class of the first day and the last two of the second day, and, of course, the ethics preaching, attending a total of 9 sessions and earning 9 CPE.
I am always hearing about “blue-haired ladies”. There actually was one (a very bright blue) at a session I attended on Thursday.
I was not given an all-inclusive workbook at check-in (at the Annual Conference we get a loose-leaf binder of all of the session workbooks at check-in, and at the IRS Forums, at least in the past, we received a workbook containing sections for all of the educational offerings). I discovered at the first session that we had to download and print it ourselves. Apparently an email had been sent to registrants a while ago explaining this. I seem to recall getting some kind of reminder email from NATP, but I guess I misunderstood or did not completely read it. When I get back home to internet access I will download a copy to my word file.
In my opinion, having to print-out a workbook of such size “in-house” takes up too much of my time and is too expensive in terms of wasted paper and ink. I would prefer to pay $5.00 or so more in the registration fee to have NATP print the workbook in bulk and hand it out upon check-in.
As usual, the NATP instructors were excellent and well informed on their individual topics of presentation. Only one was new to me.
Since I will be attending the NATP National Conference in New Orleans next summer, and will be in Atlantic City as usual at year end for the NATP Tax Symposium, I will not be registering for the NATP Tax Forum if it is offered again next year. And, judging by this year’s attendance, I expect it will be.
Tomorrow I will continue with items of interest from the educational sessions I attended.