What Does a Corporate Tax Manager
of a Governmental Entity Do?
by Richard Ruvelson
This is the question that was originally posed to me by the intrepid staff of New Directions. Over my career I have been continually answering the question of how I could make a living doing tax consulting for nonprofit and governmental entities.
The answer is really pretty easy. Non profits and governmental entities, like the UW are subject to a variety of both federal and state rules. These rules relate to our reporting obligations for employees, independent contractors and students as well as impose taxes on the UW. The Tax Office helps to ensure compliance with tax rules and also educates others so that they can comply with the rules more efficiently. For instance:
• There are FICA FAQ’s available on the Tax Office web site.
• The Tax Office has worked with a number of people campus wide to implement new rules for reporting foreign bank accounts.
• The Tax Office responds to questions about a variety of tax issues.
• The Tax Office also helps with the taxation of nonresident aliens: many of you will be attending Financial Management’s upcoming two day seminar on this topic, private use, and charitable giving.
It may come as a surprise to many
that the UW is subject to a federal income tax. We are taxed on activities unrelated to our mission as a non-profit university. This tax is the unrelated business income tax (UBIT). This is exciting because I am able to work closely with departments throughout campus. Our tax return is due November 15th, following completion of our fiscal year.
Washington is one of only five states that impose sales taxes directly upon public higher education. We pay sales and use tax and a leasehold excise tax on the rental of publicly owned real estate. I work with others to help prepare returns and answer questions about what is taxable and what is not.
There are various tax incentives available to the UW, which are listed on the Tax Office website. We even pay taxes directly to the City of Seattle, over and above the city’s percentage of sales and uses tax paid through the state. We remit city admissions tax on admissions to our athletic events.
Having answered the question of what a corporate tax manager does, I would like to acknowledge that this is a great place to be a corporate tax manager. The quality of the people in Financial Management and throughout the UW, along with the variety and complexity of some of the issues faced, make this an incredible place to be a corporate tax manager.