For Immediate Release - January 15, 2013

Revenue Commissioner Names Diverse Coalition of Citizens to Advise DOR on Tax Administration

Advisory Council is centerpiece of DOR 360 initiative to expand outreach to taxpayers

(Boston, MA) - Massachusetts Revenue Commissioner Amy Pitter today named 16 people pdf format of    DOR Advisory Council Members  who represent a broad range of taxpayer interests to sit on the agency’s new Advisory Council. The council, which will hold its first meeting on January 30, is the centerpiece of the Commissioner’s DOR 360 initiative to improve efficiencies at the agency and open new avenues of communication with the communities DOR serves.

Commissioner Pitter said DOR encouraged tax practitioners, litigators, auditors, corporate and small business leaders, minority advocates and women’s and other business associations across the state to apply for a seat on the council.

“Our goal in forming the Advisory Council was to bring different perspectives to DOR in changing tax policies and practices to improve the customer experience,” said Commissioner Pitter. “It was really important to us that council membership reflect different groups of taxpayers, especially those DOR doesn’t normally hear from. We are fortunate to have attracted a diverse roster of leaders from different industries.”

The Council will meet three to four times a year and will be expected to tackle such topics as audit practices, customer service and communications for taxpayers and practitioners, new and proposed business practices, DOR guidance on tax matters and concerns or issues that council members bring to the table.

Aileen Gorman, Executive Director of The Commonwealth Institute said “I am honored to be on the Advisory Council and I applaud the Commissioner for creating a vehicle that reaches out to so many diverse constituencies. I represent women business owners which is one of the fastest growing segments in the economy. Tax policies are enormously important to them because how these policies are formed and applied can either help or hinder the growth of small business over time.”

Richard Jakious, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network noted that “nonprofit organizations are often forgotten in the tax policy discussion because we are known as tax-exempt. However, nonprofits represent 16.7 percent of the workforce, nearly $250 billion in annual revenues and make a significant contribution to state revenue through various taxes. I am honored to have the opportunity to represent this important economic driver and to work to improve the system for both the nonprofit community and the thousands of citizens that it serves.”

“My focus is weaving diversity into our economic supply chain, promoting a higher level of inclusion of minority owned businesses in our economic fabric,” said Warren Bacon, Project Director for the US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency’s Boston Business Center. “These businesses operate and depend on the infrastructure in the Commonwealth that is funded by our tax revenues. It is very exciting to be a part of the Advisory Council and support Commissioner Pitter in the DOR360 initiative to improve outcomes for all involved.”

Norma Simons Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the Sharon Adult Center and MA Councils on Aging board member said, “I look forward to participating on this council to help represent the rapidly growing elder population in the Commonwealth. Our elders have special issues and concerns about the costs of living, finances and taxes and hope to age in dignity and in place in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.”

“I was intrigued by the opportunity to help the Commonwealth take a more holistic view of its relationship to its constituents,” said Marilyn Sperling, President and CEO of Greylock Credit Union and a board member of the Massachusetts Credit Union League. “During my 30 plus years in retail banking, I have come to understand that tax policies affect families in many ways. I appreciate and am honored by this opportunity to share the perspectives of the people of Berkshire County and the viewpoints of the credit union industry.”

In addition to naming an Advisory Council, citizen feedback through the DOR360 program has also led to the development of an alternative program for settling tax disputes and a new more inclusive method in seeking taxpayer comments on revising tax policies.