Corporate Redemptions with Professor Timothy Rupert

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Transcript

Angela: Welcome to Northeastern University’s Online Master of Science in Taxation Webinar. My name is Angela and I will be your host and moderator for today. Before we begin, I’d like to go through some logistics for this presentation and address some commonly asked questions. All participants are in listen only mode, you can listen to the audio through your computer speakers and if you have any questions feel free to type them into the Q&A Box and hit “submit”. We’ll be addressing the questions at the end of the webinar session. This event is being recorded, so it can be viewed again at a future time.

We’re very excited to have two panelists with us today; we have Timothy Rupert and Michelle Yan. Professor Rupert is Professor Rupert is Professor of Accounting at Northeastern University’s D’Amore McKim School of Business. He completed his PhD in accounting and MS in taxation and Professor Rupert’s research has been published in such journals as the Accounting Review and the Journal of the American Taxation Association. He has received the university’s Excellent in Teaching Award and the D’Amore-McKim School of Business Best Teacher of the Year Award multiple times. We also have Michelle Yan, the Team Enrollment Lead for Northeastern’s Online Master of science and Taxation and her role is to help respective students through the application and admission process.

Alright, so you may be asking “what are we going to be covering in today’s webinar?” We’re going to be discussing a little bit about Northeastern University and Michelle is going to be sharing some details on the Master of Science and Taxation Program and then we have Professor Rupert who’s going to be covering Corporate Redemption. And then Michelle is going to wrap up by talking a little bit more about the admissions requirements and tuition and fees for the taxation program. At the end of the webinar we will be taking questions during our dedicated Q&A session, so we encourage you to send in your questions through that Q&A Box and just hit “submit”. From here, I’m just going to hand it over to Michelle to get us started. Go ahead, Michelle.

Michelle: Great, thanks Angela. So can I get the next slide? Perfect. So our MS and Taxation Program is part of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. It was established in 1922 and has a strong reputation for scholarly research and teaching excellence. Billing on high academic achievement, wide ranging work and consulting experience, rich diversity and our extensive corporate ties, D’Amore-McKim School of Business faculty members are leaders in their fields and regularly receive worldwide recognition and awards for their contributions to theory and the practice of management. We do have a global network of over 200,000 Northeastern alumni spanning more than 15 countries, such as China, Canada, India, England, Germany and Australia to name a few. Almost 90% of our students pursuing graduate business degrees have work experience. So our programs are very accommodating and flexible.

We are accredited by the AACSB International Accreditation which is one of the highest business accreditations worldwide. Most recently, Northeastern University’s Online Graduate Business Programs was ranked number 18 in the U.S in 2016 by U.S News & World Report. This also does include our online MS and Taxation Program as well. And just to tell you a little bit about more specifics regarding the Online Master of Science and Taxation, it was certainly designed with the working tax professional in mind, so the course work itself is 100% online. There is no residency requirements, the program can be completed in as little as 16-18 months. There are approximately 10 courses and these courses are taken only one course at a time and each course on average is about five weeks in length. Now, in this program we do offer two specialty tracks if you want to have a focus. The first one is Taxation of Entities and then we have also Taxation of Individuals. Now, there are some students who would like to choose courses from both tracks, you know, of your business focuses on both individuals as well as business, you can certainly mix and match between the tracks as well.

There are a variety of tax professionals coming into this program and we certainly have students spanning and coming from, you know, sort of the traditional public accounting firms, we do have individuals coming from private industry, wealth management, individuals coming from the IRS and of course the big [four] firms like the [YKPMG] as well. So it is certainly a fantastic opportunity to collaborate on cases, trade ideas in the program, learn from each other and develop strong networking opportunities. Now, we conducted a survey in September of 2016 of Northeastern University’s Online MS and Taxation Program and this is what some of the graduates had to say and some of the things they mentioned at the top, reasons for attending Northeastern; 1) is our accreditation, because we are again, AACSB accredited and also our online format. We make it a lot more flexible for them that they can access their course work either in their office or at home. Additionally, 77% of all the respondents in terms of when they’re looking at overall student experience mentioned they had a very good to outstanding experience in the Online MS and Taxation Program.

As I mentioned in terms of the types of students who are coming into the program, we do have approximately 22% respondents most of whom do work in consulting of some sort and also 22% work also in taxation and accounting. And finally, some of the stats that we received is that when it comes to salary three of the four respondents also received a salary increase of 10% or more once they’ve graduated from the Online MS and Taxation Program. And now I’d like to pass over to Professor Timothy Rupert to speak to us a little bit more regarding corporate redemptions.

Timothy: Thanks Michelle. So welcome everyone! As Angela mentioned at the start, my name is Tim Rupert and I’m a Professor in the accounting group and teach in the MST Program. And she mentioned that I have a doctorate degree from Pen State University, but I also have an MS and tax degree that I got along with an undergraduate degree in accounting. So I thought I’d tell you a little bit about what it might be like to be in one of our classes and doing that by talking about the way that we cover some of the material. And so I teach the [entity] classes in the online program, so Corporations and Partners and Partnerships. So today I thought I’d give you a little bit of background on something we cover in the Corporations class which is Corporate Redemptions.

Just to give you a sense of where this material falls in the overall scheme of things, I mentioned that there are two entities courses that all students in our program have to take, so one is Corporations and Shareholders and the other is Partners and Partnerships and these are meant to be introductory level courses beyond what you would have in the undergraduate or masters of accounting program. So more detailed, but introductory and type of courses that will allow you to get further into our advanced courses that come up as our elective.

So, I thought I would talk a little bit today about Corporate Redemptions. So, let me just jump right into that. When I think about our online MST Program, what I find is that often times the students come from a wide variety of backgrounds in tax, so there may be some students that work in corporate taxation, others may work on individuals, others may work on flow through entities. So typically, and I’m guess that’s probably the case with all of you today that are listening, so usually I like to start a lesson with a quick overview of some of the basics. I’m guessing that some of you may have worked with corporate redemptions before but I’m also guessing that some of you work with individuals or other entities and haven’t seen anything related to the redemption rules, so I thought a great way to start this might be talking about a basic definition of what is a corporate redemption? And you know, we throw that word around a little bit, or those words around a little bit, but in fact, it’s a pretty straightforward situation. It’s any situation in which a corporation reacquires its own shares from a shareholder. So the basic definition of redemption is really straightforward.

Next, let’s consider a little bit about how a corporation may use a redemption and one of the reasons I think it’s an interesting topic to cover is because it can be used both by public corporations and by private corporations. So I’ve listed some of the reasons here why a public corporation may use a redemption, buying back some of their own shares, they may believe that their stock is undervalued, they may need the shares in order to exercise options and have those shares on hand to do that with or they might do it to guard against unwanted takeover bids. So those are just a couple of the reasons why a public corporation may use a redemption.

Similarly, a private corporation may use a redemption as well and there the differences usually are that the reasons may deal a little bit more with their ownership structure. So maybe they have a shareholder that wants to retire and since it’s a more closely held or Private Corporation, you know, there isn’t a market available necessarily for those shares. So if that shareholder wants to retire, this is a way that it may allow them to retire. It could also be that, you know, it was a small group of shareholders that decided to form this corporation and they were all on the same page in doing that, but at some point, you know, there comes a little bit of a disagreement about either the direction that the corporation should go in or how they should operate and so one of those shareholders may want to get out of that arrangement and a redemption is one of the ways that they potentially can do that.

Another possibility, and this is one that we talk about in the course actually, when we cover this material is maybe there’s a divorce and you might have the spouses both being shareholders in a closely held corporation. Actually, next week my students will be working on a case brief related to a divorce related case where there’s a redemption and how is that going to be treated. So you know, if we have the two spouses [that] have set up this corporation and own it as their marriage and they may no longer wish to be in this business together, so this is another common use. So you can see that even though the basics of redemption are really straightforward in the sense of what it is, it’s just the corporation buying back their own shares. It can be used in a lot of different ways or to achieve a lot of different objectives that we might have, but one of the aspects of redemption that I think makes it a really interesting area for study is the fact that the tax treatment can vary.
So, I want to start to talk a little bit about what are the tax implications of redemption and here, I’ve written it depends because what makes it so interesting is – if you’ve dealt with this area before you may know that in some cases it’ll be treated as a dividend coming from that stock, but in other cases it can be treated as a sale. So the fact that we have these two possibilities for ways that a redemption can be treated means that it’s an area where we might be able to use tax planning techniques to get the treatment that we want. So, let’s delve into that just a little bit further. You might be saying, well, you know, if I think about an individual tax payer, what difference does it matter if it’s a shareholder and it’s going to be treated as a dividend or if it’s going to be treated as a sale.

Well, right now as you probably know, qualified dividends get preferential treatment for tax purposes in terms of the rate that we pay on them, so it could be 0, 15 or 20%. Dividends also get potentially – or that’s the qualified dividends that get that treatment, also, long term capital gains may also get that same treatment, so that they’re taxed at 0, 15 or 20%. So does it make a lot of difference which of these two it is? Well, I would argue that it does. So you know, just the character of income issues can be important, if you’re familiar with differences for dividend treatments between individuals and corporations, you know that how those are treated for – that type of income is treated for those two types of tax payers can vary a lot and so you know, we often times think about shareholders as being individual tax payers, but they don’t have to be. So you know, if we have corporate shareholders that own a part of this corporation, for their redemption, they may very much like it to be treated as a dividend because they’ll be eligible potentially to use the [dividend] received deduction whereas if they treated it as a capital gain or treated it as a sale, they wouldn’t get any preferential treatment because corporations don’t get those preferential rates. So that character of income issue can still be important even though when we think about individual tax payers the rates are the same.

Another aspect of this is that the amount of gain can vary depending on which way this redemption ends up being treated. If it ends up being treated as a dividend, the whole amount will be treated as dividend income and again, it may get preferential rates but still going to be treated as dividend income. If it’s treated as a long term capital gain from the sale of stock, we get to subtract out the basis of the shares that we’re selling back to the corporation. So the amount of gain there will be different. Also, what we do with that gain can be different, not only just in terms of the rate that applies, which we already referred to, but also in the fact that when it’s a long term capital gain they may be able to offset it against other capital losses that they have. So there are possibilities there with this basis offset and offset against other gains and losses that they have that might make this an interesting area for tax payers to plan for, if they can get one treatment versus the other. So the question then is how do we get that differential treatment? How do we determine whether we’re going to treat it as a dividend or whether we’re going to treat it as a sale that might result then in a long term capital gain? So, when we look at this, they’re really – in the tax code there’s a basic principle that’s going to determine the difference between these two and the basic question is has the shareholders ownership interest in the corporation substantially reduced? If it has, then we’re going to treat it as a sale, if it hasn’t, then we’re going to treat it as a dividend.

So one way that I like to think about this or examples that I like to give, so let’s say for example that we have a sole shareholder of a corporation, they own 100% and let’s say that that’s 100 shares, even if they sold 99 of those shares back to the corporation, has anything really changed? Well, now they’ll own one share instead of 100, but if they’re the sole shareholder and they’re selling it back to the corporation, they still own 100% of the corporation. So that’s an example where if we’re selling it back to the corporation, our percentage of ownership hasn’t really declined at all, so that’s a scenario where it would be treated as a dividend. On the flipside of it, let’s say that we have the same shareholder that has 100 shares but now they’re not a sole shareholder, maybe it’s a publically held corporation and they sell 99 of their shares on the open market and it just so happens that the corporation is the one that buys them on the market. Well, you know, that’s pretty much as straightforward as an arm’s length transaction as you can get with that corporation, it just happened to be on the open market and the corporation just happened to be the shareholder that bought it.

So there, their percentage of interest would have dropped substantially if it’s on the open market and it would be treated as a fail. So, we have those sort of two extreme examples, you know, where you still end up owning 100% in the first example or where you end up owning one share and the corporation just happened to be the one that bought the shares back on an open market. So – but there’s a whole bunch of variation in between, right? If we think about that as a spectrum with those two ends of the spectrum, how are you going to figure out what happens when it isn’t quite as clear as those two ends of the spectrum? And that’s where Sec. 302(b) of our Internal Revenue Code comes into play. So, under that Subsection of 302 we have four different ways that you can qualify for sale treatment, so each one of those is a paragraph of that subsection and each has a different way that we can qualify for sale treatment versus qualifying for dividend treatment. So, if you don’t meet one of these four ways then you’re going to be treating this redemption as a dividend.

So today I thought I’d give you a brief overview of those so you can sort of get the idea of the type of thing that we would be covering as we would be looking at this material. So, let’s talk about the first one, Sec. 302(b)(1); this is defined as a redemption that’s not essentially equivalent to a dividend and this is probably the least attractive way out of the four ways that we have under Sec. 302(b) for us to qualify for sale treatment. The reason that it’s the least attractive way is that it’s a really broad overview type of subsection and it really comes down to a facts and circumstances test. So in other words, you know, based on everything that’s here, what does it really look like? Does it look like a dividend or does it look like a sale? So is it essentially equivalent to a dividend or not? Essentially, if this is the way that you’re going to try to qualify, then you know that there’s a high probability that the IRS may question that, that you didn’t fall under one of the more objective tests that we have in the following paragraph so this is your last hope. So this is probably, like I said, the least attractive way because there’s some speculation about what will happen. Will the IRS question it? And if they question it, you may end up having to go to court and if you go to court, will you win? So it’s a possibility and we talk in our class about when is this the way to go and when isn’t it? But less likely to be the one that we want to rely on.

So let’s look at some of the other tests that we have. Sec. 302(b)(2) has a set of rules called the Substantially Disproportionate Redemption and this really fits right in with that basic principle that I provided a few minutes ago that we really want to take a look and see did the ownership of this shareholder drop substantially? So with this test, the Substantially Disproportionate Test – we have a series of tests that we use to figure out has their percentage of voting interest reduced substantially? So basically three tests that we use; there’s a voting stock test, common stock test and an absolute ownership test. And again, with this overview I’m not going to go into the details of it, but when we cover this in the corporations and shareholders class, we look at these tests and see how are they defined? What are the ways that we calculate it and what are the ways that we can plan around this potentially? So we know that if we meet these tests that it’s going to be treated as a sale. If we don’t meet these tests, then it’s going to be treated as a dividend. So – and it’s a [bright line] test, you meet them, it is, don’t meet them, it isn’t treated as a sale. So you could see that there might be ways to plan around some of this then, so if you’re familiar at all with anything in the corporate setting, you know, there are other places where we have voting stock tests and this one isn’t so different, we’re just looking at a percentage of interest before the redemption and a percentage of interest after the redemption and we’re going to see if it drops substantially.

So, again, we might look to see are there ways to plan around that, either to meet this test if we want it to be treated as a sale or to have it not meet this test if we wanted it to be treated as a dividend. As I mentioned here, this is the most objective way to qualify because it’s all mechanical calculations, but again, you might be able to plan around it by structuring some other transactions and redemptions because we not only look at redemptions of the tax payer that we have an interest in, but the complete planning for redemptions that we might have. So this is a great way to qualify for this redemption to be treated as a sale.
Let’s look at the third possibility and the third possibility is called a Complete Termination of Interest and it’s under paragraph 3 of subsection 302(b). So, this one may seem like it’s really straightforward and in the simplest point, it can be. It just means that the shareholder completely terminates their interest in the corporation. So you know, if I gave you the example from before, we have a shareholder that owns 100 shares, if they sold all 100 of those shares, then that would seem like it’s pretty straightforward that it’s a complete termination of their interest, but as you might guess, I know that you are probably a [tax] professional and with your familiarity with our internal revenue code you probably know nothing is as simple as it may seem and that’s the case here. So yes, it may seem fairly straightforward that if I sell all of my shares back to the corporation, that I should not have any interest in that corporation anymore, but what makes this a little bit more interesting from our perspective is that you may not have sold all of your interest in the corporation just because you don’t have any shares anymore.

There’s a set of rules here called the Attribution Rules and if you’ve been working in tax it’s likely that you may have come across these somewhere else but they definitely play a role here. The Attribution Rules especially can be important when we’re dealing with smaller or closely held corporations, so let’s say that we have a family that starts a business and maybe it’s the parents that start that business, but as that business continues to grow and their family continues to grow, maybe they have adult children now and they give some of the ownership to those children. Well, those Attribution Rules will come into play and say that even though you may not directly own shares, you indirectly own the shares that are owned by your children, or shares that are owned by other entities that you control. So again, there are ways that we apply these Attribution Rules in this specific scenario. But you can see, that may make this much more difficult to determine if we’ve completely terminated our interest than it might appear at first glance, because I may sell all of the shares that I directly own, if I’m for example, the parent, so those 100 shares that I owned, I sell them all, but if all the rest of the shares are owned by my children, then under these Attribution Rules, I will still own 100% of the shares of the corporation because I’m considered as owning the shares that my children own.

So you can see this becomes a little bit more interesting than it might appear at first glance, where it would seem as if I just sell all of my shares I don’t have an interest anymore. You could see that you might not physically own any shares yourself, but could still be deemed to have a substantial interest in this corporation. So again, in our class we look at those rules and also think about are there ways to plan around that and how do we specifically have to plan for them?

So let’s talk about the last way that you could end up with a redemption being treated as a sale and it’s the partial liquidation rules. So, one of the interesting things about those rules are that they’re slightly different than the other three rules that we have under 301(b)(1), (2) and (3). When we get to these rules, the Partial Liquidation Rules under (b)(4), the thing that’s different about it, (b)(1), (2) and (3), all of those are done on an individual shareholder level analysis. So, we mentioned that our overarching rule is did your percentage of ownership drop substantially? So, to determine that we look at each shareholder that’s part of that redemption and see what was their ownership before, what was it afterwards? With this fourth way that you can qualify for sale treatment we’re looking at the corporation level instead. And so here we look to see if there’s been a substantial contraction of the business of the corporation, so for example, if they have two lines of businesses, do they entirely get rid of one of those? So that would be a reduction in the scope of the business and that’s really what we’re looking at with this corporate level analysis. So you can see, even though it’s part of Sec. 302(b), even though it comes into that same part, is it going to be treated as a dividend for the shareholders or will it be treated as a sale? The analysis is very different because it’s all done at the corporation level, [and has] the corporation reduced their scope versus b)(1), (2) and (3) where we’re looking at has the shareholder’s ownership level substantially reduced? So that’s the fourth way that we can qualify for sale treatment.

I guess to wrap up this, I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the other business issues that come into play because we don’t want to just think about the tax issues. You know, I’m a tax person and you’ve gotten from my background that there’s a lot of tax, right? I have an undergraduate in accounting, I have a masters in tax, I have a PhD in taxation so I always think about the tax issues, but we also have to think about how tax fits into the overall business setting and so I wanted to point that out with this, one of the things we do when we cover this material in the Corporations and Shareholders course is talk a little bit about, so where would this fit in as a part of tax planning? So if a corporation is going to redeem their own shares, that’s going to have an impact on their working capital, right? Because if they’re buying my shares back then they’re going to have to give me cash for that and so it’s one way that they can get rid of my ownership in the corporation but it’s going to cost them working capital. So we may want to think about that, is the corporation in a position to pay big chunks of their assets out to shareholders to get rid of their interest? They may not be able to, so we may have to think about some alternative tax planning strategies. What would we do instead? So, if the corporation doesn’t have the cash to buy, you know, a [dividend] shareholder out, then how can we get that shareholder out? What are alternatives that we might use? So, this is all part of a unit where we talk about the corporate redemptions of how do we change the ownership structure if we want to and what are alternative tax planning strategies that can do that?

So, that’s just a little bit of an overview of how we might cover this material. To give you a little bit of a flavour of what you might see in some of our classes. So, with that complete, I’ll turn it back over to Michelle and Angela.

Michelle: Great, thank you Professor. So I wanted to speak a little bit regarding the admission requirements for the online MS and Taxation Program. First of all, we do require an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, we’re also looking for an approximate 3.25 out of 4.0 GPA score. We’re looking for a graduate or undergraduate tax course with a grade of 3.0 out of 4.0 and looking for individuals coming in with a minimum of two years of special tax experience including one busy season or if you hold one of the following credentials as well, such as a JD, a CPA, a CAP or enrolled agent. When it comes to application requirements, those interested in applying to the program, we require the following; we need an up to date current resume, we’re looking for two professional recommendations, so these can come from, you know, if you work for an employer, your employer, your manager or partners of the firm, if you have your own business you can get them from your clients as well that you’ve been, you know, worked with them in regards to tax. We are also looking for an application essay, the application itself is $100 in terms of the application fee and we also do require all transcripts from every single [institution] at graduate level, so

whose undergraduate instruction was not conducted in English may also need to submit a TOEFL.

When it comes to tuition scholarships, just to give you a little bit of an idea in terms of the cost, there is an application fee like I mentioned before, $100 and altogether the cost for the program when broken down you’re looking at $1,513 and that’s per credit hour. There are a total of 30 credits and so overall tuition cost you’re looking at close to about $45,390, so close to $46,000. Books and course material is separate, I would probably allocate maybe about $200, maybe $250 per course. Again, that’s times 10 courses as well.

Now, at Northeastern University we do offer a couple of scholarships. One of the scholarships that we do offer is the Yellow Ribbon Program and Northeastern University is committed to supporting our veterans and the online program has recently become part of the Yellow Ribbon Program. So if you do fall under this program it means that most, if not all of your tuition will be covered by the government and your fees for university. However, for more information you can visit the website that’s listed on this slide.

The next scholarship I wanted to mention is something called Double Husky Scholarship. As part of our commitment to our alumni, the D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers something called the Double Husky Scholarship to all Northeastern alumni who have completed a degree at one of our other colleges and what this allows for individuals coming back for their second degree is a 25% discount on tuition and additionally the $100 application fee is waived. And again, for additional information you can visit our website that’s listed on this slide.
And finally, we do also offer something called the Lifetime Learning Membership. It is available to families of currently enrolled fulltime students. So family members are able to take advantage as well of a 25% discount on tuition and for more information regarding the Lifetime Learning Membership, the link is also provided on this slide.

Angela: Great, thank you very much Michelle, for walking us through the admissions and tuition requirements for the Online Taxation Program. We are now going to open up our Q&A session and I encourage our attendees today to continue to send in your questions. So the first question that we have is around the course structure, so Michelle, how would the course [be structured] during the tax season for this program?

Michelle: That’s a great question. I think many of you are probably in the midst of tax season and either you’re already very busy or coming up from being very busy, you know, coming up to the March and April deadlines. So typically the courses like I mentioned, they can be completed as quickly as 16 months but you do have an option of extending it out to a maximum of five years. So the 10 courses in the curriculum are typically taken one course at a time and each course is five weeks. Now, we do offer a break automatically for the online MS and Tax Program between the mid-march/end of April timeframe, so for those students that are involved in [taxing] during this time, you can be rest assured that there are no courses offered during this time. Same goes for, you know, throughout the year, you know, I know there are some tax professionals who work with yearend or corporate extensions in September/October, so depending on your busy schedule, busiest time, we certainly are very flexible and we – you can, once you enter the program, work with your students’ first advisor to see what schedule will work best for you. If you do need breaks during your busy time, we certainly can accommodate and we do work with you to put together a more customized schedule.

Angela: Great, thank you very much Michelle. The next question that we have is for your professor, one of our students wanted to know, from a time management perspective if you have any tips or recommendations that have worked with other students to help them balance their time in school while they’re also working fulltime.

Timothy: Yeah, thanks Angela. So knowing that this webinar was coming up, I asked some of my students this week during our chat, I’m in the middle of teaching the Corporations Course right now, if they had some advice or thoughts related to coming into the program and I think some of those things they were talking about might address that question that you’ve just asked because one of the things to understand about the format of our program and the reason that you only take one course at a time is that the courses are concentrated into a five week session, so for example, a corporations course that I would teach in our ground program, we’d meet once a week and we’d go over 15 weeks or 14 weeks, but in the online program we’re doing it concentrated where it’s meeting in five weeks.

Because of that, one of the things that the students noted when I talked with them about it in my chat this week was the fact that you really have to be prepared to spend some time each week on it and they’re all working professionals, so you know, they know that – they all have a lot on their plate, it’s figuring out how to fit that in and it seems like students will have their own strategies for that. One student was saying, you know, the weekend is the time that I catch up on everything, so especially now during the busy season, I will say that in the class that I have now, some people are in the heart of their busy season, there are other people that, for example, are working in corporate tax for a company and so they’re not as busy right now as some of the people that are in public accounting. So you know, but in any case, I think all of them have said, you know, you really have to figure out where you’re going to set that time aside.

Like I said, for some people it’s, you know, do a little bit every day, catch up on the weekend, other people spend more time during the day. One student said you know, I sort of devote five to seven, you know, they’re in a corporate job right now, their time ends at five but they stick around in their office till about seven, do two hours of work every day and then don’t have as much to do on the weekend. So you know, I think people find different ways to make it work and to balance not only what they have going on at work and also with their classes but also their personal life. We also understand that, I’ll say – just to give you a little sense of the way I structure my courses, there are deliverables every week, but knowing that people have busy lives, just again with personal life, with work and then now adding education on top of it, I’ve structured it so that most of my deliverables are due at the end of the weekend so that, you know, there aren’t too many times when there’s something that’s due during the week. If anything, it’s a discussion board type of assignment where you know, you may be jumping on and interacting with class mates about a tax policy issue on the material that we’re covering. So it’s something that you can do in very short time so that if you don’t have a lot of time during the week, you can catch up with assignments at the end of the week.

Angela: Great, thank you very much Professor. The next question that I have is for you, Michelle. I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about the current students in the program, what is their professional background and maybe a little bit about the industries that they typically work in.

Michelle: Sure Angela. So the kind of students that are coming into our program, like I mentioned, we do require students coming in to have some – to have tax experience, some form of tax experience. I’m finding that, you know, many of them, like [some] that we’ve mentioned, they do come from [pro] accounting so they’re very busy individuals and we certainly recognize that. There are individuals who have their own tax businesses or tax preparation businesses, individuals coming from private companies, consulting firms, you know, the big four, the IRS, Wealth Management, so there certainly is a variety of individuals coming in and I think the interesting thing with this group of individuals that are coming into the online program who are interacting with each other not only to help with certain goals and motivations you have for pursuing the program in terms of [warming up] in your firm or increasing your knowledge to help, you know, sort of service your clients better, but it’s a good opportunity to interact with individuals coming from all these different areas networking with them, working on cases with them, so it’s a great way to sort of bounce ideas of bounce ideas off each other and then utilize the strategies that you’ve received from each other to be able to implement that in your business. So in terms of demographics, like I said, there’s certainly a wide range of individuals coming in to the program.

Angela: Great, thank you very much Michelle. And Professor, a question for you; can students take courses from the other track as well or do they just need to take courses from the entity track for the program?

Timothy: Yeah, you can take courses across both tracks. We find that based on their practice, students often times might want to concentrate on one track, so we have the entity track that has all the courses that might be related to the different tax entities and then we have more of an individual track and a financial planning track that, you know, might deal with individual issues. A lot of students will stick with one track just because that’s where their practice is focused, but I also know a lot of the students that work across the tracks. So you don’t have to stick to one track and only take courses in that track, if there are courses that interest you, you can jump across the tracks. If you want to think about extending your practice in another area, you know, this is a great way to get some more in depth study in that area. So, you know, actually, one of the neat things is going to graduation and actually meeting some of our students in person then because there’s no requirement that you come to campus at any point, but many of them come for graduation. And I always go over and talk with them before the ceremony and it’s interesting – I only see them for those entity courses at the beginning of the program, so I’ll talk with a lot of them about what did you take at the rest of the program and a lot of them do blend those two tracks, they find courses that interest them across both and there’s no problem with jumping back and forth between those tracks.

Angela: Great, thank you very much Professor. That is all the questions that we have from our audience today, I just wanted to hand it over to our panelists again to see if they had any final thoughts, professor?

Timothy: I don’t think so, I mean, if you do have any questions [to] consider our program more, I invite people to reach out to me. You can find me on the D’Amore-McKim website and I’d be happy to talk with you further.

Angela: Thank you very much, Professor. And Michelle?

Michelle: Yeah, so I wanted to mention, our initiative that Northeastern University Online MS and Tax Program we’ve been running, so a lot of times students have questions regarding the online set up, you know, if they’ve never done an online course before, jumping into an online program can be a little bit intimidating. So what am I expecting? What does the platform look like? And so since last year, Northeastern Online MS and Tax Program, we are conducting something called a [mini mook] or a sampler for one of our courses and what it is is essentially giving perspective students an opportunity to sample the first week of one of our courses free of charge. So students will have an opportunity to walk through the student platform, participate in these discussions that Professor Rupert mentioned, you know, with other tax professionals.

You can go through leadings, work on assignments and you actually have an opportunity to speak with one of our professors live in one of our live sessions and the purpose of this [mini mook] or sampler for the MS and Tax Program enables prospective students to appreciate the quality of the learning experience that we do offer online at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, you know, we want you to take a look at what the online learning environment is all about and of course to take a look at the calibre of tax professionals that are coming into the program and like I say, giving you an opportunity to navigate and get a feel of what the online learning is all about and like I mentioned before, you have an opportunity to participate in the live chat session so this is a natural face to face interaction with one of our professors in the program, you can utilize a head set and a web cam to speak directly with the faculty as well as perspective students that are also interested in joining this particular [mini mook] course sampler.

So this is an opportunity for students who might be a little bit nervous in terms of jumping to an online program if they’ve never done so before, it’s a great opportunity for you to experience what it would be like for this first week. So for those that are interested in participating in something like this, we are running one beginning March 6th, it will run for one week. It starts on a Monday, ends on a Sunday so from Monday march 6th until Sunday march 12th. So those individuals that are interested, we’ll be sending the information out over email giving you the dates and for those that are interested, you can register with us and then you can certainly participate with our online MST [mini mook] or sampler.

Angela: Great, thank you very much Michelle. That is all the time that we have for today. If you have any additional questions, please contact Michelle, we’ve put her phone number and email and also her [scheduler] right on the slide so you can reach out to her directly. And again, I just wanted to thank Professor and Michelle for taking the time to talk to us about Corporate Redemptions and the Online Taxation Program. This concludes our session. Have a great day everyone!