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Top Tax Committees to Meet Jointly; Financial Industry Better Pay Attention

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 5, 2011 – The two principal tax-writing committees in Congress will take a major step toward comprehensive tax reform this week.

The financial industry will be on the lookout for signs of potential changes in the tax treatment of their financial products, said Bruce Thompson, a tax expert and Vice President at Van Scoyoc Associates Inc., a major Washington lobbying firm.

“This is a significant hearing, especially coming right on the heels of the Supercommittee failure. It shows that the two chairmen are committed to tax reform. It also shows that the financial industry could be facing major tax changes,” said Mr. Thompson.

“The one lesson learned from the Tax Reform Act of 1986 is that no one is safe in tax reform,” Mr. Thompson said. “The financial industry had better be paying attention to what is going on in the tax committees in Washington.”
Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, announced that they will convene a joint hearing of their two committees on Tuesday, Dec. 6, on tax reform and the tax treatment of financial products.

The hearing is the second joint hearing held by the two tax committees this year. The two joint hearings are unprecedented and historic – the first joint hearings on tax issues since 1940, said Mr. Thompson. The committees also held a hearing July 13 on tax reform and the tax treatment of debt and equity.

Like the hearing in July, this week’s hearing will focus on a major study prepared by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The two hearings show that the financial industry could be a major target of tax reform, facing potential changes in the tax treatment of their financial products and debt and equity.

As an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Thompson was involved closely in the last comprehensive tax reform during the Reagan Administration 25 years ago. Mr. Thompson joined Van Scoyoc Associates this year to strengthen the firm’s tax practice, partly in anticipation of the coming tax overhaul. Others working on tax issues include Jeffery Trinca, a VSA veteran, and Jeff Hamond, formerly Sen. Charles Schumer’s top finance aide.

In addition to his work with the Treasury Department, Mr. Thompson was for 22 years the Managing Director and Senior Director of Global Government Relations at Merrill Lynch. He now works with clients to prepare for the next round of tax reform and is helping form the Coalition to Save Tax-exempt Bonds.

Note: Mr. Thompson is available for interviews and to provide insight into the developing changes in tax policy. Contact: Nolan Walters, 202-737-8174,