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University appoints new tax coordinator

By Daily Bruin Staff

May 12, 1996 9:00 pm

Monday, May 13, 1996

Centralized task to alleviate complex departmental loadBy Anne
Mai

Daily Bruin Contributor

Many people have trouble completing their own tax returns.
Kimberly Gehring, on the other hand, coordinates the taxes of UCLA
­ a $1.6 billion corporation.

UCLA recently appointed Gehring as the university tax
coordinator, a newly-created position meant to alleviate campus
departments from an increasing complexity of tax regulations.

Recommended by the Internal Revenue Service, Gehring’s position
was formed by the UCLA Business and Finance department to deal
efficiently with tax issues specific to the UCLA campus.

For example, the Internal Revenue Service has intensified its
inspection of the "tax-exempt" University of California schools,
said Susan Abeles, assistant vice chancellor of business and
finance.

"The Internal Revenue Service has increased scrutiny of …
universities as a new revenue source for the government," Abeles
said. "What we found was (that the) complexity and greater scrutiny
needs one person to focus on this."

UCLA is one of the first campuses to create a campus tax
coordinator position, explained Laura Soby, manager of Corporate
Accounting , the accounting division of the university’s business
and finance department. Most UC campuses rely on the central tax
coordinator in the UC Office of the President, Soby added.

But Gehring will focus solely on helping UCLA departments with
tax compliance in a number of areas, including foreign taxation,
sales and business taxes, and employee compensation and benefits
for the campus’ nearly 30,000 staff personnel.

And according to Gehring, campus administrators have been
supportive of her recent efforts.

"They’re thrilled," she said. "It’s a big relief off everybody’s
mind."

Gehring attributed the necessity for shared decision-making to
the inter-relatedness of the different departments and the ripple
effect that decisions have on the entire campus.

"(The departments) are all very interconnected even though
they’re autonomous," Gehring said. "(I’ve found a)
committee/democratic mentality where it’s important to get
everybody involved."

Gehring’s other duties include providing consulting services to
campus departments and monitoring university tax activities. She
will also help develop a tax training program on campus, consisting
of formal workshops and providing tax information on the World Wide
Web.

Despite the workload, Gehring said she feels able to keep up
with the "ever-changing, very dynamic and quite complex" tax laws
surrounding UCLA.

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