Our Spotlight series sheds light on the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. This week’s Spotlight is on Wendy Walker, Solutions Manager and Resident Crypto Expert at Sovos. Walker uses its market expertise to create and implement product and solution strategies that help customers meet the demands of an ever-changing regulatory environment. Since joining Sovos, Wendy has helped lead the growth-focused go-to-market strategy for the Tax & Regulatory Reporting business line.
Walker also serves as chair of the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council’s (IRSAC) information reporting subgroup and advises the IRS on a variety of withholding and information reporting issues that impact tax. ‘industry.
What is your official title and what does it mean? My official title is Solution Principal, which means I’m a tax withholding and information reporting expert. Unofficially, I’m a jack-of-all-trades, and as such I wear a lot of hats in my organization. I leverage my industry expertise to work with Sovos clients to help solve complex tax compliance issues for their organizations. I interact with government agencies such as the IRS, state tax agencies, Government Accountability Office and others, to help shape tax policy and stay ahead of compliance changes. And of course, I work around our business with our regulatory analysis, product, service, sales and marketing teams to ensure that our solutions are up to date and exceed our customers’ expectations.
Free time: book, audiobook or podcast? Book first, then audiobook. I have been an avid reader all my life and love the feeling of turning the pages of a book. However, I started listening to audiobooks when I traveled a lot, before the COVID-19 pandemic. I really enjoy listening to the books I’ve read before – it’s super interesting to see how your imagination can come to life in a different way when you hear the voices in an audiobook compared to how you hear it. imagine when you read it in a paperback.
Taxation is a big topic. What is your particular area of interest? Information Reporting and Withholding (IRW). I started working in this area of taxation early in my career as a “once a year” concept in my accounting role. More than anything – I love the flurry of activity during tax season – the rush to extract data from systems and turn it into tax returns that need to be mailed to clients and filed with tax agencies – and the pressure to do everything right in such a short amount of time! Throughout my career, I have focused on IRW year-round, managing tax operations and tax compliance teams filing millions of information returns. Who knew at the time that what many consider a “necessary evil” in the organization would become my main career focus throughout the year!
What is the last movie or show you watched and liked (DVD, Netflix or at the cinema)? I watched a new series called “The Wheel of Time” based on Robert Jordan’s books. I’m a big fan of fantasy stories and we own all the books in the series, so of course we wanted to check it out. Spoiler alert: the series has nothing to do with the books. . . but I’m still addicted!
What college did you attend and what did you study? I attended Franklin University, a century-old business school founded in Columbus, Ohio. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in process engineering and a minor in accounting. I continued my postgraduate studies at another century-old institution, the Dominican University of Ohio, where I obtained an MBA.
Pick up: Coffee or tea? Coffee with cream is my vice! Much to the chagrin of my husband, who is always sure that I will spill some everywhere. . . I rarely leave home without a cup of coffee to go!
What is the best tax or financial advice someone has ever given you? The best financial advice I have ever received was given to me by my husband in 2009 during the last economic downturn. Citibank stock had fallen to $1.20/share, and he was shouting from the rooftops that we should all buy it, that they would never let this bank fail, and today, Citibank stock is trading at $61/share.
If you weren’t in the tax field, what would your dream job be? I would own my own quilt shop! In my spare time, I love to sew, so if I could be surrounded by quilting fabrics, sewing machines, and inveterate quilters, that seems like an awesome way to spend my days.
If you had the option of making one change to the tax code—an additional credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? I would reverse the unnecessary reductions in corporate income tax rates made under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2018. While corporate income tax revenues have fallen more than 50% since the TCJA was passed, data shows that revenues generated by corporations during this same period have skyrocketed. I am of the view that prudent tax policy does not include rewarding corporations with tax cuts that result in virtually zero income tax while middle-class workers pay a tax rate average of 15 to 25% in this country.
Favorite food, snack or treat during tax time (or any other busy time)? I love cookies almost as much as I love coffee – my favorite is chocolate chips. I love this time of year because we receive holiday packages filled with varieties of cookies – biscotti, shortbread, macaroons, etc.
What tax news or ruling has had the most impact on your practice or clients in the past year? 2021 has been a pivotal year of change in disclosure for clients across all industries! The CARES Act, Appropriations Bill, American Rescue Plan Act, and Infrastructure Bill all contained significant changes for various segments of our customers. Whether it’s payroll tax compliance impacts due to employee retention credit, or ERC, or new retirement account rules for withholding and reporting Covid-related distributions, or new requirements information reporting for virtual currency exchanges, companies in the industry are reeling from a year of change.
If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check now, what would you do with it? Invest it in crypto!
You can find Walker on LinkedIn.
You can find out more about Sovos on their website.
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