It’s always fun when I get to meet other tax pros in person. Earlier this month, while at Avalara CRUSH held in Austin, Texas, I was able to talk with a number of folks in the business including Scott Peterson. Scott is the Vice President of U.S. Tax Policy and Government Relations for Avalara, Inc. I had the opportunity to speak with Scott on the “Changes Afoot for U.S. Tax Policy” panel at CRUSH: we chatted about border tax, tax reform, and how all of these changes might affect state tax systems.

A few weeks earlier, Scott tackled my Getting To Know You Tuesday questions. Here’s what Scott had to say:

1. Where are you now?

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
Vice President of U.S. Tax Policy and Government Relations. It means that I advise senior management on how state and Federal tax policy impact the company and our customers and I build and maintain relationships with state and local government officials across the country.

3. What books are on your night stand?

  • The Complete and Personal Memories of Ulysses S. Grant
  • Vietnam’s High Ground – Armed Struggle for the Central Highlands, 1954-1965
  • The New Single Malt Whiskey

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?

Managing Custer State Park in western South Dakota or a like place in Africa.

5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theatre)?
Manchester by the Sea. What a tear jerker.

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
I have spent most of my career studying, writing about and implementing state and local transaction taxes, but I also spent a fair amount of time with property taxes.

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
Debt is a last resort.

8. Coffee or tea?

9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Led Zeppelin, Alison Krause, Adele, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Who

10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I never studied tax in college. All I know I learned on the job.

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
Black Hills State University for political science and the University of South Dakota for a master’s degree in public administration. I studied to be city manager, but there weren’t any jobs when I graduated, so I went to work for the South Dakota Legislature.

12. If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code tomorrow – an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?
Tax carried interest at the same rates as earned income.

13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Madam Secretary, NCIS, Game of Thrones

14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
The estate tax.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Apply it toward my daughter’s graduate school tuition.

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
Ryan and the border adjusted tax.

17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax related web site?
Tax Foundation

Thanks, Scott! You can find out more about Scott from Avalara’s website here. You can also check out his blog here.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured send your suggestions to kelly (dot) erb (at) taxgirl (dot) com with the subject: Getting To Know You Tuesday (it’s tax season: use anything else and it could get lost, you’ve been warned). Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged!

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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