At Harris Sliwoski, we keep close tabs on what is happening around the world, and we know that our friends and clients do, as well. We are happy to provide this podcast series: Global Law and Business, hosted by international attorneys Fred Rocafort and Jonathan Bench, where we look at the world by talking with business leaders, innovators, service providers, manufacturers, and government leaders around the world.

In Episode #49, we are joined by Nicole Zhao, international tax CPA with MaloneBailey. We discuss:

We’ll see you next week for another exciting and informative episode as we discuss international sports and marketing.

This podcast audio has been transcribed by an automatic transcriber.

Fred Rocafort  0:07 

Global law and global business go hand in hand, but never seem to keep pace with each other. The importance on the global stage of developing and developed nations waxes and wanes, while consumption and interconnectedness steadily increase all the while laws and regulations change incessantly requiring businesses to stay nimble. But how do we make sense of it all? Welcome to Global Law and Business hosted by Harris Sliwoski International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort,


Jonathan Bench  0:37 

and I’m Jonathan Bench. Every week, we take a targeted look at legal and economic developments in locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law and business with the help of international experts. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finance, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We cover the important, the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex.


Fred Rocafort  1:02 

We hope you enjoy today’s podcast. Please connect with us on social media to comment and suggest future topics and guests.


Jonathan Bench  1:22 

Today we are joined by Nicole Zhao, senior tax manager at Malone Bailey. Nicole has over 10 years of experience in public accounting. She started her career as an auditor at PwC China. Then she earned a master’s degree in taxation in California and afterward moved to Houston, Texas. Her combination of tax and audit work experiences have given her in depth knowledge in tax compliance and tax accounting. Nicole serves a wide range of mid market oil and gas clients including operators, oilfield service companies and oil and gas field equipment manufacturers or clients also include multinational companies in real estate, high technology and the manufacturing industries. Besides regular federal and international tax compliance and tax provision services, Nicole also assists clients in tax planning and due diligence for merger and acquisitions transactions. Nicole, welcome to Harris Sliwoski, Global Law and Business.


Nicole Zhao  2:13 

Thank you, Jonathan, for the introduction. And thank you for having me here.


Fred Rocafort  2:18 

Nicole, before we started the recording, we were talking about Guangzhou city where I had the opportunity to spend a few years and where you’re from and where you started your work with PwC. Now you’re working in the United States. So I’d like to start things off by asking you for a comparison between the working experience here in the United States as opposed to the work experience in China, specifically for you as an accountant, how is it different than how is it similar? And more broadly? How easy or difficult was it for you to make that transition from China to the United States?


Nicole Zhao  3:03 

Oh, sure, I would love to share that. So actually, there’s no significant difference in the working environments between Guangzhou or the United States, probably is due to my work experience in China was very limited to Big Four. And I work with those good quality clients, you know, the International bands and professionals. So working at Big Four in China actually is very decent job. So for accountants, you know, please allow me to share that CPA exam in China is the most difficult exam, you could verify in China, it’s even harder to get a attorney in high sense in China. So all of the Chinese CPAs in my generation are highly educated people and be very well respected by the society by other people. So I do not really feel any significant difference in terms of the working environment between two country. If you ask me for any difference I’ve seen in the public accounting industry, I will say that, you know, in China among the public accounting firms and CPAs, actually about 80% of the CPAs are working on holiday. We are auditors in China, mainly in the United States. If you talk to public accounting people, you probably will see more tax people than the other people. I think this is due to the differences in the lease and complexity of foreign tax return in these two countries. Not like America. You know, most Chinese people’s income tax are finalized on their monthly paychecks and  the employer just take care of all the calculation withholding. And you do not need to do anything. As a employee, only a small portion of a high income Chinese people will need to file the individual tax returns by the end of the year. And the income tax law in China is actually quite straightforward. They are, I mean, the country is still working on developing a good income tax system that can you know, with different levels of people’s needs. So, at this moment, the rule for individual are still very straightforward. There were not that many area that you can make an adjustment. So, you know, that leads to a situation where, you know, people do not need that many tax people tax CPA in China, but in America, you know, it’s totally different. Everybody, as long as your income is what Okay, you need to file a tax return. Right. So that’s the main difference I’ve ever seen. And to respond to your last question, is it difficult to get used to the deal environment in America, I will say not really, at least for me. Guangzhou is actually one of the biggest city in China. It’s very diversified in population in culture. Actually, you can find many foreign companies in Guangzhou. So these foreign companies, they came into Gonzo, in 1980s. So that’s actually the time when I was born. So these foreign companies have bought in western office culture to China. So when we grow up, when we started to work there, it’s quite easy for us to you know, get us adopted, the mixed culture, you know, the Chinese Western culture in those foreign companies. So when I came to America, I did not really have any problem. And when I start to work with people here, things just feel similar.


Jonathan Bench  7:14 

I was in Guangzhou A few years ago, and it was my first time there, I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong and Sichuan before that, but had never been to Guangzhou. I was amazed at the experience there other than being able to speak Cantonese, which was thrilling to me, I met a guy for lunch in a quarter of the city that looked very European. I’d never been to Guangzhou, didn’t know anything about going Joe’s history. And so it was fun to see the cultural influences there. I didn’t expect to see that kind of diversity in a city in mainland China. So Nicole, let’s talk about tax and audit work. I think that even as a business lawyer, it took me a while to figure out what accountants do between bookkeepers and CPAs. It’s kind of hard to figure out what you’re actually doing behind the scenes. Can you explain a little bit about the difference between tax and audit work between tax planning and consulting versus Tax Compliance? And then comment a little bit about how your work is important to companies that are publicly listed?


Nicole Zhao  8:09 

Oh, sure. Sure. So tax work is mainly about preparation of tax forms, or provide tax advices. We usually help prior to get the work done. And we bring in values. Sometimes tax work can be very creative, because we always brainstorm about how to, you know, reduce our client’s tax burden. So you may not always have the same answer here. No. But on the other hand, audit work is more about inspection. Auditors are hired by the beneficiary of business to reveal the work done by the company’s management. So but when all he to do the inspection, they’re actually working with the company’s management. So sometimes the relationship could these weeks could be a little bit tough. So at the end of a all the project, you know, the client will get a one page report, which says that, well, the company’s financial statements are good, Good. So that’s what you get. But, you know, for most people, they just realized that all the turmoil of bringing that much value, why the tax people can be very nice, you know, that’s the main difference between tax and audit work. And you also mentioned about bookkeepers. And actually, you know,  as a bookkeeper is the same as all the accounting, but actually they are different. For bookkeepers. Their main job is to recall the daily activities of a business in the accounting format. But after you have those data, you need to find a way to present it to the financial information users. Sometimes the presentation can be a little bit tricky, you know, so let me give you an example. You pay $1,000 to the utility company today, and today is say December 31 2020. way. So, the question will be like, okay, you pay cash, you have a expense, but is this expense a 2020 expense or a 2021 expense, you know, are you paying your utility for January 2021, or actually is a, a fee for the past service. So, there are always areas like that, that the bookkeeper may not be able to fully adjust. So here we bring in the, you know, the accounting standard, we bring in auditor to make sure that all the presentation of the financial statement will fair the refractor company’s financial position or performance. So that’s the difference between the bookkeeper and the audit people. And then, you know, at the beginning, I mentioned that for tax, we mainly prepare tax forms or provide tax advice. So, for tax compliance, we mean that we prepare tax returns for our clients, you know, we make sure that our client won’t be metered today, we’ll stay away from any trouble or penalties, you know, we try to find a way to see if we could save some tax for the client. But But, but the saving from these compliance, work will be a big topic limited, you know, the for tax planning and consulting, you know, it’s a, again, it can be very creative, you know, if you do a good tax planning, at the beginning of a business, you know, you can save more tax. Another difference will be that, you know, for tax compliance, we always have a deal day, you know, for example, March 15, April, 15, September 15, October 15, these are the typical days for tax forms. However, for tax planning and consulting projects, we usually do not have a hot new day, you know, and the word is not to report anything to the government, the work is mainly to cover a specific subject matter. From the subject matter, again, we try to find a way to, you know, help our clients, optimize their test structure, and, you know, reduce the future tax burden. That’s what we do on the tax planning, and consulting.


Jonathan Bench  12:46 

And how important is your audit work that you do for companies that are publicly listed?


Nicole Zhao  12:50 

I mean, I no longer practice in the audit area, but basically, you know, every public company has to be audited. That’s the basic requirement of SEC because all the investors will need to understand, you know, the company’s financial situation, before they can make a informed decision to invest or not invest. So, yeah, and also, you know, when we say are they actually there are public company all day and private audit, and the standards or requirements can be very different for private audit, you know, the financial users, just a limited group of people, for example, the shareholder, a smokable, shareholder of the company, maybe the banks, you know, so the requirement on disclosure will be a little bit easy. However, for public company, reporting to the SEC, you know, you usually could see hundreds of pages for every quarterly report or any report. So I’m just for the financial part, really, to do lots of disclosure for that company. So it’s, it’s actually a requirement, it’s not optional for the public company. And, you know, we need to have a specific group of auditor  who are very experienced in the public audit to conduct the work.


Jonathan Bench  14:26 

So would you say that the audit standards are basically consistent around the world? Or do they differ by country


Nicole Zhao  14:32 

Overall, it’s consistent around the world, but in terms of the details, it can be different. I mean, at the very beginning, they are very similar Brett depends on each country’s development, you know, more and more issues were were discovered, you know, you know, for example, in America, we actually have more Have good examples or bad examples in the history, you know, where the, or the standard was not able to, you know, discover any plot or some of the problem of the companies, and then it needs to very big consequence. You know, for example, if you heard about the end, one company, you know, back in 2001, you know, that’s the biggest thing in the history where, you know, the company tried to disguise some fraud, and then, under all the standards at that moment, all lecture, which is a big five accounting firm at the moment, they will not able to discover the issue. Also, I think there is a partner in the audit team that he actually was aware of some situation, but he didn’t really disclose it to the public. So, because of some problem 90s At that moment, you know, there are the standard was not able to meet the public these. So after that case, actually, you know, the pcaob was creating, we have SOPs, and then we try to adjust problem like that. So, the process is that, you know, a specific country may may discover some problems, and then they develop more standards or requirement to improve, you know, the definition, clarity of the audit standard, along with the other standard. So, you may see, you know, every country is developing their audit standards, but overall, I think the goal is the same.


Fred Rocafort  16:38 

Nicole, when, when talking to other professionals, especially professionals in the service industry, I always find it interesting to learn about their their clients, because that can really condition what their work is like, for example, in our context, as lawyers, you could talk to two attorneys, both of whom say, they do a specific kind of law, but depending on the kind of kind of clients that they’re, they’re working with, the actual work might be very different. So I’d like to ask you, about your clients we know you do work with with international companies helping them with their us business operations, what’s your typical client like? And what kind of work are you are you doing for them? Well, one question, for example, that I’d that I’d be interested in is based out of your office in Houston, would you typically be handling all of the US tax work for a particular client? Or would you be working together with colleagues in other offices, perhaps that might be able to provide some more regional expertise? Tell us about this place?


Nicole Zhao  17:48 

Oh, sure. I would love to share that. So when we talk about international clients or companies, we firstly look at them, we firstly ask whether it is an inbound client or outbound client, inbound tire means that a foreign company would like to, you know, create a subsidiary in the United States. So you know, they build company here will help them with the taxi and other issue, outbound means that a US based company would like to make investment in a foreign country. So for our firm, our typical practice is to help those inbound international clients. So again, they may need a US company who are owned by foreign entities or individuals. We also serve many US public companies that are holding companies, of which the major operations are actually carried out by their foreign subsidiaries. So in another word, these companies, they only have a shell or our parent company in the United States, everybody else, actually, they’ve been maybe Asia, in Europe. So this will be another group of our major clients. So for international clients, the major concern is that they may not know what they need to do in order to stay compliance. That’s the question, you know, because they are not familiar with the United States business law or tax law, other stuff. So they just do not know if they do something wrong. So but unfortunately, you know, all I mean, just for tax, I’m just talking about tax, all the failure in international tax reporting, come with very expensive penalties. So our clients really rely on our expertise and knowledge to help them stay in good standings. So we help these clients to navigate the US tax laws. We help to make sure that they timely and appropriate lee file all the necessary tax returns and besides the us company’s income tax filings sometimes the bee’s knees owner and the employee may also need assistance on their personal tax return because these people may actually come from foreign countries you know so they may they help with the us personal tax return and sometimes we even help with the payroll tax return and we provide other consulting service so we try to be the polar back of our international clients tax matters


Jonathan Bench  20:41 

you mentioned you’ve had clients all over the world can you give us an example of some of those international clients you’ve worked with in the last month or two?


Nicole Zhao  20:48 

In the last month i typically work with clients in china in Malaysia and also in uk yeah why now actually you know the stock market the us stock market is actually good i know that you know there are some fears to Asian as of this week but you know before this week the us stock market was very strong and also really attract lots of investors more why so why now it’s actually a very popular time for those performing company to you know try to do ipo or do a reverse merger and then they could go public in the united states so in the past one year even though you know doing the dynamic the business acquisition or going public activity is very is kind of flowing inside the domestic companies i will say that it’s very actually very active you know internationally so our business actually had grown a lot during 2020 you know just to helping those foreign companies to go public in America.


Jonathan Bench  22:05 

It’s interesting you said there are a lot of foreign companies that set up a parent holding company in the us is that so that they have an easier time listing on us exchanges to raise capital or is there another reason?


Nicole Zhao  22:16 

Oh there are mixed reasons you know but number one you know the united states have a very sophisticated stock exchange market you know but sophisticated comes with compacity actually our compliance threshold or the bar is very high so for those foreign companies if they want to go public here they need to do very well in their reporting not only the financial but other business information reporting they need to be very transparent about the company and transparency sometimes could be a issue for for some other country really it’s a cultural thing race like in in asia you know people tend to you know just they do not share that much right but in america the transparency is the basic requirements so it’s not easy to go public in america but it’s very attractive is attractive mainly because that you know the market is very active here you know if you do have a good piece and there’s the opportunity for a company to get money to get equity comfort infusion from the us public company is kind of easy you know but at the same time you know for those company they may not have the same ability to get you know new equity from the domestic market that may be one of the reason why that they choose to go public in america rather than just seeing the home country.


Jonathan Bench  24:08 

That’s great so let’s talk about tax issues for foreign companies who want to come to the us to do business can you pretend that fred and i are part of a board of a company in malaysia that is going to set up operations in the us what are the kinds of tax issues that we should be concerned about what’s going to happen under the new biden administration can you give us an initial rundown of something that you how you would explain this to a new client looking for advice about the us market for the first time


Nicole Zhao  24:35 

okay sure show when a Malaysia company try to create a business in the us you know they have to understand that in the us we have to pay tax if you make money we even you do not make money you need to do tax returns you know and disclose all the information and i mean this is a common knowledge For every Americans, but the key things for international client is that, you know, there are a bunch of additional information disclosure requirements and tax returns that they need to filled out in time, and appropriate any, if they fail to do that, you know, the penalty and interest could be very expensive, even, you know, at the beginning of the business, you know, the business may not make any money, they may be in a loss position, but those penalties could still apply. So you can be a big damage to a newbies in this, you know, but again, so the problem is that, you know, the International client may not be familiar with the US tax laws. So this is the number one thing that we need to help the client to adjust, you know, and then besides that, you know, as the company grow, you know, besides the federal income tax, we could have state tax issue. So, we may need to help the client to understand, you know, in order to comply with various state requirements, they need to file additional tax returns, they need to understand, you know, how to enter, okay, the tax among different states, right. And then it’s very typical that you will know the parent company in the foreign country will have some kind of related party transactions with the US company. So for example, the country parent company may be a manufacturing business, they produce the products, and then they ship it to the US company, and the company, US company is the distributor, and then they sell the product to United States, Canada, or maybe South America. So when, when to determine the profit margin in Malaysia and the profit margin in the United States company, it can come with most of question, because both company would like to, quote, to report more profit in their own country, right. That’s the way that that’s how they get more tax. So we call this topic as transfer pricing, transfer pricing, mainly due to a freer pricing, you know, in those intercompany transactions, we want to make sure that both countries will be happy with the income reporting in those countries, you know, so basically, we have a global model to to guide these transfer pricing policies. So what what we don’t care is that for a intercompany transaction, whether it was done at arm’s length, or whether the price is fair. So for example, let me give you an example. Let’s say that a park, a park in Malaysia, was produced at the cost of $1. Right. And then, when the Malaysia parents sell the process to the US company, you know, and then the US company will sell it to the customer in the United States, let’s say that the final sales price was $20. So, we have $19 of profit in total, but how do we allocate these $19 between Malaysia and between the United States This is the question. So the general guidance is that okay, if this transaction is not done by these two related party is instead done by a third party distributor in the United States, what is the price that the ratio manufacturer will sell to the third party us distributor? And what is the EU the profit that the US distributor will be able to realize, you know, in the US market, that is the guidance, if the intercompany transaction do law, you know, real ladies transfer pricing problem, then they are good. But if they manually the perfect, perfect showing or if the government one of the government’s thinks that the application is not for you, then they could easily get into trouble. So every international clients depends on the industry they may be facing different challenges. What we do is that we, we inform the client, you know, what needs to be consider. And then we bring in the appropriate professional to help the client stay away with those relations or travels.


Jonathan Bench  30:15 

So Nicole, if I can summarize then about transfer pricing, the services you offer, when you’re dealing with transfer pricing is to look at the worldwide market of what transactions are happening around the world, and then saying there must be an acceptable range of what this part would sell for on the open market, and then making sure the intercompany transfer of that product fits within that range. Is that what I’m hearing?


Nicole Zhao  30:35 

Yes, exactly.


Jonathan Bench  30:37 

So do you have clients who come to you and ask you about banking? You know, for instance, how do we bank in the US? What bank should we work with? How do we set up a bank account, you know, fundamental questions like that, for companies that just have no idea what’s going on in the US banking world,


Nicole Zhao  30:52 

I usually make reference for acquires rather than helping them directly. Banking issue has been always an issue, you know, you with your experience working with Chinese company, you probably hear about, you know, it’s not easy to get money out from China, right. So that’s a historical issue, and we’re still working on that. But I want to say that it’s not only about China, you know, even for other countries, where the United States has creation ship, you can always have banking problems, sometimes it is not about how to move the money in and out, it can be about you know, whether you have the quality, to optimize the money utilization, UNICEF, cific price. So, it really depends on the business and industry, for example, if your business is in the importing, or exporting business, you know, you will need to work with a bank that is really established in that area to help you you know, make sure that the global shipping and cash flow is in a healthy stage. So and you know, sometimes is about currency exchange, rather than just banking, you know, you may be able to find a better exchange way from a professional currency company rather than from a bank. Right. So we will, if we get questioned it is, you know, we we help our clients to meet with the appropriate professional, and we have over there.


Fred Rocafort  32:37 

So, Nicole, let’s turn our attention to what’s heading our way, there’s a lot of talk of possible changes that we might see coming under the new administration, we’d love to hear your insight on what we can expect, and in particular, any advice that you might have regarding how to deal with those possible tax changes?


Nicole Zhao  32:59 

Okay, yeah, why now, this is the hottest topic at the tax world. So, I mean, we are facing many challenges nowadays in America, you know, we have lots of COVID-19 related spendings, including medical, you know, you know, including helping those people with less income to survive, to help with unemployment. At the same time, you know, we need to make our stock market strong, we need to increase our inflation way. So, there are a lot going on, you know, and for the government, why spending more money, part of the money may come with the operation at the Federal Reserve, but at the same time, increase his tax revenue is another way to get revenue for the government. Right. So, but it’s, it’s challenging as well, because, you know, people are losing money and time and, you know, some people may be paying income tax in 2019. But now, they lost the ability to pay the same level of income tax in 2020 or 2021. Because they lost the income, right. So that will impact tax revenue after government. Also, you know, if we increase the tax rates on, you know, it may hurt the stock market as well. But you all know that when President Biden when when he’s trying to fight against Donald Trump at the election time, he said that I’m not going to, you know, reduce the tax event, you will pay more tax if I got elected. That’s what President Biden said at the campaign. So I think why now he’s His focus is still on him. helping people to get away from these COVID lighting impacts but the next step will be to you know make some changes on the tax law so we expect that this will happen in the second half of 2021 and why now he actually have a very good setting to make that happen because you know we know that the election was ours that they basically could control both this and you know the house so you know if he wants to make change to the tax law why now is a very good time so based on this you know the tax planning is very difficult in 2021 we will keep watching the changes on the legislation this year and then we will help our client to make tax plans that will benefit them for 2021 and the next four to eight years in terms of strategies overall there are two main strategies that you know each of them will deal with different situations let me just share more about this like in during the covid 19 pandemic when we heard about business closures high unemployment ways on the media actually we were happy to see that some business actually grow tremendously you know for example you know during the pandemic people start going to those gyms public gyms and then they started to purchase exercise equipment and just exercise at home so those manufacturers or distributor of exercise equipment actually had a very good year in 2020 so if you are one of those lucky stars you may want to settle with the irs at a lower tax way before the day that the irs increased the tax rate right so you know for example for a c corporation currently the company will pay 21% of income tax you know on its on its profit but yet by then increase the tax way as he proposed originally the company’s income tax were will be increased from 21% to 28% so for the company if they have the option they would like to pay the tax right now instead of wait until 2022 so in order to make this happen you know the company will think about how to accelerate the recognition of income for tax purpose and at the same time they will think about how to defer the tax deduction from 2021 to 2022 so it’s the same for individual so let me share some specific tools that a business could think about so for example if a business you know purchase some big fixed assets during 2021 they can choose to take a deduction of the total costs 100% in 2021 and they can choose to do the depreciation or take the deduction over five to seven years beginning from 2021 so you have a profitable company is expecting its tax rate will increase in the next couple years you know maybe they will choose to depreciate the asset and take the deduction over the next five to seven years rather than taking the detection during 2021 for individuals you know if you happen to have a very good year in the stock market during 2020 and 2021 you know instead of wait until 2022 you may consider to you know realize that capital gain for tax purpose in 2021 so that you pay a test at a lower level than in the future also for high net worth families are having the impact is also very significant i highly recommend that you know high net worth individuals give some serious thoughts on if they planning doing 2021 so why now under the current tax law friends to previous president donald trump he increased the estate tax exemption to 11 point 5 million people person, but why now with the new administration, we expect that this threshold will go down to about 5,000,005 point 5 million or so. So that means, you know, if somebody, you know, pass away, in the next couple years, you know, the East data is subject to tax will be much more than 10. Currently, you’re now the 11 point 5 million raise. So, you know, we will recommend people to work with their estate attorney or CPA to look at their portfolio and see if they could, you know, transfer some assets under their personal name to trash so that they could, you know, reduce their overall estate tax. On the other hand, you know, President Biden had proposed to remove the tax base is that a benefit in inheritance. So that means, you know, when the father generation pass away, if their family as a business has appreciated a lot, you know, that they will need to pay the capital gains tax immediately. So that can be a very big damage to the family business, because, you know, the kids generation, they may not have enough cash to pay the tax, and you know, that can lead to a bankruptcy situation, or they could be forced to, you know, sell off some of their family business. So, this proposal actually was very aggressive. And we don’t think that will happen. But again, we need to keep an eye on the registration change during 2020. And, you know, just work faster. On the tax planning update, on the other hand, I mentioned there are two strategy, right. So on the other hand, you know, some business actually suffered a lot during 2020 pandemic, they may have less income or even had a big loss in 2020. so in this situation, you know, the strategy could go with the other way question, instead of, you know, moving the profit to future years, we will say that, you know, this loss based on this should maximize their taxable loss in 2020. Because why now, we have a temporary carry back rule, which says that, you know, if you have any laws in 2019, and 2020, you can carry back to 2015 through 2018 19. And then, you know, you offset your current loss with the prior perfect so that you can claim the tax refund from your PI your tax return. So, even though this strategy does not reduce your overall tax burden in the next couple years, he actually helps the bees in his to get better cash flow right now. So this is another way to go. Everybody’s situation is different. I will say that you have to talk to a professional to understand you know, what was happening in your business and help you to make a plan that really works for you,


Jonathan Bench  43:35 

Nicole, it’s been a lot of fun to have you on the show with us today. We were at the point now, where we want to ask you for any recommendations of anything you’ve read or seen or listened to. This can be related to our topic today or something else entirely.


Nicole Zhao  43:47 

I would highly recommend that you know, the monthly newsletter published by my firm MaloneBailey Our newsletter is published monthly and covers accounting, audit and tax topics. So if you are interested, you’re very welcome to visit our website at www dot And then, you know, give it a try and you will be amazed about how much information we share every month. Another information sources I use a lot include the IRS loose room, a website called the Test Advisor calm and also general offer competencies. So these are very professional text information sources, you know, an NIH those editorial material you can see from CNN or other media, you know, these are very technical discussions about all the tax law changes of rules, race, so i will highly recommend these sauces you know if you are interested in learning more but one note i want to point out is that you know there are specific text topics that are just too complicated to understand for example international tax write tax regarding those manufacturers rules on oil and gas taxation something like that so instead of you know taking another bachelor degree in tax you know i will recommend that you do actually talk to a experienced tax accountant


Jonathan Bench  45:39 

Thank you Nicole, Fred what do you have for us today?


Fred Rocafort  45:42 

Well just just want to follow up very briefly on something that Nicole said right I mean there’s a lot of information out there and certainly there’s a lot that you can learn on your on your own but even though this might sound a bit self serving and it is to some degree be careful obviously when when you want to learn more about some accounting issue some legal issue some medical issue and use that as a starting point and and if if if if you have an actual need yourself right as opposed to merely an academic interest do think carefully about whether you might need to actually talk to just to a professional in terms of my recommendation i’m going to go with follow on on a theme that we were discussing prior to the the podcast yesterday i attended a cle event that’s continuing legal education for for those of you who aren’t aren’t lawyers and the topic was making the most out of Microsoft word for lawyers or something like that and it’s a rare opportunity that you get to earn credit that the required credit that you need and and at the same time learn learn something practical so that was great that was great to have to have that opportunity but it got me thinking about something that i had i had actually been thinking about for a while which is all these tools that we use on a daily basis which are an essential part of our work have so many functionalities have offer so much i mean there’s been so much work put into something like word or powerpoint or excel for that matter so it really makes sense to to take some time to learn more about it and there are books i mean i have my microphone as a matter of fact that’s resting on a on one of the dummies series books on office on microsoft office but but in addition to all the books there there is a lot of information out there there are videos there are courses that you can take even free one hour courses and it might not make you an expert it might not teach you everything but you can at least pick up a little bit and i find that every time i devote 5-10 minutes to it i learned something new so even though it’s not a sexy recommendation by by any stretch and i certainly struggle with that temptation to focus on things that that are that appear more interesting you know learn to read that additional magazine or newspaper article I’m going to go ahead and recommend that you take some time to learn about the tools that you’re using especially if you are as many of us are professionals for whom document creation is an essential part of of all we do what about you Jonathan ,hopefully you have something a little more scintillating for our listeners today


Jonathan Bench  48:43 

I just want to add that this podcast episode is not sponsored by Microsoft in case you’re wondering although maybe we should reach out to Microsoft to see if they want to sponsor us my recommendation comes thanks to Fred who pointed this article to me it’s an article from The Guardian and the title is we’re trying to recreate the lives we had the Somali migrants who became Maine farmers and Maine by Maine i mean the state of Maine the us state of Maine in the northeast corner of the country i used to practice law in Maine at my first law firm and so this resonated with me because Maine is what we like to call the oldest and whitest state in the united states and they have welcomed a decent immigrant population from around the world so this article focuses on i think 3000 strong migrant groups from Somalia and it’s very interesting it continues the conversation of how we help migrants settle when they come to a new country how do we welcome them how do we help them integrate how do we provide opportunities for them to provide for themselves because i think it’s a natural human condition to appreciate a handout when we’re in a time of crisis but everybody wants to be able to pull their own weight and carry their own buckets when they get their feet under them and i would say that this includes all of us that are in any country that had immigrant ancestors so i think this really resonated for me because i love seeing what’s going on in maine i love that We as as people in the world are trying to help those who have been disproportionately affected by violence, and other bad situations around the world, you know that there are proper channels for immigration, help them find new homes set up a community have a sense of togetherness that they used to have in their, in their homeland, and where they can continue their cultural traditions in this communal farming, of course, is a very interesting thing as well, because they had to struggle to find a place where they could really call their own. And it was hard for them to dealing with the way farmland has been consolidated in the United States, was really hard for them to find a place where they could be settled and could have, could have land that they could lease. So now, with the help of a nonprofit in New England, they’ve been able to get on this land and now they farm it together as stewards of the land not as owners but as stewards. So that’s my recommendation for this week. And with that, we want to thank you, Nicole, for being with us and hope that we can catch up with you again sometime.


Nicole Zhao  50:57 

Thank you again for having me here.


Jonathan Bench  51:03 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode, we look forward to connecting with you on social media to continue discussing developments in global law and business. This podcast was produced by Harris Sliwoski with executive producer Madeline Williams music composed by Stephen Schmid. Tune in next week for another episode. We’ll see you then.


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