Fall meeting of the SOI Consultants Panel – Behind the Scenes

Fall meeting of the SOI Consultants Panel – Behind the Scenes – Statistics of Income

This year, SOI’s Consultants’ Panel met twice–first at The Brookings Institution, in an all-day session on April 26, re-establishing the group which was meeting for the first time in 2 1/2 years. Then, to continue group momentum and to refocus the Panel’s mission and priorities, there was a followup meeting on October 18 at the Urban Institute. It comprised a half-day session followed by a buffet lunch, which was an opportunity to informally discuss issues of mutual interest.

Over 70 people attended the recent session, including Consultants’ Panel members, SOI and RAS staff representatives, and invited guests from the American Council of Life Insurers, the Bureau of the Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Congressional Budget Office, Council of Economic Advisers, Federal Reserve Board, George Washington University, General Accounting Office, the Heritage Foundation, IBM Business Consulting, IRS-Small Business/Self-Employed, IRS-Tax Exempt/Government Entities, Joint Committee on Taxation, Joint Economic Committee, National Opinion Research Center, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Tax Analysis, Small Business Administration, Tax Foundation, Urban Institute, and Westat.

SOI Director Tom Petska opened the meeting, followed by brief welcoming remarks from cohosts Gene Steuerle (Urban Institute) and Bill Gale (The Brookings Institution), both of whom are Panel members.

The opening session included four presentations by SOI staff, which provided updates and highlights of SOI project activities. Kevin Cecco spoke on SOI’s 2002 Customer Satisfaction Surveys; Nick Greenia presented New Legislative Developments in Data Sharing; Dan Trevors provided a segment on IRS’s Master File Modernization and What It Means to SOI; and Mike Leszcz discussed SOI’s Recent Experience in Imaging Returns and Its Potential Implications.

This was followed by a report from the 1040 Public Use File (PUF) advisory group, introduced by Mike Weber. Westat contractors Marianne Winglee and Richard Valliant then discussed Assessing Disclosure Protection for an SOI Public Use File; Panel member Dan Feenberg and Ralph Rector of the Heritage Foundation provided the PUF users’ group reaction.

The final session of the meeting was a report from the Panel charter and mission workgroup. The report provided a draft mission statement for the Panel, as well as suggestions for ways that Panel members could provide additional assistance to SOI beyond that provided in the past, including customer input for future SOI deliverables; advice on best data analysis practices in the user community; and serving as a sounding board for SOI management on such management issues as recruiting, mentoring, and training. Some possible action steps were discussed, and the meeting ended with Tom Petska agreeing to finalize the mission statement and sending Panel members a list of topics for which SOI would like help.

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