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ABA Tax Section Cancels Meeting Over Coronavirus Concerns

By David van den Berg · Mar 18, 2020, 6:33 PM EDT

The American Bar Association's Section of Taxation has canceled its May Tax Meeting because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement on the group's website.

The meeting had been scheduled for April 30 to May 2 in Washington, D.C. Planning has started on ways to digitally present a "meaningful amount" of the programming that had been planned for the event over the next two to five months, the group said in its Tuesday announcement.

The group also said it is exploring "delivery options" for presenting content and will provide further information as its plans solidify.

Guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the declaration of a public health emergency in Washington, the World Health Organization calling the outbreak a pandemic, and travel limits or prohibitions by law firms, corporations and government agencies are among the developments that likely meant holding the conference would have been impossible, the Tax Section said in its announcement.

"An enormous amount of preparation has gone into planning this year's program, but it is imperative that we prioritize the health and well-being of our members and guests," the group said.

The tax section said it would soon provide information regarding refunds of registration fees. The conference is a major event in the tax community and typically draws more than 1,000 tax attorneys, government officials and members of the media. The tax section previously called off the 20th Annual U.S. and Europe Tax Practice Trends Conference, which had been scheduled for April 1-3 in Munich.

The ABA tax section isn't the only organization to have canceled events because of the pandemic. Tax Executives Institute has called off its midyear conference that had been scheduled for March 22-25 in Washington, according to its website. Also, the Pacific Tax Policy Institute has moved its Pacific Rim Tax Conference in Redwood City, California, to July 20-21, Barbara Phalen, the group's director, told Law360. The conference had been scheduled for May 7-8.

The coronavirus pandemic also has led to the U.S. Tax Court canceling trial sessions scheduled for March and April, and the U.S. Supreme Court has postponed arguments that had been scheduled for the end of March and the beginning of April, including in President Donald Trump's appeal of decisions upholding subpoenas for his financial information.

--Editing by Vincent Sherry. 

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