Professor appointed to IRS advisory committee

Northeastern University professor Gary Young has been selected by the United States Secretary of the Treasury to serve a two-year term on the Internal Revenue Service’s Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities.

Members of the committee advise the IRS on operational policy and procedural improvements on several fronts, including employee retirement plans; tax-exempt bonds; tax-exempt organizations, including hospitals, churches and universities and colleges; and federal, state, local and Indian tribal governments.

“Having the opportunity to have a front-row seat to see how a large and complex federal agency functions at the senior level is something that I very much value and will use to inform both my teaching and research,” Young said. “I am interested in gaining a broader perspective of tax-exemption issues across a wide range of organizations,” he added.

Young was introduced as one of the committee’s seven new members as part of a three-day meeting this week in Washington, D.C., during which current panelists submitted their latest round of recommendations to senior IRS executives. He was required to undergo an FBI background investigation prior to assuming his new role.

Young, whose expertise lies in health law and health care management, said his role on the advisory committee might include making recommendations on tax-exempt policies for hospitals and health care organizations, adding that his appointment stemmed in part from IRS executives’ familiarity with his legal and empirical research on the topic.

He is the director of Northeastern’s Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Research and a professor of strategic management and health care systems with a joint faculty appointment in the College of Business Administration and Bouvé College of Health Sciences.

“The Treasury Department and IRS viewed me as someone who would be an appropriate person on the panel given the IRS’ new responsibilities under the health care reform law,” Young said, noting that he is currently the only academic on the advisory committee. Most of the other members tend to be senior partners of high-profile law, accounting or consulting firms.

Young, who has also worked as an attorney for the U.S. government, said Pres­i­dent Obama’s sig­na­ture health care leg­is­la­tion places a variety of new responsibilities on the IRS, including a requirement that tax-exempt hospitals conduct community need assessments and develop plans for addressing those needs.

Tax exemption with respect to hospitals and universities has become a particularly contentious issue in the media, he said. “Some believe that there should be a closer examination of the appropriateness of tax exemption for these organizations, which are often billion-dollar enterprises,” Young explained.  “I look forward to hearing how such issues are viewed by other members of the advisory committee.”