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Peter Barnes Comments on Tax Planning Pioneer John Samuels Leaving General Electric

September 15, 2014, Tax Notes Today
Tax Notes Today quoted Peter A. Barnes regarding General Electric's (GE) announcement on September 12 that John Samuels has stepped down as Vice President and Senior Tax Counsel for Tax Policy and Planning and intends to leave GE at the end of 2014. Olga Hartwell, Vice President and Tax Director of GE stepped into Samuels' position on June 1. For the complete article, please visit Tax Notes Today's website (subscription required).

Excerpt taken from the article "Tax Planning Pioneer John Samuels to Leave General Electric" by Amy S. Elliott for Tax Notes Today.
"John was the first high-level tax professional to move in-house" in the tax area, said Peter A. Barnes of Caplin & Drysdale, who worked for Samuels at GE for 23 years. "John's point, which he proved over and over again, was that you can build an in-house tax team that has world-class talent . . . closer to the client, closer to the facts than they could ever be if they were at outside firms."

Barnes agreed that Samuels's legacy is the tax team he built at GE, a team that numbers in the hundreds across dozens of countries. "And that's an investment that other companies have been making over the last 10 years, but they did not make until John provided the model at GE," Barnes said.

It's expected that Samuels's remaining time at GE will involve efforts to encourage Congress to pass comprehensive tax reform. "The work John has done in trying to find compromises that would improve the U.S. tax system while maintaining revenue neutrality are very important and will be foundational whenever we do get tax reform," Barnes said.

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