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History of Texas Federal Tax Institute

The Texas Federal Tax Institute (TFTI) started in very modest fashion. The State Bar of Texas (SBOT) sponsored several basic tax CLE programs in the early 1980s, but practitioners clearly wanted additional programs that addressed more sophisticated, cutting-edge issues facing tax practitioners. In 1985, desiring deeper tax CLE content, Scott Morris – a former professor who had taught tax courses in Dallas at what is now the SMU Dedman School of Law – created a one-day real estate and partnership taxation seminar which was conducted in Dallas. Although the State Bar lent its name to the program, Scott took the entire responsibility for putting on the program and donated any profits to the SBOT Tax Section.

And it was a success. In the early years, to attract the greatest number of participants, the one-day program alternated annually between Dallas and Houston. Through these early years, Scott grew the program, with invaluable assistance from Larry Stevens and Bill Methenitis in Houston and Brent Clifton in Dallas.

In the early 1990s, a group of corporate tax lawyers put together their own one-day course conducted through the State Bar. In short order, Scott and Brent, working with the State Bar and a rising corporate tax star, David Wheat, combined the programs into a two-day program, and the TFTI as we know it today was born. About that time Kevin Thomason joined the leadership group. In an effort to attract the best speakers from around the country, as well as to attract attendees, the TFTI ceased rotating between Dallas and Houston and settled into its current location in San Antonio, a financially risky move that was made possible by the backing of the SBOT Tax Section, then led by Bill Elliott. For years, Kevin and Brent managed the real estate and partnership tax day, while David organized and moderated the corporate tax day of the program. Scott, realizing that the next generation of leadership was now in place, moved from Chairman of the TFTI to its Chairman Emeritus, asking Brent, Kevin and David to officially take the reins. Under their leadership, the TFTI has grown into a nationally-renowned program and a favorite of both speakers and attendees.

In 2012, the founding members of the TFTI, with the blessing and support of the SBOT Tax Section, officially formed a 501(c)(3) vehicle to permanently house the program and ensure the development of its future leadership. Aided by a stellar Board of Directors made up of leading tax lawyers and accountants from around the State of Texas, and assisted by an Advisory Board of the most renowned tax professionals in the country, the TFTI will celebrate its 33rd anniversary in June of 2017. Growing from a simple desire to elevate the quality of tax CLE in Texas, TFTI has now become the annual meeting place for the cream of the tax profession in Texas and the Southwest—a place not only to obtain the highest quality tax CLE between the coasts but also to meet friends, make contacts and nurture the tax community in the Southwest.

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