Focus on Finance: Corporate Tax

As we continue our series on getting to know our Finance teams and all the work that they do, this time we introduce you to Corporate Tax:

  • Tell us about the members of your team.

The team is led by Keith Phelan, a CPA with several years of tax experience before joining NLG in 2019. Our tax manager, Mark Evans, is also a CPA who worked in the insurance industry before joining us in 2020. And with over 30 years of experience, Karen Wells is one of our most senior members of the finance team!

  • Can you give us an overview of the Corporate Tax function?

Corporate Tax is responsible for the calculation and compliance of tax liabilities of the corporate legal entities. This includes the broad categories of federal and state income taxes, state and municipal premium taxes, guarantee fund assessments and other various taxes and filings.

The life cycle for each of these consists of four phases:

  1. Forecasting tax liabilities for planning purposes
  2. Calculating and accounting for taxes in our company’s financials
  3. Finalizing, filing and paying tax liabilities with regulators quarterly and annually (over 1,000 filings per year!)
  4. Defending our tax positions if and when they are audited by our regulators

The team also monitors the ever changing tax laws and serves business partners with various matters involving transactions, capital, invested assets, payroll and customer/agent payments.

  • Who are your customers? Who do you typically work and partner with?

Internally, our customers include Financial Reporting, Risk, Financial Planning and Analysis, the Treasury, Reinsurance and Capital team, and the Payment Center. In addition, we regularly work with others such as NLG Capital, Legal, Payroll, the People Center and the charitable foundation.

Our external customer relationships include the IRS, the tax departments of each of the 50 states, our external financial auditor (PwC), and numerous local municipalities.

  • Tell us something about what you do that would surprise us?

Our license to do business can and will be suspended if we are not in full compliance with a jurisdiction’s tax rules and regulations. If that happens, we can no longer sell in those locations.

Also, IRS audits for large corporations can typically take several years. In 2021, we completed a multi-year audit that lasted 6 years! Although lengthy, we were very pleased with the results.