Lang Tax Conference: Bridging Tax Policy and Sustainability

Tuesday, December 12, 2023
by Jonathan, Rachel, Vivian, AFM students

In November, we competed against more than twenty teams from across Canada in the Lang Tax Conference hosted by the University of Guelph, where we placed first!

Lang Tax Conference Team for fall 2023

Though it wasonly aboutthe fifteen minutes at the competition that defined our win, it had been months in the makingfor us. Our journey actually started back in July, when the three of us came across the opportunity to compete at the Lang Tax Conference through reading a blog post on SAF’s website. As a team, we were drawn in by the Lang School of Business’ commitment towards using “business as a force of good,and were intrigued by how a tax-focused case competition might achieve such an objective.

For this year’s competition, our team was tasked with creating a taxation policy that would lower greenhouse gas emissions. With such an open-ended prompt, we relied on our diverse co-op experiencesspanning audit, personal/corporate tax, and management consultingalong withand the knowledge we had acquired through several tax courses, to come up with a feasible and creative solution. We ultimately pitched the Sustainable Living Incentive Tax (SLIT) Credit, a federal refundable tax credit that encourages individuals and corporations to invest in sustainable appliances and equipment for the home or office.

As we prepared for the competition, our team faced multiple challenges. Cases of food poisoning and back-to-back midterm exams led to a very stressful preliminary round experience. On the day of the competition, we found out that we had placed fourth in the preliminary round and had only twenty minutes to prepare and elevate our final presentation. Ultimately, we believe that our technically-sound solution, as well as our ability to tackle the judges’ challenging questions allowed us to take the victory.

While the win was sweet (and certainly unexpected!), we are more excited that we had the opportunity to work together, and will cherish the memories we made over the two week competition period. Given the increased urgency of the climate crisis, we are grateful to the organizing team for creating such a meaningful event, andwe look forward to further exploring how accounting and finance can be used as a means to tackle such issues inside and outside of the classroom!