In 2012, the Great Plains Federal Tax Institute celebrated 50 years of providing an interdisciplinary program of professional development for attorneys, CPAs, and other tax professionals.
In 1963, the Great Plains Federal Tax Institute was formed to provide an annual opportunity for tax professionals to hear presentations on significant tax related topics. The organization developed through the joint efforts of members of the Nebraska State Bar Association and the Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants. Volunteers from both organizations have worked over the years to recruit highly respected speakers to give presentations at the institute.
Initial seminars included presentations both in Lincoln and a location in western Nebraska. By the third institute in 1965 the Nebraska Center for Continuing Education was the annual home of the Great Plains Tax Institute. The Nebraska Center continued as the location of the Institute through 2002. Thereafter it was held at a couple of different locations in Lincoln before moving to Omaha beginning in 2005.
In addition to providing a forum for professional education, the Great Plains Tax Institute operates to support education of new professionals. Funds raised from the operation of the Institute are made available to the University of Nebraska College of Law and the University of Nebraska School of Accountancy. Over the last 50 years thousands of dollars have been provided to these schools to help enrich the legal and accounting education provided to their students.
One of the people involved in the initial organization of the Great Plains Federal Tax Institute was Philip G. Johnson, a leading accountant in Lincoln. He was involved in the planning and operation of the seminars for many years and following his death, a scholarship fund was set up in 1983 for University of Nebraska students in his memory. Since that time over 40 students from the School of Accountancy and College of Law have received Philip G. Johnson Memorial Scholarships to assist with their education.
In the 50 years of the existence of the Great Plaines Federal Tax Institute many very well recognized national speakers have traveled to Nebraska to share their expertise. This includes two Commissioners of the Internal Revenue, several other representatives of the IRS, U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including one future President of the World Bank. Over this time, speakers at the Institute have come from at least 31 states, and over sixty different individual speakers traveling here from Washington D.C. These speakers have included some of the top national experts in various areas of tax both from private practice as well as professors from some of the top educational institutions in the country. These national speakers have been supplemented with presentations by many of the top local practitioners who have participated in the Institute.