Annette Nellen, CPA, CGMA, Esq.
Professor and Program Director
Master of Science in Taxation
Sure, taxation can be a taxing subject—unless you have talented and enthusiastic instructors like Annette Nellen, professor and program director for the Master of Science in Taxation.
She’s one of the reasons that when you enroll in the MST program, you’ll learn far more than how to complete tax forms. Within a few classes, you’ll understand how tax laws are designed and passed, and even how you can influence them.
Nellen has more than 25 years of experience and expertise in all things tax, including the following areas: tax research, policy and reform, accounting methods, property transactions, state taxation, employment tax, ethics—and emerging tax-related issues with e-commerce and technology.
She’s a go-to resource for accountants and attorneys who want to develop similar expertise in the complexity and the breadth of tax law, though newcomers to tax and accounting are welcome, too.
It’s the complexity of tax that Nellen finds so intriguing. “I like to look at it from multiple perspectives,” she says. “Understanding not only the specific rules, but the policies involved. And what it takes to get tax laws improved and changed.”
Nellen doesn’t just talk taxes in class. Take a quick look at her background and you’ll find she’s authored numerous tax articles; provided written and oral testimony to legislators and tax commissions; has served on several boards and organizations; and was recently appointed to the California Board of Equalization Executive Director’s Advisory Council.
According to Nellen, a deep knowledge of taxes and their intent is critical.
“Tax practitioners need to do more than read rules and perform calculations,” she says. “They need good research skills and an understanding of what shapes our tax laws. They will come across questions where the law is unclear—or the law no longer applies—and will have to be able to figure it out to be sure transactions are properly reported.”
Nellen is convinced an MST degree from SJSU is a unique asset for both experienced and emerging tax professionals, especially in Silicon Valley.
“We have wonderful Silicon Valley tax experts who teach for us, so students get such wide perspectives from professionals who deal with tax—including international tax—on a daily basis,” she says. “That’s pretty special and unique to Silicon Valley.”