Cooperative Ownership

December 15, 2022 2:00pm ET
Location Information:
Contact Information:
(937) 222-6707
Cost(s): $0.00 Member / $56.00 Non-Member

CPE: 1.5 Credit Hour
Field of Study: Taxes 

Cooperatives are prevalent within the agriculture industry, however, other industries are now examining the cooperative business model, and the benefits it brings. This session will explore the following via actual case studies:

  • Cooperative business model compared to other entity types 
  • Limited Cooperative Associations 
  • Business transition and start ups 
  • Governance, Securities, Accounting and Tax Considerations 
  • Opportunities and Implications for accounting and tax professionals 

The cooperative business model can fit many unique situations well, due to its unique business and tax aspects. There is a challenge in explaining how the cooperative will work in practice. These case studies highlight the benefits and challenges and suggest useful ways to handle them. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Gain an understanding of how the cooperative business model is applied in business transitions and start ups via two case studies 
  • Understand goverance, securities, accounting, and tax considerations of cooperative ownership
  • Apply their knowledge of cooperatives to other industries outside of agriculture 

Presenter and Moderator Bios

Presenter: Laura Flores, Client Services Manager, Project Equity

Laura Flores is a Client Services Manager at Project Equity, a non-profit organization building community wealth through Employee Ownership. She started her career as a community organizer and developed a passion for advancing thriving organizations and communities that center on equity and the needs of those most impacted by social injustice. As a Client Services Manager, she facilitates the process for owners and workers to convert their business into worker cooperative and other employee ownership structures. She received her B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara and an MBA from Mills College. She is currently based in Oakland, CA. 

Presenter: Paola Eisner, Co-op Attorney, Tuttle Law Group, LLP

Paola Eisner provides transactional legal services to cooperatives and other mission-aligned entities as a co-op attorney at Tuttle Law Group. She offers her services in English and Spanish. She's licensed in California and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2019. Paola's practical experience with cooperatives includes volunteering as a bike mechanic at Velócity Bicycle Cooperative, supporting Indigenous fish farm cooperatives in the Peruvian Amazon, and living in housing co-ops and intentional communities. Paola has published work on reclaiming the commons. Paola is also an artist; her latest publication is a feminist coloring book that can be printed at Paola was born and raised in Houston, Texas. 

Presenter: Therese Tuttle, Principal, Tuttle Law Group, LLP

Therese Tuttle represents California consumer cooperatives, agricultural cooperatives and worker cooperatives. She also advises clients on business formation and estate planning matters. In 2000, she founded Tuttle & Van Knonynenburg, LLP, a firm focused on cooperative and agricultural law, with her law partner Frank Van Konynenburg; in 2001 the firm successfully defended the 400 members of Tri Valley Growers, a processing cooperative, from claims of creditors in the cooperative’s bankruptcy. Prior to founding the firm, she worked for California Farmers Union and served as Director of Cooperative and Economic Development for National Farmer’s Union, managing cooperative project requests from 23 state-based member organizations. In 2013, she drafted amendments to California’s cooperative law that enabled preferred-share financing and capitalization of cooperatives.  She has spoken on this topic at annual meetings of the California Center for Cooperative Development and has been awarded USDA’s “Great Cooperator” Award. She serves on the non-profits committee of the California State Bar Association. 

Moderator: Rebecca Thoune, Signing Director, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Rebecca has an extensive background providing tax planning and compliance for privately held companies, serving primarily cooperatives and the agribusiness industry. She works with clients on federal and state strategic tax planning, equity planning and management, maximizing cooperative and patron benefits, business structure consulting, and provides representation before the IRS and other state taxing authorities. Rebecca has 23+ years of tax experience in public accounting and has held various tax leadership roles throughout her career. Rebecca has spoken to various local and national organizations on technical tax topics such as the principles of cooperative taxation, tax planning and reform, equity management, COVID relief including PPP loans & forgiveness, and various state tax matters. Rebecca serves as the cooperative national tax director for CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. Education and professional involvement • National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives (NSAC) - National Tax Committee Chair - Writer for The Cooperative Accountant • National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) LTA committee • NSAC Great Lakes Chapter – Past President and Board of Directors • Donate Life Wisconsin Board of Directors • Donate Life Ambassador for Virsiti Organ and Tissue Donation • Master of Taxation, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee • Bachelor of Science, Accounting and Finance, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants • Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants 

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