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5 Questions with Faculty: Thomas J. Collura

Collura is a lecturer in the School of Business.

Thomas J. Collura serves as the director of the M.S. in taxation program.

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 6, 2018) — Thomas J. Collura came to the University at Albany 20 years ago as a lecturer in the School of Business, and has continued to teach in the department of accounting and law ever since. Collura also serves as the director of the M.S. in taxation program.

Outside of teaching, Collura is a corporate and securities partner at Hodgson Russ LLP in Albany. His practice focuses on advising privately held companies and individuals concerning corporate, tax and trusts and estates matters.

What are you working on now that you're excited about?

I recently served as an expert witness in an attorney malpractice case concerning the standard of care for a corporate attorney in a mergers and acquisition transaction. I also recently completed a lecture to New York State surrogate judges concerning the tax and business consequences following the death of a business owner, and I am currently in the middle of several substantial mergers and acquisitions, as well as tax examinations within the Internal Revenue Service.

How do you incorporate your work at the law firm into your classes?

Since my law practice involves all of the subject matters that I teach, I have an unlimited amount of practical examples to help illustrate difficult tax concepts.

What was your first job?

I assume delivering newspapers does not count, but once I completed my legal education, I joined the international accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand (now known as PriceWaterhouseCoopers) as a tax accountant.

What’s one thing students might be surprised to know about you?

I never wanted to be an accountant, and I only studied it because my father hated the idea of me becoming a lawyer and wanted me to be able to get a job when I graduated from college. But, as they say, “Father knows best!”

What are some challenges in the industry and how can students prepare?

The greatest challenge is to stay current with technology and with the constant evolution of the tax law. Students need to know and accept that they can never stop learning once they graduate, which I find to be one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of being an accountant and a lawyer.

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