(1) How did you become interested/involved in preparing tax returns or teaching taxes?
I majored in history at the College of the Holy Cross. After graduation I went into VISTA and form there to the University of Chicago in history. While at Holy Cross I knew quite a few Economics/Accounting g majors (a major I think unique to Holy Cross). There was always this sense that accounting didn’t belong in a liberal arts college. At any rate they were getting good jobs and didn’t really seem all that bright so I conceived of accounting as a back-up plan. After abandoning history I got a second bachelors degree in Accounting while working as a hotel night auditor and an internal accountant for a travel agency. A headhunter asked me if I was willing to try public accounting and I said what the heck which ended me up at Joseph Cohan and Associates a 50 person firm in Worcester. We did everything, so I learned to prepare individual returns on the job. Mainly it was a matter of reading the instructions. If the instructions referenced a regulation I read that. The constant change in the early 80’s made my penchant for actually looking things up into a real virtue
(2) How were you educated/trained in preparing tax returns?
On-the-job training and reading the instructions. As we automated I always insisted on reviewing actual returns rather than just input. Since the 1990’s thought I have gotten pretty decent at profx.
(3) When and why did you decide to write a blog on tax issues?
December 2009. I stopped for a while due to firm concerns but finally worked out something making it clear that the firm was not responsible for the blog. I was given an eight week sabbatical and started blogging in earnest while I drove all around the country. It is a creative outlet for me. I always reviewed original source material and now I have a more disciplined approach
(4) How has blogging helped your business?
Nothing I can identify so far
(5) What do you consider the “best tax advice” you can give anyone?
Sometimes you should just pay the taxes.
(6) Do you think the regulation of tax return preparers is a good thing?
(7) Do you think CPAs and attorneys should be exempt from testing and required CPEs in taxation?
I think attorneys should be banned from preparing returns (LOL). CPA’s have a 40 hour CPE requirement and ethical constraints on doing work that they are not qualified to do. Somehow that should get integrated into any regulation the IRS lays on.
(8) What is your favorite Broadway musical – and why?
Guys and Dolls – Sky Masterson’s speech on getting cider in his ear and Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat.
Good tax advice, and an excellent choice of favorite musical. I produced a benefit of G+D for a local charity on whose Board I sat many years ago, and can still probably sing the entire score. “The Biltmore Garage wants a grand – but we ain’t got a grand on hand. . .”
As for the issue of exempting CPAs from the tax return regulation regime – methinks he has somewhat avoided the question.
Next week we visit with TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb.
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Tonight I will be celebrating the end of the year at home (I have not been out on New Years Eve for 30+ years) with Jack (Daniels) and Dick (Clark) and some thick cigars, after spending the day typing more W-2s, as is my annual tradition.
Best wishes for a successful, and less taxing, 2011!