One of the great things about working in tax is the opportunity to meet other tax professionals. In 2015, I had the good fortune to meet up with tax attorney Steven Chung at the ABA Tech Show. Steven and I were both interviewed by Forbes contributor Jeena Cho for her podcast with Keith Lee and it was a lot of fun (trust me, it was pure legal geek bliss). So, of course, when I had the opportunity to interview Steven for this segment, I jumped at the chance. Here’s what Steven had to say:
1. Where are you now?
I am in Los Angeles although my mind and clients are just about everywhere else.
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
My official title is Attorney and it means that I challenge IRS auditors and tax collectors on behalf of my clients. I also write for Lawyerist.com, an informational blog focusing on solo practitioner and small firm attorneys.
3. What books are on your nightstand?
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? By Steve Godin, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, On Writing Well by William Zinsser, Supreme Ambitions by David Lat, and The Anxious Lawyer by Jeena Cho
4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Before law school, I wanted to be a full-time video game tester. But I found out that it was not as fun as I thought it would be (see here). But I still stay connected with the video game industry.
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theatre)?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. At first, I thought this was Episode 8. But as I was watching it, nothing made sense. I was wondering why certain characters who I thought were dead made an appearance.
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
I have three. The first is resolving tax disputes, including audits and collection matters. The second is tax aspects of virtual currency transactions. This includes Bitcoin, Second Life Lindens, and even World of Warcraft gold. They are the preferred currency of ransom seekers and organized crime. The third is managing taxable cancellation of debt income for those seeking student loan forgiveness under the federal Income Based Repayment programs.
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
Pay off your student loans ASAP.
8. Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning and tea when I overeat.
9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Counting Crows, Ellie Goulding, Lil Jon, Psy (The Gangnam Style guy), M.O.V.E. (A Japanese Eurobeat band)
10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I am one of the few people in the world who have every Pokemon in Pokemon GO. As of January 23, 2017, I have seen and caught 154.
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
I went to UC Riverside majoring in political science. Then I went to Whittier Law School to get my law degree. I then got my LLM in Tax at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. I stopped there because the banks wouldn’t give me any more student loans.
12. If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code tomorrow – an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?
Student loan forgiveness should not be considered taxable cancellation of debt income.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Wow, I haven’t watched network TV in a while. But I’d have to say the Simpsons since the characters haven’t aged a bit for some reason.
14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
Definitely the estate tax. There is no way Congress will repeal the Alternative Middle-Class Tax. That is what the AMT stands for, right?
15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Save it for next year’s taxes.
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
Trump. Not just on tax, but just about everything else.
17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related web site?
Taxprof and Procedurally Taxing.
Thanks, Steven! You can find Steven on his personal site here as well as over at The Lawyerist. You can also connect with him on Twitter.
If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured send your suggestions to kelly (dot) erb (at) taxgirl (dot) com with the subject: Getting To Know You Tuesday (it’s tax season: use anything else and it could get lost, you’ve been warned). Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged!
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