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getting to know you tuesday

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With over 25 years of accounting and tax experience, Tom Cook knows his way around an accounting firm. But his interests don’t stop there: he is also an active supporter of the Arroyo Grande Community Hospital Foundation, where he sits on the Board of Directors.
Here’s what Tom had to say:
1. Where are you now?
Arroyo Grande, California
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
I am a CPA licensed in the state of California. I run a small firm and we don’t really use titles beyond CPA. I am the owner and am sometimes referred to as the Boss.
3. What books are on your nightstand?

I only have one book on my nightstand at the moment. It is “Eat that Frog!” by Brian Tracey.
4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Sadly, it would still involve sitting at a desk. I have a knack with computers and believe I would excel in programming or IT support. Who knows, if “Tax Simplification” actually happens I may find myself in that field sooner rather than later.
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theatre)?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I’m a sucker for the brand.
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
As a practice, we thrive on helping small businesses. Our ideal client owns a small business with fewer than 25 employees. They seek out and value our assistance with their accounting systems, payroll & sales tax compliance, and income tax planning and preparation.
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
The best tax advice I received was early in my career. The advice had to do with the fact that very few of us can memorize the entire tax code, regulations, etc. So the advice was that in order to remember and apply tax law, you often have to get to the root of the issue. Meaning, most tax law is designed to encourage or discourage a behavior. If you can understand that, it will help you remember the law and advise clients.
8. Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Lots of it!
9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Chris Stapleton, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Milky Chance, The Chainsmokers, Adele.
10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
My wife and I played baseball together when we were 9 & 10 years old. And neither one of us remembers the other!! My mother in law was looking through an old photo album of mine and spotted my wife in a team photo. We couldn’t believe it. We were in the front row, right next to each other.
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?

I started my college career at University of California at Riverside. My dad was a OBGYN but died when I was 10 years old. I thought I wanted to follow in his footsteps, so I enrolled at UC Riverside with that goal in mind. Lucky for me, UC Riverside had “Undeclared” as a major and I was able to switch to “Undeclared” upon learning that the sciences and I don’t get along.
As “Undeclared”, I was able to sample various classes. I enrolled in accounting and loved it. It was easy. It clicked. And I enjoyed the homework. But UC Riverside did not have an accounting degree. So, I transferred to and graduated from California State Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo with a degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in accounting.
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?
I would index the income limits for using the $25,000 of rental losses.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
TV? You mean streaming? How quickly times change. We were thoroughly enjoying “Jane the Virgin” but it has come to an end. So we switched to “Suits” and are currently up to Season 4. I find myself identifying the characters with some of the people I worked for at one of the Big 4. Including myself.
14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
Estate tax.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Fund my retirement account for next year.
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
As of January 2017, Trump. Followed closely by identity thieves.
17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related web site?
Cal Tax at www.caltax.com A great source for California focused news and updates.

Thanks, Tom! You can find out more about Tom from his firm’s website here. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn and follow his firm’s Facebook page here.

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!

Tax professionals aren’t always focused solely on federal income tax laws. Their knowledge base often spills over into other areas – like the rules governing anti-money laundering. Today’s tax professional, Jennifer Correa Riera, has tackled anti-money laundering regulations and the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Jennifer has represented clients in “Know Your Customer” (KYC), Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs or FinCEN Form 104), and Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) matters. She has also represented clients prosecuted for operating unregistered money transmitting businesses and servicing individuals appearing on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List.
Here’s what Jennifer had to say:
1. Where are you now?
Sunny Miami, Florida.
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
I am a Tax and Regulatory Attorney with Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph, PL. In my practice, I help clients resolve their compliance issues involving the Internal Revenue Service, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and other federal and state agencies. I represent clients involved in tax audits, collections actions, and administrative appeals. I also represent clients before the Tax Court if litigation ensues. Additionally, I help clients seeking to expand outside of the United States by structuring efficient tax plans and advising them of their information reporting obligations. Likewise, I help clients abroad make their mark in the United States.
3. What books are on your nightstand?
Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
I’ve heard the original Spanish version is even more beautiful than its English translation One Hundred Years of Solitude.
4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Either a travel writer or an interior designer.
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)?
Moonlight
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
International tax, tax planning, and federal and state tax controversy (audits, collections, administrative appeals, and litigation).
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
Never to put the tax cart before the business horse. It is important to maximize the client’s business potential first and then structure an efficient tax plan around the business with little or no changes to the client’s business plan.
8. Coffee or tea?
Cuban coffee. I am Cuban American, so I was introduced to Cuban coffee practically after birth.
9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Deadmau5, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga
10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I am a cigar connoisseur. I have a pretty extensive collection at home.
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
I attended the University of Miami for undergrad (major in Finance and minor in Spanish) and law school. Go Canes!
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?
I would eliminate the limitations on deducting student loan interest.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Legion, The Americans, and Baskets.
14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
I think they will probably be repealed under the same Congressional Act.
15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
I would put some toward my son’s 529 plan and use the rest on a family vacation.
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
Definitely Trump.
17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related website?
Taxgirl is my favorite, but Procedurally Taxing is a close second.

Thanks, Jennifer! You can find out more about Jennifer from her firm’s website here.

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.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m all about baseball. That’s why I’m particularly excited this week to feature Jonathan Mariner, who served as Major League Baseball’s Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Finance (he was appointed to the position by MLB Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig). Before joining the MLB, Mariner served as Executive Vice President and CFO of the Florida Marlins.

Today, Mariner is focused on a new project: an app that helps you track spend working or living in more than one state. The app, Tax Day, helps you figure your residency for tax purposes (more on that in a few days). For now, here’s what Jonathan had to say:

1. Where are you now?
I’m happily retired and living in south Florida working on a new start up after 23 years working in professional sports.

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
I’m the founder and president of TaxDay, LLC, a new travel-tracking app for people who live and work in multiple states. It records taxable travel days as you bounce from one jurisdiction to another.

3. What books are on your nightstand?
Flash Boys by Michael Lewis; Howard’s Gift – Uncommon Wisdom to Inspire Your Life’s Work by Eric Sinoway; and Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
I just retired from my dream job, EVP and CFO of Major League Baseball!

5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)?
Hidden Figures

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Multi-state taxation; in particular, multi-state residency taxes.

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
Invest as much as you can into your company’s 401(k), especially if there’s any employer matching.  It’s the best and most reliable way to earn a guaranteed return on your investment.

8. Coffee or tea?
Tea, I never drink coffee.

9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Justin Kauflin, Robert Glasper, Janita, Bruno Mars, Lin-Manuel Miranda

10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I have a black belt in Northern Shaolin Eagle Claw Kung Fu!

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
University of Virginia where I earned a BS in Accounting, and later Harvard Business School for a MBA

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?
Allow for netting gains and losses from all types of business and investment activity, whether active or passive.

13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
NBC’s “This Is Us”

14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
The AMT.  Repealing the estate tax is much more complex with much greater tax consequences on other types of income.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Invest it in my start-up, TaxDay!

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
Identity thieves; tax refund fraud is a very hot topic right now.

17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related website?
My own website, Taxday.com!

Thanks, Jonathan! You can find out more about Jonathan from his website at here. To connect on social media, you can follow Jonathan on Twitter or follow Tax Day on LinkedIn.

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!

It’s Getting To You Know Tuesday!
Ranelli Williams is many things: a Certified Public Accountant, best-selling author, speaker, entrepreneur, and Legacy Building Catalyst, working with faith-based entrepreneurs and couples to master their money and work towards building a strong financial legacy. Here’s what Ranelli had to say:

1. Where are you now?
In my office in Stroudsburg, PA.

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
Certified Public Accountant, which means that I took and passed a very stringent exam to become licensed in the Accounting profession.

3. What books are on your nightstand?
Think & Grow Rich; Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer; my book, Releasing the Fear & Walking in Faith, and the Bible.

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
I would be speaking on stages empowering couples and small business owners on mastering their money (both personal and business); on incorporating belief and boldness in their lives to yield big blessings; and on working towards building a strong financial legacy.

5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)?
I don’t remember but The Pursuit of Happyness stands out for me. It is so important for every entrepreneur to embrace their passion and be willing to sacrificially pursue their dreams.

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
I am so passionate about helping small business owners, especially home based business owners take advantage of the tax benefits that are available to them. I find too many people leaving money on the table because of lack of knowledge in the area.

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
Never invest in anything that does not bring you a return.

8. Coffee or tea?
Tea and specifically, Honey Ginger. That’s my favorite herbal tea.

9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Hillsong, Smokie Norful, Donnie McClurkin, Luther Vandross, and Whitney Houston.

10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
With my hectic schedule as a wife, mother, ministry leader, adjunct instructor, best-selling author, speaker, doctoral candidate, business owner, conference host and so much more, people would be surprised that growing up I was referred to as lazy.

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
I attended Baruch College, City University of New York for both my undergraduate in Accounting and my MBA. I am currently attending Walden University pursuing a DBA with a specialization in Entrepreneurship.

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?
I would allow professionals (lawyers, accountants, doctors, nurses, etc) who donate time to charity to be able to deduct the monetary equivalent of that time or at least a portion of it.

13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
I hardly ever watch any TV but if I had to guess, I would have to say either Like A Boss or Beyond the Tank. I like anything that empowers entrepreneurs to learn, grow, and build strong empires.

14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
I am not sure, probably the AMT. What I do know is that the money has to come from somewhere and more than likely will be passed on to the middle class, who are already struggling.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Invest some in my business and use the rest to get one step closer to my plan of being totally debt free.

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
Trump is the biggest thing on the news right now period, not just for tax.

17. And, other than Taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax-related website?
http://time.com/money/topic/tax-guide/

Thanks, Ranelli! You can find out more about Ranelli on her website at www.erjservices.com. You can find out more about her book here. To connect on social media, you can follow Ranelli on Twitter or like her on Facebook.

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!

George Metcalfe is an associate with the firm, Richman Greer, P.A., where he focuses his practice on taxation, international and domestic estate planning, probate, trust, and guardianship administration and litigation, corporate law, charitable planning, and real estate transactions.

Here’s what George had to say:

1. Where are you now?
I am at Richman Greer, P.A. We are a full-service law firm located in Miami, Florida and West Palm Beach.

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
I am a tax and transactional lawyer. My title is broad in large part because I handle a diverse set of transactions that range from corporate asset acquisitions to probate administration and wealth transfer planning.

3. What books are on your nightstand?
The Courage to Act by Ben Bernanke, The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith, and of course, the Internal Revenue Code (although it looks like I will need an updated version very soon).

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
General Manager of a professional football team. Preferably, the Miami Dolphins.

5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)?
The Founder

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Taxation of foreigners and U.S. families doing business in the US and the transfer of wealth between generations.

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
A penny saved is a penny earned.

8. Coffee or tea?
I would definitely have to say Coffee.

9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, and ACDC.

10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I am a history buff in every sense. I really enjoy reading about the approaches taken in times of economic crises, like the Great Depression, and the stagflation of the 1970s. I also enjoy reading about World War 2, the American Revolution, and other world events.

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
University of Miami School of Law, LL.M. in Taxation. In the program, I was primarily focused on International Taxation.

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?
I would remove certain constraints on the ability of a taxpayer to take a deduction for student loan interest paid during the calendar year. To be specific, I would remove the requirements that a taxpayer file jointly with their spouse for the calendar year. I would also remove altogether the requirement that the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income limitation (MAGI) be less than a specific amount set annually.

13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead. It is too tough to choose between the two.

14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
I think Congress will repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax first, because it has been a major issue in taxation for both the Trump Administration and the Republican controlled House of Representatives. In addition, the AMT affects more people than the federal estate tax. However, with a Republican controlled government, I must admit it would not surprise me if both the AMT and the estate tax were repealed under the same Congressional act. Both the proposed plans from the House and the campaign promises by President Trump called for a repeal of the AMT and estate tax.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
I would probably take my wife on a vacation (she deserves it), and place the rest of it into my savings or brokerage account.

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
With a Republican controlled Congress and Executive Branch, I think Paul Ryan has the best chance to make an impact on taxation. That is not to say that President Trump is not a tax newsmaker. President Trump has the power to veto any bill passed, but Congress writes the laws and it is unlikely that President Trump would ever veto a tax bill put together by a Republican Congress which has proposed similar tax plans in the past to the one promised on the campaign trail.

17. And, other than Taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax-related web site?
I read Accounting Today and Journal of Accountancy.

Thanks, George! You can find out more about George on the Richman Greer website (here). You can connect with George on LinkedIn here.

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!

Bill Smith is the Managing Director of CBIZ MHM’s National Tax Office. Bill has more than 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors including a stint as a tax lawyer for the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. When he’s not immersed in the tax world, Bill is an avid traveler (more on that in a bit). Here’s what Bill had to say:

1. Where are you now?
Just back home in the Washington, DC area from Martinique, and anxious for the next adventure.

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
Managing Director, CBIZ MHM National Tax Office. In my case, it means tackling some of the hardest tax issues that clients around the country are facing, providing a steady stream of thought leadership pieces, and constantly teaching our professionals about their ethical and professional responsibilities as they serve their clients. Putting out fires mainly.

3. What books are on your nightstand?
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell; The Shaky Game: Einstein Realism and the Quantum Theory by Arthur Fine

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Standup comic or comedy writer. Then rock star.

5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)?
The Infiltrator with Bryan Cranston. I have a soft spot for 80’s drug dealing stories in Florida since that was my docket when I was at the Justice Department and I grew up and went to college and law school in Florida. Although I was in the Tax Division, I was fortunate to handle many drug cases.

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
I lead our Business Transactions Technical Community, which is an area that is huge in and of itself, but I still love it. When I was in private practice, it was intoxicating to be in the middle of a big M&A deal negotiating with other very competent attorneys and trying to close the deal while protecting your client’s best interests.

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
Buy low, sell high. Never was able to execute on the plan, though. The best professional advice I received was that you can always write off time if it takes you too long to find the right answer, but you always have to find the right answer. Second place might be “Don’t let the tax tail wag the business dog.”

8. Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Strong coffee. I grew up in Miami and until you have had Cuban coffee, Cortadito, you have not truly experienced coffee…

9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, Miles Davis, Leontyne Price, Tony Bennett (and I have over 1,000 vinyl albums, so I don’t listen to digital as much as I used to). At the risk of sounding like the curmudgeon I truly am, the advent of downloading single songs was a terrible development in terms of the quality of music that is being offered. One should take the time to listen to at least one side of an album before switching to something else, preferably both sides.

10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I was an All-American High School soccer player, and I had never touched a soccer ball before I was 13. That means I had only played 4 years. So much for exclusive travel leagues and one sport concentration.

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
University of Florida with a degree in Advertising. Florida State University College of Law, where I won a National Moot Court competition in New York.

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?
I would deny the right to deduct any costs, expenses, fees or depreciation associated with the recording and sale of any song that incorporates the use of Auto-Tune.

13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
The Young Pope is great, and I’m waiting to see if Eric Carter can carry Jack Bauer’s water in the 24 reboot. Walking Dead, I am embarrassed to say since I am a just little bit outside of the millennial demographic, is also pretty engrossing.

14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
The estate tax, because it is such a hot topic with the Republicans and doesn’t raise that much revenue so it is cheaper to get rid of. The AMT is like the story about the lady who went to the psychiatrist complaining that her husband had been acting like a chicken for 5 years. The psychiatrist asked why she hadn’t come to him sooner. She said, “I would have. But I needed the eggs.” Everyone hates the AMT, but we need the eggs.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Travel. I missed elBulli, which closed in 2011, so the world is my oyster. But Paris is always on the agenda.

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
I lump Trump and Ryan together since each responds to the other’s last comment on taxes. Can I vote for the bicephalic Tryan? As in, “They’re Tryan our patience”?

17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related website?
Can I use https://www.cbiz.com/insights-resources/blog? If not, I like http://www.taxlawroundup.com/

Thanks, Bill! You can find out more about Bill on the CBIZ website (here). You can connect with Bill on LinkedIn here.

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!

It’s Getting To Know You Tuesday! Today’s tax pro is Jamella Stroud, who has been working in the tax field for over 9 years. She’s currently the owner of Into Financials and recently authored a book. Here’s what Jamella had to say:

1. Where are you now?
Sitting in my off in Homewood, AL

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
Enrolled Agent. As an Enrolled Agent, I have unrestricted authority to represent a client before the IRS for any tax related matter.

3. What books are on your nightstand?
The Bible, Fresh Air by Chis Hodge, and my soon-released book Bulimic to Believer.

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Transformational Professional Speaker and Writer that speaks, write, and coach others to the healing of the heart, mindset transformation, and relationship reconciliation.

5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)?
Fences

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
My area of special interest in the tax industry is management and operation of the business. I also love educating and training other professionals in the industry!

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
Someone told me I could file my LLC business return as an S-Corp, although I was a single member LLC.

8. Coffee or tea?
Hot Tea, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
William Mcdowell, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, India Arie, Lauren Hill

10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I love to dance, and I can do a straight split at the age of 35.

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
UAB, I graduated with a BS in Criminal Justice

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?
I would give clear instruction for EITC which would outline the exact information the tax professional needs to complete the credit for taxpayers.

13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Super Soul Sunday and Iyanla Vanzant Fix My Life

14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
AMT.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
I would fund my dream. I will use it to hire a coach that will help me launch my book, and guide me through the process of becoming a professional speaker and writer.

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
Trump, who is Ryan?

17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related website?
IRS.gov

Thanks, Jamella! You can find Jamella at her website (www.jamellastroud.com). You can also follow her on Twitter @JamellaStroud1, connect with her on LinkedIn, like her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.

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!

“Many people think of tax professionals as tax preparers,” says Elliot Dole. “I am a wealth manager. I am focused on maximizing risk-adjusted, after-tax, market returns. The after-tax part, generating tax alpha, has led me down an incredibly rewarding path, including becoming an EA and the pursuit of the MS Tax. Helping clients make smart decisions about how they accumulate wealth and transfer it is incredibly rich, rewarding, and complex.”

He makes a good point. Most people do think about tax professionals as tax preparers. But tax professionals come in all flavors – from preparers to attorneys to advisors to writers and sometimes, a mix of more than one. That’s one of the great things about the Getting To Know You Tuesday series: it’s a chance to get to know all kinds of tax pros and understand that the field of tax is bigger than April 15 (for more on how to nominate, including self-nominations, read to the end).

Here’s what else Elliot had to say:

1. Where are you now?
St. Louis, Missouri

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
My official title is wealth advisor at Buckingham Strategic Wealth. My team and I work with families throughout the country. I operate as a fiduciary. I’m most interested in building deep relationships to understand what is most important to each client and helping clients reach those goals. Our credo is “Building Relationships by Doing the Right Thing.” I help clients accumulate, protect, and, ultimately, transfer their wealth. As part of that, I build and manage for clients customized, tax- and risk-efficient, diversified investment portfolios.

3. What books are on your nightstand?
“The Logic of Subchapter K” and “Art of the Pie.”

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Product development at McConnell’s Ice Creams in Santa Barbara

5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)?
The Accountant (I see the irony here.)

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
I work at the intersection of tax and finance to bring clients after-tax, risk-adjusted market returns. Breaking that down conceptually into a couple of specific practice areas:
Tax Alpha: A 10% return on an investment portfolio taxed at today’s maximum federal capital gain tax rate of 23.8% nets a 7.62% after-tax return. Tax Alpha strategies enhance the return beyond the 7.62% net after tax.
Spend-Down: Many baby boomers have accumulated enough wealth to become financially independent. They often have significant deferred tax liabilities in IRAs and 401(k)s. They need a spend-down plan to increase their odds of maintaining financial independence and to maximize their legacy. Spend-down is a different, more complicated skill set than what it takes to be successful in the accumulation stage.

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
“The only thing worse than having to pay taxes is NOT having to pay them.” Early in my career, at the height of the late ’90s tech boom, I witnessed people losing life-changing fortunes largely because of an aversion to paying taxes on gains. The advice I received is that financial independence comes first. Tax management is part of that, but it is critical for people to understand the risks involved and make informed and, ideally, unemotional decisions. Ask for and pay for (GASP) help. The stakes are high. We’re not wired to operate in financial markets. Fight or flight does not serve us well in that capacity.
Paying taxes when you could’ve held on for a lower tax rate or a step up in basis is painful. But going from the penthouse to the poorhouse is unthinkable. When framed correctly, most people would agree it’s not a risk worth taking.

8. Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Really good specialty coffee. Sweet nectar of life.

9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
David Bowie, Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, and U2

10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I played bass guitar at Llamapalooza during my college days in a band with dobro legend Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass fame.

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
Colorado College – BA (Sociology)
University of New Orleans – MBA (Finance)
Boston University – Certificate in Financial Planning
Golden Gate University – Master of Science (Taxation) (currently attending)

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?
I don’t like the idea of the government imposing a tax on taxes paid, e.g. taxing Social Security. I would like to see financially sustainable pension reform that is not reliant on tax increases. I’d prefer to see cost containment through measures like raising full retirement age rather than by taxing benefits.

13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Shows that release the entire season all at once

14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
AMT by limiting itemized deductions

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Determine how I got my withholding so wrong. No, I would find a balance by making tax-advantaged retirement and education savings with part, and spending part on something fun like a trip with my wife.

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
Trump. A 15% corporate rate, a 33% top individual rate, 15% rates on most self-employment income, the elimination of the 3.8% net investment income tax, the alternative minimum tax, and potentially the estate tax? Buckle your chin strap.

17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related web site?

Tony Nitti at Forbes is a rock star, so The Nitti Gritty

Thanks, Elliot! You can find Elliot at Buckingham Strategic Wealth.
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!

 
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!
It’s Getting To Know You Tuesday!

Today’s tax pro makes his living in the Mile High City. John R. Dundon, II, is an Enrolled Agent (EA) and tax blogger, in Denver, Colorado. In keeping with the idea that tax work is never boring, John recently had the opportunity to defend a company in a rapidly changing area of the law. Here’s what John had to say:

1. Where are you now? Denver, Colorado

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean? Enrolled Agent licensed by the US Treasury to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Services; tax blogger at http://JohnRDundon.com; President at Taxpayer Advocacy Services, Inc. I own and operate a bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation and taxpayer representation practice catering to US Taxpayers all over planet Earth.

3. What books are on your nightstand? IRS Whistle Blower by Retired IRS Revenue Officer Richard M. Schickel & When the IRS Is After You by Retired IRS Employees Schickel, Goff, Dieken & Porter

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Head Rowing (Crew) Coach for the US Olympic Team

5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)? Shawshank Redemption

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
a. Translating a vastly conflicting set of Title 26 Codes into understandable sound bites for the small and medium size business owner as well as individual taxpayers.
b. Settling (efficiently) disputed matters involving worker classification, officer compensation, business expenses, & gross receipts.
c. IRS Form 990 preparation and representation governing non-profits
d. IRS Form 1041 preparation and representation governing estates & trusts

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? Listen very carefully with intent to all taxpayers encountered to best understand what needs are to be met. Always take notes at every meeting. Be honest, work hard and take pride but admit & correct mistakes immediately upon discovery. Learn from defeat and get back up.

8. Coffee or tea? Tea.

9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player. REM, Clash, U2, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd

10. What would I be surprised to know about you? I defended a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado in 2011 for tax years 2008 and 2009 tax form 1120S. The conflicting sections of the code in dispute were 280E, 263a and 471. At that time because of the conflicts within these code sections and relatively narrow Tax Court precedent there were no real standards of enforcement for the industry relative to reporting income for tax purposes. As such back then IRS Revenue Agents were inconsistently applying the law by region. The IRS Revenue Agents on the case I defended alleged US Treasury Circular 230 violations against me essentially because I refused to acquiesce to their overreaching demands. That caused me to kick the sheets for many months, I stuck with it though. After shepherding the disputed matters through the IRS Appeals function in the end I confidentially created opportunity for the IRS to standardized how they would litigate ‘trafficking’ under IRC 280E relative to 263a and 471. Subsequently as a direct result of these 2011 efforts, Office of Chief Counsel Internal Revenue Service Memorandum Number: 201504011 was released on 1/23/2015 and has been used as the basis for income tax reporting ever since. I blogged about it here. As a silver lining my EA license was never compromised whatsoever and the IRS Revenue Agent instigating the allegations eventually apologized after the fact.

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
Marquette University – Bachelor of Science – Business Administration 1986
University of Minnesota – MBA – Information Systems 1992

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? I would do away with all refundable tax credits as they perpetrate fraud both out of taxpayers and tax practitioners alike. I would also make the 1023 application for non-profit status more rigorous with regards to demonstrating charitable intent in local communities.

13. What’s the best thing on TV right now? Designated Survivor

14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT? Estate tax

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Validate its authenticity and then donate it in equal parts to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and the Rocky Mountain Rowing Club.

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU? TRUMP!

17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related web site? www.JohnRDundon.com of course!

Thanks, John! You can find John on his blog at www.JohnRDundon.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter, on Facebook, and on LinkedIn.

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!