Tag

getting to know you tuesday

Browsing

Not all U.S. tax work happens on U.S. soil. Just ask Virginia La Torre Jeker, a US tax consultant who has been living and working in Asia and the Middle East for the past 35 years. A native New Yorker, Virginia provides U.S. tax advice and planning for expatriates, foreign persons and international families having any U.S. connections.

Virginia has worked for international law firms, major banks (including HSBC), international accounting firms (Deloitte), and trust companies. Early in her career, she worked in the tax department of the New York law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Now, she runs her own tax practice in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Here’s what Virginia had to say:

1. Where are you now?
It’s Friday, our day off here in the Middle East. I’ve just had a lovely morning swim in our community’s swimming pool and now am back at my desk in my home office. I have a conference call with a colleague in Hong Kong.

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
Owner and Manager of VLJ US Tax Advisory, FZE. This is a “free zone company” in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), wholly-owned by me.  A free zone company is a special kind of corporation in the UAE which can be wholly-owned by non-Emirati nationals. Not all business entities here can be so owned.

3. Freetime: book, audiobook or podcast?
Book!

4. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
The foreign/international provisions of US tax law – including Subpart F, PFIC, expatriation, offshore assets and accounts, and the Income, Gift and Estate tax issues that arise for US / NRA couples.  I particularly enjoy solving cross-border and multi-jurisdictional tax matters and have developed a unique and sought-after specialty in analyzing the US tax consequences of transactions involving Sharia law.

5. What’s the last movie you saw?
The biographical film, Florence Foster Jenkins, with my all-time favorite actress, Meryl Streep. I am not a TV fan but my husband convinced me to watch this with him on Orbit Showtime Network, or OSN. OSN is one of the premium pay TV networks across the Middle East and northern Africa.

6. What college did you attend and what did you study?
I attended Hunter College, City University of New York on the Upper East side of Manhattan. I graduated as a member of the Thomas Hunter Honors Colloquium with a BA in Psychology.  I loved attending college in Manhattan and I was very lucky to land a part-time job as a “Building Engineer” (AKA “janitor”) of a 5-story townhouse office building on East 73rdStreet between Lexington and Park Avenues. A big perk to my job was that it provided me with a little room to live in just a few blocks away from Hunter College!

7.  Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea?
Coffee – Arabic of course! (and here is why this might be so https://www.livescience.com/64100-coffee-bitter-genetic-makeup.html?utm_source=notification)

8. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
“The best deal is a bad deal not done!”

9. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
I don’t watch TV, but can refer you to many youtube videos with great yoga music and poses. I start my day with 40 minutes of yoga.

10. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Surely, it would be in the fashion and modelling industry. I consider myself somewhat of a Fashionista – a person who is not afraid to think of and wear my own fashion styles and who doesn’t nod to the latest fashion trends.  When I was in my 50’s I was chosen to model for Harper’s Bazaar and, while I had always been bitten by the fashion bug, the work with Harper’s sealed the deal.

11. If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code – an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?
I think it is high time to eliminate citizenship-based taxation!

12. Favorite food, snack or candy during tax season (or other busy time)?
I’m a big salad fan – I love raw carrots, cucumbers, peppers, radishes….. as boring as that may sound to many, I love eating healthily.

13. What was the biggest surprise in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
IRC Section 965 Deemed Repatriation or Transition Tax. No one saw that coming! GILTI…. Turned the offshore tax world on its head.

14. What’s one way that the tax profession has changed since you’ve begun practicing?
I’m sad to say that I find the quality of written work to be declining.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it?
I think I might go to a retreat and health spa somewhere in Europe or Asia.

16. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I’ve published 3 bilingual (English and Chinese) children’s books that are now all over the world. I wrote them for my son, Marc, when he was little.  Marc was born in Hong Kong and all of the books have a Hong Kong / Chinese theme so he could have tangible memories of his years growing up there.  I have incorporated the books into various charitable work with which I am involved. You can read about one such endeavor here.

17. When it comes to IRS, what’s the bigger compliance challenge: pass-through entities, cryptocurrency or offshore?
Offshore for sure!

18. And, other than Taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax-related resource? 
BNA materials are great and many good tax articles are found on Mondaq as well as in the various tax professional groups on LinkedIn.


Thanks, Virginia!

You can find out more about Virginia from her website here.

Here’s how to connect with her on social:


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 line: Getting To Know You Tuesday. Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged. For more details, check out this post.

“A career in public accounting, and particularly tax, is nothing like you think or what people imagine,” explains Blake Crow. “I honestly still think people envision calculators and green eyeshades, and dark corner cubicles, and no interpersonal skills.”

Crow, a Tax Partner in Eide Bailly’s Sioux Falls, SD office, practices in the firm’s Financial Institutions Services Group. In addition to tax planning and tax compliance services for community and regional banks, he also provides regulatory consulting, M&A assistance, and strategic planning services for our FI clients. He has, he writes, “been extremely fortunate to have been able to make a career that suits exactly what it is that I enjoy doing (and that’s not putting numbers on forms or doing math).” Instead, he explains, he “gets to have extremely close personal relationships with my clients and help them achieve their goals and objectives. I can’t do this without good communication skills.”

Here’s what else Blake had to say:

1. Where are you now?
Mentally? Emotionally? Oh, physically… As previously mentioned, I currently work and live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. However, my wife and I are both originally from Windom, MN (yes, high school sweethearts), and went to school in Mankato, MN, where I began working for the firm and spent the first half (5 years) of my career.

(Author’s note: Blake is married to Amber, who he describes as “extremely understanding.” They have an 11 month old daughter, Izzie.)

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
Partner, Financial Institutions Services Group. The title “Partner” is one I wear with great pride as it is the culmination of a lifetime (to date) worth of work. Especially as one of the younger partners in our firm (I turn the ripe old age of 31 next month), to have my firm vote me into the coveted group of partnership validated all of the hard work, extra hours, and additional learning opportunities that I’ve sought out and completed over the last decade. To know that I practice in an environment where effort and talent can overcome age, years of service and tenure (which can be fairly common in a typically old-school industry like public accounting) has been very rewarding and motivating for me. As for the “FISG” portion of my title, it means that I work just as closely with my other partners in the industry group regardless of geographical locations as I do with my partners located right here in the same office as me. It’s great to have an internal network of experts that I can reach out to for insight or assistance at any time, regardless of where they’re located throughout the country.

3. Freetime: book, audiobook or podcast?
I have recently become addicted to non-fiction murder mystery podcasts, and would probably be disgusted if I knew how many hours I’ve spent listening to them over the last few months. Like probably everyone else, I started with Serial and have just been on an endless search for the next great mystery ever since. The fact that some of these podcasts are even leading to some of these cold cases being solved is just so fascinating to me! I spend quite a bit of time driving for work, and I’ve learned that for me, a good story makes the time go by way faster than the radio ever did.

4. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
The taxation of community and regional banks, which I truly love. I think from the outside, when people hear banks, they think mega banks and mega money, but the reality is that the majority of my bank clients are 3 and 4 generation family-owned businesses, not much unlike many other small businesses. As such, it’s very rewarding to get to be a part of their team and help them achieve their goals and objectives. I always say that my practice isn’t about simply putting numbers on forms, if it were I would have quit years ago. Instead, it’s about understanding where people are, what they want to achieve, and what they need to do to achieve those things. It’s then our job to identify opportunities to assist in that process and provide that opportunity to them.

5. What’s the last movie you saw?
I honestly don’t even know. Ever since Izzie was born, it seems like time for much more than anything other than podcasts in the car and the occasional Baby Shark YouTube video just doesn’t exist! The extent of my movie seeing these days is limited to catching the occasional preview and thinking I’d like to see that… and then never seeing it.

6. What college did you attend and what did you study?
I received my Bachelors in Accounting from Minnesota State University Mankato in 2008. About a year ago, I completed my Masters in Business Taxation from the University of Southern California. (Yes, it was online… but we did go to sunny SoCal once for commencement.)

7.  Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea?
Definitively coffee!

8. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
I once had a wealthy high net worth client tell me “There’s no nobility in paying more than you owe.” It struck me as being profound that day and has always stuck with me. It really gets to the essence of what we do for our clients. Also, one of my professors in grad school always said, “Rarely affirm, seldom deny, always distinguish.” I don’t think it was original to him, but it’s great advice whenever giving tax advice.

9. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Similar to movies, I don’t catch much on actual TV these days. However, my wife does make time to watch This is Us and knowing that she probably won’t end up seeing this, I’ll go ahead and admit that when I am able to catch it with her, that one hits you right in the feels.

10. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
I’ve always said I would have loved to have been a college professor. I love talking, debating, discussing, teaching and I really enjoy getting to develop people in my current role. I’ve always thought that being a college professor was the perfect mix of those things without the busy season hours… and 3 months a year to travel wouldn’t be too bad either.

11. If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code – an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?
I would change 199A to specify that any activity performed by a bank as defined in IRC 581 is not an SSTB and thus all of the taxable income of any Sub S bank is eligible for the 20% QBI deduction. Ok, so that one may be cheating a bit since its really recent and current, and hopefully the industry lobbying efforts will actually get it changed, but that’s the change I’d make!

12. Favorite food, snack or candy during tax season (or other busy time)?
Is coffee a food? I try my best to avoid all the junk food that finds its way into the office during the busy season as it can be a bit hard on the waistline when combined with the hours in front of the computer, but a really good coffee will always make your day a little better. And, when I do cave to temptation, a local gas station makes amazing breakfast pizza (crust, gravy, cheese, sausage, mmmmmm) that gets brought in fairly frequently on Saturday mornings.

13. What was the biggest surprise in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
Similar to my one change to the tax code, the fact that while the regulations went specifically out of their way to clarify that banking is not a financial service (and thus not an SSTB), but that certain activities that some banks perform such and making and then selling mortgages into the secondary marking and providing wealth management services could still be SSTB inside the bank. It sure seems odd that making and holding a loan gets the 20% deduction, but if you sell too many of those loans to Fannie or Freddie for a myriad of business reasons, you can lose your 20% deduction on that activity!

14. What’s one way that the tax profession has changed since you’ve begun practicing?
I would have to say it is our acknowledgment and acceptance of the fact that the world is changing at a rapid pace, and that we have to keep up in order to remain relevant. With discussions about blockchain, artificial intelligence, and automation, we can’t simply just pretend they won’t impact us and I think that today we’ve accepted that fact whereas a decade ago I think it was much more common to just believe those things were fads that wouldn’t actually have a significant impact on what it I that we do. Our firm now, in the last year or so, actually has a Chief Innovation Officer whose sole role is to evaluate and learn about these things and determine their impact on us and what we need to be doing to stay ahead of the curve. That was certainly not our mindset a decade ago.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Pick a place on the globe I haven’t been to yet and go. For me, there is no greater return on investment in terms of happiness than going to new places, discovering new things, and collecting new experiences. I absolutely love experiencing difference customs, foods, and cultures.

16. What would I be surprised to know about you?
One thing most people are surprised to learn is that I really enjoy doing hands-on projects as an escape from the desk and spreadsheet work of my day-to-day. I’ve finished the basements in three houses (two of my own and one for a friend), tore a couple motorcycles down to the frame and rebuilt them, and am currently building some cabinets for my wife to go in our laundry room. I love the process of not knowing how to do something, and just researching, experimenting, and learning until I’m able to create a tangible product that most people wouldn’t expect me to be able to create.

17. When it comes to IRS, what’s the bigger compliance challenge: pass-through entities, cryptocurrency or offshore?
For me personally, it’s definitely pass-through entities as that makes up a bulk of my practice today with the majority of my bank clients being taxed under Subchapter S. The Trade or Business definition (or lack thereof) to IRC 162 as well as the de minimis cliff are going to produce many situations where we simply won’t have clear definitive answers until these things start getting audited and we get some case law (which as it stands today, will be after the law is set to expire).

18. And, other than Taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax-related resource? 
I’m a big Tony Nitti fan. He has a way of taking the most complex business tax issues and making them both easy to understand and enjoyable to read about. I love his style and wish my tax writing was half as entertaining as his. I also really like Richard Rubin as the WSJ. His coverage of the tax reform process and continued emerging issues provides extremely timely insight into a process that a tax professional in South Dakota just otherwise wouldn’t have the ability to see into. I also just really enjoy the #TaxTwitter community on Twitter. I think it’s a huge benefit of today’s world that not many people take advantage of but to have a community of other proactive professionals to bounce ideas and thoughts and interpretations off of as we all work through the tax law changes in real time just has helped my learning and understanding more than I can state. At work people always ask how I’ve managed to stay to up to date with tax reform throughout the entire process, and it’s honestly just the combination of these three things.


Thanks, Blake!

You can find out more about Blake from his website here.

Here’s how to connect with him on social:


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 line: Getting To Know You Tuesday. Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged. For more details, check out this post.

What’s it like to be a lawyer married to another lawyer? I get asked that a lot. I suspect Ashley L. Case does, too. Ashley is a shareholder at Tiffany & Bosco, P.A. in Phoenix and focuses her practice on the areas of estate planning, tax, probate, and trust administration. While my husband’s practice focuses on a different area of law, Ashley’s husband, Darren Case, is also a trusts and estates attorney like her. I have to think that makes for interesting dinner conversations.

Here’s what Ashley had to say:

1. Where are you now?
Sitting in my office preparing for the looooong night ahead of me!

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
I am a Shareholder Attorney.  I am the “professional association” equivalent of a “Partner”, since that is how T&B (Tiffany & Bosco) is structured.

3. Freetime: book, audiobook or podcast?
Book, without a doubt!  I get enough screen time as it is.

4. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Trusts and estates.

5. What’s the last movie you saw?
Love, Simon on an airplane (where I sobbed like a baby, much to the chagrin of the stranger sitting next to me).

6. What college did you attend and what did you study?
I attended Arizona State University (GO SUNDEVILS!!!)   I studied Marketing with a minor in Mass Communication.

(Author’s note: Ashley also attended Chapman University School of Law for law school, and is currently attending Boston University’s Graduate Tax LL.M. program, graduating in May of 2019.)

7.  Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea?
Chocolate, please.  🙂

8. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
“Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. public duty to pay more than the law demands.” – Learned Hand (although regrettably, he did not give me this advice personally, we missed each other by about 20 years)

9. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
I don’t watch much TV.  The last show I really got into was the Office…in law school.

10. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Ballerina/cheerleader/author

11. If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code – an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?
It would be quite the undertaking, but it would be great to see a Rule that required the IRC to be restyled for easier understanding.  This was recently completed for the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure in which they cleaned up archaic provisions, fixed formatting (so there weren’t so many giant blocks of text), updated unintended inconsistencies with language/definitions, etc.  The new Rules are much easier to read.

12. Favorite food, snack or candy during tax season (or other busy time)?
“Go Raw” Organic Chocolate.  Delicious, but it still allows me to pretend I am being healthy.

13. What was the biggest surprise in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
The elimination of the personal exemption/increase of the standard deduction.

14. What’s one way that the tax profession has changed since you’ve begun practicing?
The estate tax exemption just keeps creeping up!

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Travel!  I currently have my eyes on France, Belize, and Switzerland.

16. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I’m a thrill-seeker!  Just this year I have gone bungee jumping, skydiving, I made partner at my law firm (yes, this was a thrill-seeking endeavor), learned to throw an ax, and hiked the tallest mountain in Arizona by myself.

17. When it comes to IRS, what’s the bigger compliance challenge: pass-through entities, cryptocurrency or offshore?
Cryptocurrency.  Technology is incredible and I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of what it’s capable of or how it can be abused.

18. And, other than Taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax-related resource? 
TaxProf Blog.


Thanks, Ashley!

You can find out more about Ashley from her website here.

Here’s how to connect with her on social:


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 line: Getting To Know You Tuesday. Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged. For more details, check out this post.

Being a tax professional doesn’t necessarily mean that you prepare tax returns. Justin T. Miller, J.D., LL.M., TEP, AEP®, CFP®, is a national wealth strategist at BNY Mellon, an adjunct professor at Golden Gate University School of Law, and a Fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). He speaks regularly on tax, estate planning and family governance topics for major conferences throughout the country and has published numerous articles. Here’s what Justin had to say:

1. Where are you now?
I currently work at BNY Mellon, and have been with the firm since 2011. I primarily work out of the firm’s San Francisco and Menlo Park offices, but I also frequently travel to assist regional teams throughout the country.

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
My official title at BNY Mellon is National Wealth Strategist. I serve as a national thought leader for the firm, and I work collaboratively with other advisors to provide comprehensive wealth planning advice to clients and their families.

3. Freetime: book, audiobook or podcast?
I prefer reading books, especially if I am lucky enough to get a seat on the BART train in San Francisco. I just finished “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by John Carreyrou, which I would highly recommend.

4. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
My primary focus is on trust and estate planning, and I have a special dedication to fiduciary income taxation. I teach a course on the income taxation of trusts and estates at Golden Gate University School of Law, and I am an active member of the ACTEC Fiduciary Income Tax Committee.

5. What’s the last movie you saw?
I don’t even think my kids know what a DVD is at this point. I recently saw Crazy Rich Asians in the theater with my wife and kids, and I thought the movie was even better than the book.

6. What college did you attend and what did you study?
I attended the University of California at Berkeley, where I majored in Political Science and minored in Music (and also where I met my wife). In addition, I received a J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation from NYU School of Law.

7.  Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea?
Coffee! The only thing better than coffee is another cup of coffee.

8. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
The best financial advice is to save early and often.

9. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
I’ve seen the first few episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon, which I think is marvelous.

10. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
I guess I would consider a professional basketball career with the NBA, but my lack of height and speed has really hampered my athletic career options.

11. If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code – an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?
Given that I live in California with the highest state income tax rates in the country, I wouldn’t mind getting rid of the new $10,000 limitation on state and local tax (SALT) deductions.

12. Favorite food, snack or candy during tax season (or other busy time)?
I have a serious weakness for ice cream. I also am lactose intolerant, but sometimes you just can’t let that stop you from enjoying the finer things that life has to offer.

13. What was the biggest surprise in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
Section 199A was not just the biggest surprise in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it might be the biggest surprise in the entire history of our tax code. To borrow a quote from Winston Churchill: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” I know that our representatives spent dozens of minutes working on the tax legislation at the end of 2017, but 199A really set the standard for poor drafting by including limitations, exceptions to limitations, exceptions to exceptions, phase-ins, phase-outs, and poorly defined terms.

14. What’s one way that the tax profession has changed since you’ve begun practicing?
When I started practicing, estate and gift tax planning was a priority for a substantially greater number of families. The federal estate tax exemption amount was $625,000 per person in 1998, but the exemption amount has somehow skyrocketed 1,789% to $11,180,000 in 2018. Due to that change, income tax planning has become a much more important issue for many clients.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it?
I would ask my wife if we could buy a bigger TV. I also would question where I went wrong with my tax planning in order to determine what caused me to overpay my taxes and provide an interest-free loan to our government.

16. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I’ve written a children’s book, “The Super Secret Special Power’s Club,” which I can almost guarantee that kids would enjoy more than any of my tax articles.

17. When it comes to IRS, what’s the bigger compliance challenge: pass-through entities, cryptocurrency or offshore?
Thanks to new section 199A, planning for pass-through entities has become a much greater challenge. However, I am seeing a growing need for international tax planning as many wealthy families are becoming increasingly global.

18. And, other than Taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax-related resource? 
It is hard to find the time to keep up with all of the excellent tax-related resources. In addition to Taxgirl, of course, I also am a fan of BNA, CCH, and Leimberg. I also enjoy learning from programs provided by a number of terrific professional organizations, including the ABA, ACTEC, CalCPA, the California Taxation Section and Trusts and Estates Section, and STEP.


Thanks, Justin!
You can find out more about Justin from his website here.
Here’s how to connect with him on social:


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 line: Getting To Know You Tuesday. Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged. For more details, check out this post.

Today’s tax pro is Manasa Nadig. Manasa is an Enrolled Agent (more on Enrolled Agents, also called EAs, here) with her own practice. She had been in the tax consulting field for almost 15 years before taking a leap of faith in 2012 to start MN Tax & Business Services with encouragement from clients, friends, family and her then mentor and now business partner at Harris Nadig, LLC, Kay Harris. Manasa says, “Being in practice is challenging and exciting, I like what I do and I look forward to many more years practicing tax.” Here’s what else Manasa had to say:

1. Where are you now?
At my desk, front of my dual monitors in my home office in Michigan, warm fall afternoon sun on my back, trying to read through GILTI calculations and wrap my head around it. Need my coffee, see #7 below!

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
My official title is “Owner” at MN Tax and “Partner” at Harris Nadig but I really like to call myself CFO or Chief Follow-up Officer at both entities!

3. Freetime: book, audiobook or podcast?
A good old-fashioned book in print of course–no kindle or nook for me. I just finished reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and am trying to finish Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I listen to podcasts a lot so I think that is my “all-time” activity these days.

4. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Yes, of course, tax is a huge subject, mind-boggling and complicated. We have clients from all walks of life both at MN Tax & Business and Harris Nadig. My niche is in all areas of foreign tax, US citizens living abroad and cross-border operations.

5. What’s the last movie you saw?
The Grand Budapest Hotel on an airplane, I think I need to watch this again on a larger screen–the cinematography is so fantastic!

6. What college did you attend and what did you study?
I went to St. Agnes College, a women’s college (like you did) based in Mangalore, India and soon to celebrate their centennial year. I have my Bachelor’s degree in “Commerce” which included Accounting, Economics, Business Law and Business Organization.
(Author’s note: Manasa is referring to my alma mater, women’s college, Meredith College.)

7.  Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea?
I am originally a south Indian who grew up in north India, so I start my day with Chai much to my very south-Indian husband’s chagrin. True to my south Indian genes though, I like my pick-me-up coffee with a mix in of about 20% chicory and made with hot milk and intensely aerated the typical south Indian way! 🙂

(Author’s note: Manasa sent along this cool video.)

8. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
No one ever sat me down and gave me tax or financial advice. But my best friend’s father once told me that you should always invest your money and not leave it sitting in a savings account which in retrospect seems like great advice. My tax advice to others is that “Cash flow is more important than tax deductions”.

9. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
I do not watch TV at all, this could also be my answer to #16. I could give you a slew of podcasts to listen to though!

10. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
I love hand-looms and textiles, I would have done something in that area. My dream of being a writer is somewhat being realized through my tax blog.

11. If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code – an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?
If I am allowed to pick only one I would say, “Repeal the Sec 965 Transition Tax for individuals and small businesses”. I am not sure if this tax is doing what it was intended to do, which is to make the big companies bring off-shored money back into the US, but it is definitely hurting individuals with investments in foreign companies and also making it harder (if that is possible) for US citizens who have been living abroad to conduct business in their countries of residence.

12. Favorite food, snack or candy during tax season (or other busy time)?
Am trying my best to have a healthy diet, so I am trying hard to lay off snacking randomly. Every time a craving hits I walk it off..and add steps to my Fitbit! An uphill task but am getting there.

13. What was the biggest surprise in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
The very haphazard way in which the Section 199A has been put together. I think the fall-out will be far-reaching.

14. What’s one way that the tax profession has changed since you’ve begun practicing?
No paper! I am still trying to get some die-hards to move away from paper. But this is great, I simply love the idea of a digital firm!

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Pay off debt and invest the rest would be the responsible thing but I might just take a nice holiday with my husband.

16. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I love Indian classical music and I sing!

17. When it comes to IRS, what’s the bigger compliance challenge: pass-through entities, cryptocurrency or offshore?
My guess is, it will be pass-through entities. With the IRS at skeletal staff and unclear guidance, there is no knowing how this will go.

18. And, other than Taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax-related resource? 
I love Taxgirl, Tony Nitti and Peter Reilly both also from Forbes are very knowledgeable. I also keep up with Kay Bell’s blog, Don’t Mess With Taxes.


Thanks, Manasa!

You can find out more about Manasa from her website here. You can find her tax blog here.

Here’s how to connect with her on social:


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 line: Getting To Know You Tuesday. Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged. For more details, check out this post.

I’m thrilled to announce the return of Getting To Know You Tuesday.

Getting To Know You Tuesday began as a response to my own curiosity. When I started practicing, folks would tell me that I didn’t seem like someone who would like tax. I started thinking about who that might be exactly and it dawned on me: Nobody really knows.

Tax professionals come from all different walks of life. Some are tax preparers, while others are tax planners. Some may focus on offshore while others practice criminal tax defense. There are those who dig tax policy while others are content to flip through pages of tax statutes. Some are solos and some are in-house at large companies. Some teach, some blog, some audit. And some do a little bit of everything.

That’s one of the things that I love so much about the tax community. It’s also why I started the series, and it’s why I’m doing a reboot.

Here’s how it works. Each week or so, I’ll feature a tax pro. I’ll ask a set of questions, some silly and some serious. The questions remain the same from tax pro to tax pro with a few concessions for current events and tax policy changes.

(You can read the first ever Getting To Know You Tuesday here. You can find a longer list from the series here.)

I’m currently soliciting nominations for the series. 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. Self-nominations are totally okay, and are even encouraged!

If you’ve previously submitted a nomination, please feel free to send it again. I’ll consider all submissions, even those that were selected, so long as they were more than three years ago.

If you think you know everything there is to know about tax havens, you might be surprised to hear what John Pantekidis has to to say: Pantekidis has written a paper that examines how wealthy foreign families are beginning to favor the U.S. over locations like Switzerland and Hong Kong as a tax haven. It’s a subject Pantekidis knows a lot about since he focuses on wealth and families in his role at TwinFocus Capital Partners. Here’s what John had to say:
1. Where are you now?
I am at TwinFocus Capital Partners. We are a multi-family office and investment boutique in Boston, Massachusetts, catering to ultra-high net worth families situated around the world.
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
I am the General Counsel and Chief Investment Officer. My job description is intentionally broad because I am responsible for overseeing the firm’s investment team as well as the client advisory group, where we focus our attention on complex estate, tax and financial planning. I am fortunate enough to work in close coordination with some of the nation’s top tax attorneys on the one side, and some of the best and brightest money managers on the other.
3. What books are on your night stand?
Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed and Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century by Jeffry Frieden.

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
The only other job I would like to have would be the United States Secretary of State.
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theatre)?
The Great Gatsby
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Taxation of Investments as well as international taxation as it applies to wealth management for ultra-high net worth families are of great interest to me.
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
“Dumb money is only dumb when it listens to smart money.”
8. Coffee or tea?
Coffee for sure, make that a house blend.
9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Sting, Barbra Streisand, John Ploutarhos, Boney James, Lionel Richie
10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
In my next life, I would like to be a men’s clothing designer.
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
Boston University, BA in Economics; Boston University School of Law, Juris Doctor & LL.M. in 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 change the gift tax laws to allow for larger amounts of non-taxable gifts. The marginal propensity to consume for an ultra-high net worth person is negligible. However, if larger gifts were allowed to younger generations with new families, their consumption appetite is much larger. I would also allow for larger charitable deductions of appreciated securities by removing limits based on AGI.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Documentaries, because I have an insatiable desire to learn new things, even when I am watching TV.
14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
Probably AMT because they will get a bigger bang, as the AMT applies to a far larger universe of taxpayers. I believe, contrary to public opinion, that we may not see a repeal of the estate tax when the dust settles because President Trump may need to use it as a bargaining chip.
15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
Partially invest and partially pay off a home loan.
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
I would say Trump based on his rhetoric to date. We stand to have monumental shifts in tax policies not seen in decades. This has been spurred by Trump, although others will play very influential roles as well.
17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related web site?
Bloomberg BNA; Tax Adviser.

Thanks, John! You can find out more about John on his 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!

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.

 
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!

You can sum up how Desmond Hudson, of Hudson Tax Services, does business with his tagline: Get your taxes done right, not for a refund. It’s something that Desmond, an Enrolled Agent located in Philadelphia, PA, constantly preaches, reminding taxpayers that it’s important to look for an honest, accurate preparer and not merely one who promises you a fat refund check. How can you find a great preparer? Desmond says that referrals are an excellent way to find a great tax preparer: if you have a great tax preparer, refer him or her to friends and colleagues. Here’s what else Desmond had to say:
1. Where are you now?
Literally under the covers, so the light on my phone doesn’t wake my wife… it’s 4 am. That was probably a weird answer… I’m uh home, wait, you’re probably just asking me my current location. Philadelphia, PA. (Geez, that was only the first question.)
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
Enrolled Agent. An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns or through experience as a former IRS employee. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years.
I am also a Senior Portfolio Manager at Reinvestment Fund (it’ll be 17 years this year). I manage a ton of assets from construction to completion and I monitor their financial performance for the life of the loan.
3. What books are on your nightstand?
Hmmm, let me see (without waking my wife), Hamilton the Revolution (it was a Christmas gift), The Richest Man In Babylon, and a Pub-4012.
(Author’s note: For those of you who are dying to know, that’s the VITA/TCE Volunteer Resource Guide.)
4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Can I dream of not having a job? Maybe doing something travel related.
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)?
Recently watched Primal Fear with my daughter (she was intrigued with split personalities).
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Individual and Sole Proprietors (I like to help the folks who can’t afford a high-end tax professional but still wants and needs quality service). I also know a little about New Market Tax Credits structures from working at Reinvestment Fund.
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
The one tax advice that always sticks in my head is that someone told me early in my career that nobody knows everything about taxes and if they say they do… run. (It has kept me humble.)
8. Coffee or tea?
Tea.
9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player.
Hamilton Mixtape, Hamilton Original, Childish Gambino, The Lox, Redman
10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I went to boarding school for most of my youth.
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
Started at Indiana University of PA, finished at Peirce College. Business and 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?
Maybe something that could benefit individuals that pay child support where they can take some kind of deduction on their taxes if they meet certain qualifications (i.e. time spent with child) and the other person has to treat it as income. Similar to how alimony is currently treated in the tax code.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Blackish, Atlanta, Insecure, Spotless, Power… to name a few.
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?
My wife and I would go on a really nice and long vacation.
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU?
I think Trump’s tax plan has been one of the most vast proposed tax changes in years.
17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related web site?
I honestly only follow taxgirl’s website…but there are tons of FB Tax Colleagues and Tax Groups Personalities whose posts I really enjoy reading.

Thanks, Desmond! You can find Desmond on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MrIdotaxes and on Twitter @mridotaxes.

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!

Who says taxes can’t be funny? Stuart Hack, of Hack Tax and Accounting Services, LLC, an accounting firm located in Wellington, Florida, believes you can laugh and put together a form 1040 at the same time – well maybe not at the exact same time. Hack is an enrolled agent who offers accounting and tax services to individuals and small businesses and has been known to do a little comedy improv on the side. Here’s what Stuart had to say:
1. Where are you now? Wellington, Florida
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean? I am an enrolled agent who also has a Masters of Science in Accounting
3. What books are on your nightstand? Showboat: the life of Kobe Bryant and Up, Up and away which is a history of the Montreal Expos (bet you didn’t expect that!)
4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Baseball Play by Play Announcer
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theater)? Passengers
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Individuals and Small Business
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? When my daughter was born 19 years ago, I read in Money Magazine that if I invested $200 a month in an index fund, I would have $100,000 by the time she’s ready for College. I did, the account had over $100,000 and since she goes to a Public State University not only is College paid for, but she will have money left over to invest once she graduates.
8. Coffee or tea? Neither. Diet Coke or Diet Mountain Dew
9. Name five artists on your iPod or digital player. Billy Joel, Beatles, Queen, Genesis, ELO. (I know I’m old!)
10. What would I be surprised to know about you? Last year I performed two comedy shows at the Improv in West Palm Beach. Part of the act involved accounting. (The video is on my personal Facebook page)
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)? I have a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics and a Masters of Science in Accounting both at the State University of New York at Albany (now known as the University of Albany).
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 try and change the Earned Income Credit. It gets abused by many. I know some can really use it so I wouldn’t eliminate it. Perhaps requiring backup to attach to return.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now? Seinfeld – I know only reruns are on now. My daughter just binged watch series on Netflix, and it still is funny 20 years later.
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? Pay Bills, pay off car
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Trump, Ryan, identity thieves or the EU? Trump with January 20 looming
17. And, other than taxgirl for Forbes, what’s your favorite tax-related website? Is there another one?


Thanks, Stuart! You can find Stuart 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 line: 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, are encouraged!

This week, we head down south to the eastern shore of Virginia to meet our tax pro. Ashley White is a certified public accountant (CPA) and an enrolled agent (EA) – a lot of initials after her name – at her own firm, A.J. White & Associates, in Newport News, Virginia. At her firm, she focuses on small to medium size businesses and individuals to provide accounting and tax services. Here’s what Ashley had to say:
1. Where are you now?
Newport News, VA managing a small CPA Firm
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
CPA, EA I am a Certified Public Accountant in VA and an Enrolled Agent. I have a small CPA firm that I manage.
3. What books are on your night stand?
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, Prayers with Purpose for Women, The Purpose Driven Life
4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
I would like to work with animals, particularly dogs, have a pet resort for traveling families. And foster dogs who are in transition.
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theatre)?
DVD, Fever Pitch.
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Individual and Business Taxation, Compilations, and Payroll Services
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
I can’t pin point a particular phase or conversation, but a big influence in my life were my parents. Watching them work very hard at multiple jobs to make ends mean, being frugal, and enjoying the simple things in life. If you want something it is within reach whether it be a promotion, a vacation, or a big family; you have to work hard and position yourself around the same like-minded individuals who will help you reach your goals.
8. Coffee or tea?
Tea
9. Name five artists on your iPod (or mp3 player).
Bob Segar, Pitbull, Rico Delargo, Tina Turner, Pink
10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
When I started college I was a psychology major which after several changes I ended up with an Accounting Degree and thought I never wanted to do taxes!
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA; Bachelor of Science 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 make the FTHBC (First Time Homebuyers Credit) from 2008 reflect the benefits given to buyers who purchased in 2009/2010= no repayment of credit. With some of the frivolous credits that are available, it seems they would have made this retroactive.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Good Question…I would have to say “What would you do?” on ABC
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?
Call to verify it was correct, I haven’t seen a refund since I was in college.
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Obama, Apple or DOMA?
Obama
17. And, other than taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax related web site?
AICPA, they send out the CPA Letter Daily via email that highlights current accounting/tax new

Thanks, Ashley! You can follow Ashley on twitter @AshleyWhiteCPA.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured send your suggestions to gettingtoknow (at) taxgirl (dot) com. Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged!

It’s ba-a-a-ck! After a brief hiatus, my regular series, Getting To Know You Tuesday, has returned. I hope you enjoy!
This week, we head up to the northeast to meet our tax pro. Peter J. Riley (not to be confused with this Peter J. Reilly who writes for Forbes) is a certified public accountant at Riley & Associates in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Peter represents a broad range of clients but has a special interest in tax and accounting matters for creative folks, including actors, directors, performers, visual artists, writers, musicians and singers (more info here). In fact, he even wrote the book on them (see #6). He’s has been a great friend of the blog for years. Here’s what Peter had to say:
1. Where are you now?
Newburyport, MA
2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?
President of Riley & Associates PC – meaning varies day by day!
3. What books are on your night stand?
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Sight Reading, a Novel by Daphne Kalotay
World on a String, a musical memoir by John Pizzarelli
4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?
Something in the music biz, management maybe
5. What’s the last movie that you saw (DVD or in the theatre)?
Winters Bone
6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?
Folks in the arts, writers, musicians, painters, etc, I wrote the book – New Tax Guide for Writers, Artists, Performers and other Creative People.
7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?
The first partner I ever worked for talked to me once about the importance in our profession of the annual nature of our work, that if you treated a client right you had that constant renewal of income every year.
8. Coffee or tea?
Tea, iced
9. Name five artists on your iPod (or mp3 player).
Paul McCartney, Otis Redding, Jim Hall (jazz guitar), The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters
10. What would I be surprised to know about you?
I do yoga – a special fat guys version – good for me NOT pleasant to watch! 🙂
11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?
Merrimack College in Andover, MA – business administration
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?
NO refundable tax credits, credits can 0 out your tax liability but cannot create a refund, IRS needs to stop being a welfare agency.
13. What’s the best thing on TV right now?
Mad Men
14. What do you think Congress will repeal first: estate tax or AMT?
AMT, do not support the repeal of the estate tax
15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?
eliminate all my debts
16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Obama, Apple or DOMA?
DOMA
17. And, other than taxgirl, what’s your favorite tax related web site?
Is this a trick question!!!!! – your blog is the best, not sure of websites but I like the Kiplinger tax newsletter.

Thanks Peter! You can follow Peter on twitter @rileytaxtweets.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured send your suggestions to gettingtoknow (at) taxgirl (dot) com. Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged!

This week, we head out to the midwest to meet our tax pro. Christopher J. Wittich is a supervisor in the tax department at Boyum & Barenscheer PLLP with offices in Minnesota (see how I totally didn’t mention the Vikings there and I could have?). Christopher also blogs for the firm at www.BoyBarCPA.com/blog. Here’s what Christopher had to say:

1. Where are you now?

Sitting in my cubicle surrounded by my four monitors.

2. What’s your official title and what does it mean?

Tax Supervisor at Boyum & Barenscheer PLLP which means I prepare and review tax returns, do research and planning, and somewhat supervise staff that are working on tax projects that I will review.

3. What books are on your night stand?

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (although I haven’t started it yet)

4. If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be?

Definitely something sports related, probably a sports talk radio host or fantasy football writer.

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

I got to see an early showing of the new Batman movie at an IMAX theater, it was amazing. It pays to have friends who get free tickets to stuff like that.

6. Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest?

I enjoy blogging about taxes at my company’s website and I also enjoy doing research. Looking for a kernel of information about taxes can actually be fun.

7. What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you?

Free is a good price. I think my Dad said it first, now I say it all the time.

8. Coffee or tea?

Neither, I don’t like hot liquids.

9. Name five artists on your iPod (or mp3 player).

Maroon 5, The Rocket Summer, The Fray, The Script, and Jackson 5

10. What would I be surprised to know about you?

I love to play Ultimate Frisbee and my nickname is Ravenous Tiger.

11. What college did you attend (in what subject)?

Went to the University of Minnesota, first an undergrad in Accounting and then the Master of Business 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 outlaw publicly traded partnerships; they are such a big hassle to enter into tax returns.

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

The Daily Show and Colbert Report, especially during the political campaign season.

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

I would say neither is likely, but maybe the estate tax just because politicians can’t understand how AMT really works. It would be easier for them to just chop off the estate tax.

15. If Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?

Invest it or buy gummy bears, I could go either way.

16. Biggest tax newsmaker: Obama, Bloomberg or Buffett?

Obama, everything a president does is going to make news

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

http://rothcpa.com/blog-index/ for tax info and tax links and http://goingconcern.com/ which is more of a guilty pleasure tabloid for accountants

Thanks Christopher!

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured send your suggestions to inquiry (at) taxgirl (dot) com. Self-nominations are totally okay and, in fact, encouraged!

Want more taxgirl goodness? Sign up to receive posts by email, follow me on twitter (@taxgirl), hang out with me on Facebook, pin something to my Pinterest board or check out my YouTube channel.