Stacie is a partner at Katherman Kitts & Co. LLP of Irvine California, where she provides a variety of services including tax planning, tax consulting, tax compliance, pension audits, compiled financial statements, and business consulting. She writes the blog STACY’S MORE TAX TIPS.
Stacie has been a supporter of this Wandering Tax Pro in some of my occasional battles with offending bloggers (who think their word is gospel and that lawyers and CPAs walk on water).
(1) How did you become interested/involved in preparing tax returns or teaching taxes?
I started working in accounting as a teenager doing work for my parents business. I simply stumbled into the profession and realized that I like it - and I was also good at it. Taxes were a natural progression working in small CPA firms. Because they are small, you get to work on different types of engagements. Again, I fell into the tax area when I found that I was good at it and liked it.
(2) How were you educated/trained in preparing tax returns?
Training was on the job, and in school – I took classes in college that were tax and accounting related. And of course we keep up with continuing professional education.
(3) When and why did you decide to write a blog on tax issues?
When I decided to start my own practice and became a stay home tax preparer I needed a cost effective way to get my name into cyber space. Because the web is one of the first places people go to research service providers, I wanted there to be information on the web that branded me as a tax professional.
(4) How has blogging helped your business?
I’d say that the branding element has worked. It helps people to remember who I am and that I am a tax professional. People I meet often mention that they read the blog.
(5) What do you consider the “best tax advice” you can give anyone?
To hire a professional to guide you through your personal and business financial decisions so that you are not surprised by the tax consequences.
(5) Do you think the regulation of tax return preparers is a good thing?
I think regulation can provide a false sense of security. However, I think it’s a good thing when bad preparers are prosecuted. If regulation can help to get the bad guys off the market, then I think it could be a good thing. However, the jury is still out on that one.
(7) Do you think CPAs and attorneys should be exempt from testing and required CPEs in taxation?
I think that tax professionals should be required to take CPE in the area they practice. I think CPA’s and attorneys prove some level of competency in their ability to pass their licensing exam. There is a tax section of the exam for CPA’s so that at least is a start. I’m not opposed to taking an exam to prove I have some idea about what I’m doing. However, I don’t believe the problem is with uneducated tax preparers. I think regulation will do nothing to stop the unscrupulous preparers that choose to help their clients evade taxes by preparing tax returns that are works of fiction or that do not apply the rules.
(8) What is your favorite Broadway musical – and why?
Recently, WICKED - because it’s fun, full on energy, and a great slant on a popular story. I wish I was that creative!
While I agree that regulation of tax preparers will do nothing (or very, very little) “to stop the unscrupulous preparers that choose to help their clients evade taxes by preparing tax returns that are works of fiction or that do not apply the rules”, I do believe that uneducated tax preparers are a problem (although not “the” problem).
I have never seen WICKED, although I have heard much of the score. I believe it is still running on Broadway, so maybe I will get to it someday (via TDF). I would have liked to have seen it with its two original witches.