With tax reform the next big ticket item on the Congressional wish list, tax professionals are waiting to see where the chips will fall. While any legislative action will make a big difference to filers next April, tax professionals are faced with tweaks and changes to the tax code all the time. For a look at what a major tax overhaul could mean down the road, Gary Wheeler, owner of The Business Center in Palm Coast, offers the local spin.
Does the prospect of a tax overhaul make you nervous or hopeful?
I make a habit of not listening to what might happen. After 36 years in this business, you just roll with whatever the changes are. I do two to three tax-update continuing education courses every year and find out what the new rules are. There’s only so much you can do. Congress is going to generate whatever kind of foolishness they would like to see happen.
How difficult is it for tax professionals and accountants to keep up to speed on tax law changes?
My continuing education requirements — one has 72 hours every three years and another has 90 hours every three years, and I exceed that. It is just a matter of what the questions are, what has changed and how you handle it from both a tax preparation and client interview perspective. It makes it fun, especially when you have legislation that passes late in a year or early in the next year. It makes it real difficult to figure out what the rules are. You have to stay on top of it all the time.
Should consumers be doing anything now to prepare for potential tax policy changes?
There are too many variables to be able to go out and make some changes to what you re doing based on what may or may not happen with Congress.
The IRS sends tax tip information to the public. Does it provide tax professionals with additional guidance?
I subscribe both to the ones that are general public, taxpayer oriented and those that are tax-professional related. I receive a ton of information relative to changes. I receive updates relative to that, from three different professional organization and directly for the IRS.