Friday, April 17, 2009

After Busy Season, Accountants Get a Well-Deserved Tax Break

The Dallas news wrote up a great article on how those of us working in the tax industry get to finally take a sigh of relief, now that tax season is over. You can find a snippet of the post below, but the full story can be read here.

As we breathe a sigh of relief now that we finally filed our taxes, another group is also breathing easier:

The accountants and tax preparers who have worked all-nighters and weekends and skipped family functions to process the endless piles of tax returns.

For them, tax time is taxing.

Today, many are sleeping in, hung over or jetting off on vacation.

Before April 16, never ask accountants how they're doing, James A. Smith advises.

But today is a different story, a fresh start for tax preparers across the land who've scanned hundreds, if not thousands, of returns.

"You suddenly feel a little bit lighter," said Smith, a certified public accountant in Dallas. "Even though you're exhausted, you can breathe this big, deep breath and let it out there and let go of the stress and tension.

"You don't feel you weigh as much as you did five minutes ago."

Across the country, firms organize celebratory buffets, picnics and cocktail parties for their employees for a job well done and to mark the end of the so-called busy season.

Tax preparers polled by the National Association of Tax Professionals said they often take it easy for a couple of days after April 15.

One firm closes down at noon and employees rent a limo and go out for lunch. Many go on vacation, although one tax preparer said she takes a break before tax season so she can remember the beach when she's working late at night.

Last night, employees at Sibley & Co. in Dallas were planning to head out for hamburgers.

The firm will be closed today and Friday to help employees recover. They are "just flat tired," said Ken Sibley, the firm's founder. He's taking his wife to Florida for a week – and he plans to sleep on the plane.

"We have been working an average of 12 to 15 hours a day for six days a week and a lot more than I would want to on Sundays," Sibley said. "It's just been very, very intense."

During Tom Ochsenschlager's first tax season, a manager described the process as running an "intellectual marathon."

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