Spring a taxing, rewarding season for CPAs

NEIGHBORS

April 02, 2002|By Nancy Gallant | Nancy Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SPRING DOESN'T arrive for accountants until April 15. Sure, the weather is already beautiful. The pear and cherry trees, daffodils and forsythia are gorgeous. Little kids fly along the sidewalks on their trikes and scooters. And neighbors share mulching chores and dream of summer days.

But for me and other accountants in the area, a beautiful Saturday afternoon means hours in the office, researching tax law and preparing returns for clients.

During the month before April 15, says Crofton Certified Public Accountant Thomas Isdaner, "I work seven days a week - and nights."

Pamela Connolly, a CPA in Gambrills, agrees.

"It's a crazy time of the year," she says. Connolly even prepared returns on Easter.

Connolly's birthday falls in March and she jokes that she sometimes wishes she could change the day because the celebration gets lost in the hectic pace of tax season.

Why do accountants deal with this stress every year? Most of us, even though we complain, agree with Isdaner, who says he likes the work.

Connolly finds the job gratifying: "Getting taxes done can be difficult and I like to help make it easier." She also values the relationships she has formed with clients. "I look forward to seeing the people year after year," she says.

Connolly recalls one client who brought in her infant triplets. Another couple, who came to her as newlyweds, now have children in middle school.

Figuring out taxes can be unpleasant. Still, once a year, April 15 forces us to look at where we are and where we are going. Accountants help people deal with jobs and school, dreams and responsibilities, living and dying.

Many people think of accounting as a boring field. But it is much more than calculating figures and filling out forms; it is a field where the accountant shares in people's lives. Sometimes it can be difficult, or even funny.

David Judy, a Bowie CPA, is bemused by people who provide a stack of information, a complicated array of tax situations - leaving him with a puzzle that will take hours to untangle - and ask on their way out how big their refund will be.

Judy remembers a client who earned large profits one year. Even though she had made no tax payments, she was appalled to discover that she wouldn't get a refund.

Some people don't mind when they owe taxes: It means they had a better year than they'd expected. Others aren't satisfied without a fat refund check.

One woman called me in tears because she'd received a check from IRS. She asked what she should do with it. I asked whether it was for the amount I'd told her to expect as a refund. She answered, "Well, yes." I told her to cash the check and spend or invest it. Her tremulous response was, "But it's from the IRS!" I had to assure her that it was OK to cash a check from the IRS.

Life will get a lot calmer after April 15. In the meantime, I sneak a look outside the office window from time to time to remind myself that spring will be here for me, too, in just two weeks.

Family Fun Night

Tim Gregory has entertained audiences throughout the area with a blend of music from cultures throughout the world.

On Saturday, Gregory will perform at Family Fun Night in the Parish Center of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 1800 Seton Drive in Crofton. The event will run from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are available in the parish office.

Information: 410-721-5770 or 410-721-0114.

The Alpha Course

Christ the Servant Lutheran Church will offer "The Alpha Course" beginning April 10 at the church, in Severn Square Shopping Center.

This 10-week practical introduction to the Christian faith offers answers to many questions about religion. Each weekly session begins with an informal dinner, followed by learning time and discussion.

Information: 410-551-6325.

Welcome Home Program

Catholics who feel alienated from the church because of divorce, an invalid marriage or other reason are invited to attend a "Welcome Home" program at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Our Lady of the Fields Catholic Church, 1070 Cecil Ave. in Millersville. Information: 410-987-8701 or 410-987-1551.

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