What Do Accountants Think?

Americans love quizzes, surveys and polls. We love taking them, and we love seeing the results. Where would Nielsen be without his ratings? Who would Gallup be without his poll? Who would read Cosmo without their quizzes? So in the midst of all this polling, we felt sure you’d want to know what a bunch of accountants think of various tax topics. Every few weeks, Accounting Today magazine polls visitors to their web site — and the results just might surprise you!
• Does the Tax Code need to be simplified? Tax pros make their living managing complexity for clients. If taxes were easy, who would need us to prepare them? So you might expect us to want to keep the current system. But fully 72% disagreed, saying the Code should be simplified. Just 19% voted to keep the system that former President Jimmy Carter described as “a disgrace to the human race,” and 9% said “not sure.”
• Should Congress raise taxes to help close the budget deficit? If taxes go up, more clients come looking for ways to keep them down. So you might think accountants want taxes going up. But once again, you might be surprised. Just 40% said Congress should raise taxes, 59% said no, and 1% weren’t sure. (Maybe we don’t want to see our own taxes go up any more than we want to see yours?)
• Should Congress approve legislation to require online retailers to collect sales taxes? Web retailers like Amazon.com save billions by avoiding most state and local sales taxes, and this lets them undercut local brick ‘n’ mortar retailers. Requiring “e-tailers” to collect sales taxes would level the playing field. But it would also create mountains of new paperwork, and thousands of new jobs. Surprisingly, site visitors are evenly split on this question, with 50% voting “yes” and 50% voting “no.”
• Do you think Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan for a 9% individual, business, and sales tax would be viable? Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and presidential hopeful Herman Cain has taken a surprising lead atop Republican polls with his radical “9-9-9” plan. But just 17% of Accounting Today’s visitors think “the Hermanator’s” plan might actually work. 75% think not, and 8% aren’t sure.
• Were your clients’ finances generally in better shape this tax season compared to last tax season? You can’t turn on the news without hearing about the stalling economy. But maybe things are starting to turn around — 55% said their clients were in better shape this season, while 45% disagreed.
Pretty exciting stuff, right? Seriously, who cares what People magazine readers think about Lindsay Lohan’s latest arrest when you can see who accountants voted their favorite movie CPA! (For the record, 25% picked Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List, followed by 18% for Rick Moranis as Louis Tully in Ghostbusters.)
We’ll let you guess how you think we would have answered those questions. But there’s one area where we’re in a distinct minority — and we put it to your advantage. Most accountants do a fine job putting the right numbers in the right boxes on the right forms, and get them filed by the right deadlines. But then they call it a day. At our firm, we don’t just record history. We help you write it, with a proactive attitude that takes advantage of every legal deduction, credit, strategy, and concept. We know that planning is the key to minimizing your taxes. So call us when you’re ready for your plan!