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Unlike that other inevitable part of life, tax month is something that all of us do survive. For most, however, it’s a time of the year that we’d prefer not to dwell upon. But for the general counsel of tax preparation companies, tax time is year-round. So we at Corporate Counsel were curious: For those attorneys, does April 15 feel like the Super Bowl, or just another day in the office? Do they file early, or late? Is the Internal Revenue Service their friend or their foe? We were relieved to learn that, regardless of how they spend April 15, tax company lawyers are just like the rest of us. Some file late. Others rely on accountants to do the work for them. Most view the IRS with mixed emotions. Many are less than enthused about the tax code. And on April 16, some even sleep a little late. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Herewith, some of their thoughts and comments: James H. Ingraham Senior Vice President and General Counsel, H&R Block, Inc. The 48-year-old Block is the leading tax preparer in the United States, boasting 19 million customers. Ingraham works out of the company’s Kansas City, Missouri, headquarters, where he supervises a staff of 11 attorneys. Do you do your own taxes? Yes, I do, with the help of Block’s TaxCut tax software. Do you usually receive a tax refund? It varies from year to year. What’s a typical April 15 like for you? As general counsel, I focus on a wide range of legal issues that involve all of our business units and have nothing to do with the deadline for individual income tax returns. Certainly April 15 is a busy day for our 100,000 tax professionals and support staff. For me, April 16 and 17 will be just as busy. Some people might say that your job sounds dull. It’s nothing like Law and Order. When you first entered law school, what kind of law did you want to practice? I wanted to be a dull corporate lawyer. But [the work] has proven to be anything but dull. Ted Finkelstein Vice President and General Counsel, Gilman + Ciocia Gilman + Ciocia prepares more than 140,000 federal and state returns annually. In addition to preparing taxes, the company sells financial products to its clients. Finkelstein, 49, is the sole attorney in the company’s legal department. Do you file early, or late? Personally, always late. It’s like the shoemaker who doesn’t have shoes for his kids. What’s your opinion of the IRS? They’ve gotten much better. They’re much more people-friendly. They realize that they are a business, and their business is collecting taxes. If there weren’t an , I would be out of business. Are taxes too high? Not necessarily the income tax, but the problem is that everywhere you look, there are taxes. I think that there are taxes in too many areas. I would be more in favor of a tax on wealth than [on] sales like food. How do you feel on April 15? In the tax preparation industry, April 15 isn’t a bad day. It’s the end. How do you feel on April 16? It’s like the day after the Super Bowl. I feel like [Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach] Jon Gruden must have felt. As soon as [the Super Bowl] was over, they started asking him about next year. You can savor the feeling, but in the back of your mind you know you have another season. Susan LoFrumento New Jersey�based Jackson Hewitt is the number two tax preparer in the country. The company, which became a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation in 1998, prepares tax returns for low- and middle-income customers. Vice president and legal chief LoFrumento is the company’s only in-house attorney. What’s your least favorite part of your job? I can’t think of anything that I dislike. I’ve been here for almost a year, and I’m still waiting for my slow period. My slowest season is tax season, and every other part of the year is crazy, because we’re ramping up for April. . . . But I wouldn’t say that that’s something I dislike. Do you file early, or late? Sadly, I’m part of a subset of the American tax filing community that tends to have to pay taxes [instead of receiving refunds]. I tend to file late. There’s no rush if I’m writing the check. It just depends on which way it swings. Most Americans dread April 15. What’s your advice to people who shudder at the thought of Tax Day? Don’t procrastinate. Suck it up.

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