Welcome to my virtual and paperless office!
After a rewarding and fascinating 30-year-career as a computer scientist, I relocated from Germany to the United States and started tax advising and tax preparation in 2007. As a self-employed Enrolled Agent (EA) I am authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Professional Responsibility, to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in all 50 states. I provide Pro Bono tax representation and tax consultation to low income individuals and I am volunteering as a counselor preparing taxes for the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. My qualifications and characteristics are:
It all started with eminent domain and a broken arm:
I first learned about accounting and income taxes in Frankfurt, Germany in 1971-1973, as a part-time accounting apprentice to a German Steuerberater (Certified Public Accountant), my dear friend Diplom-Volkswirt Hildegard Schultheis. She was 70 and I was 20.
As for her retirement, she had inherited some real estate and had added/invested in some real estate over her lifetime totaling about a quarter million. But the local German government decided to claim eminent domain on her properties and re-zoned it for an industrial park. She went through the courts but did not have a chance. Two years before we met, the local government sent her a final check over $2,500, which she proudly refused to cash. Therefore ... at the age of 68 she had to start working again.
When we met she was recovering from a broken arm. She did not have any income because without being able to type she was unable to perform her job! After learning that, I promptly offered her my help: I told her, I may not know anything about accounting but I was good at Math, had a number sense, had two healthy hands and was eager to do all the "leg work" for her. I would be her hands, and leave her working with her brain only. Then, in the process, while adding columns after columns of numbers, I began asking her questions, and piece by piece she gave me high quality answers and some background information - but only just as much as I could handle. Over three years on the weekends, I learned German bookkeeping, ..., up to doing a German "Gewinn- und Verlustrechnung" (Profit and Loss Statement) and then a "Bilanz" (Balance Sheet).
In 1974 I designed, implemented, and from 1974-1989 maintained a computerized accounting system on a mainframe computer for a German Fortune 500 company. Besides the standard German accounting part, the system included software components for the advanced concepts of cost accounting for fixed and variable cost, activity-based costing, planned and adjusted planned variable cost ("Kostenstellenrechnung"), a cash flow system ("Liquiditätsrechnung"), and an integrated personnel/salary system.
In 1995 I developed and from 1995-1999 maintained a networked point-of-sale terminal system on personal computers for a German startup company.
Since 2007 I have gained experience in and used the following tax software for at least one tax season: Jackson Hewitt Profiler, Liberty Tax Libtax, Liberty Tax Phoenix, CCH TaxWise, TaxSlayerPro, Drake, Intuit TurboTax, Intuit Lacerte, CCH ProSystem fx. I like Intuit Lacerte the best, because the user interface design is brilliant, user input is minimized, and every item that could be automated will be automated and generated.
My ancestors are half German and half Czech (Moravia in Czech Republic). The first half of my life I spent in Germany, and the second half of my life I intend to spend in Texas, following the footsteps of other bi-lingual and bi-cultural German/Czech immigrants, who came to Texas before.
Since I am a German native speaker, in my capacity as a Steuerberater, I can offer any interested tax clients a conversation in the German language, "daß wir uns auch gerne in Deutsch über Ihre amerikanische Einkommensteuererklärung unterhalten können."
From 1974-1999 I worked as a computer scientist in a research institute of the German government in Darmstadt, Germany. My professional emphasis is on portability of software, on communcation and compatibility between computer systems. From 1980 on I contributed to creating and shaping world-wide communication between research facilities, and as a webmaster in 1997 I welcomed the "World Wide Web" concept as a set of open, global, portable specifications, intended to improve worldwide interchange of information. By definition, open concepts are incompatible to proprietary concepts, "industry standards", and "additional features", drafted to exclude certain manufacturers and to put certain software systems at a competitive disadvantage.
Today I am a retired Certified Computing Professional (CCP) with 25 years of experience with computers. I hold ICCP proficiency certificates for Business Information Systems and for the programming languages BASIC, COBOL, PASCAL, and C++.
Dictionary of Occupational Titles: TAX PREPARER (business ser.) 219.362-070
Prepares income tax return forms for individuals and small businesses. Reviews financial records to determine needed tax forms. Consults hard copy or electronic copy of tax law handbooks or bulletins to determine procedure for preparation of atypical returns. Reviews financial records, such as prior tax return forms, income statements, and documentation of expenditures to determine forms needed to prepare return. Interviews client to obtain additional information on taxable income and deductible expenses and allowances. Computes taxes owed, and completes entries on forms, following tax form instructions and tax tables. Calculates form preparation fee according to complexity of return and amount of time required to prepare forms. May use custom designed software programs to complete entries, perform calculations, and generate returns.
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This information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an Enrolled Agent-Client relationship. Any readers of this information are hereby advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of an Enrolled Agent or Certified Public Accountant.
Any tax advice on this website is not intended to be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under U.S. federal tax law. Information on this website is not intended to be used for under-reporting of taxable income, over-reporting of tax deductions and of tax credits.
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