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Issue Date: April 2004 Issue


Fast Lane

Mike Doyle, certified public accountant

O, spring. Flowers are blooming. Baseball is in the air. And the IRS guys are foaming at the mouth. "The best advice I can give people for April 15 is to be organized with your paperwork," says Mike Doyle, a certified public accountant who lives in Auburn Township. "Then again, if they're reading this and thinking that they'd better get organized for April 15, it's probably too late to get organized."

Tell me something I didn't know I could deduct.

Well, if you're making a charitable deduction and you drive the item to the donation point, you can deduct the mileage traveled for the donation.

Like the waffle iron I drove to that guy near the Panama Canal.

Exactly. Like that.

The biggest mistake people make when they do their own taxes.

Two things. One: simple math errors " just plain bad adding. And two: most people greatly undervalue their donations. For example, they might donate a shirt and say it's worth a dollar when they could actually claim a much larger deduction.

Like the $12,000 shirt I gave to that guy in Istanbul.

And I'm sure you drove it to him, too.

So it's midnight on April 15 and you're done. What do you do?

Well, I used to drink. But I've got a 3-year-old. So now, I just think about drinking.

Do people ever ask you to use "creative accounting"?

Of course. But I look at it like this: If I can take a reasonable position as a CPA, I have no problem taking a deduction. I'd never cheat on someone's taxes, though.

When you tell people they owe money, do they always think you've made a mistake?

Yeah, I get the "Are you sure you didn't miss something?" question a lot.

Do you feel guilty taking money from people after preparing their taxes and telling them they owe?

It's not my fault. Don't shoot the messenger.

How many calculators do you own?

I've got three. But the only one I ever use is my desktop. It's a Monroe. I love that machine.

Love?

It's just so smooth. Plus, it's got the "Total" key in a position I prefer on the lower right-hand side, so I can use my pinkie without having to reach.

You really should hear yourself.

I don't care. I'll keep that machine it until the day I die.

If I went for a walk and thought about my job, could I write off my whole street?

Uhm, there's creative accounting and there's creative accounting.


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