aBIZinaBOX Contemplates A Bit of Yiddish Wisdom

Yiddish Wisdom

Yiddish is an amazing language in many ways. I saw a bit of it as a child when my great-grandmother was living with us. Yiddish is perhaps the only language which has elevated wicked sarcasm, cursing and a wonderful sounds. For example, I have heard grandmother telling people on the street with a big smile say “Abi gezunt dos leben ken men zikh ale mol nemen.” It sounds wonderful and translates to English as “Stay healthy, because you can kill yourself later.” Yiddish Wisdom is amazing stuff.

Which brings me to one of my great-grandmother’s favorite expressions which translates to English as “I would rather lose to a smart person than win with an idiot”. Much of my recent dealings with Enrolled Agents have forcibly reenforced this thought.Perhaps a specific illustration will help. In my now infamous “Checklist for Selecting an Accounting or Tax Professional” I stated 

While there certainly some talented bookkeepers, for the purposes of SSARS-21 bookkeepers are not professionals, let me say that again…ARE NOT PROFESSIONALS. 

Professional or Ape

The statement I made was actually framed by applying a rather rigorous definition to the word “professional”. I believe that I had mentioned that I gone back and posted the original “Checklist” on the NAEA website, it the Forum, a new thread in the Practice Management folder and indicated that while I wasn’t going to argue about whether I was correct or incorrect, We would look forward to explaining what I had meant. There were a total of two responses.

If you would like to work with professionals try abizinabox.com

Here is the first one

I noticed that after your name is not an EA.  I read your checklist, or better named the slamming of EA’s.  We even checked the NAEA website  “Find an EA” and your name is not on list.  So my question is how did you get access here?   Isn’t this a closed group?

Thank you for your answer.

Tina M. G. Stark, EA, Goodyear, AZ- See more at: http://www.naea.org/node/2782#sthash.VId6r5Pt.dpuf

Here is the second one

I echo Tina Stark’s comments. Your so-called “checklist” is insulting to EAs. In fact, it’s not even a checklist, but rather, it’s a blog that consists of the ravings of an apparently frustrated elderly CPA.

Aside from the large number of spelling and grammatical errors on your blog page (I counted 13), you insult CPAs by stating that a “professional firm” refers to CPAs only, and you insult non-CPAs by stating that bookkeepers are not “professionals.” And in your second message on this forum, you insult EAs by stating, “Enrolled Agents are most certainly NOT America’s Tax Experts.” In my experience, EAs have more knowledge about Federal taxation than a lot of CPAs I know.

I see nothing wrong with non-CPAs performing accounting work. While non-CPAs can’t issue certified financial statements, performing accounting work is an invaluable service that you seem to pooh-pooh. If my clients had to pay a CPA to conduct their accounting work, the fees would put them out of business.

To repeat the phrase in your blog back to you, why don’t you just “SHUT THE HELL UP” and leave us in peace?

David M. Fogel, EA, CPA, USTCP Roseville, CA

Debate Techniques

Thus while I had, for the sake of brevity. omitted at lengthy analysis, the responders choose the ever effective debate techniques of

  • Immediately attacking the opponent’s credibility and existence of professional credentials
  • employing pejorative language and speech which attacks a protected class, and seeks to impune the opponent’s mental faculties
  • highlights errors in spelling and grammar, mea culpa on this point
  • asserts that opponents characterization of the application of a technical term, in this case “not professionals” is an insult
  • asserts that the criticism of a state that he known factually correct is false,”Enrolled Agents are most certainly NOT America’s Tax Experts.” and insulting
  • fails to properly comprehend the definition of “accounting work”.

My response which isn’t going to require any of those techniques is

  • I am not an Enrolled Agent, how, feel free to consult NAEA’s bylaws regarding “Associate Members their website.
  • my spelling and grammar could have been better but I tend not to focus on it when I write quickly
  • I would suggest that the writer knows that the statement “Enrolled Agents are most certainly NOT America’s Tax Experts” is prima facie true. While isn’t much consequence to such an action in post, he might wish to focus on not doing so his tax practice. It might be helpful for him to review Circular 230, Sec. 10.51(4) which states 

10.51 Incompetence and disreputable conduct. (a) Incompetence and disreputable conduct. Incompetence and disreputable conduct for which a practitioner can be  sanctioned under §10.50 includes, but is not limited to —Giving false or misleading information,

  • uses the term “accounting work” which isn’t one of the terms contained in the 200+ pages of SSARS-21
  • finally, since the proper research wasn’t done for the definition of “professional” I am going be the good guy and help him out

Here we go with Yiddish Wisdom

”. The statute does not expressly define “professional services” but it does contain a definition of what “”qualified personal services” are and that definition tracks the traditional definition of “professional”. The traditional definition of “profession” is rather complex, though the non-authoritative definition in several source is:

Medieval and early modern tradition recognized only three professions: divinity, medicine and law– the so-called “learned professions”.

Major milestones which may mark an occupation being identified as a profession include:[2]

  1. an occupation becomes a full-time occupation
  2. the establishment of a training school
  3. the establishment of a universityschool
  4. the establishment of a local association
  5. the establishment of a national association
  6. the introduction of codes of professional ethics
  7. the establishment of state licensinglaws

What Is A Professional?

Applying these milestones to the historical sequence of development in the United States shows surveying achieving professional status first (note that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln all worked as land surveyors before entering politics[citation needed]), followed by medicine, actuarial science, law, dentistrycivil engineeringlogistics, architecture and accounting.

The definition in the regulations at Reg. Sec. 1.448-it(e)(4)[2]. The tasks performed by an Enrolled Agent do not fall the definition provided for (B) law,or (D)accounting, which would leave the categorization of (H) consulting the qualification for is tenable.

The meaning of services as consulting is further described in (iv)(a) as

(A)In general. For purposes of paragraph (e)(4)(i)(H) of this section, the performance of services in the field of consulting means the provision of advice and counsel. The performance of services in the field of consulting does not include the performance of services other than advice and counsel, such as sales or brokerage services, or economically similar services. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the determination of whether a person’s services are sales or brokerage services, or economically similar services, shall be based on all the facts and circumstances of that person’s business.

(iv)Meaning of services performed in the field of consulting

(A)In general. For purposes of paragraph (e)(4)(i)(H) of this section, the performance of services in the field of consulting means the provision of advice and counsel. The performance of services in the field of consulting does not include the performance of services other than advice and counsel, such as sales or brokerage services, or economically similar services. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the determination of whether a person’s services are sales or brokerage services, or economically similar services, shall be based on all the facts and circumstances of that person’s business. Such facts and circumstances include, for example, the manner in which the taxpayer is compensated for the services provided (e.g., whether the compensation for the services is contingent upon the consummation of the transaction that the services intended to effect).

(B)Examples. The following examples illustrate the provisions of paragraph (e)(4)(iv)(A) of this section. The examples do not address all types of services that may or may not qualify as consulting. A determination of whether activities not specifically addressed in the examples qualify as consulting shall be made by comparing the service activities in question to the types of service activities discussed in the examples. With respect to a corporation that performs services which qualify as consulting under this section, and other services which do not qualify as consulting, see paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section which requires that substantially all of the corporation’s activities involve the performance of services in a qualifying field.

[1]2)Qualified personal service corporation

The term “qualified personal service corporation” means any corporation—

(A) substantially all of the activities of which involve the performance of services in the fields of health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, or consulting, and

[2]Reg. Sec. 1.448-1T(e)(4)Function test

(i)In general. A corporation meets the function test if substantially all the corporation’s activities for a taxable year involve the performance of services in one or more of the following fields—

(A) Health,

(B) Law,

(C) Engineering (including surveying and mapping),

(D) Architecture,

(E) Accounting,

(F) Actuarial science,

(G) Performing arts, or

(H) Consulting.

I trust the reason I like my great-grandmother’s proverb so as it applies here. We grateful that we learned how to research and perform a rigorous analysis. It spares from having to attack, insult, demean, and worst of all, aggressively and repeatedly assert statements that they know to be false are true. When your opponent impeached his own integrity, it can take the fun out of debate. Permit me to offer them some empathy Abi gezunt dos leben ken men zikh ale mol nemen. Therein lies the beauty of Yiddish Wisdom.

 

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