The Argument for Turning Off


2020 has been a year. We have seen the rise and fall of the economy, we have seen more legislation introduced and not passed than any other year. In fact, our congress has been the least productive this year of any in recent history. However, to us sitting in the tax advisor’s shoes – we have had more legislation that affects us and our clients to sift through. And these bills have been pushed through before the congresspeople even have time to review them start to finish. The latest bill – sitting on the president’s desk for signature as I write this – is 5593 pages long and the Senate had about two hours to review it before it went to vote. Our government is no longer legislating in a productive manner and are belabored by opposing forces in truly helping the people and the businesses that keep our economy producing. The tax code has further become a tool for political means.

This is all exhausting. I have not spoken to a tax advisor that is not exhausted from the marathon of a year we just survived. Clients have been calling me all day requesting updates on a bill that has not even been signed into law! And I know this is rampant across our profession. We are expected to know everything occurring in Washington and how it will affect every business and individual immediately. The expectations for immediate feedback, advice, and strategy are unrealistic. We are human tax advisors and until the robot uprising, we need to take care of ourselves.

Our brains need a break. Our bodies need rest and nourishment. Our computers need to be updated and rebooted and turned off. Our eyes need a chance to absorb the beauty of the world. Our hands and wrists need to perform a different action than continuous typing. Our backs need the support of something other than our office chair. Our families and pets need our attention. Our books need to be read for enjoyment. Our souls need a moment to regroup.

Turn off this holiday season. Tell your clients that the tax code is in a constant state of flux and our planning is not going to be much use in the last week of the year. Pick up again in January and calculate out expectations. No one could have predicted the PPP expenses would be deductible, then not, then deductible again. No one could have foreseen the tax credits for sick leave, or the additional unemployment benefits that created taxable events for people. This year was a giant rollercoaster that we rode continuously in a death loop. Join me in exiting the rollercoaster and sitting on the bench overlooking the beauty in this world. Join me in pressing pause for the last few days of the year so I can come back in the beginning of January and give my clients 100%.

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Liz Mason is a serial entrepreneur, a giant nerd, and an involved accounting vanguard. She is the Founder of High Rock Accounting, Rebel Rock Accounting, TheDepartment.Tax, and a few other related brands. Liz speaks on a national stage, guests stars on podcasts, and writes frequently. To further her passion for the advancement of the accounting profession, Liz currently serves as a Xero National Ambassador and as the Content Strategist for Tax Practice News. Liz started her career in tax at Grant Thornton (at 20) and automated a portion of her job landing her in the national tax practice. She spent a decade in large public accounting firms working on highly technical tax consulting before branching off on her own. Liz utilizes her creativity and passion at her company to uproot traditional practices and replace them with innovative concepts. She finds joy in efficient technology and her core belief is that everyone and everything can continuously improve (she says "be better" too often). When Liz isn't planning world domination in accounting, she is a die-hard skier, down for any adventure, plays the ukulele, reads everything, and has a good sense of humor. If you're looking for her, you can find her traveling the world and enjoying new food and cultures with her young son. Follow Liz and High Rock Accounting on Twitter at @LizzyNorMa and @HighRockCPAs.