Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. This week’s focus is on Bill Smith, National Director of Tax Technology Services at CBIZ MHM, a provider of business advisory, tax and financial services.
Smith provides a wide range of tax services to corporations, partnerships, LLCs and individuals. He has more than 40 years of experience in the public and private sectors, helping businesses and high net worth individuals of all sizes develop and implement tax strategies.
A graduate of Florida State University School of Law, he began his career as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and served as Deloitte’s Deputy General Counsel before the establishment of CBIZ’s Internal Revenue Service in 2000.
Smith is a former All-American high school football player who sang the national anthem at Old Candlestick Park in San Francisco before the Giants-Cardinals baseball game. He’s also tried stand-up comedy — all of which, he says, are the reasons he’s sticking with taxes now.
What is your official title and what does it mean? National Tax Technical Service Director. I’m the national lead on tech tax issues, so basically our offices and directors become my clients, helping their clients when they get stuck.
Free time: Books, audiobooks or podcasts? Audiobooks. More recently, “The Anomaly” by Hervé Le Tellier and “Educated” by Tara Westover. But the American Life podcast is my go-to.
Taxation is a huge subject. What is your area of particular interest? It is not a specific tax area, but the beauty of solving problems when the path is not clear and the situation is troubled.
What was the last movie or show you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix or in theaters)? I love movies! “Georgetown” (directed and starring Christopher Waltz) is amazing. A rerun of “Marvin’s Garden King” honors recently deceased former client Bob Rafelson (director; Jack Nicholson starred in the film). Top Gun: Maverick is an action movie at its best.
What university did you go to and what did you study? University of Florida, BA in Advertising. Love a nice song!
Pick me up: coffee or tea? Make a great morning latte with Café Bustelo and unsweetened almond milk (must have foam).
What’s the best tax or financial advice anyone has ever given you? More career advice, however, “No fun tax lawyer…stick to your day job!”
If you weren’t in the tax industry, what would be your dream job? Make no mistake – the rock star writes my own songs, plays lead guitar, and sings all the lyrics to sold-out stadiums. It’s possible, right?
If you had the opportunity to make changes in the tax area – additional credits, disallowed deductions, etc. – what would it be? ANY DAMAGES EXCEPT FOR PUNITIVE DAMAGES ARE NOT TAXABLE. That way, if you were to sue someone else (such as your tax advisor for malfeasance), they wouldn’t have to aggregate the settlement amount to prevent Uncle Sam from participating in the proceedings.
Favorite food, snack or candy during tax season or other busy times? cashew. Dry roasted and salted.
What tax news or initiatives have had the greatest impact on your business or clients over the past year? Federal tax legislation lacks certainty. This uncertainty is dire for businesses and individuals in tax planning and decision-making. Build Back Better was eventually shelved by the Inflation Reduction Act, which abandoned nearly all previous proposals but re-established a degree of certainty.
If you received a large tax refund check now, what would you do with it? Definitely travel. Always travel. Maybe a favorite – Paris, Iceland, Barcelona, Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley, South Africa, Portugal – or somewhere new – Patagonia/Antarctica, Madrid, the Painted Mountains of Peru, New Zealand, etc. The possibilities are endless: new cultures, new people, urban glamour or the great outdoors – preferably both. Food plus points, wine is a must.
You can find Smith on LinkedIn and Twitter.
You can learn more about Smith’s company CBIZ on its website.
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