TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Income Tax Education at the Undergraduate Level

Janis C. Weber (University of Louisiana, Monroe) has posted Raising the Bar: Income Tax Education at the Undergraduate Level on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Taxation is an important component of the knowledge base that certified public accountants (CPAs) are assumed to understand, by mere association. Whether or not CPAs, in general, actually possess enough taxation education and /or experience to warrant this reputation of prowess is a debatable matter. This paper will explore those presuppositions, restate selected previous research involving accounting education in taxation, and evaluate various educational delivery methods that might be utilized to prepare accountants to face tax issues in the real world, from the view of a veteran accounting practitioner turned enthusiastic accounting educator.

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CPAs "in general" may not possess significant tax knowledge, as the CPA exam covers a lot more than taxes and most CPAs go into auditing and other specialized areas which limit their tax exposure. However, those CPAs who prepare tax returns and advise clients on taxes do warrant their reputation, just as attorneys do who specialize in tax law and cases before the tax court. There is a point at which a CPA calls in a skilled tax attorney to run circles around the IRS. What CPAs can do well, because of their training in accounting, is to put the numbers together and determine the best strategy for applying them to minimize tax liabilities.

Posted by: Woody | Apr 27, 2011 8:43:05 AM