Our Spotlight series sheds light on the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. This week’s Spotlight on Bill Smith, the National Director of Tax Technical Services at CBIZ MHM, a provider of business advisory, tax and financial services.
Smith is a consultant on a wide range of tax services for corporations, partnerships, LLCs and individuals. He has over 40 years of experience in the public and private sectors, helping businesses of all sizes and high net worth individuals develop and implement tax strategies.
A graduate of Florida State University College of Law, he began his career as a litigator for the tax division of the Department of Justice and served as associate general counsel at Deloitte before launching CBIZ’s national tax office in 2000.
Smith is a former All-American high school football player and once sang the national anthem at San Francisco’s old Candlestick Park before a Giants-Cardinals baseball game. He’s also dabbled in stand-up comedy – which he says is why he’s now sticking to tax.
What is your official title and what does it mean? National Director of Tax Technical Services. I’m the nationally responsible person for technical tax matters, so essentially our offices and administrators become my clients to help their clients when the going gets tough.
Free time: book, audiobook or podcast? Audio book. Recently, “The Anomaly” by Hervé Le Tellier and “Educated” by Tara Westover. But the “This American Life” podcast is my favorite.
Taxation is a big subject. What is your particular area of interest? Not a specific tax area, but the beauty of problem solving when the path is unclear and the wolves are around.
What is the last movie or show you watched and liked (DVD, Netflix or at the cinema)? I love movies! “Georgetown” (which Christoph Waltz directs and performs) was amazing. Rewatch “The King of Marvin Gardens”, in tribute to the recent death of a former client, Bob Rafelson (the director; Jack Nicholson stars in the film). “Top Gun: Maverick” was top notch for action.
What college did you attend and what did you study? University of Florida, BA in Advertising. Love a good jingle!
Pick up: Coffee or tea? A large caffè latte in the morning, homemade with Café Bustelo and unsweetened almond milk (must hold a foam).
What is the best tax or financial advice someone has ever given you? More career advice but, “There are no funny tax lawyers… stick to your day job!”
If you weren’t in the tax field, what would your dream job be? Without a doubt, a rock star writing my own songs, playing lead guitar and singing all the lyrics to sold out stadiums. It’s possible, right?
If you had the option of making one change in the tax world — an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever — what would it be? No damages, other than punitive damages, would be taxable. That way, if you sue someone else (like your tax attorney for malpractice), they don’t have to bump up the settlement amounts to keep Uncle Sam out of the lawsuit.
Favorite food, snack or treat during tax time or another busy time? Cashew nut. Dry roasted and salted.
What tax news or ruling has had the most impact on your practice or clients in the past year? Lack of certainty regarding federal tax law. This uncertainty is terrible for tax planning and decision-making for businesses and individuals. Build Back Better was finally buried by the Inflation Reduction Act, which abandoned nearly all previous proposals but restored a level of certainty.
If you got a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Certainly travel. Always travel. Maybe to a favorite place – Paris, Iceland, Barcelona, Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley, South Africa, Portugal – or somewhere new – Patagonia/Antarctica, Madrid, Painted Mountains in Peru, New Zealand, etc. Endless possibilities: new cultures, new people, urban charm or outdoor activities, preferably both. Good food a plus, and good wine a must.
You can find Smith on LinkedIn and at Twitter.
You can read more about Smith’s company, CBIZ, on its website.
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