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Special Graduation and Vacation Edition

06.06.16 | SALT Chat

I have a surprise vacation from state taxes planned for my readers this week. Please don’t be too distressed. I’ll have lots of interesting tax issues for you in future editions. Being it is graduation season and I just attended my daughter’s college graduation, I thought it only appropriate to share the experience with my readers.

All parents know that college is a time for growth and exploration, risk-taking and decision-making.  A parent’s one and only job during this time is to provide direction in understanding the risks and decisions and assistance in keeping your progeny on track, whatever track that might be.  Seems simple, right?  What most parents don’t know or don’t remember, is that the growth, exploration, risk-taking and decision-making process never stops.  Not for their child and not for themselves.

Looking past the worn out clichés passed around over the course of a four hour ceremony (don’t be afraid to fail, work hard, follow your dreams . . .), one quickly realizes the purveyors of these phrases are highly successful and despite the clichés, have had an abundance of original thoughts (Arianna Huffington, Chuck Schumer, Klara Silverstein.) These tired phrases, when emanating from their lips become revitalized beacons of thought that should be utilized not as gospel, but as a simple means to stay on track.

It doesn’t so much matter if you agree, remember, or even care about what was said. The point is to appreciate the success of these individuals and the different ways they define it. I can say without exception that whatever field they pursued, all of the truly successful I have encountered over my professional career have embraced this perspective. Those who have taken it to another level have done so by surrounding themselves with like-minded (not in opinion, necessarily) individuals who help leverage the organization to new heights.

I believe this is what we do at Berdon and because it’s hard to remember a 350-word tag line, we have summed it up with our own cliché, “Listen, Solve, Do.” So graduates, parents and everyone else, go out there and work hard, try new things, don’t be afraid to fail.


Wayne Berkowitz, a tax partner and head of the State and Local Tax Group at Berdon LLP, New York Accountants, advises on the unique requirements of governments and municipalities across the nation.