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FAQ

What are good resources to become a US tax expert?
Tax consultants or tax advisors, are experts in tax law, planning and compliance. They serve individuals as well as businesses by staying current on new tax law and positioning taxpayers for short and long term tax optimization. A tax consultant typically expands on the role of tax preparer. While tax consultants prepare tax returns, they also often work closely with clients throughout the year to ensure client tax liability is minimized. Tax consultants are strong written and verbal communicators able to explain tax law and strategies in a way that is accessible and easy for clients to understand. Tax consultants work for public accounting firms, law offices, financial consulting firms and many even have their own independent tax preparation and consultation businesses. In all settings, tax consultants can be expected to perform duties that include:Conducting research on tax lawsStrategizing with clients to minimize tax liabilityCommunicating with clients to explain tax issuesPreparing tax returnsEstate planningKeeping clients compliant with their tax obligationsTax consultants generally hold bachelor’s degrees in accounting, finance or a related field, however, because no formal certification is required, individuals often take on advisory roles after years of experience in another tax related profession. Ultimately, professionals with both formal education and tax experience are best positioned for these careers. Obtaining licensure as a CPA demonstrates the formal education and professional experience needed to support a future as a successful tax consultant. However, Internal Revenue Service employees may have years of experience, yet no formal education and be very well suited for advisory roles allowing them to obtain positions as tax consultants because of their relevant experience alone.Related:Sales tax consultants
Is there a formula/algorithm to find out the radius of n circles needed to fill a circular area? (The radius of the circular area is provided)
I will assume that each of the small circles that have to touch two other small circles can be touching additional small circles.  I presume what you mean by "needed to fill a circular area" is that the n small circles cannot be made any larger and still fit into the large circle, which is the same as stating that the large circle is as small as possible to contain the n small circles.Since the scales are arbitrary, make 1 be the radius of the small circles and make x be the radius of the large circle that encloses all of the small circles.  Then, you want to know if there is a formula x(n) for n=3, 4, 5, ... in some closed form.  (For n=2, you can't have a small circle touching two other small circles, but in any case that is a trivial solution.)This is known as a packing problem.  Your specific example is Circle packing in a circle.  I don't know that there is a closed form formula for x(n).  Since the packing is optimal (not all of them have been proven to be optimal), it means that, for n circles, the large circle cannot be smaller than radius x.The more general cases are explained by the Wikipedia article Packing problems.
What are the best ways to lose weight?
I lost 100lbs in 120 days and here is how. The absolute first thing you need to do is take everything you think you know about weight loss and throw it right out the window. The second thing you need to do is not listen to 99.9% of these Doctors,Nutritionist, personal trainers and self proclaimed experts. If we as society are further in advancement of science,technology and modern medicine than ever before why are 76% of us overweight or even obese? I struggled with weight most of my life and I didnt even think I ate that much. I was about 330lbs and every single place I looked or person I spoke to would contradict what someone else had said. For every doctor that said one thing you can find another that will say the opposite. Every month, year, a new best diet, new best weight loss pill, atkins,keto….. stop just stop. I thought about our body, what we put in it and the evolution of mankind and society and it dawned on me. It's our food that's it. It's that simple. You will have a hard time finding early photographs of obese and over weight people. It's very difficult to make this short because I have learned so much about food, what's in it and what it does to us so here is the bare minimum basics. First off you need to research actual caloric intake for your sex,age,weight, and life style. The biggest myth I found that's based on literally no science is that we need 1500–2500 calories a day to survive. Those numbers that have become a “fact" are not true at all. They are based on a government survey done over 50 years ago polling what and how much the average American ate. Do you know how much food has changed in the last 50 years, where it comes from and what goes in it to sustain shelf life. You dont want to know but you need to know. Recent actual studies have shown that people who consume 1200 calories a day over the course of a year showed large mental,physical, and emotional improvements and if they were overweight obviously weight loss. Every thing I will mention is a scrape in the surface but Google these things dig deep past the mainstream “this is how it is” pages and look for recent medical studies etc. There are people that will tell you, you will starve to death on 800 calories or 1000 or 1200. Well that is true if it's 400 calories of French fries and 600 from a burger. Google what 100 calories of skinless chicken breast looks like, or grapes, or almonds, or tuna, or broccoli. I'm over 6ft and 220lbs and can not eat 12 servings of any of that in a day. Angus Barbieri a morbidly obese man under medical supervision did not eat any food for over a year. You heard that right he went 382 days with no food, taking in water, a multi vitamin, potassium supplements, and I think he drank tea. He lost 276lbs suffered no health problems, never put the weight back on and lived a normal healthy life until his natural death decades later. If you are over weight you have stored energy your body will begin to consume, so if you're very over weight you need to take in less. You will hear that its unhealthy or even impossible to lose a lb a day, or you must be dehydrated. Thats also untrue and research will show you why the 3500 calories equals 1lb weight loss theory is incorrect. I lost a little over 100lbs in 120 days. Some days I lost nothing one day i lost 6 but remember I'm a big a guy. If you're a 5ft 8 180lb woman you wont loose weight at the same pace as I did remember i was nearly twice that in weight. You will shed weight fast though and in a healthy manor. Personally for me I have never ate as much or drank as much water as I do now. I never use to even drink water. The bottom line is eat what is natural, do not eat any of these man made inventions and recipes. No lean cuisines no processed foods or liquids. If it didn't 100 percent come out of the ground, grow on tree,bush or was born dont eat it. You might think this sounds boring but the more you learn the more recipes and new foods you'll find. I'll tell you this also if you do this your body will actually detox and become clean of the chemicals that's in it. I tried to drink a lemonade 3 months after eating only natural foods and drinking just water and it tasted like I stuck a straw in a bag of sugar. Your brain will reset I'm telling you it's amazing. You have no idea how good a strawberry taste or an apple. It's amazing what happens and how different you will feel. I know this is a little drawn out and just scratched the surface but it's a starting point. It's going to be more of a mental task than a physical one. You absolutely have to change your lifestyle. If you are over weight you're eating unhealthy and you are more than likely overeating. That's it, you don't have to be spiritual to realize however we all got here it probably was not meant for us to live off of what most of do now. You can find a balance I had tacos last week and I cant give up basic potato chips lol. But I'll tell you the tacos, they dont taste like I remember they arent as good after I feel buzzed and lathargic. I like eating natural now and crave it. Im not a skinny vegitarian type guy either I'm 220lbs, and I feel better than ever. Do the research and make a change. It's worth it, and so are you. I'm almost 40 years old and feel like I'm a kid again.UPDATEI have had some people question my hardwork so I will update this post 1 time. Not to defend myself but to show people who are struggling with weight that it really can be done and don't give up. For those who do understand my tattoos they are a work in progress but I have had none added in over a year never have had any removed. This is 100% me and real. When you take pictures in front of mirrors the image is reversed. Below is a picture of me posted on my IG at a car show Feb 2 with one of my cars I built, as well as a zoomed in screen shot of that post to show you how big i was in Feb Still, one of me in May a few more recent ones as I am still a work in progress. I have photos and videos documenting every step of my story. I also would lik to share a picture of my beautiful better half who embraced a lifestyle change with me and lost 40lbs herself in the same time frame she is so amazing?
How does one get invited to the Quora Partner Program? What criteria do they use, or is it completely random?
I live in Germany. I got an invite to the Quora partner program the day I landed in USA for a business trip. So from what I understand, irrespective of the number of views on your answers, there is some additional eligibility criteria for you to even get an email invite.If you read the terms of service, point 1 states:Eligibility. You must be located in the United States to participate in this Program. If you are a Quora employee, you are eligible to participate and earn up to a maximum of $200 USD a month. You also agree to be bound by the Platform Terms (https://www.quora.com/about/tos) as a condition of participation.Again, if you check the FAQ section:How can other people I know .participate?The program is invite-only at this time, but we intend to open it up to more people as time goes on.So my guess is that Quora is currently targeting people based out of USA, who are active on Quora, may or may not be answering questions frequently ( I have not answered questions frequently in the past year or so) and have a certain number of consistent answer views.Edit 1: Thanks to @Anita Scotch, I got to know that the Quora partner program is now available for other countries too. Copying Anuta’s comment here:If you reside in one of the Countries, The Quora Partner Program is active in, you are eligible to participate in the program.” ( I read more will be added, at some point, but here are the countries, currently eligible at this writing,) U.S., Japan, Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Italy and Australia.11/14/2018Edit 2 : Here is the latest list of countries with 3 new additions eligible for the Quora Partner program:U.S., Japan, Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, India and Brazil.Thanks to Monoswita Rez for informing me about this update.
Should I hire a CPA or an EA to do my personal or business taxes? What are the pros and cons of hiring a Certified Public Accountant versus an Enrolled Agent?
First of all, thanks for the ask? Disclosure: I am getting my MS in Accounting (Tax) in May 2021. and I am working towards the EA credential. That said, I'll do my best to make this fair and balanced. [ETA March 12, 2021. I've been an EA since May 2014.]The short answer (people will hate hearing this) is: It depends.When people talk about tax, they really mean two things. Tax planning (planning transactions before they happen) and tax compliance (filling out forms, applying for credits, calculating, etc). I'm going to say this comes down to four choices: EA, CPA, tax attorney, and non-credentialed accountant. First of all, let's talk about the sort of thing each person is likely to help you with.Non-credentialed Accountant (NCA for short)It's a matter of WHY they are non-credentialed. Is it because they can't pass the exam? Have they tried? Can they do it? There's obviously a difference between NCAs who can't pass any of the exams, NCAs who have passed the exams but didn't bother getting a license, and NCAs who used to practice more actively but are now "retired" because they prefer to take life easier.Tax planning or tax compliance? It depends. Most of a typical NCA's experience will probably be in tax compliance. What a NCA knows is pretty much dictated by their experience and their personal drive to learn.NCAs can be very good. It takes guts (or ignorance) and a heck of a lot of perseverance to go out there and make it without any sort of credential. They've either proven they can do it and dropped the credential after building up a client base, or just sort of wandered into the profession after years of experience.Or, they could just be NCAs because they can't pass the exams. You can't really tell unless you ask, but can you trust the answers?Certified Public Accountant (CPA)What is a CPA anyway? Why have certified public accountants? Aren't you required to be a CPA to be an accountant anyway?Well, no. The only real difference (for a client, practically speaking, besides the ethics stuff) between a CPA and an NCA is that a CPA can legally sign off on audits. CPAs are valued for being an impartial attesting party. (@What is the difference between an audit and an attestation?) Also, the four parts of the CPA exam are REG (regulations), AUD (audit & attest), FAR (financial accounting & reporting), and BEC (business environment and concepts).Less than 25% of what you need to know to be a CPA is tax. Just like lawyers specialize, accountants do too. That said, the CPA credential has come to be shorthand for "accountant". CPAs are permitted to practice before the IRS (see Circular 230). If your CPA is an audit/attest kind of person, I'm not convinced they'll know everything about tax, since if you don't use it, you lose it, and the minutae of tax regulations changes every year. However, if your CPA is a tax specialist, you're probably okay. (What kind of tax specialist are they? Personal tax? Small biz? State and local? Sales/business? International? Corporate? M&A specialist? Everything?)While we're here, let me point out that after you get a credential, you have to get continuing professional education (CPE) to maintain said credential. CPAs need 120 hours every three years, but that 120 hours can be in pretty much anything. (Though they do need to do 2 hours of ethics every year.) Most CPAs will probably do a tax updates CPE course, but it's not required. A CPA can choose to do zero tax and be just fine.If you are in the habit of getting your bookkeeping done by a CPA, they offer a tax service, and they seem knowledgeable, it probably won't hurt to have the CPA do your taxes. They know all your financials anyway, and it's easier to just have it all done by the same person. For complicated, out-of-the-norm things, though, it might be better to tread with caution. A CPA who does small business is probably good at things like personal taxes and small business tax compliance. Any more than that and it depends on how up-to-date they are in their CPE.Tax Attorney/Lawyer (I use these words as synonyms)Right off the bat, if the person is not a tax lawyer, why are you talking to them about taxes? Better to just ask Uncle George or Aunt Gina.Tax attorneys are trained in the planning of taxation/transactions and in the legal side of things. A tax attorney is usually necessary for large, complex transactions, usually in M&As, consolidation, business structure, etc. The tax attorney is also the one who is most likely to be able to represent you in court should the need arise. (CPAs and EAs can't go to District Court or the Court of Federal Claims, and they will need to pass a special exam to represent you in Tax Court.)Where tax lawyers MAY fall short is in the accounting side of things. A tax lawyer may not know GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) because they aren't required to know any of it. In large engagements, it's normal to have both accountants and lawyers. The lawyers figure the high-level "do it this way, make X a C corp, Y a partnership, here's the best way to figure the M&A details, etc." The accountants are the ones who handle the numbers and actually work out the sums. When it comes to things like legal reasoning etc, it's hard to beat a tax lawyer.When do you most need legal reasoning for taxes? Well, first of all, if you're in trouble with the IRS (or if you want to challenge something and you want your day in court), the lawyer is going to have the most training in court procedure and tax law. The other place where legal reasoning is crucial? Estates and trust.Tax lawyers, by the way, are usually far more expensive than any NCA, CPA, or EA. Hiring them to do your personal taxes on a regular basis may be overkill on your wallet. If that's what you want, however, hey, it's your money.Enrolled Agent (EA) - NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ENROLLED ACTUARYWhat is an EA anyway? For a lot of people, they'll only just have begun to hear this term and will think it's a new credential. Actually, the EA is America's earliest tax credential. Wiki has the details: Enrolled agentLike a CPA, an EA has to pass a set of exams and do CPE to maintain their license. However, there are three main differences:The EA exam is 100% taxes. The EA Exam is the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE). Part 1 deals with individuals, Part 2 with businesses, and Part 3 with rules and regulations (the entirety of Circular 230.) You can check the syllabus if you want: IRS Special Enrollment ExaminationEA CPE must be tax-related (with the exception of 2 hours a year in ethics.) 72 hours every 3 years, which works out to 24 hours a year. Most EAs are part of the NAEA (National Association of Enrolled Agents), which mandates 30 hours of CPE per calendar year. All of it in tax (okay, yes, less 2 hours of ethics.)EAs aren't required to know GAAP. (Many do, anyway, because the obvious synergy between bookkeeping and taxes is really hard to ignore. An EA doing business on their own usually has some sort of bookkeeping license or experience.)EAs are trained in tax compliance: it is the be-all and end-all of their existence. That said, there are EAs who specialize in things such as offer-in-compromise (OIC). Many EAs are former IRS agents (you can get an EA license without taking the exam after working 5 years in the IRS.)So which do I choose?It's hard to say without knowing what you want your taxperson to do. We're going to assume that all four are equally competent and ethical. If you want someone to file your taxes, then the EA or NCA is going to be more cost-efficient. (Tax software or doing your own taxes is the MOST cost-efficient, but if you're looking for a taxperson, you have already decided you want someone else to do it.)If you want to think about a more complicated scenario then it starts getting a little murky. Estate planning and need to figure out the most tax-efficient way to pass your millions on to the next generation? (We're literally talking millions, because the lifetime exemption for gifts/estate tax is $5.34 million in 2021 and it goes up every year.) Incorporating a partnership? Dissolving a business? What are your needs? It may be that you'll need certain help that isn't just about tax... or maybe all you need is a sounding board.EA vs CPA: A NoteSome EAs are accountants who decided to take the EA exam instead of the CPA exam because they aren't interested in audit/attest work. These accountants are usually comparable to a CPA in terms of knowledge. In fact, within the Big Four, the EA is an acceptable substitute for the CPA within the tax branches of the firms.For all that, though, EAs are looked down upon, because the requirements to actually sit for the exam are... zero. If you think you want to take the SEE, go for it, all you need is to be 18 years old? If you want to take the CPA exam, you have to fulfill a set of requirements related to your education (and in some cases, experience) that varies depending on which state you are getting licensed in.For example, I will have an MS in Accounting and will have well over 150 hours of college and graduate education by the time I graduate. My graduate GPA is almost 4.0. However, I am ineligible to sit for the CPA exam because the specific courses I took in college don't match up to Colorado's CPA requirements.I could go to a different state and take the exam there instead (for example, WA), but I live and work in CO and I don't have any interest in audit/attest work, so I decided to get the EA license instead. If I want to make partner in a firm, I'll ultimately have to get the CPA license down the road (legal requirements having to do with firm formation/partner qualifications), and clients respond better to someone with CPA behind their name.Last WordsThe credential of the accountant doesn't necessarily matter, but it's a good shorthand for their experience/education/background/training. Ultimately, choosing a good accountant is like choosing a doctor/lawyer/dentist/any other professional. Get to know them and what they specialize in or like to do. Make your choice from there? Above all, find a financial professional you can trust and rely on. They're going to know a LOT about some very private details of your life. Pick an accountant the way you'd pick a spouse: think carefully, throw away arbitrary requirements, and go with what works best for YOU.
How can I get more people to fill out my survey?
Make it compellingQuickly and clearly make these points:Who you are and why you are doing thisHow long it takesWhats in it for me -- why should someone help you by completing the surveyExample: "Please spend 3 minutes helping me make it easier to learn Mathematics. Answer 8 short questions for my eternal gratitude and (optional) credit on my research findings. Thank you SO MUCH for helping."Make it convenientKeep it shortShow up at the right place and time -- when people have the time and inclination to help. For example, when students are planning their schedules. Reward participationOffer gift cards, eBooks, study tips, or some other incentive for helping.Test and refineTest out different offers and even different question wording and ordering to learn which has the best response rate, then send more invitations to the offer with the highest response rate.Reward referralsIf offering a reward, increase it for referrals. Include a custom invite link that tracks referrals.
How can I find a good tax attorney in the south Bay Area?
That would depend on your definition of good. Without a very specific list of expectations you don't have a chance. The legal community of course is much happier if you can't articulate exactly what you want. It allows them to interpret what they choose, that is in their own self interests, from a generalize and undefined request. Avoiding all the well founded arguments about attorneys and competence... Let's just imagine that every attorney has at least one competency. Which competency is relevent to your needs? Be very specific. If your circumstances are that you need advice towards the best course of reducing taxes? Then a tax attorney probably isn't your best advisor. Neither is tax professional because of circular 230. Are you dealing with a first round issue with the IRS, like an audit? Then a tax attorney or tax preparer like a CPA or EA are not your best options because they tend to want be overly compliant out of fear for themselves and the self interest of extended billing. Have you already been audited and now have to deal with the aftermath in collections? Then a tax attorney or cpa or ea aren't generally you be at option since they tend to feel the only option is force you into a settlement, instead of being dedicated to representing you. Unless settlement is really your best option. But you can't get a reliable recommendation from those sources since "settle" is their only method they would consider. How can I make such broad, general statement about all of these industries? Because the number of cases the IRS actually had to pursue completely through court isn't enough to keep one attorney busy for a year, much less all the law firms and accounting firms that advertise to represent you to the IRS. Have you ever heard an as that doesn't have the word "settle" in it? Okay, so you have considered your specific circumstance and know you have a specific need an attorney to fill... Now you can define the job better for an attorney to fill. Again we assume that every attorney can do something well. I know how ridiculous that sounds but let's just suspend reason and reality for the moment. Do you need a good pleading writer? Do you need a legal researcher? Do you need a negotiator? Do you need a strategist? Do you need some who is easy to talk to? Do you need someone that can organize your files? Someone that can marshal a case? Certainly we want to believe that there are at least a few attorneys that can write a pleading, some others that could adequately research a legal topic, maybe few that could actually negotiate well, etc. If you spend any time reviewing cases in your home town it will become painfully obvious that bad attorneys are legion. But it is beyond even the imagination of a lunatic that any one attorney is competent at everything much less good or great at the broad spectrum that is the law industry. Have a very sound and definable need that you can articulate and you are closer to finding an attorney that can do you some good than most people that interview attorneys and just turn their case over to the one that seemed nice, or made the biggest promise, or assured them that he would make their litigation easiest.