Bull Bear Report Oct 06 2009

Tax Firms Prep for Changes with New Hires

By julie steinberg

It's not tax season just yet, but firms are gearing up for a year that's bound to be complicated by new federal tax regulations.

To prepare for the onslaught, H&R Block is planning to hire 15,000 tax professionals worldwide. In order to apply for the job, candidates must pass the firm's 69-hour Income Tax Course, which covers everything from mortgage interest to credits, deductions and charitable contributions. The classes started Oct. 5, but the Web site makes us think you can still sign up. The 11-week course costs $200 to $300, depending on your location. Or you can take an assessment if you're already a tax pro.

Meanwhile, Ernst & Young isn't shy about the tax talent it's just picked up. The firm recruited several former government officials, including Eric Solomon, an assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury, Karen Gilbreath Sowell, a deputy assistant secretary for tax policy, and Frank Y. Ng, a former commissioner at the Internal Revenue Service. The hires illustrate the zigzagging between public and private sectors -- and how working in government can equip you for a high-profile role in the private sector nowadays.

As major tax changes take place, E&Y made a smart move in recruiting government talent.

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