Federal Income Tax with no finance background

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Cornhuskers3
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Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby Cornhuskers3 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:50 pm

I realize this will largely vary from school to school/professor to professor but what are some people's thoughts on taking this class without any background in the field? Other than Econ 101 and 102 early on in UG and some minor reading on my own when I was curious about, I really have no exposure to the field. Was a struggle to keep up? How much were people expected to know beforehand?

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:52 pm

I took tax and you don't need a background, but it sure as fuck would help. You will simply not do as well as people who have accounting or finance backgrounds. And some fucking prick in your class with be a CPA. I hate the shit out of tax, even though I could understand it - too many numbers for me, and fucking boooooooooring.

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Samara
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:59 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:I took tax and you don't need a background, but it sure as fuck would help. You will simply not do as well as people who have accounting or finance backgrounds. And some fucking prick in your class with be a CPA. I hate the shit out of tax, even though I could understand it - too many numbers for me, and fucking boooooooooring.

While I'm sure it's an advantage to have a finance background, I know a couple people who did very very well in federal income tax despite having no more finance background than the OP and having a couple CPA classmates.

For the class that I took, we were not expected to know anything beforehand and my professor got some business school students to come in and teach us some of the basics. IMO, it's more of advantage to have filed your own taxes before than to have a non-tax-related finance background.

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guano
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby guano » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:19 pm

Tax =/= finance, but there is some overlap. That being said, it's entirely possible to do either one without needing the other

Cornhuskers3
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby Cornhuskers3 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:17 pm

Ya I guess finance wasn't the best choice of words. Should have said without an accounting background but it seems that the consensus is that it's helpful but not needed to do well. My best friend is a CPA so I guess I can always hit him up if I need something.

SoCow
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby SoCow » Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:36 am

It would help to have a background in accounting or economics, but you can get through fed income tax without it. it'll just take you an extra 5 minutes here and there googling a definition.

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notedgarfigaro
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby notedgarfigaro » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:24 am

it might help at the beginning, but there's zero need for it in an intro class. I went in totally blind (never even filed my own taxes) and did very well.

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guano
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby guano » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:00 am

There are some specialty areas of tax that rely heavily on accounting and/or finance, and learning accounting and finance are certainly helpful, but it's entirely possible to do tax without knowing either.

But if this is really something you want to do, you should take at the very least take an intro class in each. Understanding LIFO v FIFO, or the concept behind Net Present Value is incredibly useful if you go into tax.

UndecidedMN
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby UndecidedMN » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:44 am

You do not need to have a finance/accounting background. However, I HIGHLY recommend the Emanual's on Federal Income Tax. It will get you through basis which can get really confusing. Especially when you get to the Philadelphia Amusement case and Tufts cases. Also another tip, almost always you get to bring your code book with you. Make sure you tab it with important sections. It can make your life much easier.

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3|ink
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby 3|ink » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:26 am

The worst part about tax I is that it is easy and full of gunners.

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shepdawg
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby shepdawg » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:56 am

You have a chance to do well, but coming out on top against the CPA in your class will be hard.

Cornhuskers3
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby Cornhuskers3 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:17 pm

guano wrote:There are some specialty areas of tax that rely heavily on accounting and/or finance, and learning accounting and finance are certainly helpful, but it's entirely possible to do tax without knowing either.

But if this is really something you want to do, you should take at the very least take an intro class in each. Understanding LIFO v FIFO, or the concept behind Net Present Value is incredibly useful if you go into tax.


I don't think I want to practice anything to do with tax law specifically, such as a specialty, but I've heard that having a working understanding of the tax code and system is useful in pretty much every practice area you could want to go into. Plus the best professor who teaches tax at my school is calling it quits after this year so I wanna get in on that. I'll look into some of those concepts though, thank you for the recommendations. There's also an accelerated class offered over a week, accounting for lawyers, that I'm considering taking (maybe not this semester, not sure yet).

UndecidedMN wrote:You do not need to have a finance/accounting background. However, I HIGHLY recommend the Emanual's on Federal Income Tax. It will get you through basis which can get really confusing. Especially when you get to the Philadelphia Amusement case and Tufts cases. Also another tip, almost always you get to bring your code book with you. Make sure you tab it with important sections. It can make your life much easier.


Thanks for the tip. My professor actually requires the Chirelstein book (Concepts and Insights). Would you recommend getting both? I see Emanuel pretty cheap on Amazon.

Void
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby Void » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:44 pm

There were some CPA doodz in my tax class who ended up getting pwned because they didnt really bother to pay close attention to the reading or class because they assumed they already knew everything.

Federal Income Tax class is to tax law what 1L Criminal Law class is to criminal law. It's just a super broad outline of the tax system and focuses mostly on the rationale for taxing some things and not others, rather than getting into procedural specifics. You'll be fine.

JJ123
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby JJ123 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:34 pm

Tax has nothing to do with finance. And it has nothing to do with introductory accounting (debits and credits). The only experience that would be relevant is a tax accounting class. And even then, that focuses on compliance.

Jacques_Bentley
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby Jacques_Bentley » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:49 am

JJ123 wrote:Tax has nothing to do with finance. And it has nothing to do with introductory accounting (debits and credits). The only experience that would be relevant is a tax accounting class. And even then, that focuses on compliance.


This. People are misusing or just not understanding the term finance. A knowledge of some economic fundamentals, OTOH (i.e., micro, not macro), can be somewhat useful, if only to illuminate theory and policy. Depending on your prof's emphasis and teaching style. But it's generally not essential.

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alicrimson
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby alicrimson » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:53 am

NotMyRealName09 wrote:I took tax and you don't need a background, but it sure as fuck would help. You will simply not do as well as people who have accounting or finance backgrounds. And some fucking prick in your class with be a CPA. I hate the shit out of tax, even though I could understand it - too many numbers for me, and fucking boooooooooring.



Haha. Everyone varies. I took and booked several tax classes (one was income tax) without a finance background. I've taken finance, but I'm no CPA or even very good at math at all. I just thought it was fun and a giant game of manipulative sodoku. If you like code classes, you'll probably like this too. If not, it's still important, because tax motivates everything. If you fall in the latter camp, try to stick with it and get the code down cold. Talk to your prof. Even though it is a lot of info, you can usually get a feel for what will be tested. Good luck!

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941law
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby 941law » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:43 pm

I went in with as little knowledge as possible (I've never filed my own taxes, etc) and did fine. I think understanding the big picture of what you're looking at is very important oppose to just jumping into memorizing formula's.

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Totalimmortal
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Re: Federal Income Tax with no finance background

Postby Totalimmortal » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:24 pm

The most relevant UG course I had was Math in Society, lol. I'm going into FIT as a learning experience. This will be bully!!!




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