I have dealt with many tax acts in the 30-plus years that I have been in professional publishing. When I worked at a tax publisher, I know tax legislation meant an awful lot of work. In one way or another, I would be involved in assembling the Code-as-amended, analyzing the effective dates, excerpting legislative committee reports, and writing or reviewing analyses. Besides the work, the legislation would almost always seemed to come down at a bad time, usually at the end of the year as Congress was about to adjourn. It was a real pain.

At the time, the tax practitioners that I came in contact with also viewed the legislation as adding to their workload, knowing they would be spending many hours trying to understand the law changes. Besides reading the massive material, many would also attend seminars. I got the feeling they viewed the added work as a natural byproduct of what they do, but a headache nevertheless.

Interestingly, a few years ago I saw a different mindset with regard to legislation by some practitioners. It wasn't tax legislation, but Sarbanes-Oxley. Yes, accounting firm partners and staff were busy trying to understand the provisions, but there was excitement being shown by some. The excitement was based on the fact that the legislation was providing potential new business opportunities.

A number of firms quickly developed strategies to take advantage of those opportunities, whether as an auditor to a public company or advising on Section 404 internal controls, to name just two.

Now we have the enactment of the "Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005." As evidenced by an e-mail that I received, some accounting firms' first thoughts are about the impact on existing and potential new clients, and the additional revenue it can directly generate for the firm. Surprisingly that was my first thought, too, not the additional work it would cause, but whether new tax planning or financial planning engagements could directly result from this latest legislation.

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