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Don't feel bad, Norm. As a computer support guy, I got it all the time. "Uh, I was having trouble with my Internet disk, and my hard drive, the small one, wasn't downloading my files, and my AOL wasn't logging onto Google. And I think my password had a virus. I'm a total computer boob, but my nephew works out at the Site and he's a total whiz, he knows EVERYTHING about computers, and Excel, so I had him come over. He said I had to reformat my CPU, start everything over, and he did it, but now my disk doesn't work at all and my Windows is weird and I can't log on to my Web and none of my programs will download. How much do you charge to fix that?"

I knew I needed to get out of the business when I began saying: "Too much. My recommendation is that you sue your nephew. Failing that, kidnap him and chain him to your computer on bread and water until the little punk uses his vast know-how to fix the mess he made because he didn't have the faintest notion what he was doing."

You'll be pleased to know that there is at least one investor out here who treasures his relationship with his CPA. I do not understand the resistance to this. I pay $200 a year (1/2000 of the sum I'm managing), thereabouts, and I get my taxes done by someone who is accountable. I get the privilege of calling or e-mailing with tax questions, even Nervous Nellie ones I've asked before, patiently answered again for the fifth time. I have an ally in the eternal struggle against the demons and devil-spawn of Internal Revenue. All that's asked of me is to be polite, gather my information in usable format each year, and pay my bill promptly--three things I can be good at in life when I put my mind to them.

Sure, it sucks to have a tax system that requires you to hire someone to do your taxes. At least I think it does. But that's the system and I don't have the power to change it; only to work within it. And for an investor, the foundation stone is a solid CPA relationship.
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