Pizzas, 5-Hour Energy drinks and $18 burgers are fuel for tax filers before April 18
Your accountant is going to get really fat this tax season.
From January through mid-April, as Americans rush to get their tax papers in on time, accountants endure three months of sleeplessness fueled by adrenaline and junk food. For Rus Garofalo, founder of New York-based Brass Taxes, which specializes in filing for self-employed creatives, this meant meeting more than a dozen clients for 45 minutes each day at the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Manhattan. In between sessions, he ordered a $18 hamburger and french fries from the restaurant, scarfing it down in less than five minutes.
“It felt like an absurd decadent blend of success and failure,” says Garofalo. “You have no time to enjoy things… the adrenaline is going and people need you.”
For Scott Reing, a tax lawyer at New York’s Garytaxman and Son, previous tax seasons have meant a steady diet of Seamless and Grubhub from January to April. He estimates he would consume about 2500 calories a day during his busiest four months. Reing said he would order Chinese takeout or pizza for lunch and dinner daily, and then finish a pint of ice cream when he got home as a treat. The result: gaining about 12 pounds. This year, Reing said he’s battling the bulge early and consuming just 1,700 calories daily, not counting the Oreos, rugelach, Werther’s Originals and other treats clients often bring with them.
Christi Bender, a Phoenixville, PA bean counter, is a little more prepared: over the last two weekends of December, Bender whips up over 100 different meals for her and her CPA husband, ranging from shepherd’s pie to stews and pot roast, and stores them in the freezer. That, coupled with popcorn, tea and caffeinated 5-Hour Energy soda, makes up their diet for most of spring, when she’s working 65-hour-plus weeks with “no days off, none,” she says. (When reminded that the deadline for filing taxes this year is April 18 instead of the usual April 15, all Bender can say is “F—k this year!”)
Some tax preparers are starting to realize that working crazy hours can take a serious toll on their health. After being bedridden for weeks with a backache after a particularly taxing tax season, Garofalo installed standing desks in his office and closes shop for two days each week. Bender too uses a standing desk and works out three days a week.
Of course, they always have summer to look forward to. Bender’s headed to the British Virgin Islands for a vacation with her husband, while Garofalo’s looking forward to playing racquetball and riding his motorcycle with the IRS out of sight and mind.
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