An Eye on the Ball, Even in Tax Season – New York Times

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Sunday Routine

All you people who haven’t filed your taxes yet, John R. Lieberman’s got your number. A certified public accountant and personal financial specialist who has talked about tax issues on “The Daily Show” and on CNN, he likens April 15 to Christmas Day: There are people who shop early in September, and there are people who show up on Dec. 24. Mr. Lieberman, 55, who is managing director at Perelson Weiner in New York and does a lot of international work, lives on the Upper East Side with Dr. Andrea P. Thau, 54, an optometrist. The couple has two sons, Evan, 24, in his third year at the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, and Richard, 21, graduating from Binghamton University this year. Sunday is typically a work day for Mr. Lieberman, especially this time of year, but he tries to get in some tennis; he once aspired to the pro circuit.

EARLY TO RISE I do not set the alarm and, despite my best efforts, I am up by 7:30 in the morning. I always would enjoy sleeping later.
STRETCH AND READ I get up, I do some stretching — I’ve had multiple surgeries from my tennis days — and then, believe it or not, I spend a good 45 minutes or an hour reading The New York Times, and my favorite article is usually the magazine section, which is to guess the disease. I do check my cellphone, my smartphone, while I’m stretching.
WORK BREAKFAST I usually have my first cup of coffee around 10 o’clock. That’s my first eating of the day around the same time. The place I usually have them is at Bottega del Vino at 59th and Fifth. Generally speaking, it’s either my international clients or the tech clients that are getting up late, is a nice way of putting it. They enjoy New York and they don’t like the formal offices. I usually have a cup of coffee and a croissant or a buttered roll.
TO THE OFFICE Basically from 11 to 5, 5:30, I will be either meeting with taxpayers during tax season, writing memos, reviewing tax returns, and answering a slew of emails.
READING MATTER Because of the complexities of tax law, I probably spend an hour, or an hour and a half, just reading material that I need to stay on top of, to stay current because of the developments that occur, sometimes on an hourly basis.
THEN AND NOW Mechanically, it’s a lot easier today with e-filing. We didn’t have computers when I started. We had computer services. Mechanically, there was a lot more to do. The complexity today is thousands of pages of additional code and interpretation.
LEAST FAVORITE CLIENTS Relatives. I do family members’ taxes. Always interesting. And I will say no more.
EARLY DINNER There’s no lunch. My wife travels extensively, and she is away many weekends, and she usually comes back, sometimes in the early afternoons, on Sunday. She comes home and we get together and have dinner, go over what’s happened during the last few days.
WHAT HE COOKS For formal dinners, I’m known for my London broil. For everything else, soup, salad, light pasta.
TENNIS In lieu of playing games, like a lot of people do, I actually do training. I go out on the court with a hitter, and from time to time with a coach or someone who specializes in the equipment. It’s a constant evaluation. We go over what I need to work on, whether it’s forehand or backhand, and they hit balls with different techniques — hard, soft, spin.
MEMORIES We go to Grand Central Station; they have one tennis court. And it’s in the Vanderbilt part of the building. There used to be two courts; I played on them in the ’70s. In those days I was the hitter. I was a little thinner, too.
BACK ON THE COMPUTER I shower, I change, I go home and go right back on the computer. Speak to my kids, depending what their schedule is. We Skype with one; we use the phone on the other.
STORIES If I have time, I’ll sit down and try to catch up with some of my books I’d like to read, short stories by Somerset Maugham — travel, as I call it, through his short stories and go different places.
OVER AND OUT Probably the last phone call, the kids, sometimes clients, is around midnight.