"Good Enough for Government Work"

My dad was not just a "handyman," but was "the" handyman.  He could work on anything, fix anything and he had every tool known to mankind.  He had a huge workshop with 10 million screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, saws, etc. (no exaggeration, I counted).

When I was a kid, it seemed like every Saturday he would be working on a project, and I would be pulled in to assist. 

I don't know about your experience, but every project we worked on wasn't easy.  What started out as an easy project often turned into a problem.  Something wouldn't loosen or something wouldn't tighten, something was too big, something was too small, the right tool wasn't acting like the right tool, and so on and so on.  As one problem would get solved, another one would appear like magic. 

In any case, at some point at the end of the project, after all of the problems were resolved (usually using some type of creativity), my dad would often say, "good enough for government work."  Now, I must clarify that my dad did not mean any offense to government work or government workers.  However, when my dad made this statement he was saying that the project was complete, albeit not perfectly, but it was done to a level that was atleast satisfactory or would do the job.  Today, every time I work on a home improvement project, that phrase comes into my head.  I can hear my dad's voice. 

In regards to state and local taxes, it sometimes feels as though each project (compliance, controversy, planning, etc.) runs into problem after problem.  What you think should be simple and straight forward turns into a complex and difficult maze to navigate.  When you get to the end of the project, you often feel like settling or in other words, saying "good enough for government work." 

Based on my experience, I highly recommend you don't take that approach.  Don't settle for satisfactory, but dig in, back-up, take a breath and look at your project from a different angle.  At the end of the project, when you are exhausted, a little extra effort could reap valuable benefits for you and your company or client.

Personal note:  Today would have been my dad's 71st birthday.  He died on March 11, 2008 due to lung cancer.  He never smoked a day in his life.  The doctors said he got it from second-hand smoke.  Don't smoke.  Protect yourself and those around you. 

Happy Birthday Dad!!! I miss you so much.

This blog

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States.  He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State Tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect."  For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com

You can reach Brian at strahle@leveragesalt.com.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn. Follow Brian on Twitter. Join the Leverage | SALT LinkedIn Group, connect and contribute with your colleagues!  

Because state and local taxes are deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.

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