Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s spotlight is on CPA Nick Dulo, a tax partner at BDO’s Greater Washington, D.C., office.
Dulo has extensive experience consulting on matters involving Subchapter K taxation and a client base largely consisting of real estate developers, construction companies, private-equity-owned portfolio companies, and professional service firms.
In addition to his responsibilities in client management, Dulo is the co-leader of BDO’s Greater Washington, D.C., real estate practice.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? My title is Tax Partner. I am a business adviser to my clients with over 12 years of experience providing tax compliance and consulting services, primarily to companies organized as partnerships. My main industries of focus are real estate and private equity. I work with clients to provide tax planning strategies and alternatives, determine tax minimizing accounting methods and ensure compliance with mandatory filings.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Audiobook, specifically through Audible. I have a rotation of leadership, self-improvement, biographies, memoirs, history, race, culture, and fiction books. My goal is 100 books for the year, and I’m currently two books ahead of schedule to accomplish the goal by year-end. My favorite book this year is “The Rage of Dragons” by Evan Winter.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Partnership taxation, which I affectionately refer to as the wild, wild west of the tax world. The rules governing allocations of income and loss can get complex very quickly. There’s never a dull moment, thus working in partnership tax requires one to be an adviser year-round, rather than just a tax preparer. I also enjoy working with partnerships because it allows me to take a holistic approach to advising my clients, ensuring that decisions made at the entity level are made with consideration of the most optimal outcome for the ultimate taxpayers, who are usually individuals.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? My kids have been keeping me busy, so I don’t watch many movies these days, but Disney’s “Luca” has been on repeat at my house since its release a few weeks ago. My almost five-year-old loves it, and I’m sure we’ve watched it over 30 times, but I enjoy it too, so it works out.
What college did you attend and what did you study? I received both my Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and my Master of Science degree in Accounting from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Definitely coffee.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? The late John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, spent his professional life preaching the idea of long-term investing over short-term speculation. His advice is to select a few diversified low-cost funds and build a “hold” portfolio. I buy from a select group of funds every month, regardless of the noise being spewed in the public markets, and never sell.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? College professor with a very limited workload, and plenty of time to attend college sporting events.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax code—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? I would have a “work transit credit"—a tax credit for some portion of the cost for individuals who use public means to commute to work. I would recommend it phase out with an increase in income.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season (or other busy time)? I go through many bags of almonds during tax season. I can eat them any time of day.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? The CARES Act. We quickly became lending advisers for PPP loan purposes, helped clients with various credits, and amended returns in response to certain rule changes like bonus depreciation. 2020 felt like a 12-month tax season, but it was more important than ever to be a proactive tax adviser for our clients.
If Uncle Sam handed you a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? I’m going to give the boring, but financially responsible answer of a tax professional: I would probably put it in my brokerage account.
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