Meet Gary Weiss of Gary Weiss CPA

Meet Gary Weiss, CPA

Gary Weiss is a Certified Public Accountant shares his love of tax resolution.   

And thank goodness he loves tax resolution when most of us don’t!

Gary discusses the challenging relationship between the IRS and the general public, and how it causes so much fear and animosity.

He also pulls back the curtain on some secrets to getting through to and successfully working directly with the IRS for problem resolution. Gary also tells us how he went from dreaming as a young boy to being a writer, to learning bookkeeping, and eventually becoming a CPA.

And finally, Gary reveals his true (or not so true) curmudgeon nature.

CLICK HERE for more information about Gary Weiss.

CLICK HERE for more information about Gary’s Accounting Practice.

Listen to Gary’s story here.


Click here to read the transcript

Intro Speaker 0:00
From Los Angeles, this is the Echelon radio network.

Jerri Hemsworth 0:02
This is Jerri Hemsworth with the Echelon Radio Podcast and today I’m sitting with Gary Weiss, you’re an accountant. Are you not?

Gary Weiss 0:23
Yeah, CPA

Jerri Hemsworth 0:25
CPA, which is better than just an accountant. But you, you. He’s like, I got Gary Weis s to laugh. But you are a tax specialist, especially when somebody is in trouble with tax or

Gary Weiss 0:39
tax resolution, yes.

Jerri Hemsworth 0:40
Tax resolution. Tell me about your practice.

Gary Weiss 0:42
Well, I mean, I have a regular accounting firm, we do corporate partnership, individual taxes, the usual stuff. But I specialize personally there in doing tax resolution, which is fixing people’s problems with the IRS, people who have who have not filed returns, people who owe a lot of money. People have liens, levies, all sorts of problems, that have overwhelmed them, and they don’t know what to do. So they throw up their hands, and finally said, I’m gonna get some help. And they show up at my door saying, What do I do? So I don’t go to jail.

Jerri Hemsworth 1:23
Yeah we were just talking a little bit ago about, uh people have this huge fear of the IRS, people are terrified of them, and have a really bad taste in their mouth. And, and so they delay and they and they put off. And you have a really interesting outlook on that because you deal with the IRS daily, do you not?

Gary Weiss 1:46

Jerri Hemsworth 1:47
And they’re people.

Gary Weiss 1:47
normal people,

Jerri Hemsworth 1:50
normal people,

Gary Weiss 1:51
most of them,

Jerri Hemsworth 1:51
most of them. On occasion you get a screwball.

Gary Weiss 1:53
Yeah every now and then you get somebody who just rude.

Jerri Hemsworth 1:58
but why do people why do you find clients just sit and do nothing and then they they build up the boogeyman in their head,

Gary Weiss 2:06
The IRS, US government, Congress has gone to great lengths, since Al Capone to create an adversarial relationship with the taxpayer. And since Al (Capone) went to jail for tax fraud, because cause that was the only way they could get in, they found that to be an effective method. The problem is over the last, you know, 50, 60, 70 years, it’s gotten worse. So people are very afraid when they get that letter in the mail that says IRS in the upper left hand corner and God forbid should come certified return receipt. That means as far as they’re concerned, that’s a summons to jail.

Jerri Hemsworth 2:52
Right. Right.

Gary Weiss 2:53
And when you like most human beings, when you get threatened, it’s fight or flight. So what are you gonna do? fight the IRS?

Jerri Hemsworth 3:04
Yeah, no

Gary Weiss 3:05
No, nobody’s gonna do that. I’m that’s what I do.

Jerri Hemsworth 3:07

Gary Weiss 3:07
So they,

Jerri Hemsworth 3:08

Gary Weiss 3:08
They fly.

Jerri Hemsworth 3:09

Gary Weiss 3:10
So they go, they hide, they pull away, they don’t do anything. And they think they’re, you know, they think if they just don’t do anything, it’ll go away. doesn’t work that way. No. And by time, it builds up on them, and they start getting liens, levies, threatening notices. They finally say I’m here to do something about this before I actually do go to jail, which they never will. But then they come to me. And my job, initially, is not to solve the problem, back into that’s not a problem. My job is is to be able to take this high level of anxiety and reduce it to zero and have the walk out the door, going I can sleep tonight

Jerri Hemsworth 4:00
Thank god

Gary Weiss 4:00
I don’t have to worry. That is my biggest job. And that is probably the thing. I’m the best at.

Jerri Hemsworth 4:08
That’s your superpower.

Gary Weiss 4:09
Yeah, it’s being able to get people to take that anxiety out of them. Leave it on the floor. I go leave the anxiety with me. Go home. Nobody’s gonna call you anymore. We signed a power of attorney, so I deal with the IRS. And they can walk out the door. And the IRS isn’t gonna talk to them. They don’t care. They go home go about their business, then I go at war, which is what I love to do.

Jerri Hemsworth 4:40
And you like to it? Its your very best favorite?

Gary Weiss 4:40
That’s my battle. And well, men like to fight battles. Right? That’s what they do.

Jerri Hemsworth 4:45

Gary Weiss 4:46
My battles are with the US government. But little me, big government

Jerri Hemsworth 4:52
and you love to take them on.

Gary Weiss 4:53
Yeah, it’s fun. Something to do.

Jerri Hemsworth 4:57
See that is you being happy and being fun.

Gary Weiss 5:00
Oh yeah, that’s my that’s my happy place.

Jerri Hemsworth 5:02
Happy place.

Gary Weiss 5:03
Yep. Well, I can call up. I just have one client. He owes $44,000. From 2011. It’s all an error on his previous accountants part.

Jerri Hemsworth 5:17
Oh crap.

Gary Weiss 5:18
So I figured it out in about 15 minutes what was wrong. And I called the IRS several times. And I have a plan, it’s going to take a year to fix it. But I’m working with the tax payer advocates office, which is a separate part of the Treasury Department, which is the IRS is part of the Treasury Department. And I’m solving the problem. I called him up. I got it, don’t worry, but he doesn’t care anymore.

Jerri Hemsworth 5:51

Gary Weiss 5:51
He’s had since 2011

Jerri Hemsworth 5:53
(He’s) been carrying that.

Gary Weiss 5:54

Jerri Hemsworth 5:55
Wow, that’s got to cause havoc with your health mentally, physically.

Gary Weiss 6:01
Oh, yeah.

Jerri Hemsworth 6:02

Gary Weiss 6:03
I have people who really struggle to get through a day sometimes, because they’re so overwhelmed with the fear. They don’t know what the fear of what just fear that’s been created in their minds by the IRS. Yet the world is ending.

Jerri Hemsworth 6:23
That’s it’s an amazing talent that you have. And I don’t think there are many CPAs that relish in what you love to relish in.

Gary Weiss 6:36
No, well most accountants hate that.

Jerri Hemsworth 6:38

Gary Weiss 6:39
No. First of all, I can spend on good day. I have spent six hours on the phone with the IRS.

Jerri Hemsworth 6:47
That’s a good day for you.

Gary Weiss 6:49
Well, most of it’s on hold. But yeah, but that’s, you know, it’s

Jerri Hemsworth 6:54
Six hours for 10 minutes of talk, Hahaha.

Gary Weiss 6:59
Essentially. Yes, but, but when I get through? I know what to do. I know where to hone in on. I have about 40 different telephone numbers for the IRS.

Jerri Hemsworth 7:13

Gary Weiss 7:13
Okay, so I know what department to call. I know what the when you get a letter from the IRS, there’s a number in the top right hand corner. CP 2000.

Jerri Hemsworth 7:24

Gary Weiss 7:24
3219 A.

Jerri Hemsworth 7:25

Gary Weiss 7:26
CP 22. Right. All these different numbers.

Jerri Hemsworth 7:29

Gary Weiss 7:30
To you hey mean nothing. To me. They mean something

Jerri Hemsworth 7:33
They mean everything.

Gary Weiss 7:34
Right. I know where it is in the process by looking at those letters.

Jerri Hemsworth 7:38
So the IRS hasn’t figured out to put your counterpart on the other side that you have a direct line to?

Gary Weiss 7:46
No. No, they don’t. And that’s because

Jerri Hemsworth 7:51
Which would be a grand thing for you.

Gary Weiss 7:52
Right But remember that the Congress.

Jerri Hemsworth 7:54

Gary Weiss 7:54
Congress creates rules. The IRS is only there to implement the law. They don’t write law. They don’t write anything other than procedures. But so they’re just doing what they’re told.

Jerri Hemsworth 8:07
And they’re probably looking at going this is really wack.

Gary Weiss 8:10
Oh, I get that from the IRS. I get that from agents all the time. That this makes no sense. But I have to do it

Jerri Hemsworth 8:16
This is the law.

Gary Weiss 8:17

Jerri Hemsworth 8:18
So Gary, I’m going to switch gears a little bit. Did you always want to be an accountant? When you were a kid, did you want to Did you grew up going I want to be an accountant?

Gary Weiss 8:28

Jerri Hemsworth 8:29
What did you want to do?

Gary Weiss 8:30
I wanted to be a writer.

Jerri Hemsworth 8:32
Writer, right?

Gary Weiss 8:34
Correct. A writer.

Jerri Hemsworth 8:35
What made you want to be a writer?

Gary Weiss 8:36
Don’t know. There was just something inside me said I want to be a writer.

Jerri Hemsworth 8:41
Wow. And so you wrote as a kid and in school and

Gary Weiss 8:44
No I was a terrible writer. I couldn’t put two words together and make a sentence.

Jerri Hemsworth 8:48

Gary Weiss 8:49
Yeah. Not a chance

Jerri Hemsworth 8:50
But you just wanted to be a writer.

Gary Weiss 8:51

Jerri Hemsworth 8:52
Fascinating. So somewhere along the line that something inspired you and somebody read or

Gary Weiss 9:01
No, what happened was I went back, I decided to get my master’s degree in tax review.

Jerri Hemsworth 9:05
Wait, before we go there. Before we go. Well, go ahead.

Gary Weiss 9:10
I had to take the GMAT. I took a GMAT prep course, and the guides I took the English portion taught me more about how to write an English structure and how to make a sentence than all the years of school I had

Jerri Hemsworth 9:27

Gary Weiss 9:28
And all of a sudden you just went I went Oh.

Jerri Hemsworth 9:31
Oh, I get it.

Gary Weiss 9:32
Now a perfect example is my wife’s mother died when she was 19. Its a bad sentence. It implies the mother died at 19.

Jerri Hemsworth 9:42

Gary Weiss 9:43
So he taught me you have to have- all the pieces have to be in order. She said say my mother in my wife’s mother died when my wife was 19. Now it makes sense. So I started to learn how to write.

Jerri Hemsworth 9:56
Interesting but you had the nugget In your soul before when you were a kid saying this is what I want to do.

Gary Weiss 10:05

Jerri Hemsworth 10:06
But you didn’t become a writer. At what point did you decide to become an accountant?

Gary Weiss 10:14
Well, when I went to college. I took a lot of ology classes: Biology, Anthropology, Chemistry

Jerri Hemsworth 10:23

Gary Weiss 10:24
Yeah, I took all sciences.

Jerri Hemsworth 10:25

Gary Weiss 10:25
But one day I took- my mother was a bookkeeper for my dad. So I knew what a bookkeeper was. So I took a bookkeeping course in the 70s. This meant paper. Ledgers.

Jerri Hemsworth 10:36
Ledgers yeah sure.

Gary Weiss 10:37
-eraser those things that don’t exist anymore. And I learned how to assess books

Jerri Hemsworth 10:44
And you liked that.

Gary Weiss 10:45
Right. And through a series of events. I went to college, dropped out of college went back and when I went back, I decided to go back into accounting. So I went back got my degree in accounting, and one of my great stories- as I was taking accounting 101, (at) Cal State Dominguez Hills, Professor Lee- long gray hair, ponytail, Birkenstocks great. We had to to exams the midterm in the final at the end of the midterm next class me he walked around and handed out pink slips to half the class, so this was not a class for you. I didn’t get one but that sort of realize

Jerri Hemsworth 11:34
He basically was saying don’t you don’t want to do this.

Gary Weiss 11:38
No. You’re gonna fail this course.

Jerri Hemsworth 11:40

Gary Weiss 11:41
So he kicked out half the class

Jerri Hemsworth 11:44

Gary Weiss 11:45
oh yeah with your- Our eyes are all like

Jerri Hemsworth 11:48
Oh wait don’t come back.

Gary Weiss 11:50
Yeah, that’s what it was but I I didn’t get one obviously. And so I realized I’m in the right place

Jerri Hemsworth 11:57
You were doing what you were meant to do.

Gary Weiss 11:59
Yeah, I was in the right place.

Jerri Hemsworth 12:01
And, yet your education didn’t stop there.

Gary Weiss 12:03
No, I got my degree went back to work print accounting for two years dropped out of accounting went to Hughes Aircraft for many years and then when in when I was working in Hughes Aircraft, I decided this is not for me. So I went to my boss, Harvey Love, and, I said want to get my master’s degree in tax. I want to go USC. So I applied. Took the GMAT, more than once. And did not get in the first time, but found the Dean of the School, Mike Duffy, I talked to him and I expressed my passion I had to do this. And the next time I applied I got in, and I graduated with my MBT in 1990. And I loved it. I was I love going to school.

Jerri Hemsworth 12:59
You told me a story about needing to use the libraries at USC and specifically the law library.

Gary Weiss 13:10
Right. What when you in the early late 80s yes the accounting library USC was terrible. It didn’t have the tax stuff we needed, so I needed to use the law library. Well, those pesky law students needed to use it too. They are very annoying. Very you know-

Jerri Hemsworth 13:30

  • they get in the way.

Gary Weiss 13:31
oh not only that they-

Jerri Hemsworth 13:32
They are like knats.

Gary Weiss 13:31
and they’re you know, it’s USC so they’re all snobs. So I sent so I figured Hughes Aircraft must have a law library.

Jerri Hemsworth 13:45
Which is where you were working.

Gary Weiss 13:46
Right, so I got permission to go corporate and use the law library. So I didn’t go at 5:30 in the morning before and open, and use the law library one day. I stayed later than I should have, and you know the tax people started showing up. And, one of them asked me what I was doing. And I said I told him what I was doing. He said “don’t bother you’ll never become an accountant. You’ll never do it.”

Jerri Hemsworth 14:20

Gary Weiss 14:21
Yeah. And I looked-

Jerri Hemsworth 14:23
Right to your face?!

Gary Weiss 14:24
Oh yeah, but this far.

Jerri Hemsworth 14:25
Oh geez.

Gary Weiss 14:27
And, I just looked at him I thought to myself, thanks for thanks for the input, but no, I’m going to anyway. I went on and got my degree went back pass the exam and got a job in accounting

Jerri Hemsworth 14:43
Big ass watch me.

Gary Weiss 14:45
Yeah, I went ahead and did anyway.

Jerri Hemsworth 14:47
And did you go work for a big firm?

Gary Weiss 14:49
No, I worked for a very unique boutique law accounting firm called Edward White and Company that did high end accounts. Big stuff. Very, very unique firm, where I learned how to be not just how to be an accountant, I learned the business of accounting because I pay attention to the secretaries, the admin, the people who file stuff

Jerri Hemsworth 15:19
Running the machine.

Gary Weiss 15:21
Yep, I pay attention. Because of that I learned

Jerri Hemsworth 15:27
And when did you start your own firm?

Gary Weiss 15:29
Well, I worked for a couple more accounting firms. And I worked for another firm. And I got the job there. When got the job I realized some months later, I really screwed up.

Jerri Hemsworth 15:45

Gary Weiss 15:47
I was in the wrong place with the wrong job, and about eight months later, we had a disagreement. They payed me a bunch of money. I left. At that point, in December of 2010. I formed my own firm. I decide I’m gonna do it.

Jerri Hemsworth 16:08
And that was that.

Gary Weiss 16:09

Jerri Hemsworth 16:11
And we were just joking. That, you know, you’re never happy. You’re never, you know, pleased, but I disagree. I disagree. I think you’re happy with what you’re doing. And I think that’s what makes you thrive.

Gary Weiss 16:31
Well, yeah. Correct. That’s my happy place. But my idea of fun is different than other people’s.

Jerri Hemsworth 16:39

Gary Weiss 16:39
Right. And so when people say, let’s go do this, it’s fun. I go, no, they look at me like I’m insane. They go, what would you rather do? I go, I got some Tax Court cases to read, that I think are far more fun. And I read those.

Jerri Hemsworth 16:56
But thank God for your clients. I mean that. I mean, that’s fantastic.

Gary Weiss 17:00
But what am i one of the things I’m lately most proud of, is that there’s a law professor at Pepperdine, who teaches tax law, and I’ve been reading his articles regularly for three years. Finally, I started emailing him. And we started a dialogue back and forth. And here I am this lonely, little CPA dealing with this high powered tax attorney. I realized I can hold my own. And that’s and I thought to myself, wow, I did do it. Yeah. Despite what that guy told me at Hughes Aircraft. Yeah, I did do it.

Jerri Hemsworth 17:36
And where’s he now?

Gary Weiss 17:37
Who cares? Probably dead. From frustration, anxiety and tension.

Jerri Hemsworth 17:46
Yeah, he keeled over.

Gary Weiss 17:47

Jerri Hemsworth 17:47
He’s not happy. That’s one not happy guy.

Gary Weiss 17:49
Oh no, he was- none of the people in tax departments are ever happy

Jerri Hemsworth 17:52

Gary Weiss 17:53
Corporate tax department.

Jerri Hemsworth 17:55
You really are.

Gary Weiss 17:56
Yeah, I think so.

Jerri Hemsworth 17:57

Gary Weiss 17:58
I’m not gonna admit it though.

Jerri Hemsworth 17:59
No, never don’t. Gary Weis is not one happy guy. Don’t ever believe it.

Gary Weiss 18:04

Jerri Hemsworth 18:05
Yeah. Or as we said, wbmc, which stands for whiny bitchy. M? Moaning and complaining. But you’re still happy.

Gary Weiss 18:18
That’s my skill, sadly.

Jerri Hemsworth 18:20
And lovely. Thank you, Gary. Thank you for being with me today.

Gary Weiss 18:23
Alright, it was a pleasure.

Jerri Hemsworth 18:24
I won’t tell anybody.

Gary Weiss 18:25

Jerri Hemsworth 18:25

Gary Weiss 18:26
I appreciate it. appreciate it. Brian. Same thing. You’re not to say anything to anybody. Yeah. Nobody should know he’s sitting over in the corner going I’m gonna tell everybody.

Jerri Hemsworth 18:33

Gary Weiss 18:33
yeah, we know. All right, thank you very much.

Intro Speaker 18:45
Presented by Echelon business development, more than just networking. Way more.

As CEO and Creative Director at Newman Grace, Jerri leads one of Los Angeles’ most respected marketing firm and brand communication firms. Newman Grace has been providing marketing, brand and advertising consulting, graphic design, and social media services to growing companies since 1996. Newman Grace serves the professional services, manufacturing, sports, publishing and non-profit markets. Jerri is an adjunct professor in the School of Media, Culture and Design at Woodbury University. She is also a co-founder of Echelon Business Development Network. Learn more about Jerri here at Newman Grace.

Gary is a graduate of the Marshall School of the University of Southern California. He founded and operates a boutique accounting firm dedicated to bringing high - quality tax preparation, tax planning and tax resolution services to individuals, small businesses, small nonprofits, family owned businesses and start-ups, at an extremely affordable price. Visit Gary Weiss CPA.