In 1990, Jesse Hughes was unable to do his own taxes any more. He took the basic H&R Block course at the Hendersonville franchise and worked through that franchise office for 30 years.
During that time, Hughes gradually crawled through the tax ranks to Master Tax Advisor (MTA) which was Level 14 on Block's prior experience scale of 1-14 from beginner Tax Associate to MTA. An MTA must be an attorney, CPA, or Enrolled Agent already eligible to practice in all areas before the IRS and then have passed an additional four H&R Block representation courses.
In 2004, Hughes passed the grueling two-day, four-part four-hour-each Special Enrollment Examination and in 2005 became an Enrolled Agent licensed by the Internal Revenue Service.
After returning in 2008 from an all-expense-paid, tax-free tour to the Al Jazira Desert in Iraq during the reserve mobilization for The Surge, Hughes used his taxpayer-funded Post-911 GI Bill to obtain a Master of Accountancy from Lipscomb University granted in 2011 to learn more about taxes and the underpinning of accounting and accounting for taxes.
The faculty and leadership at Lipscomb highly encouraged all MAcc students to go ahead and take the CPA examinations while things were still fresh, especially if education, ethics, and experience - 3 of the other big 4 E requirements - criteria had already been met.
Today, Hughes still struggles with preparing his own tax return. This is not due to lack of trying or learning but due to the ever-changing complexity of tax law.
For renewal of his license as an Enrolled Agent, Hughes must earn a minimum of 72 hours of Continuing Education in every 3-year cycle. For renewal of his CPA license, Hughes must earn a minimum of 80 Continuing Professional Education hours in every 2-year cycle. Yes, Hughes does all in his power to find qualified courses in which overlapping credit can be earned for both IRS CE and Tennessee State Board of Accountancy CPA CPE but that is not possible for all hours as each jurisdiction maintains its own strict ethics requirements and not all relevant courses are recognized by the other jurisdiction.
In addition, Hughes participates in the IRS's Annual Filing Season Program which is voluntary for EAs & CPAs.
Ruby Two Shoes is an up-and-coming accountant and works closely with Hughes and was recently promoted to Tax Assistant II.