Tax man accustomed to taxing days

April 16, 2004|EMILY BURTON

April 15 is known to taxpayers and procrastinators alike as D-day. As the groans and frantic ciphering of the tax deadline Thursday were dutifully filed away with W-2's, one Danville accountant did his best to make April 15 as untaxing as possible.

Bill Poncer, owner of Poncer's Tax Shoppe, stopped filing just long enough to gulp down a free hamburger and soda outside his office. Poncer also picked up the lunch tab for anyone who stopped in to celebrate the survival of tax season and to welcome them to his new business office.

"We thought what a neat day to come out and do this," said radio host Rick Schoebel, who did a live broadcast for 107.1 The Skunk from the shoppe, located off the Danville bypass next to Holiday Inn Express.

As of Thursday, Poncer had pulled several 48-hour shifts in the past week and showed no sign of slowing down.


"My first year, we did 28 returns," he said between bites. "Now I am the second-largest tax preparation company in a four-county area."

Poncer is an old hat at smoothing out the minefield of credits, tax breaks and refunds. He began his company on the top of a kitchen table almost 25 years ago.

"I would work on my kitchen table. I would go to people's houses and do (taxes) on their kitchen tables," said Poncer.

New office is product of long hours, love for the business

His complete financial services company is now housed in a more permanent location on the bypass. The new office is the product of long hours and numerous fliers but also a love for the business.

"I've always been good with numbers, and working with taxes ... Taxes are kind of a gray area. It intrigues me," said Poncer.

Deciphering deductions is its own reward as well, he explained. Daily, clients leave Poncer's shoppe with substantially larger refunds than they had found themselves.

"Taxes are so complex, the average person could not possibly imagine all the credit they are entitled to, and they miss stuff," he said. "... I love it when a client comes in, and I find something they have missed. I basically pay for myself."

Poncer also offered some free advice to those who have yet to file: the sooner the better.

"As long as they're getting a refund, it's not really a problem. But if they owe, they're already in the penalty stage," he explained, with interest incurred daily.

As his burger quickly disappeared and the client list grew, Poncer offered a final piece of free tax advice: it doesn't have to be as painful as it seems. Just don't wage the tax war alone, he said. "Come to us with your W-2, spend 20-25 minutes and we know it's right."

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