After passing the Enrolled Agents Exam
in September of 1990, Greg received his
Certificate of Enrollment and U.S.
Treasury Card. In early 1991, the
Accreditation Council for Accountancy
and Taxation conferred the title of
Accredited Tax Advisor to him. Greg
became the first Enrolled Agent in the
State of Alabama to hold both the EA
and CPA designations after successfully
writing the Certified Public Accountants
Examination in November of 1993.
In December 1994, Greg purchased the
practice from retiring founder, Al
LaGrone. Due to state regulations governing
Greg's CPA license, the firm name was
changed from Bara Business Service to Cook
& LaGrone. LaGrone continued work with the
firm until his death in March 1996. State
regulations required that the LaGrone name
be dropped from the firm two years after his
death, so in 1998 the firm was registered
as Cook and Company.
Greg Cook is a member of the National
Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) and
Past President of the Alabama Society of
Enrolled Agents (ALSEA) 2000-2003. Greg
is also a Past President of the Alabama
Association of Accountants 2003-2004. He
is a member of the American Institute of
Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the
Alabama Society of Certified Public
Accountants (ASCPA), and a member of the
Alabama and Tennessee State Boards of
Accountancy. He has written numerous
articles on the subject of taxation and
has been published in such national
magazines as the EA Journal.
Greg Cook is a 32nd Degree member of the
Scottish Rite, a Life member of Masonic
Lodge #636 and a Shriner, member of the
Cahaba Shrine Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
He has served as Impresario of the Royal
Order of Jesters, Huntsville Court #175
since 1997. Greg and his wife Pam have
four adult children, Summer, Chris,
Holleigh and Kimberly.
What do you do after the April
15th tax filing deadline?
Believe it or not, we prepare tax
returns year-round. Many businesses are
on a "Fiscal Year" that ends at a time
other than December 31. Many individuals
file extensions on their personal taxes due
to various complications and delays. And there
seems to be a steady stream of people who have
several back years to file for one reason or
another or come to us for representation in an
audit of their "self-prepared" returns. In
addition to preparing tax returns though, we
prepare financial statements and loan packages,
do tax projections and planning, prepare General
Contractor License applications and renewals,
assist in "Section 1031 Like-Exchanges" of
properties, advise new start-up businesses
and much more.
A while back I was asked to speak
to a Sixth Grade School Class on Career Day.
I agreed and asked the teacher how many
students were in the class.
I was told that there were 35, so I
went to my bank and got 35 two
dollar bills and 35 one dollar
When I arrived at the classroom I
asked the teacher how much time I
had. She said 30 minutes would be
good, but take all the time I
needed. I told the students that I
was going to put them all on my
payroll during my presentation. That
I would pay them $6 per hour, but
the teacher had limited my
presentation to only thirty minutes.
I asked them to tell me how much pay
they should receive. A lot of hands
went up and after a few responses, I
got the correct $3.
I asked them to be thinking about
what they would spend their $3 on
and asked for three volunteers
to assist me. I had two of them go
around the room and distribute the
two dollar bills. My third assistant
stood by me held the bag with the
After all of the two dollar bills
had been distributed, I asked the
class what they planned to do with
their three dollars. A lot of
enthusiastic hands went up and I got
all kinds of responses. Many of them
said they intended to save their
money rather than spend it
Finally, one young man said "you
only gave us two dollars!" I
congratulated him and offered him a
real job when he finished school. I
then instructed my third assistant
to empty the contents of the bag on
the table in front of the class.
widened as they saw all those silver
dollars. I then proceeded to tell
them that this represented the taxes
I was required to withhold from
their pay and remit to the
explaining that "taxes are the price
we pay to live in a civilized
society", I attempted to give them
examples of the things our tax
dollars pay for. I then had my
assistant hand out all of the silver
Those young students were a joy
to talk to and with. When I asked if
they could name any of the things
that our tax dollars pay for, I was
amazed at their ability to correctly
identify so many of the good things
that are provided by government.
I'm often asked the question,
"How did you end up in the business of
arguing with the Internal Revenue
My parents are both retired now,
but when I was a teenager, my father was
a truck driver and mother was a nurse.
My father carried the U.S. Mail from
Louisville, Kentucky to Montgomery,
Alabama five days per week. He worked
for an independent contractor (not the
federal government or U. S. Postal
Service). As a non-employee, his employer
did not withhold taxes from his pay. My
father was treated as though he were
self-employed back then.
A mistake was made with the tax filings.
The IRS caught the mistake two years after
the return was filed (the IRS is still
that far behind in their work today).
Because of the time-lapse, the problem
was compounded (multiple years). The
interest and penalties that were
assessed more than doubled the liability.
The IRS caused my parents a lot of grief
over that honest mistake. I was determined
that something like that would not happen
to me or to my parents again and that I
would fight to see that such an injustice
didn't happen to anyone else I knew. Mr.
Harold Farmer, my ninth grade Pre-Algebra
teacher taught my class about filing tax
returns, and the rest is history.
"Are you crazy?",
That's exactly what all of my friends asked
back in 1994 when I sold everything I had
accumulated in life, to pay down on the purchase
of a tax preparation firm.
In the years leading up to the Presidential
Election at that time, the hottest topic was
"Doing Away With Our Tax System". "A Flat Tax",
"A National Sales Tax" and many other proposals,
mostly led by Republican Party members. My friends
all thought I was crazy. What will you do when
they do away with all these complicated tax laws?
Our Senator Shelby, from Alabama, actually proposes
a law every year, to do away with the tax system
we have. Well, that's a question I haven't had to
The above questions are representative
of my personal version of "Frequently Asked Questions".
I will add more as time permits. My business is
all about personal relationships. Our founder, Al
LaGrone started the business fifty years ago with
a high value placed on personal relationships. Today
I have relationships with clients in all fifty states
and several foreign countries. Many of those clients,
I only get to see face-to-face, one time each year.
The internet is great, in that it allows me to share
this information with you so easily.