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A very taxing family

Three generations of accountants (from left to right): David, Angelo and Dan Cogliano

TESS VIGELAND:
This is Marketplace Money from American Public Media. I'm Tess Vigeland.

OK, folks, if you still haven't done your taxes, time to sit down, get up the calculator and do some math. The deadline is April 17th. You could also go to your nearest tax preparer. Although, they may not be able to fit you in at this point. So far, this year, tax professionals have prepared more than 37 million returns. Hundreds of them by a guy name of Cogliano, make that three guys by the name of Cogliano. Ashley Milne-Tyte sent us the sound portrait of a family of tax accountants.

OFFICE MANAGER: Mr. Cogliano's office. Yes, he's still here, Mrs. Phillippon. He's inside with Angelo. Yes. Do you wanna talk to them? OK.

ANGELO COGLIANO JR: My name is Angelo Cogliano, Jr. Right now, I am 80 years of age, and I've been doing this for 60 years. My father had wanted me to be an attorney, and it just didn't work out. I was, I played too much baseball. This worked out for me. I just took over from my dad because I was always in the office much when I was a youngster. Right from school, I would come to the office.

Years ago, when they came in, they had one piece of paper, and that was a W2 form. But now, everybody has interests, dividends, stock sales, houses, and it's a different ballgame entirely, a different ballgame entirely. You've got to spend time now with the client. Although, even years ago, I spent time with them. They, they bawl me out because Dan does 3 to 3 to my 1. He does.

DAN COGLIANO: My name is Dan Cogliano, and I'm an income tax accountant. I've actually been preparing taxes since 1975 when I got out of college. My mom passed away in 2002, and it was kind of time for me to go in with dad full time. So I've been hitting with dad now for just about the better part of five years. I'm almost 30 years younger than him, and I'm exhausted now and at the end of each tax season. My father did it alone for years and years and years without help. Up until the last 15 years, he did not even use a computer. He did this in pencil, by hand, calculating everything arithmetically. There is never anyone who has touched the tax returns besides a Cogliano. Well, it's basically been dad and me. And now, we have David. But there has never been any outsourcing, if you will, or any one hired part time, none. None of that.

DAVID COGLIANO: My name is Dave Cogliano. I can't remember a time when I wasn't here during the tax season. You know, it was fun to hang out with my grandfather. When I was young, he was always the guy to kind of give me advice and pull me aside, and he was another father figure for me. And we started golfing together, and we would kind of took our relationship out of grandfather, grandson. It more became - he's one of my best friends, and I get to hang out with him a lot. So, obviously, seeing what he does and seeing how much the clients love him and trust him and, and take his advice is something that I thought that I would like, you know? And I'm seeing it more and more because people are starting to listen to me and take my advice.

The majority of the stuff that I do is corporate-related. I do some of the clients that will see me. A lot of them don't even wanna look at me because I'm the third-generation. Some of them still won't even see my dad. They - they're just that loyal to my grandfather.

ANGELO COGLIANO JR: Last week, I had two guys come in. One is 94, and the other one is 93. Both of them, they have never had anyone do their tax except me or my father. You do right by the people and they come back to you.

VIGELAND: We've got photos of the Coglianos on our website, Marketplace.org. While you're there, download our latest podcast, the Marketplace Money tax file. This month, we've got some answers to some of your tax questions. That's Marketplace.org.

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