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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Many Americans will spend this glorious spring weekend cramming to finish their taxes. But not everyone dreads tax season. For the family you’re about to meet taxes are in the blood. In Queens, New York, three generations of the Cogliano family are tax accountants all working together in the same office. There’s a no-appointments policy so clients just show up and wait. Many are happy to wait, sometimes for hours, to tap almost 100 years worth of tax experience.
ANGELO COGLIANO: My name is Angelo Cogliano, Jr. Right now, I am 80 years of age, and I’ve been doing this for 60 years. I am still working because I enjoy the work that I do. I enjoy the people that come back to me after 30, 40, 45 years . . . and I’ve got to work, or I’d have nothing else to do.
DAN COGLIANO: My name is Dan Cogliano and I’m an income tax accountant. I’m almost 30 years younger than him and I’m exhausted now and at the end of each tax season and 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.
DAVE COGLIANO: My name is Dave Cogliano. My dad and I have a much more strenuous relationship than my grandfather. He’s like my boss, you know, so he tells me when I mess up. My grandfather’s more of like my buddy — he jokes around with me all day long and my dad has to . . . he’s the one who has to tell me that I’m, you know, I need to finish stuff a little bit quicker, or be a little bit more careful when I’m working.
DAN COGLIANO: There is never anyone who has touched a tax return besides a Cogliano. Even our secretaries have been with us for years and years. Jay is just short of 40 years with my father, and Fran is just short of 20.
JAY: Mr. Cogliano’s office? Yes he’s still here Mrs. Filipone, he’s inside with Angelo.
DAVE COGLIANO: The majority of the stuff that I do is corporate-related. I do some of the clients that will see me. A lot of ’em don’t even want to look at me, because I’m the third generation. Some of ’em still won’t even see my dad, they’re just that loyal to my grandfather.
ANGELO COGLIANO: Just last week I had two guys come in. One was 94, the other fella was 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.
THOMAS: Ashley Milne-Tyte produced our sound portrait.
The Cogliano office in Ozone Park, Queens.
Administrative assistant Fran Barrone and office manager Jay Ardolino.
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