When asked to name great American heroes, most people trot out the usual suspects: George Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK. They forget that true patriotism — the kind that cries out for statues and national holidays — is found among those brave, unyielding souls who help multinational corporations find and exploit tax loopholes.
But according to a goodbye e-mail written this summer by a tax consultant at a large firm and obtained by Daily Intel, there is at least one person out there willing to teach us who the real heroes are.
To all my friends and colleagues at [Big 4 Accounting Firm],
As many of you know, today is my final day at the firm. I will be taking a few weeks off only to then begin my new career as a Junior Stock Broker at [firm] in [city]. Feel free to reach out to me at the address listed below. My experience with the group has been very positive, primarily through the help of great teachers, mentors, colleagues, and friends. It has been a pleasure working alongside all of you. Before I conclude this farewell letter, I thought I'd include a short anecdote on how I see the career of an international tax accountant.
The history of our profession is rooted in a bit of uncommon American folklore. And no, I’m not referring to its creation in 1913. Austrian economist Thomas DiLorenzo describes the role our profession plays quite well: "Tax lawyers or accountants who assist taxpayers in legally reducing their tax burdens are heroes of the civil society, just as smugglers like John Hancock, the most famous signatory of the Declaration of Independence, were heroes of their generation for helping their fellow citizens escape the tyranny of British protectionism."* Lorenzo is referring to Hancock's smuggling of tea and other goods in order to avoid the lofty taxes imposed on them by the British authorities.
So please, in the future if you are feeling down about the work, think of John Hancock. He is an American hero, and so are you.
* Emphasis ours, enthusiasm his.