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64: How to Start Your Tax Career: Advice from Bloomberg’s Senior Tax Reporter
Episode 6428th September 2021 • Taxgirl Podcast • Kelly Phillips Erb
00:00:00 00:32:01

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Over the past year, Kelly has talked a lot about “the profession.” Broadly, that refers to the tax world. However, tax as a career isn’t always easy to categorize, and not all tax professionals are accountants or preparers. Kelly is often asked how to get started in tax, and since the answer can be so nuanced, she was inspired to start an occasional series highlighting nontraditional tax careers.

There are so many careers in tax besides accounting and preparing. For those who find data, legislature, and current events most exciting, tax reporting could be the perfect career. 

On today’s episode of the Taxgirl podcast, Kelly is joined by Allyson Versprille to chat about her career as a tax reporter. Allyson is a senior reporter covering tax and the IRS with Bloomberg Tax. Her articles deal with everything from significant regulatory developments to administrative news, especially that which involves the IRS. She has also worked as a reporter on Capitol Hill, writing about major tax legislation including the major 2017 tax overhaul. She’s appeared on Bloomberg Radio and Bloomberg Surveillance, as well as Bloomberg's Talking Tax. Her work has appeared in Wealth Management Magazine and Accounting Today. Her reporting on state and corporate tax issues has won awards.

Listen to Kelly and Allyson talk about her career in tax and reporting:

  • How did Ally choose a career in tax reporting, and what steps did she take to get to where she is now? Ally shares her experience in college learning about broadcast journalism and ultimately switching her focus from pre-med to journalism.
  • How did her early days of journalism take her to tax reporting? When she began her reporting career she was interning in New York City and covering news on Ebola. Eventually, she received an email from a Bloomberg representative that they were interested in bringing her on board as a tax reporter. 
  • While she never thought she’d become a tax reporter, Ally says now she’s always telling her team "there’s always a tax angle."
  • How does Ally get her stories, and how does she decide what will make a good piece of tax writing? She shares how she often will speak to other industry professionals about what current events or concepts are buzzing around their firms and offices, and she also has a finger on the pulse of #TaxTwitter and social media to gauge what topics are most prevalent.
  • Where does she get her sources, and does she ever have anonymous sources? Where does she get her sources, and does she ever have anonymous sources? She does sometimes use anonymous sources, but that's not very common.
  • How did Ally learn how to decide what stories are worthwhile and which pitches aren’t worth her time? She follows the most interesting and exciting story ideas in general, and also says she tries to connect with sources within a day of the event breaking. Anything with interesting data, headlining news or topics, or a particularly unique angle catches her eye as well.
  • What’s her favorite part of tax reporting? Ally says anytime she finds a story or topic that no one else has “discovered” yet, the feeling of “getting a big scoop,” is what keeps her excited about her job every day.
  • What’s her least favorite part of the job? She shares with a laugh about the stress of receiving a dense IRS regulation debrief on a Friday afternoon. Also, occasionally in the process of breaking a story, someone else will beat her to it, which can be pretty frustrating.
  • Who does Ally wish she could interview? She says she’d love to sit down with IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, and would also be excited to interview Mark Mazur again since he stepped into his role dealing with tax policy.
  • What advice does Ally have for someone just starting out in reporting? In college, try to find a specialty in the journalism sphere. Outside of school, she says her best advice is to simply reach out to people in positions that you would love to be in yourself to make some network connections.

More about Kelly:

Kelly is the creator and host of the Taxgirl podcast series. Kelly is a practicing tax attorney with considerable experience and knowledge. She works with taxpayers like you every day. One of the things that she does is help folks out of tax jams, and hopefully, keep others from getting into them.


Kelly’s Website – Taxgirl

Ally’s Twitter -- @allyversprille

Ally’s LinkedIn -- LinkedIn