Ken Koslowsky has been involved in accounting ever since he graduated from Tabor College with a degree in business administration in 1959. He began processing income tax returns in 1980 and has been at it ever since.
The 70-year-old tax preparer works full-time including evenings during tax season. He said his workload has grown every year, and he can still take on new clients.
He does returns for partnerships, corporations, and farmers, but mostly for individuals.
When dealing with regular clients, Koslowsky said he makes sure that everything they submit conforms to previous years. He was talking about W-2s, 1099s, Social Security returns, and other forms of income.
“You don’t want to miss something,” he said. “If you do, you’ll eventually get a letter from the IRS and have to submit an amended form or pay more taxes. I’d rather do it right the first time.”
Particularly for self-employed people, it helps if they have the various categories summarized, Koslowsky said.
The introduction of computers has made his work a lot easier. Something new that has come with electronic filing is the requirement that clients verify their identification with a driver’s license or other proof, a copy of which is kept on file.
He occasionally has had to submit an amended return for one reason or another but has never had a big problem.
He and his wife ran the Dari-Ette Drive In in Hillsboro for six seasons. He was working at B&B Handyman when the bookkeeper left, and he took over the books.
It was during that time that he began getting inquiries about doing income tax returns and started doing it on a part-time basis.
Koslowsky kept the books when he and his brother Tom worked together in the hardware business for almost 40 years. They were together at B&B Handyman and then ran the co-op farm store for a couple of years before moving to the hardware store on Main St. Their partnership ended in 2015, when they sold Hillsboro Hardware.
Koslowsky plans to continue doing tax returns as long as he is able. He said there are fewer and fewer local tax preparers, and he is concerned that, if others don’t keep coming into this profession, his clients will have a difficult time finding another if his health fails or he quits.
“I like accounting,” he said. “I really enjoy most of my work, especially dealing with retirement issues, social security, and so forth.”
He said most people could do their own tax returns but they seem more comfortable having someone else do it and paying them to do it.