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CSUN Grad Students Launch Online Journal for Tax Professionals

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(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Nov. 10th, 2009) ―

Leslie Sobol and Robert Hymers weren’t interested in the usual route-writing a thesis or providing advice and assistance to tax-payers-for their culminating project in Cal State Northridge’s Master of Science in Taxation Program.

They wanted to do something that would truly demonstrate all they had learned in the program and create a legacy that would continue long after they left Northridge. Something that would inform and contribute to the latest pedagogy in the field of tax preparation, a tool that accounting students and professors and tax professionals could tap into for years to come.

It took more than a year of work, but they created the Tax Development Journal, http://tdjournal.csunacctis.com/, the first student-run online publication that serves as a forum for intellectual discourse on emerging issues for tax practitioners and policy makers. The journal, which launched this fall, combines tax expertise with scholarly discourse to provide timely, insightful and important information about a broad array of topical tax areas.

“We wanted to create something that wasn’t just academic in nature, but provided information that was practical and relevant to tax practitioners. Something they could turn to to learn about the latest best practices and current tax law,” said Hymers, who received his master’s in May and is a certified public accountant with Ernst and Young.

Associate professor of accounting and information systems Rafi Efrat, director of CSUN’s Bookstein Institute for Higher Education in Taxation, said the journal “sets a new standard in practitioner-based tax scholarship.

“What they have done is create a truly unique vehicle that provides timely information on recent tax developments,” he said. “We all know tax laws and policies are always changing or being updated. This journal makes it possible for tax professionals, particularly those who don’t work at large firms with seemingly endless resources to tap into, to keep abreast of the latest information in the field of tax preparation.”

Sobol, who also received her master’s in May and works as a tax manager for Hinton, Kreditor & Gronroos LLP, said articles for the journal are solicited from leading tax practitioners or academics. The articles are blind-reviewed by a team of professionals in the field and edited by Northridge students, who then post them on the journal’s Web site. The journal is recognized by Cabell Publishing, so that professors whose articles appear in the journal will receive credit towards their schools’ publication requirements.

The journal has an advisory Board of Editors made up of tax professionals. Its editor-in-chief is Sharyn M. Fisk, who is a member of the taxation faculty in CSUN’s Tseng College of Extended Learning and a principal with the law firm of Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, PC. The master’s in taxation program is offered by CSUN’s College of Business and Economics in collaboration with the Tseng College.

Sobol and Hymers designed the journal so that each year a new team of master’s in taxation students can assume responsibility for the online publication.

“Tax law keeps changing and tax professionals will always need a tool that they can call upon to keep up-to-date with the latest in policy and laws or with what the latest discussions are concerning a particular trend, idea or policy,” Hymers said. “The goal is this journal will be that tool.”

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