The Dread Accounting and Taxation Quiz!

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1) This influential financier, who began his career as an accountant, was instrumental in the creation of several prominent companies, including U.S. Steel and General Electric.  The company that still bears his name is the largest American bank, with over $3 trillion in assets.

2) The Beatles’ “Taxman” opens with the lyrics, “Let me tell you how it will be/There’s one for you, nineteen for me/’Cause I’m the tax man”. The song appeared on this album with a single-word title, their last before the band stopped touring and ranked #11 on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

3) Since its founding in 1950, the Accounting Hall of Fame has inducted more than 100 members to “honor and recognize distinguished service and contributions to the progress of accounting in any of its various fields”.  The AHOF is hosted at this academic institution, perhaps better known for placing third on ESPN’s list of best college football programs in history (though the school’s victory total comes second to its archrival, the all-time leader).

4) In this 1984 comedy, Rick Moranis is cast as a nerdy accountant, who has a complicated relationship with his neighbor, played by Sigourney Weaver.

5) Summa de Arithmetica…, a 1494 book by Renaissance Man Luca Pacioli, contains the first complete exposition of this accounting methodology utilizing offsetting credits and debits.

6) In a 1993 strip by this cartoonist, Dogbert tells the title character, “I might turn to a life of heinous crime…or, worse, I could become a certified public accountant…”.

7) The “Code” named for this Babylonian king was carved onto a massive, seven-foot black stone stele.  It promulgated standards for commercial relationships, including strict requirements on the keeping of detailed business records, which were generally inscribed on clay tablets.

8) Itzhak Stern, portrayed by Ben Kingsley in a blockbuster film, was the chief accountant and partner to this German businessman.  In 1993, the subject (along with his wife, Emilie) was named Righteous Among the Nations.

9) The Comptroller General of the United States leads this agency, often referred to as the “congressional watchdog”, which celebrates its centenary in 2021.  As a non-partisan source of objective research and analysis, the agency plays a vital role in auditing government performance, especially that of the executive branch.

10) A Friend in Need, a painting by American artist Cassius (“Kash”) Coolidge, features in the 2016 film The Accountant.  The work comprises part of this series, originally painted for a cigar advertising campaign, now regarded as a masterpiece of kitsch.

11) Within 10%, if you invest $100 for fifteen years, earning a 10% return compounded annually, how much money will you have at the end of the period (ignoring taxes and expenses)?

12) Based on the brief descriptions below, identify the celebrities convicted of tax evasion.

a) Star of the Blade action film series, whose other credits include leading roles in White Men Can’t Jump, Demolition Man and Dolemite Is My Name

b) Hotel magnate dubbed the “Queen of Mean”, whose former housekeeper testified that the subject told her, “Only the little people pay taxes.”

c) Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Keith Richards, his many hits include “Maybelline”, “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven”

d) Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader, “indefinitely suspended” from the sport in 1989

13) Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, this organization bills itself as “the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession”.  It is the publisher of the Journal of Accountancy, with recent articles including “How to counter clients’ cognitive biases”.

14) Accounting issues feature prominently in The Smartest Guys in the Room, chronicling the rise and fall of this company.

15) Which Amendment to the Constitution of the United States begins, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment…”?  The subject was ratified in 1913, about 40 years after the immediately-preceding amendment, which prohibited the denial of voting rights based on race.

16) Frank J. Wilson is considered by many as the “father of forensic accounting”.  Along with other agents from the Internal Revenue Service, he was instrumental in bringing to justice this notorious gangster, whose reign of terror effectively ended with a conviction for federal income tax evasion in 1931.  The hoodlum did a long stint in Alcatraz, while Wilson went on to a distinguished career that included leading the Secret Service.

17) The synoptic Gospels relate an episode in which the Pharisees attempt to trap Jesus into speaking against the levies imposed on the populace.  What is his famous response, after viewing a silver denarius that comprised the form of tribute?

18) Ken Jennings, winner of the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament, saw his original 74-game winning streak come to an end with this question – “Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.”

19) Gene Wilder plays crooked accountant Leo Bloom in this 1967 comedy, in which his conversational gambits include, “Let’s assume, just for the moment, that you are a dishonest man.”

 

The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.

 

Albert Einstein (as related by his tax adviser, Leo Mattersdorf)

 

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