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LI’s tax widows and widowers cope without their CPA spouses

Jodi Wild and her son Joseph, 17, eat

Jodi Wild and her son Joseph, 17, eat Chinese takeout at their Syosset home, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, while her husband Craig, a CPA, works late during tax season. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

This time of year, while Scott Saulino, a certified public accountant and partner at Margolin, Winer & Evens in Garden City, works long hours cranking out tax returns, his wife, Jennifer, holds down the fort.

After putting in a full day as a senior associate in New York Life’s human resources department in Manhattan, Jennifer, 31, not only makes dinner, feeds their 2-year-old daughter Emily and gets her ready for bed but tries to calm down the toddler, who wants to see her daddy. The Babylon resident, who is due next month with the couple’s second child, also keeps Emily busy with a gym class, does the shopping and visits her own mother.

“I try my best to manage during tax season, but you feel like a single mom a lot of times,” said Jennifer.

Each year, as CPAs toil far into the night, their other-halves grapple with a 12-week stretch of limited communication with their spouses and mostly mate-free weekdays and weekends. But this year, new deadlines and compliance rules gave these tax widows and widowers even more reasons to grouse.

Long Island’s more than 6,500 CPAs burned the midnight oil to do more than churn out personal returns. The traditional March 15 tax filing deadline for businesses classified as S corporations also became the new cut-off date for partnerships, whose returns were previously due on April 15. Accountants also wrestled with new, time-consuming requirements, including complying with stricter rules for issuing 1099s for unincorporated entities and gathering clients’ New York State driver’s licenses for e-filing.

What’s more, the profession’s most taxing season cut into Passover seders and Easter dinners, forcing spouses to do much of the shopping and schlepping for the holidays. And instead of accounting’s busiest spell coming to a grinding halt on April 15, it concludes April 18 — because the filing deadline cannot be on a weekend or a legal holiday and this year, Emancipation Day, a Washington, D.C., holiday that celebrates the end of slavery there, is observed on April 17.

Managing extra time

Heather Imperiale, 29, met her husband, Christopher, at Jericho-based Berdon LLP, where she works in human resources and he’s a CPA, so she understood his tax season responsibilities from the get-go. But this year, as the mother of a 4-month-old boy, the Great Neck resident found her single life challenging. It required her to juggle her son’s care with household chores and errands and forego gym workouts and dinners with friends.

So when Christopher, 30, returns to the fold and can help with the baby, “my game plan is to get some of that me-time back, because, right now, it’s non-existent,” said Imperiale.

Still, for some spouses, the season has a silver lining. In particular, empty-nesters and those with older kids regard the period as their personal time — to indulge their pastimes, binge on Netflix, catch up with friends they see infrequently and visit family, both near and far. They also view missing their mates as a trade-off for a CPA’s income and what it helps pay for, including tuition and vacations.

“You manage because you know the extra time your wife is away helps fund the children’s college,” said Massapequa resident Robert Haynie, 54, a Long Island Railroad project manager and the father of twin 19-year-olds and a 22-year-old. In the summer, Haynie and his CPA wife, Lisa, 50, who consults for several Long Island law firms, plan to travel to London for a Phil Collins concert.

During Lisa’s busy season, Haynie fills his solo hours reading, watching TV and cleaning the garage. This year, he also assembled the Lionel trains he inherited from his father.

‘Free to do things I like’

For others, like Jodi Wild, 58, an aesthetician living in Syosset with her husband, Craig, 59, a CPA, and their teenage son, Joseph, tax season means seeing friends on weekends, including taking in a cabaret show in the city, and visiting her brother in Hewlett and mother in Oceanside.

While the family misses some together time, “I’m free to do things I like,” said Wild.

And since her husband, a partner in Wild, Maney & Resnick LLP in Woodbury, frequently scarfs down dinner in the office, Wild cooks less and orders more take-out for Joseph and herself.

“It’ll be an adjustment when he returns,” she said.

For Dix Hills resident Roger Rofé, 53, the absence of his CPA wife, Diane Giordano, 57, a partner at Marcum LLP in Melville, coincided with a six-week break before the start of his new banking job. So in addition to chauffeuring their middle-school son to Hebrew school and sports activities, Rofé went to the gym, skied upstate, traveled to Boston to see the couple’s 19-year-old daughter at college and spent a week with their son in Florida, visiting his parents, golfing and relaxing on the beach.

As CPAs and their spouses look forward to the end of the tax season, they know the reprieve is sweet but relatively short. Deadlines for extensions loom, including Sept. 15 for S-corporation and partnership returns and Oct. 15 for individual filings.

“There’s good and bad with everything,” said Rofé.

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