This issue marks the 50th anniversary of The Tax Adviser, which was first published in January 1970. The Tax Adviser was launched to cover federal and state tax developments in depth, explain tax planning techniques, and discuss tax policy for an audience of CPAs and other tax professionals. Its mission was:
- To be a professional and authoritative tax magazine published essentially for CPAs.
- To provide tax information for the CPA who specializes in tax, as well as for the CPA in general practice and for students of taxation; to provide a forum for thought leadership as well as practical and technical commentary.
- To help maintain the CPA's identification with and preeminence in the field of federal tax practice (CPAs had just won the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS in 1965).
Before the launch of The Tax Adviser, tax was covered in the AICPA's Journal of Accountancy, which featured a monthly "Tax Clinic" column. However, it was felt that the JofA's tax coverage was not enough for the CPA tax practitioner. So Tax Clinic was moved to a new publication, The Tax Adviser, which would provide in-depth discussion of technical tax issues, cover developments in federal and state taxation, and provide practical guidance on applying tax issues in practice.
The first issue featured an article on conglomerated convertible debentures by IRS Commissioner Randolph W. Thrower, as well as an article on the tax and accounting treatment of convertible debentures by Theodore Asner, a member of the AICPA's Tax Executive Committee and chair of its Estates, Trusts & Gifts Committee.
That issue also included items on post-death estate planning, use of the cash method of accounting, a summary of the Tax Reform Act of 1969, and a look at future tax reform efforts by executive editor Gilbert Simonetti Jr. The Tax Clinic in the first issue was edited by Don J. Summa of Arthur Young & Co. The first Tax Trends column was written by Tax Adviser editor Harry Z. Garian.
Sheldon S. Cohen (former IRS commissioner) and Henry G. Zapruder wrote "The Tax Treatment of Computer Software," which looked at the then-recent Rev. Proc. 69-27. They offered this assessment:
The treatment accorded computer software costs under the Revenue Procedure seems about as favorable as anyone could have desired. . . . With regard to costs of purchased software, since a factual test of useful life is the unavoidable operative principle, a five-year maximum write-off with freedom to establish a shorter period constitutes liberal treatment of this useful life question. On both counts, there should be no impediment to the continuing prosperity of the computer software industry.
Over the coming year, we will be looking back at those early issues of the magazine and highlighting interesting tidbits. Click here to view an interactive timeline of tax and other events from the past 50 years.