Wednesday Apr 14 2010
Theater manager making a difference for taxpayers
By: Eric Laughlin Telegraph Correspondent
An initial encounter with theater production specialist Charles Davidson will pretty much reveal an average guy who loves the arts. As theater manager for Folsom Cordova Unified School District, the Redding man tackles everything from lighting and sound to scheduling for such theaters as Folsom High’s Jill Solberg facility. But this “Average Joe” really isn’t so average once he starts talking about taxes and the Internal Revenue Service. Like many Americans, something along the line frustrated Davidson when it came to the IRS. He just took his complaints a lot further up the line. The 41-year-old, who also moonlights as a tax preparer, just completed a one-year term as Chairman of the federal Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, during which time he met the IRS commissioner and also testified in front of the a presidential-enacted tax reform subcommittee in Washington, D.C. The group, also known as TAC, is made up of 100 volunteers who spend up to 500 hours each year listening to taxpayer concerns before taking them to Washington. During his testimony in the nation’s capital, Davidson outlined six recommendations to the committee, which was made up of former presidential advisers and leading economists. “It was pretty nerve wracking at first,” he admitted. “But once we got into the issues related to reforming the tax system, it was pretty easy.” Davidson’s recommendations included making the tax code more understandable to the layperson and simplifying the way IRA and retirement accounts are handled. “Being able to make a difference … has been the most rewarding,” he said. “I mean, I can take my concerns to the head of the IRS and have him say this is something we need to deal with. And it’s pretty cool that something I recommended has impacted taxpayers across the country by saving them millions.” He added that it was a yearning to help others than led to his high profile advocacy. “I was preparing taxes and ended up with several clients who were having big struggles with the IRS,” he said. “Their bank accounts were being seized when they couldn’t pay their rent. That’s when I felt I had to get involved.” In the free time he does have, Davidson is working on his master’s degree through Drexel University. He also teaches online tax-preparing courses. For more information of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel or to get involved, visit improveirs.org.