Oddly Enough

Beer-sipping clients have taxes done in a bar

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HOBOKEN, New Jersey (Reuters) - The sounds of the Rolling Stones pour from the speakers while beer glasses are filled and a jovial game of darts takes place 10 feet away.

It’s just another night at the office for Carmine Sodora, certified public accountant.

Sodora founded Tavern Tax in 2005. For 10 weeks leading up to the April 15 deadline to submit U.S. income tax returns, he brings his tax-filing services to bars on weekday nights and weekend afternoons. He didn’t know of anyone else offering such a service.

“I always say to people, ‘Where’s your beer? I can’t have one but you can,’” Sodora said.

Although this year he has focused on Hoboken -- a small New Jersey city across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and home to 53 bars and a young population -- he has worked out of New York City bars in the past.

“I was looking to expand my personal tax business. It’s primarily to go after a demographic -- yuppies,” the 30-year-old said, referring to young urban professionals. “I’ve seen a 75 percent repeat, year after year.”

At an Irish pub on Wednesday night, Sodora set up shop under a “Tavern Tax” sign with a fold-up table covered with a framed photo of laughing friends, his laptop and a lamp.

One by one, clients relaxed in the chair across from him, handing over documents and sipping on beer.

“It’s more relaxed. Everyone hates to do their taxes,” said Hoboken resident Juliet Murphy, 32. “If you can combine it with something you like, it numbs the tax pain.”

Editing by Daniel Trotta and Bill Trott