Executive Highlight

Harris Bonnette

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Shareholder/Attorney, Fisher, Tousey, Leas & Ball
Business Founded: 1977

501 Riverside Ave., Suite 700
Jacksonville, FL 32202

How long have you been in your industry?Since 1990
Why did you choose your industry?I consistently did well in the legal courses I took in undergraduate school so I thought I should apply to law school. Once in law school, I consistently did well in tax classes. They were the only classes I truly enjoyed. Thus, I decided to become a tax lawyer.
Who are your typical clients?Businesses and individuals who have some kind of tax problem (Federal or state).
What do you like best about being in this industry?I like being able to help my clients get through a difficult tax problem.
What are common problems you see?Businesses or individuals who are not compliant with their tax filings and payments, incorrect tax returns filed, and the IRS or Florida Dept. of Revenue not doing their job or doing a bad job in processing tax returns or conducting audits of tax returns.
What advice/tips do you have for clients?Stay in compliance with tax filing and tax payments. Review your tax returns before they are filed. If you don't understand where the numbers came from on a tax return, ask your return preparer to explain. Although some tax shelters are legitimate, many are not. If a tax strategy for which you are considering sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When in doubt, hire an independent tax lawyer to give you advice on a tax strategy. Do not rely on what is said by tax promoters or their lawyers (who do not represent you).
When is your busy season?Although I am a tax lawyer, I am busy year round. My workload only changes slightly during tax return filing seasons.
What keeps you up at night?Fear that the IRS or the Fla. Dept. of Revenue does not receive a critical document that I timely sent via certified mail.
How do you market yourself to grow/expand your business?I am active in the Tax Section of the Florida Bar. I also take potential referral sources to lunch, I write articles, and I try to speak regularly to groups who likely have clients in need of my particular area of expertise in tax law. When a colleague asks me for quick help or advice on a matter, I do it and I don't charge for it. You just never know when that favor may pay you back years down the road.
How involved are you in the community?For many years I have been active in the Jacksonville Bar Association and the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida.
What is your favorite not for profit or charity?The Community Foundation
What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting into this business?Work hard in law school, work hard practicing as a lawyer. Be aware that challenges will come your way. Know that you will get through them and these challenges will make you stronger.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?Spending time with my family and cooking.

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