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There’s Always Room for a Second Act


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originally published July 17, 2018
updated December 7, 2020

abbey garber, thompson and night

Author: Abbey Garber
Partner, Thompson & Knight

When 50Plus-Today asked me to write about my second act, I wasn’t sure where to start. I recently joined the Dallas office of the law firm of Thompson & Knight, after spending over 31 years with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.

Believe it or not, I loved being an IRS attorney! The federal government takes in over three trillion dollars a year and the IRS brings in about 93% of that amount. You and I can disagree on how much should go to defense or Medicare or the National Institute for Health, but we need our government (more than most of us realize) and it needs to be funded. The mission of the IRS is to collect the correct tax, and I was proud to do my part to accomplish that mission.

Why an Act II?

I asked some of my friends if I was crazy to leave a position where I was very comfortable, having been in my role for several years, with very capable colleagues here and bosses 1,300 miles away. My friends didn’t answer the question directly, so here is my answer.

It is challenging to get out of your comfort zone and take on new tasks. I learned quite a bit when I was asked to do things I had never done before. Now, I take that challenge every day. My job now is to help taxpayers work with the IRS (and advise them how to work with the IRS less often). That may be more difficult than ever as the IRS has fewer revenue agents to audit returns, fewer revenue officers to collect the assessments, and fewer attorneys than anytime in the last generation, but more responsibilities than ever before under the Internal Revenue Code, passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Why Thompson & Knight?

That part was easy. They have a highly-regarded tax section and is a well-respected firm. I want to use T&K’s resources to help middle market businesses. As I was Area Counsel for Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) for Texas and Louisiana, I know there are thousands of businesses and individuals whose taxes fall under the SB/SE Commissioner. They need professional representation by someone who knows the IRS, someone who has tried dozens of cases in Tax Court, and by someone who has resolved hundreds of cases without trial. I hope for a lot of those people and businesses, I can be that someone… unless a local sports team calls looking for a coach. Then it will be on to Act III!


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