"Taxing" Challenge Yields Textbook Win for Dyson Student

Casey BreznickBy Jordyn Rachael Weinstein ’19

Dyson senior Casey Breznick’s first-place submission in a textbook-chapter writing competition was recently published in the National Income Tax Workbook (taxworkbook.com).

The competition, sponsored by the Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation, entailed writing an eight-to-ten-page chapter about a designated tax issue. This year, the subject was lease options, or leases with an option to purchase. In his chapter, Breznick explained what lease options are and reviewed various income-tax issues that can arise from their use. He also cited specific lease option cases and crafted his own practice problems and solutions. 

Breznick credits his success in the competition to his Dyson School education. “The most rewarding aspect of participating in this competition was having the opportunity to take my tax education, apply it to an area of tax law that I had not learned about in class, and ultimately produce a coherent and well-written textbook chapter that was deemed worthy of being used to teach active practitioners,” he said.

Breznick discovered Dyson’s practical and structured curriculum while he was a freshman in Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences; he transferred the next year. He declared an accounting concentration after taking Financial Accounting with professor Jack Little, whom he now considers a mentor and one of his biggest inspirations. Accounting professors John McKinley, Zeshawn Beg, and Eric Lewis have also had a large impact on Breznick’s student career.

“All of them come from different backgrounds, which tells you how widely applicable an accounting background is, and all of them place a strong emphasis on career development and guidance in and out of the classroom,” he noted.

While preparing for the writing competition, Breznick found McKinley’s corporate and individual income tax courses especially helpful. Multiple assignments in both classes required him to research specific areas of the tax code or write about the tax consequences of specific situations or transactions. “These assignments helped me learn how to research the tax code and other secondary sources as well as learn about the conventions involved in writing about tax issues,” he said.

Participating in the competition was itself a learning experience for Breznick. In addition to learning about lease options, he said, he now has a greater understanding about the intersection of income tax law and real estate tax law. After writing this chapter, he also has a newfound appreciation for continuing professional education, especially for accounting and tax professionals.

With graduation fast approaching, Breznick is currently considering several career opportunities, including the possibility of continuing his own education in graduate school. Longer term, he envisions working in a finance or management role at a great American company.