Skip to Main Content

Meet Keith Baum, Tax School Instructor

This summer we’re providing a more in-depth look at our 2024 Fall Tax School instructors. We firmly believe that Tax School instructors are one of the main things that sets us apart from other continuing education providers. Today we want to introduce you to Keith Baum.

Keith Baum joined the Tax School in 2017 as an instructor and a reviewer for the University of Illinois Federal Tax Workbook. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Springfield in 2007 with a degree in accountancy, and after working for several firms, launched his practice in 2014. His practice centers on tax preparation and taxpayer representation for individuals and small businesses. Keith is an enrolled agent (EA) and an NTPI Fellow. He is married and lives in his birthplace of Round Lake, Illinois.

How long have you been preparing taxes?  How did your career start after college, leading you to where you are today?

My first tax season was in 2007. After graduating from U of I at Springfield, I worked as the in-house accountant for a small manufacturing firm for a few years, where I learned Quickbooks, payroll, sales tax, etc. Then I went to work for a traditional accounting firm for a few years preparing tax returns. My last job was with a remote CPA who sold the work and then I did it: all aspects of small business accounting and tax. I’d grown my practice on the side the whole time and have been completely on my own since 2015.

Describe your tax practice.

My wife, Heather, and I work out of a home office in Round Lake, IL. We originally moved here because it divides up nicely (office on the lower level and living space upstairs) and we had quite a few in-person appointments before the pandemic. During the pandemic, we went 100% virtual and will never go back. We are still a family business but the payroll, including part-time seasonal help, is now four and going to be five next season. We prepare around 700 returns, completing almost all of them by April 15. We still do some monthly accounting and a little bit of payroll just to stay active but we’re almost exclusively a tax preparation and tax representation business now.

What made you want to open your tax practice?

The flexibility! No one would ever give me as many days off in the summer as I give myself, at least not for the same pay.

When did you first become involved with Tax School as an instructor?

2017 was my first year at Tax School. I used to attend as a student and thought, ‘These instructors know it all!’  Because I was a solo practitioner at the time, I longed for the network and subject matter expertise that teaching would bring.

What makes team teaching at Fall Tax School with Catherine Riddick so much fun?

Catherine! Our practices and professional experiences are very different so we ham-and-egg it pretty well. I have learned a ton from her about tax and instruction. She is very exact in her instruction (no doubt the attorney in her) and that has rubbed off on me. I’m always thinking “Would Catherine say this” before I speak. Sometimes the answer is no and I say it anyway but she always lets me know when something was incorrect or could’ve been presented better.

When you’re not preparing taxes or teaching for Tax School, what do you do for fun and relaxation?

I love love love playing golf. I’m on a bit of a mission to play the “top 100 courses you can play” in the US. I’ve played about 20 of them so far. Heather and I have also gotten into growing flowers and gardening. When we’re not golfing, we’re always with our two doodles, Woodford and Weller.

What have been some of your favorite golf outings/courses and why?

My favorites are the five courses and Bandon Dunes in Oregon and the three courses in Streamsong in Florida. I’ve been to both places with my brother and loved every minute of it. We walked 36 holes in one day at Streamsong in July of 2021. That was the most physically challenging day of my life and I played well too.

Cubs or Cards?

Baseball and golf season overlap so I couldn’t tell you how either team is doing unless they make the playoffs. I’m from the northwest suburbs, though, so I’d have to say Cubs.

Stay up-to-date!



Disclaimer: The information referenced in Tax School’s blog is accurate at the date of publication. You may contact if you have more up-to-date, supported information and we will create an addendum.

University of Illinois Tax School is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this site is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog and the information contained herein does not constitute tax client advice.

Subscribe to the Tax School Blog Today!

Join 2,000 of your colleagues and get notified each time a new post is added.