John Cerini’s tax and insurance business Bronx Tax Man celebrates 50 years of business in the Bronx

Billboard with Cathy and John Cerini (1)
John and Catherine in front of the new Bronx Tax Man billboard on East Tremont and Lafayette avenues.
Photo courtesy John Cerini

An East Bronx tax and insurance business that is celebrating 50 years of business this year continues to take pride in serving its loyal customer base.

Bronx Tax Man, currently headed by owner and President John Cerini, has always been proud to provide its clients with quality service when it comes to income, sales and corporation tax, along with automotive, home and business insurance, as well as auditing, payroll and other services in its five-decade history of operations.

The firm was established under the name Cerini Income Tax, which Cerini’s late father Nat, short for Natale (which means Christmas in Italian), initially operated out of his home office in 1974, after the family bought a house in Throggs Neck in 1973 after renting in the neighborhood for years.

In 1993, John took over as owner and the business headquarters was moved to Arthur Avenue in Belmont, with the company also changing its name to NCJA Income Tax. The name is an acronym of sorts, for Nat; his wife Chiara and sister Catherine; John himself; and John’s sister Antoinette and his brother Anthony.

NCJA Income Tax also began providing insurance for its clients in 1996, under the Capital Shield Agency, and opened a second location in Throggs Neck in 1999. That same year, the business also adopted the telephone number, (718) TAX (829)-1040.

Cerini’s family (l-r) Anthony, John, Natale “Nat”, Chiara, Antoinette and Cathy. Photo courtesy John Cerini

With his father’s blessing, Cerini changed the name of the family-owned business to “Bronx Tax Man” in 2009.

Both of Cerini’s parents, Nat and Chiara Cerini, immigrated from Italy as children and met in junior high school before getting married in 1966 — making (John) Cerini second generation.

According to Cerini, his dad, who was from Rome, settled in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx, also known as Little Italy, after making his way from the old country in 1961. His father did not speak any English when he arrived in the United States.

Cerini, who was born and raised in Throggs Neck, went to P.S. 14 and I.S. 182 before attending Lehman High School followed by Lehman College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He says that he was always a strong math student and that he’s always done his own taxes, stemming from when his father made him file his taxes beginning in his teens.

He says that he began learning the business from his father when he was 7- or 8-years old, when he would travel with his dad to meet clients while also learning to do simple tax returns. According to Cerini, this was when the Internal Revenue Service would send out booklets to collect taxes, before taxes were filed by computer.

Cerini said that his father’s briefcase always contained these booklets, along with a calculator and a pencil, always ready to help a client, many of whom were also Italian speaking. He added that clients always referred to his father as a doctor or a professor, as a term of endearment, even though he didn’t actually have a PhD.

Cerini, who officially began working for his father fresh out of college in 1987, took over the family business just six years later.

Today, Bronx Tax Man, which is open six days a week throughout the year, including Saturday, is always staffed with bookkeepers. The firm represents big name insurance companies including Travelers and Progressive and charges reasonably priced fees based on the work provided, while obtaining the biggest possible refund for the client while still being complaint with the law.

The business also guarantees quality service for its client base and is open after tax season ends in April unlike many firms.

Bronx Tax Man also guarantees its clients that they will receive their tax refund in 10 to 14 days.

Cerini’s face is well known to residents in Throggs Neck, since the Bronx Tax Man and a photo of Cerini is featured on billboards as well as bus stops throughout the area, along with supermarket shopping carts in the East Bronx section of the borough as well as in New Rochelle in Westchester County.

Cerini’s Bronx Tax Man business currently has two billboards one on Lafayette and East Tremont avenues in Throggs Neck, with the other located in Westchester Square.

In addition to his advertising, his storefront sticks out with its gold, green and white awning and logo on East Tremont Avenue that reads “Bronx Tax Man.”

“I’m a big believer that marketing is vital when it comes to growing and improving a business,” Cerini added.

Cerini has also been very active in the community previously serving as the president of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association (TNMA) for seven years. Additionally, he ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2017 for District 13 and is also a member of St. Benedict’s church on Bruckner Boulevard.

“I’m just proud to have my business here and I love being a part of this community,” Cerini added. “And I will always make sure I do right by my clients.”

As president and treasurer of the TNMA, he also provided saving bonds for local high school graduates, chosen by the respective schools, for the top students in categories including English, Math, Science, Social Studies and General Excellence. His business also continues to provide internships for high school and college students who are going to school for accounting.

As for the next generation of the Cerini family, including his four children, he hopes at least a couple of them will take to the accounting business in future. Cerini said that his wife, niece and nephew also work at Bronx Tax Man.

“Clients who my father used to have their grandchildren are my clients,” Cerini added.

The street renaming for Cerini’s father Natale “Nat” Cerini on East 187th Street and Belmont Avenue in 2014. File photo Aracelis Batista

Cerini’s father, who passed away in 2012, had a street co-named after him on the corner of 187th Street and Belmont Avenue in 2014, with the help of former City Councilmember Jimmy Vacca and local advocates.  With his father’s passing, the family closed the Arthur Avenue storefront and now operates completely out of the Belmont office.

His father’s first business, the Roma Luncheonette, operated out of the location before the Nat started the tax business. Nat and Chiara also married at nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1966.

“My father and I didn’t have a typical father-son relationship where maybe you see them a couple of times each month. I was with my father, working side by side with him as his business partner every day,” said Cerini, describing his father as someone who he always great reverence for.

“He left a legacy within my heart and with the people in this community who he provided assistance for over the years, and the clients always gave the respect right back,” Cerini added.

Reach Steven Goodstein at or (718) 260–8326. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes