Thank you Block Advisors for sponsoring this post
We are in the thick of tax season and I was kind of dreading this time of year. For the past couple of years, I’ve had a bit of drama with my taxes—finding a tax professional that was reliable and one that I could trust.
I’m not going to get into all of my business, but I’ve had some less than stellar experiences in the past with tax errors that ended up with me having to pay late fee penalties, despite paying a pretty penny for the services and getting my returns in on time.
So I was on the hunt for someone new to handle my taxes, but didn’t know where to go and dragged my feet on the search, but finally decided to hand over my taxes to Block Advisors and I’m so happy that I did.
I guess the Universe was telling me, “Yeah, Girl, it is time for a change. Go ahead and be blessed.” And I fully embraced the abundance.
My experience was one of the most positive financial experiences I’ve had in a while, and it’s not just because Alphonse, my enrolled agent (EA) was pleasant and made me tea, but for the more important reasons you hand over all of your private, financial documents to a stranger to comb through and sort out:
He was knowledgeable. I had a file folder dedicated to my tax documents. Compare that to my husband who could fit his tax-related documents into a standard white envelope, lol. When I met Alphonse, I anxiously joked that my financial situation was…complicated, to say the least. I had all of my freelance clients, my full-time salary, business expenses, childcare expenses, investment portfolios, retirement accounts as well as a number of other moving parts. Alphonse allayed my anxiety and told me that my tax situation wasn’t complicated; it was just complex and started to take my mountain of forms and organize them into smaller, categorized piles…with a smile.
He helped me see who could be on my dream team. I was referring to Alphonse as an accountant for a while until he corrected me – he was an enrolled agent (EA). I didn’t even know what that was (am I the only one????) until Alphonse dropped some nuggets and I backed it up with my own research:
An EA is authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections, and appeals, according to the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA). EAs advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. You can also call them a “tax pro.”
EAs only tend to focus on preparing taxes, and many specialize in tax resolution. In addition to an IRS-administered testing and application process, enrolled agents must complete at least 72 hours of continuing education every three years. On the other hand, CPAs earn their money from performing tax, accounting, and financial services for businesses. Not all specialize in taxation, and some specialize in more than one service.
This clarification gave me food for thought about which financial professionals are best suited for supporting me in getting my business finances in order at this stage of the game. He understands the needs of new small businesses.
I decided to build the Frugal Feminista into a business, not just a side-hustle two years ago, which like any small business owner will tell you means that I was overwhelmed, to say the least.
I was ignorant of all of my tax responsibilities and perks—when I should pay taxes, how much I would need to pay, or what I could write off as expenses. In speaking to Alphonse, he offered clarity that will positively impact my bottom line. I learned it’s best practice to meet with an EA when you are starting a business and again after the first six to eight months of business to help you understand how much you’ll be taxed and how to prepare for it.
When it comes to writing off expenses, you’ll need to follow the guidelines on your Schedule C (not those random lists from Instagram and Facebook that tell you all types of foolishness that can seriously create financial and legal damage because you’re trying to be slick). He made sure I left with a copy of a Schedule C so I could update the documents I had to send to him to properly complete my taxes.
He’s thorough and cares. As I mentioned earlier, tax preparation is a trigger for me because of my sour experiences over the last two years. In sharing this story with Alphonse, he not only listened but also asked me to send over my past years’ tax returns so he could review what was and wasn’t done. For me, this is a sign of a true professional—wanting context in order to problem-solve. Looking at my tax story, he’d be better able to advise me about what my best next steps would be.
He understands the long-term needs of small businesses. Even though I’m new to small business, I’m not new to personal finance. One of the reasons I’ve been able to step out on faith to pursue the Frugal Feminista full-time is because I’ve been a planner and started building a nest egg through my employer-offered retirement planning over 15 years ago.
Even though I’m not sure how much money I’ll make by the end of my first year of business after taxes and expenses, I know for SURE that I’m going to put something away, even if it’s $100 into a Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement (SEP IRA) which is a variation of the Individual Retirement Account. Business owners adopt SEP IRAs to provide retirement benefits for themselves and their employees.
He keeps it real. One of the qualities I appreciated the most was how Alphonse set expectations about when I would expect to receive my returns back. I’ve had tax professionals promise me a quick turnaround, which can make them more susceptible to mistakes. I was happy to hear him tell me he takes his time with each client so he could do a thorough job.
It’s true, good things take time and allow Block Advisors to be able to deliver on their guarantee of an accurate tax return with the deductions and credits you deserve.
After you complete an appointment, you leave with a 365 Tax Plan that outlines clear and actionable steps to maximize your tax outcome for the year to come. I have learned that it’s my responsibility to give my tax professional the chance to succeed by filing early so there’s time for communication and clarification that will make your 365 Tax Plan a super helpful tool.
And what’s also great, now that we are in the era of COVID-19 and social distancing is the norm (for now) you can still get support from your tax pro. Block Advisors have a drop-off option. You can bring your documents to the office and your tax pro will get to work. If your tax pro has any questions, you will get a phone call. Your completed return can be sent electronically for review and approval.
I am a personal finance coach, influencer, speaker, and author. I am not a tax professional even though I’m learning about taxes as a small business owner.
I think it’s the best type of emotional, financial, and business self-care to enlist a tax professional to your team that truly understands taxes, bookkeeping, and is held to the highest standard of professionalism so you can operate in your excellence and passion.
Low-key Alphonse has made me excited about filing my taxes this year and the future of The Frugal Feminista as a business with sound, organized tax structures, and an unstoppable scale. And since this is the beginning of my journey as a small business owner, I’m excited to build a relationship with Block Advisors on building out the backend of my financial structures even after tax season is over.
If you’re a small business owner like your girl and have no one that you trust to do your taxes, consider Block Advisors this year.