Edition 66 Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Edition 66

By Marie Torossian, CPA

Building a Strong Personal Brand as an Accountant: Strategies for Success

What is a personal brand?

If you asked me that question in 2018, I would not know how to answer it.

As I embarked on my journey to entrepreneurship, I took on any accounting-related project that came my way. I had yet to learn about the meaning of a personal brand. Fast forward to 2020, I launched my CPA firm just before the COVID shutdown. While established CPA firms could sustain or pivot to new services, I still had to figure out how to get clients, build my online presence, and establish trust to create my brand.

I learned on my journey that in today’s competitive landscape, a personal brand has become more critical than ever. Professional success is directly related to one’s brand, especially in service-based industries such as accounting. Surveys show that more business owners and young entrepreneurs are looking for accountants they can rely on for not only their technical skills and qualifications but also for a personal connection. Therefore, creating a solid personal brand distinguishes accountants from the rest of the crowd, enhances their credibility, fosters loyalty, and opens doors for new opportunities.

I will share my experience, dive into the significance of a personal brand for accountants, and provide actionable strategies to help you build a solid personal brand that resonates with your target audience.

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Salt Miner’s Run for the Roses Ends with a Big Tax Bill

Judge Mark Holmes of the United States Tax Court expressed admiration for the achievements of Joseph G. Bucci Sr. whose American Rock Salt provides the salt to keep many of the streets in the Northeast passable in the winter. You can learn a bit about that from an interview in New York by Adriane Quinlan . The positive remarks were no help in the ultimate result. Judge Holmes agreed with the IRS that Bucci’s three side hustles — a real estate enterprise, a farm, and some racing horses — were “Activities not engaged in for profit” making losses unallowable. The total tab including accuracy penalties for 2016 and 2017 was $711,980. Judge Holmes explained the result in a bench opinion, which is less formal than a memo decision. The trial began in Buffalo on June 14, 2023.

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Injured Spouse Relief

“It feels like a sucker punch to the gut.” I was on the phone with a client who was a newlywed and filing with their new spouse for the first time. They kept their paycheck withholding as single. So, they were anticipating a larger than usual tax refund. Like a lot of taxpayers, they spent their refund before they even received it. Each day, they were checking “Where is My Refund ?” and even their IRS account. Then, it happened. Code 898: Refund applied to non-IRS debt . It looked as if they wouldn’t receive that refund they already spent. Now, my client did not know what to do. Before getting married, my client’s spouse told them, “I never get a tax refund.” But they failed to mention why they never got a refund. Honestly, they did not know what their refund was paying for. We later found out that each year the Treasury Department garnished the refund for back child support. My client knew their spouse had child support but did not know they were behind on it. If you have a client in this situation, all hope is not gone. I could help my client find out what offset the tax refund. We could also get a portion of the refund back. You can do the same thing for your client. That is assuming that one spouse is not liable for the debt that offset the tax refund. The IRS calls this injured spouse relief. I’ll walk you through how you can help your client with their refund garnishment sucker punch. Yes, you can help them get their part of the refund back. Let’s start with what injured spouse relief is. Then we’ll look at who qualifies as an injured spouse and how to request injured spouse relief.

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Client Alert

TAX COURT ROUNDUP – September 2023

This roundup will spend a lot more space than usual on one story, because it’s the biggest of the year in Tax Court so far...

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