Should Joe Do Your Taxes?

Joe, what’s your specialty?
Tax preparation, tax planning, tax reduction, tax representation. Taxes, taxes, taxes. It’s what I’m passionate about. When I’m not actually doing returns for clients, I’m probably thinking about tax-related issues or doing research that can benefit my clients.

Isn’t this where you should have a mission statement?
I’m not the corporate type, but here goes: I want my clients to file everything that’s needed, pay as little tax as required, and sleep well at night.

Great. What else can you do for me?
Look, tax preparation shouldn’t be separated from the rest of your life. Getting married, getting divorced, having kids, starting a business, buying a home, losing a parent, moving for a job, going back to school — it’s amazing how many life events have potential tax consequences. When something’s happening, I want clients to contact me so we can discuss what it might mean for you from a tax perspective.

So you do more than just take my W-2s and prepare a return?
You betcha. A good tax pro doesn’t just bang out 1040s between January and April and disappear the rest of the year.

Who pays you, Joe?
You, the client, and only you. I don’t sell financial products like insurance or investments. I have no conflicts of interest. I am an independent source of advice whose only concern is you.

And how much do I pay you?
I don’t quote hourly rates for tax preparation, because part of your reason for hiring me is my years of experience and expertise. You want a professional who works smarter rather than one who gets bogged down in billable research time that may or may not benefit you. I spend a lot of money on technology and research materials every year so I can give clients the best possible service at a reasonable price. After our initial conversation, I can give you a pretty good estimate of how much my fee will be.

And how come you’re qualified to do all this?
I’ve had my own tax practice since 1996. I am an Enrolled Agent and am also a Licensed Tax Consultant in Oregon and a Fellow of the National Tax Practice Institute ( an association of tax pros who also specialize in tax audits and other representation of clients before the IRS). Although it’s not all that relevant, I have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and a Master of Arts (MA) in Public Policy Studies from Ohio State University, where I was a Kiplinger Fellow.

Anything else I should know?
I write opinion pieces on tax matters for newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and The Oregonian. Before I became an Enrolled Agent, I was a professional journalist for many years, writing for The New York Times, Smart Money, Reader’s Digest,, and many other outlets. Clear communication matters to me.

What’s the next step if I am interested in working with you?
Call me at 503-281-2264 or email me. I try to respond to all client communications within 48 hours (except, of course, when on vacation.).