Pro Spotlight Ep. 8: Kevin Garcia On The Benefits Of Using a Tax Pro to File Your Taxes and On-Demand Staffing
When it comes to filing taxes, there’s nothing more important than having a trusted expert at your side. As a Taxfyle Pro, Kevin Garcia, who lives in Denver, enjoys that he gets to provide help for individuals across the country. He says accountants can be financial doctors to clients, and through Taxfyle, he makes sure all his clients are taken care of and get the most out of their tax return.
Q: How long have you been an accountant?
Garcia: I've been an accountant for going on 12 years now.
Q: When you're deciding what you wanted to do with your career what were the aspects about accounting that you felt natural with and that you would be, you know, talented at?
Garcia: I mean, I've been pretty good with math my whole life, you know, it’s something that came easy. And obviously, I love sports and sports teams. So being a big Yankees fan and all that I would always keep track of their payroll, and sports salaries and attendance and all that stuff. And so being able to kind of make those calculations and crunch those numbers came easy. And so when I was kind of deciding on a major, I said, “Hey, well, I'm pretty good at math, and, you know, the math side of things kind of interests me, you know, I love sports, and I love, you know, crunching their salaries and contracts and all that.” So I decided to give accounting a try. And then from there, the rest is history, you know, came pretty easy and understood very well, debits and credits, you know, makes sense.
Q: When did you start keeping track of player salaries?
Garcia: Wow, I'm gonna say I was probably 12 years old. And I mean, I would even, you know, look at the newspaper and look at the box scores and see what the attendance is, and all that, and kind of keep track. So very, very middle school, 12 years old, you know, and ever since then, obviously, you know, sports is a big business now. And it's growing. And now that gets talked about more, but, you know, back then that wasn't a very big thing. But yeah, almost my whole life.
Q: What made you start doing that what was it that gave you the itch to figure out you know how the Yankees' payroll is balancing with their books?
Garcia: Man, everybody would talk about how the Yankees were the big team spending money, you know, when you start seeing these outrageous contracts, and then just spending money left and right. So being Yankees fan, I was like, “Oh, I want to keep track of it.” And so, you know, it kind of went from there. But obviously, you know, the Yankees are that team that was always spending money to win championships and was, you know, hearing that, I kind of started following things a lot closer.
Q: You go from being involved with accounting and finances at an early age and then naturally you get your college degree in accounting you move on what has your career been like up until now?
Garcia: Originally, sort of for the first 10 years of my career was a hospitality related. I worked for Marriott and came up through the ranks. I started out as an hourly accountant and got promoted to senior system director and, you know, worked my way up the finance and accounting discipline there. Then in COVID, I was furloughed, so I took you know, I had a master's degree, and I decided to just study for the CPA exam and get that license just to be able to give myself more options, as far as my career went. And so I was furloughed for about six months and was able to get my CPA license, pass the all four parts on the first try. And then I paused and said, “Well, I think I might have more opportunities and more freedom, you know, than hospitality” at that moment in time, especially hotels with COVID wasn't looking too great, right, you know, hotels, closing down getting sold, made me really reassess where I wanted to be. So I got the license. And then I moved to a restaurant group did that for a year. You know, and it was an easy transition from hotels to restaurants, as I did oversee, you know, a lot of the restaurant and banquet operations and Marriott, but, you know, I decided, to give doing taxes to try. I've been doing taxes for about 10 years, but you know, just had a small set of clients and wasn't really pushing that too hard. As far as getting clients and then I decided, “Hey, let's see, let's see what, what I could do as far as you know, doing taxes as far as a side hustle goes.”
Q: What is it about taxes that you appreciate most compared to when you were working in hospitality?
Garcia: I love the fact that it's changing from year to year. Obviously, you know, when COVID happened, the Cares Act kind of changed. You know, what taxes look like for a couple years. And now there's the Secure Act that got passed, not recently, or not long ago, sorry. And that's going to create a lot of, you know, tax opportunities over the next you know, three to five years. Tax Law is constantly changing and is always evolving. So it's something that's dynamic and you have to be able to keep up with otherwise. You'll don’t want to get left behind.
Q: How did you hear about Taxfyle?
Garcia: So I'm an FIU alum. You know, and I keep track of, you know, articles and things like that regarding FIU alums. I saw an article I think on USA Today or something about the CEO of Taxfyle, Richard, and I saw, okay, you know, he, he's an FIU person. I happen to just get an email blast about Taxfyle, and I happened to Google tax and freelance jobs, and Taxfyle was one of the first things pop up. So pretty much, you know, by chance, I mean, the name rang a bell. And so when I saw Taxfyle again I was like, “Oh, yeah, I did, I did read an article, you know about the CEO.” And from there kind of connect the dots.
Q: So how do you balance being a Tax Pro with your career?
Garcia: The beautiful part is that you can take on as much work as you want. You can kind of control, you know, you can open the tap or close the tap, whenever needed. So if I have other things going on, I mean, I'll kind of scale back what I'm doing. Or if I don't have a lot going on, then I'm actively looking to, you know, take on more work, but pretty much, it's kind of just a tap, and I opened it and close it as needed.
Q: So how does a Taxfyle help with your career goals?
Garcia: It gives me a lot of flexibility. I mean, I'm in charge of my own outcome, right, I don't have to go out and acquire clients, which that can be expensive, right, I can just sit there and the clients kind of come to me. So you don't have to be out there in a business development role. You know, and also lets you kind of specialize and get exposure to all kinds of different types of clients and opportunities. And so you can decide what you really want your niche to be. But ultimately, you don't have to pay to acquire the clients, you know, the clients coming through the door, it handles the billing, you don't have to collect or chase customers down for payments. So it kind of eliminates one part, or hassle of running your own accounting business that you can focus on what really matters more, whether it's studying, right or doing CPE or, you know, reading tax laws, or just staying up to date and informed or actually handling client returns and doing the work.
Q: What do you do to balance working as a Taxfyle Pro and with your firm?
Garcia: That's a good question. You know, the balance is obviously I, I set limits right on to how much I want to work. And from there, time management, you know, I keep an Excel spreadsheet, and I'm keeping the tracking of what needs to be done. And you know, as I pick up jobs, I, I kind of assign it a number in the queue. And I'm kind of working through it, and it becomes a living breathing document of what to do. And I can, I can start to see when the list starts getting long. And it also helps me prioritize, right if I got to flag something, or pause it for a second and kind of just move it to the back of the line while I wait on something that allows me to kind of stay on top and manage, you know, the priorities and keep a running list. To kind of get it on a first-in first-out basis.
Q: How has tax season been?
Garcia: Tax season has been really good. This is my second year. So I learned a lot last year, it's been a lot more efficient and a lot less friction. And you know, obviously the longer you do it, and the more you're here, you'll start figuring out better processes and things like that. So this year, I'm at a point where I'm batching things so I'll wait till the end of the day to transmit returns as opposed to kind of doing it in the moment as clients are uploading documents and getting that back to me so it's you know, so far so good
Q: How do you find a work-life balance during the busy season?
Garcia: I set a hard stop, you know, whether it's I'm going to have dinner at X time, or I want to you know, watch an hour of TV to hang out or spend time with my girlfriend on weekends. If I say “Hey, I'm only going to work X amount of hours and then I'll go out go to a brewery,” I place hard stops and so obviously my goal is to you know, have dinner around six or seven every night, hang out, play with my dog, and do those things. So I use that to keep me grounded as as milestones.
Q: What's your favorite way to detach from the hectic tax season?
Garcia: I would honestly say it's going out to eat to a restaurant, you know, a date night, once a week or sports. So last week, I went to a hockey game the Avalanche played the Tampa Bay Lightning. And so that was fun. So I have those little things built into where you have to disconnect leave the house and not stay plugged in all the time. So definitely sports and going out to eat in a good restaurant would get me excited.
Q: What are ways that people can benefit from using a tax professional instead of filing taxes on their own?
Garcia: You can absolutely avoid some mistakes when preparing your own tax return. A lot of it is a question-and-answer interview style format. But if you don't understand something, or you, you know, check the wrong box, you might potentially end up getting the wrong number. A common one is if you don't answer the questions for the American Opportunity Act, you know, maybe a non-sophisticated tax filer might think when it says has the credit been claimed. Less than four years, you know, maybe the person's taken six years to get their, you know, four year degree and they might answer no. But in reality, they've taken it, you know, four years already. So it's those little nuances there where potentially can cost you, you know, if done incorrectly. So working with a tax professional, they there, they know the details, right? And they'll go over everything with a fine tooth comb, and you can avoid some mistakes like that that could potentially you know, cause you to owe money at the end. And then you know, get charged with interest for that balance by the IRS. So using the expertise, and you know the devils in the details as they say.
Q: What are some tax tips that you have for the average filer?
Garcia: I would say keep good records. If you can, you know, digitize your receipts do that. There's a lot of apps for that. Now, whether you use Adobe, Adobe scan and take a picture and snap it stay organized. And don't be afraid to ask questions, right? When you're working with a tax professional, they know everything but use it as an opportunity to learn and to be taught by the tax professionals you're working with so that at the end of the day, you can own your taxes at the end of the day, instead of just saying alright, I give all my paperwork and all my information to the tax preparer and I let them do it, you become more active or proactive, should I say and hands on involved with it.
Q: What should filers that haven’t submitted their return know?
Garcia: If you haven't had a chance to prepare your taxes, you can file an extension, that'll take you all the way out to either September or October, depending on the type of tax return you're filing. And it'll give you more time to gather all your documents and get everything in order and file it correctly. So if you're not able to, don't rush and file it, just to get it filed. You can take advantage of the extensions, and obviously, you know, do it with caution. And be very careful and diligent when paying your taxes. And also again, that won't keep you from paying you know, that won't stop you from having to make the required payments, but it gives you more time to prepare everything and and get everything organized so you could file your taxes.
Q: From start to finish what experience do you provide customers on tax file with?
Garcia: At the beginning, it's kind of just a Do you have any questions I can answer obviously, as the job gets started, right, a lot of people don't know tax, don't understand tax, and maybe there's some misconceptions or things that they don't fully grasp, but it's also an opportunity to sit and kind of become an advisor and help them you know, better understand their taxes and then be able to tax plan. As you're preparing your taxes, there's things you learn or maybe there's credits that they may be eligible for. And it's an opportunity to say “Hey, you know, if you if you do this, you might be able to save a little bit of money on your taxes. You know, have you thought about maybe making this investment?” For example business owners that they can make an investment in equipment or something like that and you could take the bonus depreciation in the year right so if you're looking at maybe, you know, getting new computers for the office or something like that, you know, gives you an immediate tax benefit with the bonus depreciation so it's it's helping them be able to minimize the amount of taxes they pay and take advantage of some very lucrative tax credits whether it's you know, tax credit for putting cars you know, EV car charger at home or other things like those right energy improvements to the house, I mean, there's a lot of ways where you can absolutely benefit from tax credits.
Q: How long does it take for you to complete a return on Taxfyle?
Garcia: I mean, it could take the standards probably a week again, if you're very if it's a client that's very responsive as uploading documents and is constantly checking in, I mean, you can get it done in a matter of a couple of days. But if you require some follow-up and things to track down, right, or documents or questions that need to be answered, I take around about a week, you know, to get it done. But you know, usually, we have some very good one, three to five days, I mean, it should be knocked out if most of the information is provided.
Q: What do you like about being one of the pros that does outsourcing work for other firms in the country?
Garcia: You get access to some pretty cool tax programs that may be the sole proprietor the individual tax preparer doesn't get access to. You get to see some of their processes and how they do things and get to learn some best practices. And obviously, it gets you exposure to maybe some clients that you wouldn't see, you know, on your own right, because they do a certain amount of revenue or, you know, complex businesses with operations in multiple states. So, it really gives you exposure to, you know, the type of clients that maybe you wouldn't normally have on your own.
Q: How do you help out firms when you're working with them?
Garcia: I mean, pretty much just being proactive, right, and asking questions, and really adding value and being an advisor to the firm. So going the extra mile and going above and beyond and just, you know, either preparing the tax return or reviewing it, but you know, asking questions and being engaged with the, the point of contact at the firm that you're working with.
Q: From the perspective of a Pro what value do firms have by using Taxfyle’s outsourcing service and having somebody like you plug in and work with them?
Garcia: Well they're gonna have a distributed workforce, right, that doesn't necessarily have to be in the office, it gives them staffing flexibility, as well to be able to, you know, add talent as needed to be able to handle, you know, busy season or, you know, the peaks of their, you know, of their business. It also allows them to free up some of their staff. A lot of firms are dealing with, you know, losing talent, right? And so they're trying to just, they're treading water and trying to get the work done. And they can barely keep up with the level, you know, with the work as it comes in. And so it'll help them be able to, you know, move the business forward, and stay ahead, instead of having to battle what a lot of companies are dealing with, which is a supply issue, when it comes to having good talent.
Q: How comfortably are you able to integrate with a firm once you are matched with them?
Garcia: Pretty easily honestly, I mean, a lot of these firms, again, have good, you know, top processes, and they're world-class organizations, right, from the tools they offer, right, as far as the software to their tech stack to being able to, you know, connect remotely to, you know, their support, right, they have support desks, and things like that if you're having issues. So, really, it's, it's pretty seamless. I mean, it may take you, you know, one or two returns to get familiar, because every firm may have different processes, or they like things done a certain way. But once you get that out of the way, I mean, it becomes pretty easy, right? It's a standardized process, they can hand you a document that recaps their processes, how they do things, you know, how they name, you know, their documents and how they prepare everything. So it's, it's pretty seamless, you know, you just got to you got to put a little bit of time into it right to get caught up and get up to speed and then from there, I mean, it's, it's pretty, it's pretty frictionless, I would say