Kat Jennings: Can you tell us about your area of tax specialization and why you are so passionate about it?
Lisa Nason: Our firm focuses on small and medium sized businesses as well as individuals. My particular focus leans towards professional athletes and entertainers, estates and trusts, and international issues. I love working with athletes, showing them how to save on their taxes and the different things we can do to mitigate them. Sometimes they are still young and have never filed a tax return at all. Working with them to help them manage some of that and consulting with them on being a business in general (as some of them are) is just so rewarding.
International companies are interesting because it’s all new to them and I get to see how they’d handle things in their country and compare it to how we do it here. Often, they think some things are not fair, and they may not be, but I have built some lifelong friends working with these folks and introducing them to America.
Kat Jennings: What do you love teaching your clients about taxes?
Lisa Nason: I view our relationship as a partnership. This allows me to educate them (to an extent) on tax law so that they can make better business decisions and understand why we do what we do. It’s not just some person putting numbers on a form, but there is a thought process behind that. The more they understand about it, the better both of us will work together.
Kat Jennings: What is the best advice you would give to a client today?
Lisa Nason: You have to sometimes step back and work ON the business, not IN the business. Often, it’s too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of running the operation, but sometimes you need to step back and look beyond the next day, week, or month. Look out 1-5 years and see where you want to go and develop a plan for how to get there.
Kat Jennings: Can you tell us a story about an audit that was most memorable to you?
Lisa Nason: At one time, I worked as a tax director for a telecommunications company. Some of you may remember that when things like ringtones and songs to download were new, there was often a charge for those and taxes would be charged on those purchases. I had a case with an auditor whereby the state was not charging tax on an entire song that was downloaded but would charge tax if you downloaded 10 seconds of that same song as a ringtone. I argued that for weeks but he would never budge.
Kat Jennings: What is the number one problem faced by small business owners and/or taxpayers today?
Lisa Nason: Most feel that taxes are just way too high for a small business owner. They hear stories of super wealthy individuals paying little or no taxes, but then they have to pay 30% or so in taxes and it just crushes them. When Obamacare was first added, several clients did not want to keep growing their businesses because they didn’t want to have to deal with the regulations around that and some cancelled group policies because the premiums increased so much in such a short period of time.
Kat Jennings: What are taxpayers being audited on most these days in your area of expertise?
Lisa Nason: Most of my recent audits have focused on income in that the deposits shown on 12 months of bank statements better agree to the sales reported or a reconciliation needs to be provided, and that the credit card and online sales are being appropriately included. Secondly, that these deductions are reasonable. The auditors haven’t focused so much on actually tying out receipts, and in many cases, don’t even ask for those, but they do focus on the amounts and whether it appears reasonable for the business at hand.
Kat Jennings: I know you are located in Greenville, South Carolina and you do work with athletes, entertainers, expatriates and small and medium sized businesses. What is the best way for someone to contact you?
Lisa Nason: Have A Question? The easiest way to reach me is through email – firstname.lastname@example.org