BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Most adults dread the process of researching and filling out forms for federal, state and local tax returns.
For Louann Artiaga and Amy Veliquette-Schultz, tax season is an opportunity to feel like heroes.
On January 4, the two women opened Anthony Wayne Tax Service at 10902 Maumee St. in Whitehouse – just across from Veterans Memorial Park. While the business is new, both have decades of experience in payroll, bookkeeping and tax preparation.
Schultz has worked in accounting her entire career and become a certified public accountant (CPA) in 1987. In 2010, she joined Artiaga, who owned Spring Valley Business Solutions from 2005 to 2017. After Artiaga sold the business to a company that has since closed the Whitehouse office, she had a three-year non-compete clause that ended recently. Schultz had a one-year non-compete clause.
“When you work that long, year after year, to build a business, you form relationships with people. I missed my clients,” Artiaga said.
“I missed the people,” Schultz agreed.
While taking time off, both continued to complete taxes for family and close friends. It was also an opportunity to keep up with continuing education and tax updates. With the opening of their office, many former clients have gladly returned.
“Our clients range from one woman who comes in here with one W-2 to corporate clients,” Artiaga said. “People are uncomfortable doing their own taxes. It gives them peace of mind to have a professional look at it.”
While large firms might offer the same service, it’s the personal touch that can make a difference. Often, during a conversation, details will emerge that might make a difference in how a client’s taxes are prepared.
“We’re able to sit down with our clients face to face,” Schultz said. “We’re small enough to offer personalized service.”
Being able to have a conversation with clients also allows time to answer some of their common questions, such as: What can I deduct? How do I set my withholdings so I don’t owe money at the end of the year? How does putting money in my 401k affect my taxes? What are the tax consequences of selling a house? Do I pay taxes if I’ve sold stocks?
Anything discussed in the office remains confidential. While Artiaga and Schultz might share information in order to better serve their individual clients, it all stays within the office.
Both are self-described sticklers about accuracy, as well. While there are sometimes gray areas about tax returns, there are regulations and fines for tax preparers if an audit shows an irregularity.
“I can count on one hand the number of clients who have been audited in 20 years – and of those, all were paper audits,” Artiaga said. “We’ve got a good reputation with our clients and we want to keep it that way.”
While tax season is upon us, AW Tax Service can help small-business owners and individuals throughout the year, streamlining payroll and setting up systems for accounting.
AW Tax Service offers reasonable rates, same-day service and a loyalty discount for former clients.
Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Evening appointments are available upon request. For information, call (567) 246-5124.