While #BlackGirlMagic is an anthem that has successfully recognized the accomplishments of black women around the world, there is still more work that needs to be done to share the story of the African American female experience. For example, Candis McCauley Smith is breaking boundaries for black accountants in the accounting industry, where African Americans represent only 8.2% of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Candis shares what it means to have her special designation, as an Enrolled Agent with the IRS.
Tell us about Candis McCauley Smith!
I am Candis McCauley Smith, Enrolled Agent, and the Owner of TAXLADY2U LLC. Most people have no idea what an Enrolled Agent is. Enrolled Agents are authorized to practice before the IRS in the same manner as a CPA or Tax Attorney. This special designation authorizes us to represent Tax clients without their being present through the Power of Attorney to perform such duties as Tax Resolution, Offers in Compromise and Tax audits just to name a few. I have always loved working with numbers, clients and the law. Being a tax professional encompasses all of that.
I began my Love Affair with Taxes if you will when I started working for a major satellite company in the Tax Department as a Tax Manager. When I was laid off due to a corporate merger, I took my severance and started TAXLADY2U LLC. Although this was supposed to be my retirement career, I have enjoyed nothing more than growing my business while meeting new clients. I have worked for such companies as Intuit, HR Block, and Optima Tax just to name a few. There is nothing more rewarding than Business ownership.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Make sure to keep your personal finances separate from your business finances. Always! No exceptions. Keeping these numbers separate gives you credibility, it reduces the appearance of impropriety and helps provide more accurate bookkeeping.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
My biggest accomplishment to date is resolving a tax case for an individual where my client had an outstanding tax balance of $150k! Personal tax debt, not business debt. After years of negotiations with the IRS, the case was finally negotiated down to a ZERO balance and my client can now continue to collect their refunds without fear of interception by the IRS or Franchise Tax Board.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
I am participating in a tax software testing project. Once a software developer provides a product for a specific industry testing must be done to determine the accuracy of the product. In the case of tax software, specific knowledge of taxes is required to test the software. As it was explained to me, “Tax professionals are needed because we can teach you the product, but we can’t teach you taxes.” I am so excited for this opportunity.
What is your number one business goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
I would love to write a book or a series of small courses. Currently, I am not sure of a specific topic or area of business, but it will be tax related.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
Melody Hobson and Jill Schlesinger. I would see these ladies on television doing their commentary providing financial/economical updates that are easy to understand. I would say to myself, “I can do that.” They always appeared trustworthy, knowledgeable and professional. In my practice I strive to be those things as well. I would also like to thank Dr. Cozette M. White for her support and mentorship. Her contributions have impacted the public and business community greatly.
My Pandemic Tax Tip for the readers are:
- Pay your Payroll Taxes! Nothing will impact your business more than falling behind on your tax filings. Especially Payroll taxes used for PPP loan.
- W-4 Should match the way you file your taxes rather than the way you live your life.
- Businesses: The PPP loan funds for forgiveness cannot be used for deduction. You can use the difference though. For example, if you use 2 months’ worth of deductions for forgiveness you can use the other 10 months for deductions. You cannot double dip!
- Be careful who carries your children on their tax return; they will forever have access to your child’s name, SSN and birthdate, increasing the chances of future identity theft and tax fraud.
Follow Candis on
- Facebook: Tax Lady 2 U
- Facebook: CandisMcCauley Smith
- Instagram: @taxlady2ucerritos
- LinkedIn: CandisMcCauley Smith EA
Contributing Writer – Dr. Cozette M. White, Advisory Accountant and Tax Expert. Learn more about Dr. Cozette M. White at www.cozettemwhite.com.
All images courtesy of Candis Mccauley Smith