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Hidden Gems: Meet Theresa Turner of Tax Happens

Today we’d like to introduce you to Theresa Turner.

Theresa, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My passion for taxation developed when I took an accounting class in High School that included basics of tax law. The accounting was something that came naturally to me and I found the tax laws fascinating. As I made college and career decisions, I was a single mom and felt I needed a career that would be reliable and recession proof. I always heard the saying “two things you can count on in life are death and taxes”. Since I had a passion for helping people I decided to go to school for nursing. I quickly realized bodily fluids were not for me and switched my major to accounting because Tax Happens. After receiving my Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting I realized the degree gave me minimal tax knowledge. A CPA who was my mentor for many years and a professor at St. John’s University informed me St. John’s was about to start a new Master’s program in Taxation. He knew my passion for taxation and disappointment with the knowledge my undergraduate degree gave me in this area and was certain this was the program for me. He was correct! My first semester there were four students in the program and some classes had only two students. Joining the program when I did, gave me an opportunity to learn tax law in a situation that was more like a one-on-one tutoring with professors with a wealth of knowledge.

My Master of Science in Taxation gave me two solid years of tax law classes, at a prestigious law school in an intimate learning environment that provided me with the foundation of knowledge and understanding I needed for the career in Taxation I desired. Throughout my career I worked for a large international firm and two midsize firms. Although the experiences were necessary for my development as a professional, I found I was not able to have work live balance and I was not able to give clients the time, attention, and compassion they deserved. In 2013 with the support and encouragement of the man who would become my husband we decided to start Tax Happens from my home office. Growth far exceeded expectations and on Valentine’s Day in 2014 we moved Tax Happens from my home office to our current location in Riverview. I was determined to provide not only solid accurate tax services but to empower my clients, connected with them personally and be available to them. Tax Happens has allowed me to tap into my passion for helping people.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The day I left my reliable biweekly paycheck and started my business was the scariest and most exciting day of my career. Although not a smooth or easy process it was much smoother than I planned for. The biggest struggle was learning to say no. When you start a business you initially are excited and embrace every client who walks in the door. I quickly realized not everyone who calls or comes in is going to be a good fit for me and I am not a good fit for everyone. An interview process to determine the client’s unique needs and if we are a good fit for each other took time to develop and is always being tweaked.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Tax Happens?
I provided hands on tax and accounting services to small business and individuals. Although my office is located a few miles from my home in Riverview Florida I service clients all over the United States and throughout the world. I have a very diverse client base but almost half of my clients are active duty or retired military some living locally and many stationed overseas. My husband is retired military. I understand their unique tax considerations and of course we offer a military discount. I am known for being available to my clients. I have client call hours every day from 4:30PM to 6:30PM. Clients know that when the need to talk to me they can expect to hear from me the current or next business day during my daily client call hours. Everything can be done remotely via my secure client portal that allows me and my clients to communicate, share, access and sign documents. Most clients prefer utilizing the portal but for those who don’t they can come by the office anytime to drop off or pick up documents. What sets Tax Happens apart is four distinct pillars that I found clients desired (1) Upfront pricing, whenever possible, at reasonable rates with no surprise invoices. (2) Clear deadlines for the completion of all work. (3) Being personally available to all client’s year round. (4) Empowering clients to do as much or as little as they desire.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Luck? My philosophy is lead with your heart and do the right thing no matter what!! The money and clients will find you. As a CPA this is probably not the best business advice for me to give but it has never failed me.

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Image Credits
Gerardo Luna Huth & Booth Photography Wendy McGinnis

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