Our History and the Name "TravelTax"
TravelTax was a name given to us by one of our clients when he expressed relief that someone understood these "travel taxes." Before that there really wasn't a name, it was just: That Traveling Respiratory Therapist Guy Who Happened to Also Have an Accounting Degree And Could Do My Multi-State Tax Return. A little too long to be a good web site name. But it does serve as a description of how we got started. What was once a guy helping a few friends, has morphed into a well respected tax consulting firm that not only provides tax preparation service to its mobile clients, but also consults the companies that hire them, and multiple services in between. We have even grown to the point that we now have separated our services into two companies: TravelTax for tax preparation, and Joseph C Smith Tax Consultants for representation and corporate consulting.
As a company, TravelTax prepares about 800 tax returns a year, almost all by internet, email and fax (see our FAQ: Process and Fees). We also spend considerable effort and energy educating our clients so that they understand the issues that pertain to tax homes, temporary contracts, reimbursements and multi-state taxation.
Why? Because no matter who you have prepare your taxes, ultimately you are responsible for the return. With the IRS, ignorance of the law is no excuse. While you may be able to have the penalties dropped because you "trusted your tax preparer to know what they were doing," you won't get out of the assessed tax bill.
Our company represents several dozen audited returns annually. While we like to brag that we defend any audit of our prepared returns, most of the audits we handle are not "our" returns, but new clients coming to us after they have received either state or IRS notices. To our frustration, many of these were prepared by paid tax preparers that focused more on giving their clients big refunds, rather than accuracy. Often times we see errors like incorrectly reported meal deductions, even though the traveler had already received those as tax free reimbursements (double dipping); or travelers that were mislead by well meaning friends or recruiters, to believe that their permanent residence was the same as their tax home, only to find that they have no tax home. Ergo: our emphasis on education. Read all that our web site has to teach you. We realize that the more you know ahead of time, the easier our job is.
You may now be thinking: I'll learn everything I can, so then I can do my own returns. We don't deny that you can, but is it really worth it? Even with the knowledge base of where, why and how, preparing the federal return would probably take longer than you expect, make you consume whole bottle of ibuprofen, and then there would be each state return, and figuring how to get make them get along and play nice.... And did you really do it all correctly?.... (Insert evil, maniacal laugh here)
If you haven't caught on by now, open honesty is our policy, and we do have a slightly odd sense of humor. So all we can say is: Try us, you'll like us!