Our tax services involve much more than compliance accounting for what has already happened. The real money is made for our clients by planning ahead. Kelley Sammons Toole & Ellison prides itself in the abstract “scheming and dreaming” part of our tax practice. Regular, two-way communication is crucial in opening the door to devising the best possible protection against over-paying your taxes – while fully complying with the law.
For added assurance, we offer a comprehensive review of your tax situation with a multi-Partner group to leverage our team’s experience. Here are some of the areas we review:
Business and Individual tax return preparation
Estate and gift tax planning and compliance
Representation before Internal Revenue Service
Interpretation of tax laws for client benefit
The Art of Effective Tax Research
No single advisor can memorize every tax regulation and statute available to be interpreted in your financial favor. We excel in the art of grinding, old school research to find the best solution for your tax compliance and planning needs – no stopping until all the options are uncovered and explained to you.
“… 'For purposes of paragraph 3, an organization described in paragraph 2 shall be deemed to include an organization described in section 501C-4, 5, or 6, which would be described in paragraph 2 if it were an organization described in section 501C-3.' And that's just one sentence out of those fifty-seven feet of books[of the IRS code].”
— Ronald Reagan
Intimidating, isn’t it? Navigating the Code is a daunting task – but achievable with the education, experience, skills, creativity, and perseverance Kelley Sammons Toole & Ellison brings to the table.
“The Declaration of Independence, the words that launched our nation – 1,300 words. The Bible, the word of God – 773,000 words. The Tax Code, the words of politicians – 7,000,000 words – and growing!”
— Steve Forbes
“…there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.”
— Judge Learned Hand
Fee Structure for Tax Services
We charge a standard hourly billing rate for our services – there is no link between the tax savings we earn for you and our fee. We do not charge for conversations that open communication lines and allow us to minimize your tax burden.
Success Story #1 – A Mutually Satisfactory BuyoutBUSINESS CHALLENGE: The Need for an Equitable Buyout Agreement Millard and Zachary were 50/50 owners of a high tech equipment business. Due to differing goals, Zachary wanted to buy Millard's share of the business. The buyout negotiations were friendly, but extended over months. Millard believed a new level of success and prosperity was "right around the corner" and did not want to sell his share at current value. OUR SOLUTION: Consider Both Current and Future Value We showed Millard and Zachary how to structure a buyout paying fair current value and possible future value at some point down the road. We structured an objective system based on financial results and pegged Millard's contingent future payment to a formula using this system. RESULT: A mutually successful buyout occurred.
Success Story #2 – Creative Insurance Planning to Save Big BucksBUSINESS CHALLENGE: Ever-Increasing Insurance Cost Franklin and James own a company that spends over $1,000,000 a year on property insurance premiums. After the tragic events of 9/11/01, insurers proposed premium increases of $400,000 to cover the business. OUR SOLUTION: Creative Insurance Planning and Implementation We recommended the services of a specialized insurance firm to implement an offshore insurance captive to cover the risks in an alternative fashion. Franklin, James, and key employees own the captive. The captive insured the first $1,000,000 of loss and laid off excess loss coverage on reinsurers. Since the former premium level of $1,000,000 equaled the risk insured, the captive was funded with the same cash previously used to pay premiums. RESULT: Franklin and James got lucky! Losses for the first year were less than $50,000. After paying premiums for excess loss coverage to reinsurers, the captive kept over $800,000 (which would have normally gone to an insurance carrier). When last seen, the guys were planning a trip to the islands.
Success Story #3 – Dealing with an Unsuccessful Hiring DecisionBUSINESS CHALLENGE: A New Hire Doesn’t Work Out James owns a manufacturing plant. Years ago he hired a college professor to run the research and quality control functions. The professor complained about being underpaid, about the quality of employees, about the lack of research equipment – the list went on and on. He was so busy complaining that he had little time to do his job. Since the professor had sterling academic credentials but appeared to be a "troublemaker," James struggled to resolve the problem. OUR SOLUTION: Effective Hiring and Termination Practices We assisted our client by: Conducting an in-depth performance evaluation of the professor on James’s behalf, highlighting the unfulfilled promises the professor made to originally secure the job offer from Thomas. Documenting how the professor’s salary was a small portion of his cost when compared to the expensive mistakes that had occurred in product quality control on his watch. Detailing all the research gizmos he had been granted through the years, noticing the dust they gathered as he continued complaining about inadequate research equipment. The review concluded with a statement that James was well within his rights to insist that the professor work more and complain less. RESULT: The professor quit within a year. Because of various misdeeds we helped uncover, James was able to avoid legal problems upon the professor's exit.
Success Story #4 – Bad Debt Recoveries on Behalf of Our ClientBUSINESS CHALLENGE: Uncollected (Bad Debt) Business Loans Thomas bought a portfolio of old debts and judgments originally acquired by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in various failed-bank takeovers. Thomas and his team collected many of these "consumer debts" but tossed the complicated (yet high dollar) business loans into the corner. OUR SOLUTION: Be Vigilant in Uncovering Ways to Earn Money For The Client While visiting Thomas to discuss other financial matters, we noticed the pile of loan documents. After we analyzed these files over a two-day time period, we designated a handful of loans as worthy of collection efforts. Unable to focus on these debts given his normal workload, Thomas asked us to attempt to collect the debts. From July through January, we chased one of the debtors from Arizona to Michigan. RESULT: After tiring of the chase, the debtor settled by paying Thomas $435,000 against a $600,000 judgment. Thomas, being exceedingly grateful and generous, paid a large contingent fee to Kelley Sammons Toole & Ellison.
Success Story #5 – Achieving Customer Buy-in for Upgraded ProductsBUSINESS CHALLENGE: Upgrading Products - Incenting Customers to Cooperate Harry, a long-time client, owns a company that manufactures a security product used by multi-tenant housing concerns. This product has been improved over time by including an online monitoring service that provides instant access to security records. Harry charges each customer a monthly fee for this service. OUR SOLUTION: Advertise a “Fire Sale” to Make it Worth the Customer’s Cost to Convert We recommended that Harry advertise a “one time only” sale to the older customer base that had been reluctant to pay the fee to upgrade the older product to online monitoring. RESULT: The sale was a great success! Most of Harry’s customer base has now converted to the new product and monitoring service, improving the high-margin monthly revenue stream for Harry’s company. Conversions during the last three months of 2008 generated around $2,400 additional revenue a month. Additional budgeted conversions for 2009 anticipate between $8,000 and $10,000 a month additional ongoing monitoring revenue in addition to the one-time fees charged the customers to defray the cost of conversion.
Success Story #6 – Negotiate or BankruptBUSINESS CHALLENGE: Industry Downturn Takes Its Toll A longstanding and very successful construction company suddenly became subject to the economic downturn in the Atlanta area. The company was faced with decreasing cash flows and meeting its debt obligations and overhead necessary to support high revenue streams. OUR SOLUTION: Streamline Business Model and Reorganize Business Debt Structure KST&E evaluated the situation and proposed specific internal cost-cutting measures and business model tuning suggestions. We then referred our client to an attorney who specializes in troubled business workouts. RESULT: Through mediation with its lender, the company was able to release itself from its financing obligations in exchange for life insurance on the owner, real estate, and a large project receivable that had been tied up in litigation for at least two years. The company could then operate with much smaller overhead and operating costs on a cash basis until revenues and profits stabilized eighteen months later.
Success Story #7 – New Source of Corporate Financing Needed - ASAP!BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Unexpected Loss of Corporate Financing At the height of the economic downturn, a corporate client came to us for help after being notified their bank had been seized by the FDIC. Our client was faced with finding a new lender within ninety days or face liquidation. The debt owed by the company exceeded $1 million. During this time, credit facilities were tightening their lending practices. The company, a distributor with assets in foreign countries, faced additional obstacles because most lenders avoid financing foreign operations. OUR SOLUTION: Act Quickly to Take Advantage of External Firm Business Relationships On our client’s behalf, KST&E leveraged various long-term banking connections to secure two letters of intent for financing the $1 million plus in the client’s outstanding debt. RESULT: KST&E’s greatly-relieved client secured a new debt agreement exceeding $1 million within the ninety day period with one of the lenders who provided the letters of intent, saving the company from certain demise.