More about The Gay CPA®
When I hung out my own shingle, I wanted to be out, to give members of my LGBTQ family, a safe environment when it came to their tax life. Taxes are personal. Gay marriage wasn't legal in all 50 states. DOMA had not been struck down. The Supreme Court had not yet made its June 26, 2015, decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. I wanted to offer a safe environment where my clients could be open about their respective living situations--some had been married in states or in countries in which gay marriage was legal; some claimed their partners as dependents; some had businesses with their partners. I wanted my LGBTQ clients to have the ability to be "out" in their tax life.
I was in Big 4 accounting for ten-plus years. I encountered situations affecting my sexual orientation. In the late 90s and the naughts, there were no LGBTQ groups within the firms; gay marriage was not legal in most states; I worked long hours alongside people who were prejudice against gays and lesbians. The accounting world is conservative. I oftentimes had to "closet" my sexual
I felt and still feel that being The Gay CPA® allows my clients to freely speak about issues such as HIV testing costs, transition costs, gay adoptions costs and more. I'm here for my "family".
Taxes are personal. Most taxpayers take into consideration which tax preparer is best suited to help them put together their tax return. While being gay does not necessarily factor into tax considerations, it does in terms of the relationship you build with your CPA.
Other things to consider when choosing your CPA
When you’re making this decision, you should keep in mind that certified public accountants offer a high level of business expertise and integrity. In order to become a CPA, they must pass the demanding Uniform CPA Examination, a four-part test with a total duration of 14 hours that ensures CPAs have a deep and thorough range of business knowledge. In addition, these professionals must also meet education, ethics and work experience requirements in order to maintain their licenses.
But which CPA is the right one for you? To answer that question, it’s a good idea to consider exactly what you will be seeking from a CPA. Do you want someone who will handle your annual tax return or do you need advice about a wide range of financial issues? Remember that because CPAs have extensive business knowledge, they can offer far more services than many other tax preparers. If you worry about paying for retirement or college, for instance, a CPA can help you construct a realistic savings plan. If you own a business or dream of starting one, a CPA can provide the financial know-how you need to achieve success. So give some thought to your top financial goals before you begin looking for a CPA because it will help you to narrow your search.
The next step is to begin interviewing practitioners. CPAs usually develop deep and trusting relationships with their clients over a long period of years, so you’ll want to be sure you’re choosing someone with whom you’ll enjoy working. At the meeting, don’t hesitate to ask questions to help you understand whether the CPA is the right fit for your needs. Questions to ask include:
- What kinds of clients do you serve?
- What services do you perform for your clients?
- Do specialize in areas that match my needs?
- How can you help me save money or lower my taxes?
A CPA will not be able to give you detailed answers to this question without having specific information about your finances. However, he or she should be able to discuss possible options to help you improve your financial situation.
- Can I call you for advice during the year?
One of the many advantages of working with a CPA is the fact that you can tap into their extensive knowledge for questions about any number of financial issues. If you believe you will need advice in the future, ask your CPA about his or her policies and availability.
- Are there clients I can contact for references?
CPAs should be happy to put you in touch with long-time clients who can discuss what it’s like to work with them.