Rus Garofalo is on a mission to help you feel better about yourself come tax time.
“Everyone thinks they suck at money things,” says Garofalo, the president of Brass Taxes. “85%–95% of people who come into my office apologize for not knowing any of this stuff, for being ‘a mess’ or ‘my worst client.’ I tell them not to worry, that almost everyone feels that way.
“Statistically,” he adds, “a lot of those people that think they suck at money have to be wrong.”
Garofalo tells his clients that needing help with their taxes doesn’t mean they suck at money. It means taxes are complicated. That’s why the accountants at Brass Taxes explain what they’re doing, so clients understand what they can do to make the process easier. They want their clients to be less stressed, more in control, and better prepared.
Taxes can be especially complicated for freelancers, as many younger people are today. They get out of college and suddenly they are a business without a support staff, responsible for keeping track of their expenses and paying taxes out of the checks they’ve been given.
Garofalo believes that a little financial education goes a long way.
“Your parents probably didn’t sit you down and tell you to save 25% of your profits for taxes,” he says. “Or to keep receipts organized by tax category so you can lower your profit margin on your tax returns. And most colleges don’t teach these practical concepts to anyone, even though their students are increasingly likely to need them.”
Garofalo started Brass Taxes with the goal of getting artists, freelancers, and “other nice people” comfortable with thinking about their money. He believes that it’s better to learn what you need to know and prepare for it than let taxes be a scary unknown that haunts your thoughts.
“Most of us don’t really like thinking money,” says Garofalo. “But when we have to, it might as well be
productive and useful. That way we can stop worrying about it and start thinking about more interesting things.”