02/19/14 2:38pm

brass taxes

Sponsored By Brass Taxes.

Brass Taxes was created to make taxes suck less for freelancers, artists, and other nice people.

Created By BlankSlate

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.

Brass Taxes has an extra incentive for you to get started on your taxes today: discounts for scheduling appointments before March 20. To get started, estimate your services here.

“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.”

03/08/13 11:00am
Russ will still help you avoid the wrath of the IRS and still present you with delicious food options

Russ will still help you avoid the wrath of the IRS and still present you with delicious food options

Sponsored By Brass Taxes.

Brass Taxes was created to make taxes suck less for freelancers, artists, and other nice people.

Hey! Remember when we told you about our awesome contest in which you can win free tax preparation from Brass Taxes? And remember how much you HATE doing taxes? Good thing the contest is still going, huh? Because if you win, it’s totally worth it. Instead of taking three-plus hours of your time and $100-plus for TurboTax, you give all your tax documents to Rus, talk about what you do, and, presto, he comes back with a fully-filed return and mucho bucks for you.

Even if you’re not making that much money freelancing now, you can still deduct lots of things on your road to self-sufficiency. Writing classes? Yep. Notebooks filled with sitcom ideas? No prob. Trips to the Met to improve your graphic design skills? You bet. Rus knows what will fly with the IRS and what won’t, so head on over to the Brass Taxes website and check out his process.

If you’re still wary of spending money on a tax preparer, we’re giving away one free tax prep with Rus, a $200 value! Opt in to Rus’s mailing list and you could have your 1099 woes swept away by a kindred freelance spirit. For more chances to win, follow Rus on Twitter, like him on Facebook, tell your friends, or retweet the contest. (Oh, and if you file your taxes with Rus now and win the contest later, he’ll refund your money.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
02/28/13 12:00pm
Russ will help you avoid the wrath of the IRS and present you with delicious food options

Rus will help you avoid the wrath of the IRS and present you with delicious food options

Sponsored By Brass Taxes.

Brass Taxes was created to make taxes suck less for freelancers, artists, and other nice people.

You’ve made it to New York, you’ve learned the subways, suffered through the indignity of retail, and landed a few gigs as a writer/comic/barbershop quartet singer. You can finally say at parties (without a sense of dread that someone will ask for proof) “My day job is my dream job.” You’re a freelancer, finally. Shouldn’t you file taxes like one?

Rus at Brass Taxes thinks so. He started in New York as a freelance video editor, writer, and performer. To make ends meet, he took a job with a tax preparer and discovered a startling truth: there was a whole lot more that he could have been deducting as part of his freelance career. “I found out I had been short-changing myself; I had been living so tightly. I never went out and had an appetizer,” Rus says of his leaner days.

Rus started helping his freelance friends with their returns and realized he had a knack for it, as well as a unique perspective. “I’m an outsider in this business. I was a freelancer who learned taxes.” When it comes to filing returns, that empathy can amount to a lot of money for you.

Most professional tax planners won’t take the time to figure out everything you can deduct. “Our taxes are messy. I think the kind of taxes we have and the kind of people we are can be annoying to traditional tax planners,” Rus says. Instead of sighing and rolling his eyes when you show up with receipts for improv classes, Rus sits down with you and figures out all of your legitimate freelance expense deductions.

And it’s worth it. Instead of taking three-plus hours of your time and $100-plus for TurboTax, you give all your tax documents to Rus, talk about what you do, and, presto, he comes back with a fully-filed return and mucho bucks for you.

Even if you’re not making that much money freelancing now, you can still deduct lots of things on your road to self-sufficiency. Writing classes? Yep. Notebooks filled with sitcom ideas? No prob. Trips to the Met to improve your graphic design skills? You bet. Rus knows what will fly with the IRS and what won’t, so head on over to the Brass Taxes website and check out his process.

If you’re still wary of spending money on a tax preparer, we’re giving away one free tax prep with Rus, a $200 value! Opt in to Rus’s mailing list and you could have your 1099 woes swept away by a kindred freelance spirit. For more chances to win, follow Rus on Twitter, like him on Facebook, tell your friends, or retweet the contest. (Oh, and if you file your taxes with Rus now and win the contest later, he’ll refund your money.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
03/20/12 12:36pm
brass taxes corn

Please do not ask us why Rus has printed his logo on corn husks.

Dear lollygaggers, today is your TOTALLY last chance to enter our exclusive Brass Taxes giveaway, in which comedian-turned-tax-prep-guy Rus Garofalo, who specializes in helping freelancers, will do yours for free. A normally $200 value, all yours, gratis. Enter now and you get free carrots and hummus. Email taxes@brokelyn.com by midnight tonight. The winner will be notified tomorrow (Tuesday, March 21).

03/06/12 10:51am

Hi I’m Rus Garofalo, I own Brass Taxes, a company that specializes in helping freelancers save money on their taxes. I started it because when I was a freelance video editor and actor, I thought tax help was a rip-off for lazy people, anxious people frightened by numbers, or really rich people. Then I worked with a tax preparer and got mad that I’d been screwing myself so badly.  So I started telling my freelancer friends about it and doing their returns. Then I took lots of boring classes until I became a tax pro.

My friend Russ (yes, same name, weird) has always done his taxes himself. I asked him to do his taxes using an online service, then I would do them and we’d compare the results. Watch the video yourself to see if doing taxes yourself is really worth it. (The video is staged, but the return numbers and times are real. The carrots and hummus are real too.) (more…)

03/23/11 6:31am

If you’re a Brokelyn reader, there’s a reasonable chance you’re a creative of some type, a freelancer or a DIYer. Go ahead and DIY those sock-monkey dolls, those hand-painted picture frames and ye olde avocado hair mask, but Rus Garofalo of Brass Taxes says the DIY approach doesn’t work too well for taxes.

Rus (above) is a video editor and improvisor in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn who took a day job assisting a tax preparer three years ago during the great freelance slowdown — and discovered more in his day job than he expected.

Since then, he’s made a specialty of doing affordably priced tax preparation (by that we mean $200 ish) for freelancers, artists, and other nice people like Onion writers, Colbert Report producers, crafty Etsy folks, actors, musicians and, yep, Brokelyn contributors. (Three of us, actually.) (more…)