Get taxes done for free from Brass Taxes!

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.)

See, I’ve had lots of clients come to me after trying to DIY their taxes, and many of them made the same mistakes as Russ:

1. Doing it yourself costs more than you think, but once you’ve invested your time you won’t quit. TurboTax, for instance, advertises as free and “state additional,” which starts out at $27.95. By the end it cost Russ $111.90.  (I cost $200)

2. It also takes a long time. It took Russ 218 minutes to finish. (Brass Taxes: 34 minutes)

3. You’re guessing a lot. Often Russ couldn’t didn’t know the right answer and resorted to Googling. Then you’re on Yahoo Answers getting tax advice from Ninja441.

4. You get things wrong and don’t know.  Russ expensed things he shouldn’t have, but he was unsure and including it got a higher refund so….you do. Russ deducted some clothes he used in a video shoot that are not actually deductible. Understandable mistake since they were for a video (his business), but they are not deductible for a boring reason that I explained to him later.

5. You run out of self control and make bad decisions. Self-control can be exhausting. Russ stopped caring about getting it right, and just wanted it to be over.

I know taxes bring up waves of nausea and anxiety and you want as much money in your wallet as possible. I also know you don’t want to deal with a mess of trouble later on. Brass Taxes exists to treat people well, lower your anxiety, and to save you money.

To prove it, I’m offering a tax-prep giveaway to one randomly selected Brokelyn reader. Send an email to [email protected] by Tuesday, March 20, and if you’re chosen, I’ll do your taxes for FREE this year. If you make an appointment to see me before the contest ends on March 20, and you win, I’ll refund the $200 fee. So enter my Brokelyn tax prep giveaway, and book an appointment by emailing me here. If you still need further convincing, visit the Brass Taxes web site to read testimonials from happy customers who saved money by seeing me. Just like Russ.


Friend me on Facebook, maybe we know someone in common.


  1. Anna Leah Jacobson

    Last year, I drank a beer while Rus – a part-time comedian, part-time accountant – did my taxes. Add in his good hair, and he’s the Jewish trifecta (my father would plotz).

    I have a million different revenue streams, but he made sense of it all and made the whole ugly process pain-free.Also, he saved me a ton.I don’t resent you, Brokelyn, for running this piece because I already made my appointment with Rus this year. 

  2. I used Rus last year, and it was probably the best service experience not involving a massage that I’ve ever had. We hung out, he did my taxes, had a laptop for me to Facebook/Twitter/Gmail while he worked, so I not only saved the time that I would have spent doing my taxes, but actually had the opportunity to make my time even more effective, instead of having to sit and watch someone do my taxes. I liken the experience to the way bullies used to have the nerds in high school do their homework for them, except I didn’t have to threaten Rus with swirlies at any point.

    I used to be big on doing my own taxes, proud that I could mire through the IRS’ documents to file both my regular 1040, as well as the forms for my freelancing. After 6 years of this, which included a few amended returns I needed to file, because I wasn’t deducting as much as I could, it was nice to have someone who understands the system get it done in about an hour. 

    On all fronts–my refund, my time, my peace of mind–I found it worthwhile to buck up and pay to have my taxes done. Of course, if your taxes are pretty simple (i.e. you have one job, you’re not in grad school, and you’re not selling anything on Etsy or whatever), you can probably go the Turbo Tax route and be fine.

  3. To be serious for JUST one second, this year I did my own taxes on Turbo Tax. Rus knows this. Not only did I get less back, I never would have done that had I not had w-2’s/rushing off to London a few days later. Rus itemized over $9000 for me and knows what’s legal and what’s not. The anxiety of doing my own taxes wasn’t worth it. I also more than earning back his fee last year in referrals I sent his way. Did I mention it’s like going on a (FUN) first date?

  4. I’ve been asking around for the last six months or so, trying to get a solid recommendation for a tax preparer who works with freelancers. Everyone was either too expensive or really did not inspire confidence that they understood the vagaries of freelance income, expenses, etc. This is a much-needed service and I’m relieved to find it! If I may offer a small suggestion: the testimonials on your website are super-compelling, but neurotic people like me might be even more convinced if you provided some info about your qualifications to the “about section.”

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