Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Sabrina James, a Maryland-based licensed tax preparer, accountant, and an advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor.
James, who owns AccounTAXstic LLC, says she’s fueled by her passion for helping small business owners and individuals manage their finances, increase profits, and expand their businesses. Her expertise ranges from multistate taxes, individual and corporate taxes, tax planning, and accounting services to more in-depth services such as payroll, bookkeeping, account reconciliation, budget analysis, and financial planning.
When she’s not helping her clients, James enjoys reading hardcover books, sipping peach green tea, and hunting for spicy pickles.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? I’m the founder and owner of AccounTAXstic LLC, an accounting and tax firm based in Columbia, Md. I direct and oversee the firm’s financial activities, acquisitions, and marketing, in addition to maintaining client relationships. I manage a staff of two professionals and their day-to-day operations to ensure compliance with the relevant accounting, tax, and regulatory requirements.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? I prefer reading a handheld, hardcover book. My favorite book is “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy. This book has changed my perspective of life and is a must read.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? I specialize in real estate taxes. Before starting my accounting firm, I worked as an accountant for several multimillion-dollar residential/commercial real estate companies. I have several clients that are real estate investors, homeowners, Realtors, and brokers.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? The last movie I watched was “Needle in a Timestack,” a romantic suspense thriller. The movie takes place in the future, where time traveling is the norm. The main character travels back in time to change whom he marries but loses his memory of the woman he truly desires to spend his life with.
What college did you attend and what did you study? I graduated magna cum laude while earning my Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting and finance from Georgia State University.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? I’m not much of a caffeine consumer; however, I do enjoy drinking tea. My favorite flavor is caffeine-free peach green tea.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? Never stop learning. Knowledge is power, but the secret is knowing how to monetize your knowledge and strategically present it to targeted prospects.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? My dream job would be to start a nonprofit organization that teaches financial literacy to individuals located in high-poverty areas.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? I have many clients that take advantage of the District of Columbia rent credit. I would like to see this tax credit added as a federal tax credit. Many people are claiming the mortgage interest as an itemized deduction. I think it would be fair to credit people who pay rent as well.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? My favorite food is pickles. I love spicy pickles and plan to attend the Big Dill Pickle Festival in Maryland this September.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? The advanced child tax credit and stimulus payments—many people weren’t sure if they received them. In the recent tax season, tax professionals were charged with reconciling the monthly advanced child tax credit payments and third stimulus payments on the 2021 tax returns. It was quite challenging due to the IRS not issuing letters 6419 and/or 6475 on time to taxpayers. These letters reflected the total payment amounts each taxpayer received. We advised several clients to check their bank statements or give my firm access to their IRS records to determine the exact payment amounts. As you can imagine, this increased our time to prepare taxes more than usual.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? I would use it to contribute to my Roth IRA account. Savings contributed to a Roth IRA grow tax-free. Unlike the traditional IRA, contributing to a Roth IRA will not be a tax deduction. However, your contributions and their earnings can be withdrawn without paying income or capital gains taxes if your distributions are deemed qualified.