Living the Dream With Tax Preparation,
with Janet McKenna
Janet McKenna Lowry is a small business owner running Massachusetts Tax School for Practitioners out of Greenfield, Massachusetts. Janet says that she is not a tax expert and never was particularly confident in her math skills, but she's learned that preparing taxes is more about organization, and there's very little math involved. There's a huge demand for the work despite more and more people having access to the software to do it themselves, droves of people would still rather pay for help. It's a great field for anyone who needs flexibility (moms, artists, people who want to travel so many months out of the year, gig workers who have a slow season, etc). Janet and her business partner had been running their course onsite at a local university but moved everything to an online format with the blessing of the IRS during the pandemic, and they've decided to keep it online as it offers more flexibility to the attendees. She's now wearing multiple hats as CFO, webmaster, marketing, registrar, and operations. This tax school partners with tax experts who teach the courses to meet the 72 hours of continuing education hours tax preparers are required to complete every 3 years.
In this episode, Janet shares how the topic of tax preparation has become an especially exciting one, because she's helping get people access to flexible work in a way she wishes she had earlier in her life, like when she had younger children. There's actually an extreme deficit of tax preparers as many of the people in the field are entering their retirement years, so if people want flexible work or to just work 3-4 months out of the year, this is a great field to look at (and it can be lucrative too, especially for those who go on their own and/or take the extra steps to do business taxes and trusts and estates). Some big name tax preparation sites do require their employees to have a degree, but it's actually something that is available to people with or without high school diplomas or college degrees as the methods can be learned just by working alongside someone in the field and learning online, keeping up with the continuing education hours. Some people do go into accounting to have more consistent work throughout the year, but it's not necessary.
Janet has actually been living the dream working from home on and off in different capacities for about 10 years, and currently she has gotten it to where she has a busy season where she's working 40 hours a week for a few months while they're putting on their course and then it relaxes down to about 25 hours a week for the rest of the year where she focuses coaching and consulting around being a better boss, skills like learning boundaries and negotiation skills as an employee. She went back to school at age 50 and earned her MBA from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Janet can be reached through her website at:
Massachusetts Tax School for Practitioners mtsfp.com
She also has a podcast Working 9 to Thrive: https://working9tothrive.com/