FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


In this section we answer questions a lot of people ask about VPTax.
Do you have a burning question about VPTax? Fire away.
Alternatively, if your question is about your Corporate Taxes? Click here!

VPTax is different. How?

Like many other tax providers, we are owned and operated by professionals who come from senior positions/partnerships in the Big 4. Our Big 4 DNA is most apparent in our core services, depth of experience, and proficiency in tax and accounting matters.

Unlike other tax providers, we did not repackage VPTax as a scaled down version of Big 4 services. Instead we made some fundamental improvements on the Tax Provider business model. VPTax provides you with a Tax Director who is an integral part of your team. We are not about selling you a study.

Staff turnover rates at VPTax are very low. VPTax professionals like working here for many reasons, not the least of which is a better work/life balance. Yes, we work hard but we also work smart.

Accounting firms tend to promote their tax professionals out of their current roles. Not us. VPTax Directors specialize in a particular size of organization or type of client. They don’t change roles every year or two. Consistency is central to our VPTax culture. This is a benefit for our customers and allows our professionals to thrive at the top of their league.

A large number of companies have been our customers for more than twenty years. When VPTax loses a customer it’s normally for one of three reasons – Either:

  1. The company is acquired
  2. There is a change in management, or
  3. They have grown to the size where it is more cost effective to hire an in-house tax department. In this latter case we tend to continue working for the in-house tax departments, albeit in a supplementary role.
You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule? It is simply not cost-effective for you to hire a tax team that is qualified to handle 100% of the issues facing your business.

But if you can get 80% of those matters covered at a fraction of the cost, wouldn’t that make more sense?

To address the remaining 20% of your issues VPTax sources proven third party professionals with whom we have great working relationships. You still get a fully integrated tax management service – you’ll just pay a lot less for it.

VPTax will help you pay your taxes in a Cheaper, Faster and Easier way. As for fun-er, no – we’re not THAT good!
Way back in 1991 we saw a gap in the market for outsourced tax services.

At the large end was Big Accounting. Their expertise was broad and deep, but sometimes lacked the agility their customers needed.

At the small end were local and regional firms. Although they were more affordable, they often had the same people covering tax and accounting, which put limits on the levels of expertise they could provide.

At the national level there was good depth and breadth but consistency varied greatly from office to office.

VPTax was conceived as a better customer experience, akin to having a Tax Director down the hall. We are Tax Directors, not an accounting firm. Our ‘Tax Director down the Hall’ operating model has attracted companies at every stage of business development from pre-revenue startups to mature profitable companies.

Most of our customers first engage us for Tax Return Preparation, which is our core service. VPTax has a very efficient and thorough process for Tax Return Preparation. During that process the customer gets a lot of added value above and beyond tax preparation.

When companies in growth mode see how much VPTax brings to their table, that’s the beginning of a long term relationship.

Mature companies choose VPTax for one of 3 reasons

  1. They are looking for a special expertise
  2. Outsourcing is a good way to manage their head count
  3. They trust VPTax as a reliable tax resource to supplement their in-house team.

Tips for Selecting a Tax Provider

Communication: Straight talk is a must. Don’t waste your time with a Tax Provider who doesn’t actively engage with you. If you aren’t getting actionable answers to your questions, move on.

Relevant Experience: Unless you want your money to go to training low-to-mid level staff at your tax provider, find someone who has actually done the work before. Ask for qualifications and a list of clients who are similar to you. Hands-on experience is a must-have in this business.

Personal Chemistry: Let’s face it – taxes will always be painful but your tax professional doesn’t need to be. Find someone with whom you connect; someone you respect… and who respects you.

Advocacy: Advocacy is nearly a lost art. In today’s world of CYA advisory, look for someone who recognizes YOUR risk/reward ratio and advises you accordingly.

Wisdom: An intangible asset – difficult to gauge but critical to your success. If possible, get some references.


Info for Entrepreneurs and Start-up Companies

As long as you are looking to grow, VPTax is not beyond your budget. Some of our enterprise customers today were entrepreneurs in early Start-up mode when we first got together.

VPTax works closely with our start-up clients to help them achieve their business and personal objectives. We accept that these objectives are not immediately lucrative for VPTax. That’s ok with us, though – as they grow, we grow too. We’re in for the long haul.

Our customers are mostly smaller companies and growth companies. For them, working with VPTax is wildly different from working with an accounting firm. VPTax gives them access to resources that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Don’t get us wrong. There are plenty of small accounting firms out there with decent tax experience and/or companies with simple taxes. What VPTax brings to the table is a whole different level of tax expertise. For example, if you’re starting to do business internationally, wouldn’t you like to have access to someone who managed all the international tax operations for a global company that ran 50 foreign subsidiaries? With that particular client, we understood the intricacies and we knew exactly where to find specialists in Belgium to resolve a special tax issue.

That level of expertise is available to all our customers, big or small, whenever they need it.

“Say it in Crayon” is an important part of our culture at VPTax. It’s an expression I [Tom Brehmer] heard many years ago from a CEO. Before I presented anything to him he would look me in the eye and say “I want it in crayon”. Those words are now a litmus test for the advice we give our customers.

Our focus here at VPTax is to communicate simply. We all live in a technical world and what we do is very complicated. Far too many professionals try to sell their expertise by instilling fear and offering themselves as the antidote.

At VPTax our goal is to reduce the facts to the lowest common denominator. So when you’ve got a complicated issue, VPTax will always find a way to appraise it, solve it, and to relate it back to you “in crayon”.

VPTax’s approach to client services is very individualized. For example, we have some clients that require close to full time help to keep their tax functions going, and VPTax does every piece of it – property tax, sales tax, income tax, planning, provision, and basic compliance.

We have other clients that just have a very basic tax return that don’t need us to dig in to any of their issues. They feel comfortable with a basic filing, and we can deliver that service as well.

By taking the time to understand what the client actually needs, we can offer value pricing. That personal sizing is something that sets us apart from other firms.

Yes. Most of us at VPTax have been in big four accounting or public accounting firms. That’s not different. What’s different is that we have also been in corporate tax departments.

Corporate experience on the front lines is what allows us to take a holistic approach to your taxes. We realize that tax is not the be all and end all.

When you’re making business decisions on the corporate battlefield, tax is just one factor that you must take into account. We get that because we’ve been there.

Info for Growth Companies

The first way that VPTax adds value is that we personally invest in understanding your business. Next comes our examination of the data. We dissect the data that’s relevant to whatever project we are working on for you.

After we get to know the business, the data, and how that all should be presented on a tax return, we look for planning opportunities that may have been hidden within the data, and how those opportunities were or were not reported in the past.

VPTax makes a sizeable initial investment up front to get to know you, the client, to understand your data, and to understand your business. If you haven’t experienced this in the past, this will be the biggest difference you notice with VPTax.

“Say it in Crayon” is an important part of our culture at VPTax. It’s an expression I [Tom Brehmer] heard many years ago from a CEO. Before I presented anything to him he would look me in the eye and say “I want it in crayon”. Those words are now a litmus test for the advice we give our customers.

Our focus here at VPTax is to communicate simply. We all live in a technical world and what we do is very complicated. Far too many professionals try to sell their expertise by instilling fear and offering themselves as the antidote.

At VPTax our goal is to reduce the facts to the lowest common denominator. So when you’ve got a complicated issue, VPTax will always find a way to appraise it, solve it, and to relate it back to you “in crayon”.

Taxes are prolific… sales tax, property tax, income tax, penalty tax, etc. In looking at a company that needs triage we ask “What’s most important?”

The triage patient is typically a young company in hyper-growth. They may be hemorrhaging money. They may be hiring people and expanding in states so fast that the accounting and finance department can’t keep up.

In an ideal world we’d be asking them for all kinds of information that we would then use to do their tax returns. That isn’t in line with their daily reality. They are putting out fires so fast that they really don’t care – and they aren’t going to give us a complete answer.

Triage is going to keep them out of trouble. We are going to figure out what the priorities are and VPTax is going to solve those priorities immediately. We’ll identify issues that might need to be addressed in the future for tax saving opportunities, or for other things, but today their focus is on growing their company, not on tax. We get that – totally.

VPTax’s approach to client services is very individualized. For example, we have some clients that require close to full time help to keep their tax functions going, and VPTax does every piece of it – property tax, sales tax, income tax, planning, provision, and basic compliance.

We have other clients that just have a very basic tax return that don’t need us to dig in to any of their issues. They feel comfortable with a basic filing, and we can deliver that service as well.

By taking the time to understand what the client actually needs, we can offer value pricing. That personal sizing is something that sets us apart from other firms.

Yes. Most of us at VPTax have been in big four accounting or public accounting firms. That’s not different. What’s different is that we have also been in corporate tax departments.

Corporate experience on the front lines is what allows us to take a holistic approach to taxes. We realize that tax is not the be all end all.

When you’re making business decisions on the corporate battlefield, tax is only one factor that you must take into account. We get that because we’ve been there.


In-House Expertise at VPTax

As we are not a CPA firm, VPTax does not audit, review or compile financial statements.

Nor are we bookkeepers. While we provide advice to clients’ financial team and regularly interact with their other outside advisors, we do not keep books.

For clients in need of the above services, we have relationships with many excellent third party providers.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the last thing you want when doing a deal is a surprise. It’s wise to have an experienced eye making sure you get it right.

If you’re a seller, it’s possible that up until now you’ve relied on your outside accounting firm for income taxes and you’ve managed all other taxes in-house. Whether you’re doing business in one state, across the US or around the world, there are countless tax requirements in countless jurisdictions. How can you be sure that your tax status is acquisition ready? VPTax Directors have first-hand experience managing tax with the exit strategy in mind!

If you’re a buyer, one thing you don’t want to buy is someone else’s problems. Get the target’s tax exposures quantified by someone who can put them in the context of your business priorities. Make sure that expert can not only deliver a complete report, but also articulate a comprehensive strategy for integrating pre-acquisition due diligence with post-acquisition implementation.

Who can do this? VPTax can, and does.