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Spotlight on EA and Author Lily Tran

Dec. 17, 2021, 2:00 PM

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Enrolled Agent and author Lily Tran. With over 15 years of experience in accounting, tax, consulting, and advisory services for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and corporations, Tran is the Founder of TaxUSign®, a virtual tax firm located in Kent, Washington.

Tran is the editor and chief contributor of a tax anthology, “The Most Common Tax Mistakes Made by Small Businesses,” and a book series aimed at a younger audience: “The Spunkiez Heroes,” which she co-authored with her son.

What’s your official title, and what does it mean? I’m an Enrolled Agent and tax coach. I specialize in taxes, and I provide 1:1 coaching for small businesses and tax professionals. I am also the Founder of TaxUSign®, a virtual tax firm providing dedicated professional tax assistance anywhere, anytime.

Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Book: I am currently reading “Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself,” by Mike Michalowicz, which was highly recommended by the AICTP mastermind group. I also enjoy watching accounting, financial planning, and tax webinars. Besides studying taxes and reading business books, I enjoy spending time with my family. I am married with two energetic and spontaneous kids, aged 3 and 13.

Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? My passion is providing 1:1 virtual bookkeeping and tax coaching, and tax representation services. I love helping small businesses get on the right track, minimize their taxes and solve their tax problems.

What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? I’ve watched the movie “Shang Chi” three times now. I love criminal investigation shows, such as “The Blacklist.”

What college did you attend, and what did you study? I graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Administration and Policy Practice. I also graduated from Highline College with a certificate in accounting while pursuing a career in tax as an Enrolled Agent. I am currently studying at Pepperdine University for a Certificate in Financial Planning.

Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Unsweetened iced green tea.

What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? Charge what you’re worth! This is advice that I share with other entrepreneurs.

If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Marketing! It makes me excited and brings joy into my life. This is one of the reasons why I provide 1:1 coaching to small businesses and tax professionals. It allows me to think outside of the box and use my creative skills to help others start and grow their businesses.

If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? Bring back Form 2106 for unreimbursed employee expenses. Due to the pandemic, many employees are working from home and not getting reimbursed by employers for out-of-pocket costs, hurting them financially.

Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? I love dark chocolate with sea salt! It gives me a boost of energy and helps me focus, plus it satisfies my sugar cravings!

What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? When I started providing 1:1 virtual coaching services to small businesses, I was fulfilling a huge need! Many small businesses need education and training in setting their business up properly, tracking their income and expenses, getting in compliance, and preparing for tax season.

If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? I would invest in real estate—thanks to my husband for encouraging me to explore real estate.

You can find Tran on Twitter and Instagram.

You can find Tran’s company on Linked In.

You can learn more on her company website.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured, send your suggestion to kerb@bloombergindustry.com with the subject: Spotlight. Please include the following information: tax professional’s name, title, email address, and geographic area (city/state/country).

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Phillips Erb in Washington at kerb@bloombergindustry.com