Bloomberg Tax
Dec. 16, 2022, 2:00 PM

Spotlight on Enrolled Agent and Business Founder Teresa Alley

Rebecca Baker
Rebecca Baker

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals all over the world. This week’s Spotlight is on Teresa “Terri” Alley, an enrolled agent and co-owner of Alley & Bradl LLC in Piqua, Ohio.

Alley became interested in personal taxes after being a stay-at-home mom and working for a few years in the administrative field. She became an enrolled agent so she could help people with audits, sign tax returns, and train and supervise employees. After spending more than a decade at a local accounting firm, she and Ann (Bradl) Epperly, a CPA, launched their own company. “I consider the past 15 years of my life to be my second act—it’s never too late to find your passion,” Alley said.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Alley watching the latest episodes of “The Crown,” snacking on peanut butter Easter eggs, or curled up with a good book.

What’s your official title and what does it mean? I am a 50% owner of our business and an enrolled agent. I handle most of the administrative tasks for our office, the IT and technical stuff, and the bulk of our 1040 prep and representation work. This includes clients’ IRS issues, plus state and local issues. Since we’re in Ohio, we have a lot of municipal tax departments to work with.

Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Books, definitely! I have a huge bookshelf in my living room filled with historical fiction, biographies, and fat novels. They’re like friends that I visit now and then. Just looking at the bookshelf makes me happy.

Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Personal income taxes. It involves a lot of client contact, and I like providing a personal service to appreciative clients. Our client base ranges in age from 19 to 99, and they live all over the country. When clients move away but still want to retain our tax services, it shows that they value the personal relationship as much as I do. I like to think that we provide relationship tax prep, not retail tax prep.

What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? Right now, I’m trying desperately NOT to binge “The Crown” but to space it out to only an episode or two per night. Before that, it was “Becoming Elizabeth.” It’s history, royalty, but most importantly, real people. That’s my escape.

What college did you attend and what did you study? I attended Edison State Community College and received an associate degree in business administration, with a certificate in accounting. I was a stay-at-home mom in my 20s, did general administrative work in my 30s, and didn’t get into tax until my 40s. I started college while working full-time, and it took eight years, during which I moved three times, got divorced, and studied for and passed the Special Enrollment Exam to become an EA. Life happens, but I stuck it out to get my degree.

Go-to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning and diet Mountain Dew in the afternoon.

What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? When I bought my home, the kitchen was a nightmare. I had planned to live with it for a few years and save up for the remodel. A good friend advised me to rethink that and look for ways to make it happen sooner rather than later. I found someone who would do the work if I could take care of removing the old cabinets. My son-in-law was most willing to swing the sledgehammer and get the old stuff out. I was able to find cabinets, countertops, and flooring for 48 months same as cash. The only initial out-of-pocket cost was the labor. It definitely increased the value of my home, and having a nice, clean kitchen really made my house feel like home right away.

If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? I’d like to write historical fiction so that readers would be entertained and learn at the same time. All the travel and research I’d have to do would be a bonus for me!

If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? No changes to current-year tax law should be allowed after Aug. 31. It is so difficult to help clients plan when there is talk of tax changes that may or may not materialize.

Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? Peanut butter is always a favorite! Especially those peanut butter Easter eggs that are available right at the most stressful time of tax season.

What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? We have a handful of small business clients that benefited from the Employee Retention Credit, although they’re still waiting on the refunds. The increased Child Tax Credit made a difference for many of our individual clients, especially when we ran the married-filing-jointly versus married-filing-separately options.

If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Put some into my retirement plan, top off my HSA, put some into my grandchildren’s college fund accounts. Boring stuff. 😊

You can find out more about Alley on LinkedIn.

You can learn more about Alley’s firm, Alley & Bradl LLC, on its website and on Facebook.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured, send your suggestion to 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: Rebecca Baker in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kelly Phillips Erb at

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