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Spotlight on Tax Tech Founder and CEO Shiloh Johnson

March 18, 2022, 1:00 PM

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Shiloh Johnson, a longtime CPA and founder of ComplYant, a three-year-old technology platform that helps business owners and entrepreneurs manage tax rules and requirements.

Johnson, who lives in Los Angeles, calls herself “a professional employee hype woman” who leads through service to her clients. If it was up to her, new small businesses would qualify for a refundable tax credit to offset the first year of fees.

In her spare time, she enjoys watching documentaries, listening to investigative journalism podcasts, taking long walks, and snacking on Red Vines licorice. And she lovingly refers to her three young adult children as her “broke best friends.”

What’s your official title and what does it mean? My official title is Founder and CEO. This means a great deal to me. I qualify myself as a professional employee hype woman. To me, this means that I am leading through service. True leadership is mastering service. I serve the people that built this software company. I am not writing a line of code, executing a social media plan, or answering customer service inquiries. I am supporting the people that are doing those things, and it is by far the most incredible job I’ve ever had.

Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Book, paperback specifically. There is something therapeutic about actually turning the pages or making little notes in the corner of a page.

Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Indirect tax is my area of specific interest. I have been doing it for 14 years and it’s the reason I started the technology company, to answer the call of support need that small businesses have in relation to indirect tax.

What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? “Encanto” on Disney+. It’s such a beautiful story of finding your place in the world and not overlooking your value even if it isn’t packaged in a way that you think it should be.

What college did you attend and what did you study? I attended California State University, Dominguez Hills and I studied accounting, I also attended Golden Gate University and studied taxation at the graduate level.

Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Coffee … Americano with oat milk.

What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? To take the time to organize, it will make everything after that a hundred times easier.

If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? A crime scene investigator.

If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? A refundable credit to offset the first year of small business fees to help incentivize new entrepreneurs to keep up to date on tax compliance requirements.

Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? Red Vines during all seasons, ha ha.

What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? The IRS forcing Cash App and Venmo payment processors to report transactions happening within their platforms.

If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? I’d invest it.

You can find Johnson on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

You can find out more about Johnson’s firm, ComplYant, on its website.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kelly Phillips Erb at kerb@bloombergindustry.com