Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

K & M Winslow Associates, Inc. Story


Kelly Winslow adds a personal touch to tax preparation

by Rick Spencer

 The dedicated staff of  K & M Winslow Associates, from left to right: Jill Martlock, Michelle Moore, <BR>Audra Motley, Kelly Winslow, Ansley Schindler and Susan Bruske <BR>Photo courtesy Knox Studios

The dedicated staff of K & M Winslow Associates, from left to right: Jill Martlock, Michelle Moore,
Audra Motley, Kelly Winslow, Ansley Schindler and Susan Bruske
Photo courtesy Knox Studios

You make owing taxes to the federal government fun.”

As unbelievable as this statement might seem at first, it is typical of the feedback that Kelly Winslow—the co-owner of K & M Winslow Associates, Inc., a tax preparation service in Chesapeake—often receives from many of her clients. Such a lighthearted assessment stems from Kelly’s jovial personality, her strict professionalism, and her good-natured, no-nonsense straight talk when it comes to tax preparation.

“I’ve had one client say, ‘I enjoy coming here to see you because you explain my tax situation clearly and in an amusing way that’s easy to understand. Most importantly, you save me money!” Kelly adds.

Kelly approaches her work as something of an archeological adventure worthy of Indiana Jones.

“When clients bring their tax material into my office, it’s like conducting an archaeological dig to uncover historical artifacts from the previous year that detail their income and taxable expenses,” Kelly explains with her trademark smile. “I assemble W-2 forms, receipts, investment information, and other financial artifacts from the previous tax year and let the facts tell the story. My job as a tax preparer is to assemble all these pieces of data so they reveal the financial activity during the designated reporting period. The conclusion of this dig identifies the amount of money that clients will pay to the IRS or have returned to them in the form of a tax refund.”

“A lot of people unwittingly
look forward to receiving a large refund
...However, hefty tax refunds
are a waste of their money.
Big refunds provide the government with,
what is tantamount to,
an interest-free loan.”

—Kelly Winslow

“A lot of people unwittingly look forward to receiving a large refund,” Kelly continues. “However, hefty tax refunds are a waste of their money. Big refunds provide the government with, what is tantamount to, an interest-free loan. I’d rather pay the government $100 for the amount I owe in taxes rather than get $100 in the form of a tax refund. A lot of people don’t understand why they have paid so much in taxes througout the year.”

Kelly emphatically sets the record straight. “People should not be surprised by the amount that they’ve actually paid the IRS,” she states. “If they are, then they’re intentionally choosing to pay the federal government more than they owe.”

Kelly helps clients develop a plan that has the withholdings right-sized to minimize the amount paid to or received from the IRS.

The advice that she gives to her clients will help them plan in advance for the 2019 tax year. Suggestions include opening an IRA or 401(k) to reduce the amount of taxable income. Another idea might be changing the amount of one’s withholdings.

According to the IRS, employee withholdings are the amount of federal income taxes that one’s employer deducts from one’s paycheck. That amount  deducted is determined by two things: the amount an employee earns and the information that the employee gives to the employer on their W-4 form. Withholding too little can result in paying a tax bill or penalty. Withholding too much may result in a tax refund that reduces one’s buying power throughout the year.

“Because we at K & M Winslow Associates become so well-acquainted with our clients, we know their family situations,” Kelly adds. “Among those with children, for instance, we can recommend tax strategies that may result in reducing the costs related to sending them to college.”

The education that Kelly happily provides her clients helps them to streamline the filing process and save money in the long run.

“Taxpayers may need professional advice this tax season due to recent changes in tax laws that include: the amount workers can earmark for 401 (K) contributions; modifications in the tax-rate schedule and alternative minimum tax; adjustments in tax credits and deductions; revisions in interest paid on home mortgages, charitable contributions, and more,” Kelly says. “Not only can we offer consultation on these tax related-matters, but our services also include processing payroll and providing monthly, quarterly or annual bookkeeping services to small businesses.”

Kelly appreciates the challenges faced by small business owners. She and her husband, Michael, initially operated Winslow and Associates out of their home in the Hickory area of Chesapeake.

“In 2013, a family situation resulted in my husband and me welcoming our three young grandchildren  into our home,” Kelly recalls. “At the same time, we were still supporting two of our children. Our son was a high school graduate, and our daughter was in the 10th grade. This occurred when we were planning to downsize. Instead, we kept our existing house and opened our current office on Mount Pleasant Road. The tax preparer practice has grown over the years. We have a full-time staff that consists of three tax preparers and two accounting specialists. Soon, a receptionist will be hired to accommodate the high demand during tax season.”

Kelly urges tax filers to be cautious when purchasing online, tax preparation software.

“A computer program can never deliver the service, the insights and the personal attention available from a professional tax preparer,” she insists. “When considering hiring a tax preparer, check to make sure that the business has a current PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) from the IRS, which is renewed annually. Anyone who receives payment for the preparation or assistance in processing federal tax returns for compensation must have a valid 2019 PTIN. This designation certifies the tax preparer is up-to-date on classes and current tax law.”

“Well-informed consumers want to make sure the tax preparer is going to be available throughout the business year,” Kelly concludes. “If the IRS asks questions, wants clarification about your tax statement or conducts an audit of your tax returns, this individual must be readily available to explain how the conclusions on the tax form were reached. At K & M Winslow Associates, we give our clients the answers to their bottom line questions.”

K & M Winslow and Associates

221 Mt. Pleasant Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322