In a letter by Benjamin Franklin in 1789 to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, he wrote ‘In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” That still holds true today.
As we head into 2020, it’s time to start thinking about taxes. So, it’s the perfect time to sit down with a tax professional. Recently we met with Chris Winans of Fidelis Tax & Accounting to learn more about his business and how he got started in the industry. We also had the opportunity to get some helpful tax tips and discover why he chose My Annapolis Office.
Tell us about your company and what you do?
Fidelis Tax and Accounting is a full-service accounting firm focused on proactive tax planning and tax minimization strategies. Fidelis works with individuals and businesses across the country providing consultative and tax preparation services in addition to accounting and payroll services; all customized to each client’s situation. The team at Fidelis is comprised of CPA’s, Enrolled Agents, bookkeepers, and an administrative assistant; and we are growing!
How did you get started in your industry?
I started Fidelis Tax & Accounting in 2016. Prior to opening the business, my former vocation was in law enforcement where I worked as a Maryland State Trooper. It was my father-in-law that introduced me to the financial industry and accounting world.
I started in the financial planning industry and transitioned to the world of tax planning and accounting in 2016. My firm started out of an identified need in the industry for proactive tax planning rather than the more common reactive approach to taxes. Our business structure is set up to identify and implement tax strategies in the current year which allows clients to benefit from tax savings.
Our business model focuses on a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach to tax situations. My team and I sit down with our clients throughout the year, whether that is an individual or business, and focus on how to maximize tax savings. This is in stark contrast to the traditional tax/accounting model where you meet with an accountant after the year has closed, thus limiting your ability to make an impact in the tax picture.
Has anything changed from a tax’s perspective from the previous years?
The payroll withholding tables changed in 2018 and many taxpayers were surprised they owed at tax time. Some of the tax savings opportunities to consider:
- Ensure your payroll withholdings are accurate.
- Contribute to your retirement plan at work, or your IRA.
- Are you going to school? Have you looked at the Lifetime Learning Credit or American Opportunity Tax Credit?
For businesses; I would also suggest you ask about:
- Home office deductions… Ensure you are capturing every expense possible to offset taxable income.
- Solo-401K or other retirement plans… You can contribute to the plan as the employee and provide a company match for your retirement savings.
- Self-employed health insurance expenses… Are you deducting every allowed expense?
There are a lot of opportunities to save money on taxes. Talking to someone throughout the year allows you to ensure you are maximizing those opportunities. If you need help with your individual or small business taxes; you can contact me through our website.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
We are continuing to grow and expand the services we provide to clients each day. My goal is to be a leader in changing the way taxes are approached for the individual and their business.
Tell me about yourself?
I’m married to my wife Courtney, and we have a daughter Parker who just turned seven. We love spending time outdoors and exploring all that Maryland has to offer.
When not working, what are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about my family. Courtney and I love the adventure of raising a daughter and watching her grow to be an amazing member of society.
What types of activities or hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
Coming from Colorado, I have always enjoyed spending time outdoors. I enjoy being outside as much as I can climbing, hiking and camping whenever possible. I have a goal of learning and experiencing more of the water sports that Maryland has to offer.
What is your favorite place to eat in Annapolis? Favorite dish there?
It is a tough decision – The Pollo Saltado from Lima’s Chicken or the Sushi at Joss Café & Sushi Bar top my list.
Why did you choose My Annapolis Office and how has working here helped your business?
I was impressed by the professionalism and personal nature of the environment at My Annapolis Office. When you combine that with its proximity to downtown, it just makes sense.