Celebrating 31 Years in the Tax Business

We’re excited to announce that on September 1st, The Income Tax School will be celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary! That’s right, we’ve been teaching taxes and opening the door to tax business ownership for 30 years. What many people don’t know, is that The Income Tax School actually began as a way for our sister company, Peoples Tax, to recruit and train new tax preparers.

Peoples Tax opened its first income tax office on September 1, 1987 and expanded to 26 locations in central-Virginia over the next nine years. During this time, Peoples was recognized for four consecutive years as one of the Richmond, Virginia “Rising 25” fastest growing companies.

Former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti who presented Peoples Tax with an award in 1999 as a “Special Friend of ETA” (the IRS Electronic Tax Administration)

To meet the need for qualified tax preparers to support our rapid early growth, I created an income tax school comparable to that of my former employer, H & R Block.  In 1988, I persuaded J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to hire me as an adjunct faculty member to teach a 3-credit course in income tax preparation that I developed. On September 1, 1989 the company was approved by the Virginia Department of Education to operate Peoples Income Tax School.

The following year, while attending a conference of our tax software vendor, our account executive noted that Peoples was the only independent tax firm in the country with a tax school comparable to H&R Block’s.  Our account executive suggested that I make the tax school available to other independent tax business owners.  So, in 1990, I began licensing the tax school system to tax businesses nationwide to generate off-season revenue. To this day, The Income Tax School still provides a turn-key system for its licensees to establish their own tax schools to recruit and train tax preparers.

We enabled independent tax business owners to adopt this best practice used by the national tax firms. In fact, Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service outsourced their tax schools to Peoples during their first two years of existence before taking their tax schools in-house.

Over the next ten years, Peoples Tax faced increasing competition from national tax firms expanding into the market, while more taxpayers were enabled to prepare their own returns using products such as TurboTax and IRS Free File.  Peoples Tax now focuses on preparing complex individual and small business tax returns and providing small business bookkeeping and payroll services.  Meanwhile, Peoples Tax School continued to grow and was renamed “The Income Tax School” (ITS).  Small business and advanced courses and continuing education (CE) seminars were added.

In 2003, ITS launched eLearning courses through a learning management system to deliver online tax courses and CE seminars directly to students nationwide. ITS also created a set of four Tax Practice Management Manuals: Tax Office Operations, Marketing, Personnel, and Expansion; and in 2017 I wrote the book, Guide to Start and Grow Your Successful Tax Business.

In addition, The Income Tax School has enabled many seasonal employees of Peoples Tax to be employed year-round by writing and editing tax course curriculum and providing instructor support for e-learning students during the off-season.  These activities have also strengthened our firm’s base of tax knowledge, enabling Peoples Tax to compete with CPA firms to competently prepare complex individual and small business income tax returns at more affordable rates.

The Income Tax School exists to empower people with a professional career to fulfill their dreams and serve others as industry leaders. It provides an attainable and affordable career path for anyone with a High School diploma, and a way for early retirees and single parents to earn money part time. It also enables independent tax business entrepreneurs to adopt best practices used by big tax firms without buying into a franchise, paying an expensive franchise fee plus ongoing royalties and being locked into a geographic territory.

I am proud of the growth and success in our 30 years of operation – none of which would have been possible without the hard work and perseverance of our dedicated, loyal employees.