Hi! I’m Rus Garofalo, you may know me from my 2004 epic rap battle with Jamiroquai or as your tax advisor. I started Brass Taxes from my Brooklyn, NY, living room back in 2008. At the time I made money by editing videos for the web and trying to get work as a comedy writer and performer. During the ‘Great Freelance Slow Down’ of 2008, known outside the comedy industry as the "financial crisis," I took a day job doing admin work for a tax preparer who worked out of his lovely home in Ditmas Park. That person is Harvey Zirofsky.
Within a short time, I realized I had been doing my taxes badly and probably the same was true for most of my friends and acquaintances. I was frustrated that this lack of knowledge and understanding had been costing me a decent amount of money. Why didn’t I know to get help with this stuff? That it would actually benefit me to make my taxes MORE complicated? Why couldn’t I find this information?
When I realize I’ve been doing something wrong, my instinct is to tell everyone what I learned, so that I could maybe help them and also help me make lemon flowers out of the newly discovered lemons. That year I did taxes for twelve of my friends with Harvey offering to look them over for me. Harvey saw that I had an ability to understand this stuff and told me to take some classes that summer, and I continued to work for him for four years. In that time, I also built out Brass Taxes to be the business I had needed but couldn’t find before I understood more about taxes work.
Today, the focus of Brass Taxes continues to be helping "freelancers, artists, and other nice people" who want to understand this stuff so it’s less stressful and consumes less thought year round. Most of our clients never planned to be a business, but the nature of their industry forces them to becomes independent contractors, so POOF, you’re a business! Our goal is to give a high level of customized service while not charging prices that are crazy.
Other than helping clients, we aim to create great jobs for the people that work here. We believe your work should be a balance of being meaningful, earning the money you need to live, and offering you the flexibility and free time to also pursue your other passions. All of our employees are given a range of compensations and flexibility so they can choose what’s best for them. We are completely online and so people can take their job/experience, and flexibility with them wherever they want to go. Brass Taxes is growing and changing and will continue to. Honestly it’s exhausting at times, but the other option is stagnation, boredom, and a slow death; so let’s go!
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