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The Tax Whisperer

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Clint Coons demystifies real estate taxes.

Death, taxes, and stress. A triad seemingly inevitable for any American taxpayer.

Roughly 52 percent of American adults report that they find the process of filing taxes to be a stress-inducing mess, according to a survey by TaxSlayer.

The Internal Revenue Service now has more than 800 unique filing forms. Its Tax Code language and statutes have nearly sextupled in verbiage between 1955 and 2017 — from 609,000 words to 2.4 million words, according to the U.S. Tax Foundation.

What’s more, about 169 million American taxpayers and businesses spent 8.1 billion hours and almost $200 billion on their tax preparations in 2017, according to a study by the policy think tank American Action Forum.

For real estate investors, the task of tax preparation may seem even more daunting. When owning a handful of properties, operating several businesses, earning income from various states, and navigating ever-shifting regulations, taxes for investors can quickly get complex.

But for Clint Coons, founding partner with Anderson Business Advisors, therein lies one of his greatest joys— helping people navigate and succeed in the convoluted world of business planning and tax strategy.

An attorney and author of Asset Protection for Real Estate Investors, Coons said he enjoys distilling complicated law and tax structures into simple terms for clients. Often, investors are stressed for fear of overpaying in taxes or not reaping the return they deserve, Coons said.

That’s why Coons and his team take a methodical approach to caring for their clients — not one that frantically searches for solutions at the last minute.

“Most people get stressed out because they hear about ways to save taxes, but they do not know how to do it themselves and their CPA is not very helpful in analyzing their situation to find deductions,” he said. “To help relieve our clients of this stress, we tell them we need to take a proactive approach and begin planning at the start of the year, not 60 days before their taxes are due.”   

Founded in 1993, Anderson Business Advisors is a business planning and consulting firm that focuses on asset protection for real estate investors and other enterprises. With offices in Las Vegas and Tacoma, Washington, Anderson has realized steady growth over the years thanks not only to dedicated service but also its leadership’s diverse experience.

While he now leads a team of more than 200 employees, Coons’ first foray into real estate was working as a framer. The hot, hard job taught him what he values in work and it ultimately led him to realize his professional goals.

“You’re on the job site at 7 a.m., you’re doing your roll out for the day on what you need to do with the house, and then you’ll typically work until 4 p.m. and then go drink beer for a couple hours,” he said. “You work really hard, you’re out in the sun and it’s fun — no doubt about it. And when you get done building something, you look back on it and go ‘Yeah I put that together. I did a great job.” 

Clint-SpeakingThe satisfaction of physically constructing something instilled into Coons a desire to build for others at a larger scale. He graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in 1997 and determined that he would enter the world of estate and business planning as well as asset protection and tax law.

“I started creating systems to help people set these things up and show them the benefits that can come by having a good plan,” Coons said. “Within two years out of law school, I joined with my partner and we took the company from 50 employees to now over 200 employees in four states.”

With Anderson Business Advisors, Coons’ primary goal is to help clients preserve their income, protect their assets and prosper through meticulously planned strategies. Many of the same strategies are, in fact, what Coons uses himself to manage his portfolio of more than 110 properties around the United States.

Coons’ breadth of experience in real estate investing — both the successes and failures — is what sets apart Anderson Business Advisors’ approach from other business planners or CPAs. It entails a nuanced view to enable success for clients and many other firms lack the insights necessary, he said.

“There are mistakes that get made over and over again by new real estate investors because they receive advice from people who are not investors themselves and they think that that’s just the way it goes. They think it’s this one-size-fits-all approach,” Coons said. “I work with people every year who worked with their local attorney or CPA that created an LLC and then they’re struggling to try and sell a property because the buyers’ lenders don’t like the way the structure was set up and it doesn’t have certain attributes that they’re looking for. And you know what? It’s because they got advice from someone who doesn’t understand their business.”

The complicated details of business planning, asset protection, and tax preparation is part of the reason why Anderson Business Advisors invests so much time and resources into educating its clients. In addition to writing a book to help others protect their assets, Coons travels around the country offering multi-day workshops to real estate investors who prefer a more personal learning experience.

Coons and his business partner, Toby Mathis, have also created and published more than 250 free videos on YouTube that inform prospective clients and help investors succeed. The YouTube channel has more than 22,000 subscribers and its videos collectively have nearly 1 million views.

“I really like going into the studio and cutting videos. It’s just all been organic, and I’ve been approached by several people on how they want me to monetize my channel. As my grandfather would say, ‘You’re giving away too much,’” Coons said. “I want to give this away because being fully transparent is bringing in really good clients.” 

As Tax Day approaches, Coons recommends that readers and investors check out Anderson Business Advisors’ YouTube channel for more strategies to protect their wealth. Furthermore, he added that people should start thinking about how they’re preparing for 2021 and beyond.

“Get educated. Compliance with the tax code is enforced through fear,” he said. “Many people overpay because they are not knowledgeable enough to know what steps they can take to reduce their burden and thus are afraid of what might happen if they step outside of their comfort zone.”