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Article Published in the July-August, 2016 Edition of Pittsburgh Avenue West Magazine

Turning Tax Lemons Into Lemonade

by Michele J. Gaines, B.A.C.P. EA 

Entering the workforce as a college grad presented various struggles and issues but none like what I discovered about paying taxes. I will never forget receiving my first professional paycheck. I was so excited. However, that excitement all went south when I discovered little boxes with dollar amounts in them that lessened the payout amount of my paycheck. I wondered who is FICA and why am I paying him all this money? I had no idea at the ripe old age of 22 the why, the what, and the how to intertwine, understand, manage and balance income with taxes and have it make financial sense. It took me all of about five minutes to realize that if I did not get an understanding of this tax issue, my entire life would spin out of control. I know it doesn’t sound like something fanciful, but when you have your tax life in and under control…you are tickled beyond belief.

How can I help you whip your tax lemons into lemonade (tax dollars)? The lemons: liens, levies, penalties, amended tax returns, offers in compromise and innocent or injured spouse matters are very complex tax matters. However as a tax professional and enrolled agent for the Department of the Treasury, enrolled to practice before IRS, I can help you begin to turn things around and make lemonade. Jackson Gaines (the company), provides representation of taxpayers before IRS Appeals and the Taxpayer Advocate, which is the office that assists taxpayers with resolutions of tax issues that the internal mechanisms of IRS failed to resolve. We also provide assistance in all areas of taxation such as preparation of individual and business returns, consultation and practical financial growth application. 

My practice focuses on providing quality services and customer satisfaction using tax strategies that get results. We are open year round since tax matters very seldom wait for January to roll around for a resolution. In fact, IRS sends notices regarding delinquencies and other matters throughout the year which means one can seldom wait until tax season opens in January for resolving a tax issue.

Conveniently located in downtown Pittsburgh, the office of Jackson Gaines is but a phone call or email away. It doesn’t matter in which state or city you reside because our representation covers the entire United States. So your family or friends dealing with tax lemons can contact us, and we’re here to help.

Of Note: Michele J. Gaines is the Author of: The Top Ten Tax Series: Know The Game & Save on Taxes, a series of instructional guide books designed to provide insight on how to manage and balance your tax life. Michele can be reached at 412.224.4022 or by email at

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