Hi There! I’m Wendy Uken, Enrolled Agent and Tax Pro Extraordinaire!
If this is your first time visiting you’re probably wondering: What the heck is an Enrolled Agent? “Enrolled Agent” is a designation the IRS gives to individuals who’ve earned the privilege of representing taxpayers by passing a rigorous three-part comprehensive test on taxation as well as ethics. In short: I know my stuff so I get to advocate on your behalf. 😉
So...how did I end up in Tax Resolution?
Well, I’ve always wanted to help people. In high school I thought I would go into law because I found myself gravitating towards individuals who were advocating for fair wages, advocating for fair representation in politics and advocating for immigrant rights; but I quickly realized that becoming an attorney was a bit out of my reach. You see, I was an undocumented immigrant. So even attending and paying for a two year program at the local community college was a herculean effort. I had to hustle full time and school full time to make it; federal, state, grant or scholarship moneys? Those were all inaccessible to me because of my status; but that didn’t stop me.
In 2010 I had the honor of graduating from UCLA with a BA in English Language and Literature. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my degree but my thought process was “Well, if I can read and write then I can learn to do anything” and as someone who’s had to hustle to make money this seemed like a pretty good idea.
So fresh from college and newly wed (we’re celebrating our 8 year anniversary this year!) I had the opportunity work as a bookkeeper for a family-owned chained of music stores. This position allowed me to indulge in the wonderful world of numbers: bank reconciliations, profit and loss statements and tracking numbers for 40 hours a week! It was like a dream come true. I even thought of myself as a number’s detective...but it left a yearning that could not be quenched; so, when I saw an ad on Craisglist for a company advertising a ‘case-worker’ position my interest was piqued.
The ad said you would help people who had large tax debts; it also mentioned that these individuals were difficult to deal with because they were stressed, anxious, and angry. I was hesitant at first but I didn’t let this deter me from applying. I knew what it felt like to be stressed, anxious, and angry. My entire life I’d been stressed with the constant fear of being deported. I was so anxious about having enough money to support myself and go to school that anxiety became a close companion. I was always angry; angry that my efforts, smarts and education would be wasted. What good would I be to the world if the only positions available to me didn’t allow me the opportunity to fight for justice and the betterment of humankind? So I applied and got the job.
Within the first few weeks I knew I made the right call. I was learning how to help people overcome financial devastation and I was trained by one of the best in the industry. He insisted on no short-cuts, no mickey mouse fix and all by the book. I am forever grateful for his tutelage and mentorship. With his guidance and support I was able to successfully work extreme cases and help taxpayers suffering from aggressive collection action like wage garnishments, banks levied, and cases where taxpayers literally had Revenue Officers at their door.
Of course my success, work-ethic and abilities impressed the higher ups so I quickly rose up the corporate ladder, and in a short time I was managing the resolution department...that’s right, the Department and not just a team...I also very quickly realized that I hated office politics; and telling people what to do? No thanks! Seriously, checking up on people to make sure they did their work was not what I signed up for. So, I made a decision to venture out on my own to focus on what I love: helping people overcome their crippling tax debt so they can move on with their lives.
Thus Tax Tribe began. In a tribe there is a place for everyone. Whether you’re here because you’ve started your side hustle and are looking for actionable steps you can take to legitimately maximize your tax deductions, or because you’re living in fear of the IRS and are looking for help; this is a place where you can ask questions and get information without fear of being led astray, being ridiculed or bamboozled (if I don’t know I’ll tell you and I’ll try my best to help you find someone who may have the answers).
So, I welcome you with open arms. My sincerest wish for you is growth and prosperity. My contribution to your success are true tax facts and friendship. Thank you for joining my tribe and letting me be part of yours.
Wendy Uken, Enrolled Agent