Aliah Minor
Aliah Minor

It’s about that time of the year again—tax season.

If you are a small business owner, this will be a great time to organize all your documents so you aren’t scrambling by the time April comes around. No business owner wants to deal with any preventable financial surprises.

Black-owned business owners have to contend with many more systemic issues in economics and finances than other business owners; issues that impact the growth of a business. How you prepare taxes is a significant part of properly caring for your financial health.

Aliah Minor is the owner of Calberts Tax Services, LLC in Houston. Once a former educator, Minor took a significant step into entrepreneurship to further her purpose to help people, especially small business owners, stay afloat with the ever-changing economy.

Calberts Tax Service, LLC launched its “No business left behind” campaign to help small business owners. She spoke with the Defender to discuss the tips every small business owner should consider to prepare for tax season.

Defender: Talk about your experience as a former educator.

Minor: My dad was a principal. I got into the field because I needed a job after graduation. I earned a bachelor’s in business administration and finance. I was looking for a position. I couldn’t get a job. I was interviewing and wasn’t getting hired, but I knew schools would always need teachers. I was good with numbers, so I ended up in education. I was a math teacher and fell in love with it. I taught for seven years in total, between Mississippi and Texas. Teaching takes a lot of time. From January to April, I had to be at work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then leave to go to the tax office after that from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and would have to play catch-up on whatever I missed in the morning because I was teaching. And then, I did it all over again [the next day]. I got tired. It was just not life, and not having the weekends off burned me out. I had to pick and choose, and eventually, I gave up education to focus on running a business.

Defender: How was your period of transition to full-time business owner?

Minor: There was a period when I wasn’t managing my money correctly when I left. There was a gap. I was used to having a steady paycheck coming in, and that was gone. And then I had to manage my tax money for the entire year until tax season returns the following year, so I stretched my money. One day I had $10 and no gas, and I was hungry. I told myself that I couldn’t do this again. I have to get it together.

Defender: What fueled your desire to enter into entrepreneurship?

Minor: When I moved to Texas from Jackson, Mississippi, a lot was going on. I started doing taxes on the side at one office here for additional income. I was able to go out to different places and learn about the city. In the process of taxes, I’ve learned that people have many questions. It’s almost like I became a teacher again, but for my clients. I felt like this was what I needed to do. I want to help people learn how to manage money and show them how to prepare for tax season.

Defender: Many businesses struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to plague them today. How have you helped get companies back on track?

Minor: I [survived] Hurricane Harvey, but it ruined everything in my office, and I had to rebuild. Then we went through the pandemic. As people were helping me, I also assisted people in getting their books in order.

Defender: Calberts Tax Service LLC launched a campaign called “No business left behind.” How will local small business benefit from this opportunity?

Minor: My goal is to help small businesses stay on track. Being able not only to look at their books but any completed tax returns and to help them navigate where their money is going, what needs to be done correctly, or identify documents that may be missing.

Defender: What are some common mistakes small businesses make during tax season?

Minor: Small businesses like to write off everything to avoid paying the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), not managing their books properly, or adding all their money (physical cash) earned on their returns.

Defender: What tips do you have for people this tax season?

Minor: Have a bookkeeping system in place, like QuickBooks. Please keep track of everything coming in and all your expenses going out, and categorize them.

Also, put money into your solo 401k, SEP IRA, or self-employed retirement accounts because that can help you with your tax credit.

Another important thing is to look out for scammers. There are a lot of people who say they can help you but don’t stand by their work. If you get audited, you can’t find them and then you find yourself getting into a challenging financial situation. Go with someone who has been in the business, knows the tax laws and checks reviews on performance rates.

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...