For the Love of…Taxes
On one of many cold winter Chicago days, Kevin Cotton decided to seek sunshine and moved to Carson, California. He had grown up in Chicago but wanted to make a new life for himself somewhere warm. Once he settled in Carson, which is just outside Los Angeles, he met a beautiful young girl named Nikki. Nikki’s father wasn’t ready to let her date and Kevin found himself wanting to make a good impression.
Kevin attended Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He studied Theater Education. He didn’t know much about taxes, but Nikki’s dad owned a tax practice and Kevin went to work for him. He learned all about preparing taxes and helped the business grow. Soon, Kevin and Nikki were allowed to date and this year they will celebrate their twenty-first wedding anniversary.
When Kevin’s father-in-law retired in 2006, Kevin took over Thomas and Thomas Tax Service. He focused on growing the business without compromising the principles on which the company was built. One thing he always wants his clients to know is that he’s going to take care of them from beginning to end. He works hard to build their trust so they never want to go somewhere else.
At Thomas and Thomas Tax Service, Kevin and his staff prepare between 500 and 700 returns annually and e-file each and every one of them. They prepare a handful of business returns too. During tax season, their days often start at 8 am and end sometime around 10 pm. They are open year-round as they also offer bookkeeping services and are sometimes called upon for referrals.
One referral Kevin is always happy to offer is to fellow tax professionals looking for a good tax preparation software program. He says Drake Software can’t be beat. He’s been using Drake for nearly 20 years. He appreciates the timely phone support and broadcast emails, and the fact that he knows he can trust what he’s told. He says, “The software is simple to learn and is incredibly user-friendly.” He adds, “The customer service is thorough and concise. It’s the best out there.” Like Kevin, Drake Software wants customers to know they can trust them to provide the best service and work for them not just during tax season, but all year long.
Kevin describes himself as a trustworthy man who prefers to be informal yet professional, personable, and comforting. He also sees the importance of having a good sense of humor. He treats his clients like family and has the motto, “Only a family business can do a family’s business.” Kevin attributes his successful career to a supportive family who has understood the demands of tax season year after year.
Kevin is a member of the California Society of Tax Consultants. The CSTC is just one resource Kevin uses to stay on top of tax laws and changes. He also participates in their continuing educations programs. Kevin knows it’s important to be aware of everything tax so that he’s sure to help his customers come out on top. That is, after all, one of Kevin’s biggest goals – to do what’s best for the customer.
In his spare time, Kevin enjoys playing the drums and watching his kids play sports. His daughter plays college basketball and his son plays high school football. He likes to be at home with his family whenever possible but does enjoy traveling from time to time. Family is very important to Kevin.
Kevin doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon. But when he does, he hopes his clients will always remember his as a member of their families. And should one of his kids decide to take the reins at Thomas and Thomas Tax Service, that would be great too. If not, he hopes someone else will take it on and continue to provide the great service Carson residents rely on year after year.
In addition to an understanding and supportive family that stands by Kevin’s side each tax season, Kevin also attributes his success to his roots. He was raised alongside four sisters by a devoted, dedicated mother who stressed the importance of education and tried to provide her children with as many opportunities as possible. She helped build the confidence that gave Kevin the strength to move away and start a career. She believed in him and taught him to have no fear when reaching for success.
This month, we celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s a great time to reflect on the one who was often our biggest fan. Happy Mother’s Day to all the inspiring and supporting moms who’ve made a difference in someone’s life.