It is that time of year when Jeff Augenstein is crazy busy doing taxes for his customers. Even now in his hand, he is holding tax information from a Hong Kong corporation with business interests in the United States.
“We do about 2,500 tax returns a year,” he said. “I have clients from all over the world. We do everything thing from the very simple to the most complicated.”
In addition, his Flagstaff firm, Northern Arizona Financial Services, handles tax resolution for clients who have gone without filing for a time or who owe a great deal to the IRS.
“I have people come in and say, ‘I haven’t filed in 10 years.’ Yes, there are people like that. We work on this kind of stuff all the time.”
Plus, they handle payroll and sales taxes for other businesses. And of course, he and his wife, Roxanne, and their seven employees are kept busy, especially this time of year.
“About 85 percent of all tax returns – business and personal – are filed between Jan. 1 and April 15,” he said. “For corporations, it’s March 15.”
But, he knows the drill well.
Augenstein, 43, started doing taxes when he was a junior in high school. In 1995, H&R Block was offering courses on tax preparation. He decided to take the classes.
“They offered me a job; I was about 25 years old, and I stayed there for eight years.”
From there, he went out on his own, establishing Northern Arizona Financial Services and has been in business for 11 years.
Through the years, Augenstein has become an enrolled agent, which means he is a licensed practitioner from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. This achievement involves hours and hours of continuing education.
“I’m not going to Joe Schmo’s class on the corner. It is regulated by the IRS,” he said.
Augenstein says he always enjoyed math in school. He is a native of Williams and attended Williams schools, kindergarten through high school. He was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America where there were competitions including subjects such as accounting and business management.
“I was the all-time winningest member at the time. I won all five trophies in my senior year,” he said.
It was then he learned one of his most valued lessons. “I knew I could work hard and earn it.”
As a member of one of the pioneering families of Arizona, he has a rich family history.
His family came to Northern Arizona in 1880. His great, great grandfather was involved in the mining industry around Prescott.
“He actually lost an arm on Ashfork Hill,” he said.
The other side of the family arrived in about 1900 and ran a bakery in Williams until the 1960s. “We have been here a long time.”
Augenstein married Roxanne in 1991, after having met each other in a history class at Northern Arizona University.
They also made their home in Flagstaff the very same year. “She works right alongside me every day,” he said.
She says her niche in the business is payroll and sales tax. Roxanne is also an enrolled agent, but she prefers not to deal with the IRS. “I let Jeff do that,” she said with a chuckle.
Roxanne started out in microbiology. She said she wanted to work in a hospital lab, but didn’t want to draw blood. Then she thought working in a crime lab might be more interesting, but she says once someone gets a job there, they tend to become entrenched.
“When I was first married to Jeff, I worked at Bashas’ and did a little bit of everything, including being the backup bookkeeper,” she said. Then she began taking classes relating to tax preparation and joined Jeff in the business.
The office has recently undergone some remodeling. “We expanded and took over the space next door and redid the entire office. Almost everything is all painted and the bathrooms have been remodeled. It is an entirely new look for us,” he said.
In their spare time, the couple likes baseball. In 2007, they took a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame with the whole family, including Jeff’s mom and dad. That trip set Roxanne on the path of being a baseball fan. Plus, she heard Vice Scully for the first time, which sealed the deal.
But above and beyond baseball, Jeff says he is a fan of his day-to-day life. “The biggest thing for me is the fact that I have been stable and have been married all this time. I like life.” FBN
Northern Arizona Financial Services is at 2519 E. 7th Avenue. The Augensteins can be reached at 928-526-3999.