FROM GOLF, TO TRUCKING, TO TAXES
My Entrepreneurial Journey
Though I was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, just a few miles from where Francetic Tax Resolution now operates, my journey to becoming the entrepreneur I am today took me far from home. It all started with a trip to San Jose, California, after my high school graduation. My plan was to spend the summer working on a golf course with my older brother and then come back to Wisconsin in the fall to attend UW- Parkside and major in accounting, but that’s not what happened. Instead of going back to school, I got sidetracked by California’s lovely weather, laid-back lifestyle, and the great people I worked with. I ended up staying in the Golden State for the next four years doing golf course maintenance. Far from resenting the manual labor, I fell in love with my days on the green. When I left California, I headed off to Michigan State University to study turfgrass management with the goal of becoming a golf course superintendent. During my two-year program, I became good friends with one of my professors, and he invited me to earn a bachelor’s degree in order to join him in his research and travel the world to analyze
turfgrass problems inherent to golf courses. It sounded like an amazing opportunity, so I buckled down and got to work — that is, until a late-night television ad about learning to drive tractor-trailers changed the course of my life once again. I had always loved trucks as a kid; I used to follow the garbage truck around my city block on my tricycle, spent countless hours in my backyard with my Tonka trucks, and when it rained, I had all my small scale trucks on my mother’s dining room table! That ad sparked a long-buried dream. Everyone thought it was crazy, but I dropped everything and started a new career as an over-the-road truck driver. I stayed in the long-haul trucking business for three years, the last two of which I owned my own tractor and trailer. Then, I took a job with a trucking company back home in Wisconsin when I met my then wife so I could be home every night. I had a feeling my local driving job wouldn’t last forever, so I went back to school part-time at UW-Parkside to study accounting. When the writing on the wall came true and my employer’s contract was terminated, I threwmyself full time into my studies and graduated with my accounting degree in 2001. The rest, as they say, is history. My fascination with taxes started in school and only blossomed from there. After I graduated, I worked at my then wife’s State Farm Insurance agency, and I also worked closely with my tax instructor, David Schwartz, from the university in his sole proprietor tax business before officially starting my own business in 2004. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time more than once after that, with having a strong referral network and buying a tax practice to bring in new clients. Though I never actively looked for tax resolution work, it wasn’t long before it found me. In the beginning,
my clients would come in looking for help for their brother or cousin who was having trouble with the IRS or the state Department of Revenue. I loved taking that stress off of their shoulders and found the work so rewarding that I started taking on resolution cases from a Michigan firm on a contract basis in 2014. Unfortunately, I soon realized that company was promising its clients things that weren’t possible; they were basically hanging me out to dry and disappointing the hardworking people they were supposed to help. The experience left such a bad taste in my mouth that I terminated my contract in August of 2018 and rolled the dice to start my own resolution firm. I was determined to treat my clients with integrity and respect, and Francetic Tax Resolution was born from that goal. Today, I love what I do so much that I don’t consider it work. I spend time with my clients one- on-one, and I even travel to their homes or offices for meetings to make their lives easier. I think it’s vital for people to know that their problems will be handled locally and by someone they can get to know well and trust. There’s nothing more satisfying than helping a client out of a difficult position, and I love negotiating with the IRS and the state Department of Revenue on my clients’ behalf. When I can make a huge difference in someone’s financial situation, I’m just as overjoyed as they are. If you’re dealing with a tax problem and could use expert advice, don’t hesitate to give Francetic Tax Resolution a call. I’d love to join your side. Paul Francetic
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RING, RING — IT’S A ROBOT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM PHONE SCAMS AND ROBOCALLS
Two of the most common scams are phone scams and robocalls. These calls are incredibly annoying and can trick you out of valuable information if you’re not careful. While it might seem like these scams are inescapable, there are some precautions you can take to avoid their traps. GIVE THEM THE SILENT TREATMENT. One thing you can do to avoid these fraudulent, time-wasting calls is to simply hang up. If possible, it is best to not answer at all. It’s always good to have a list of numbers you can reference, so you never have to guess who is calling. Think of it as going one step beyond caller ID. In some cases, answering and then hanging up can actually do more harm than good. Answering the phone gives the scammers confirmation that
the number works and that they should try again. Once your number is confirmed as active, it often gets put on an “active number” list that can then be sold to other scammers who market in these types of phone numbers. If you can’t verify who is calling without picking up, don’t answer. Let it go to voicemail. If it’s important, the person will leave a legitimate message and you can respond afterward. PUT UP SOME DETERRENTS. You can even go a step further and block the calls. Many phone service providers offer call- blocking options, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. You can sign up for this service in-store or on your service provider’s website. Each service costs about $4 per month. There are also a number of call-blocking apps available on Though I love all my clients, there’s a special place in my heart for Smoke Stacks. First, the company was founded by my former brother-in-law, Kurt Soens. Second, it’s one of my longest-standing clients. We’ve been working together since 2006, when Kurt first came to me because he was having trouble with his accountant. Since then, I’ve been doing Smoke Stacks’ accounting, payroll, and annual tax return. I think the company deserves recognition for its excellent work. Kurt recently sold the business to his longtime, loyal employees, Eric Yanasak and Jeremy Abrahamson, but he is continuing to work in the business for the foreseeable future to make sure there is a smooth transition and help Eric and Jeremy keep the business growing. If you have a fireplace in your house but are unfamiliar with Smoke Stacks, it’s time you got acquainted. The company is headquartered in Butler, Wisconsin, but services both Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, an area that encompasses more than 20 cities. Its specialties include chimney inspections, sweeping, and repair (including water
Android and Apple devices, but if you subscribe to a blocking service through your phone provider, these apps are unnecessary. Finally, you can sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s “Do Not Call” program (DoNotCall. gov). While the Do Not Call program can help cut back on calls, this list is largely ignored by scammers. If you’re getting a ridiculous number of robocalls every day, signing up can offer you some brief respite. Thankfully, Congress is already attempting to fix this problem by making it harder for scammers to call you. But until they are able to pass tough, effective legislation, it is up to us as consumers to remain vigilant and do what we can to keep our personal and financial data safe and secure. leaks); fireplace repair; and decorative masonry service. Smoke Stacks is certified and has top ratings from the Better Business Bureau (A+) and reviews on Angie’s List make it a contractor you can trust. Meet One of My Oldest Clients Apart from top-notch work, Smoke Stacks’ priorities include attention to detail, professionalism, courteous service, and honest pricing. Maybe part of why we get along so well is that I also strive for those qualities at Francetic Tax Resolution. “Kurt did an excellent job cleaning our chimney. He also saved me some money by showing me how I could fix my air intake vent, which I did, and it turned out great. Thanks for the excellent service Kurt,” raved one reviewer on Angie’s List. Another wrote, “Kurt was very professional and prompt. He works to make sure you are satisfied with your job and provides very high-quality work. Very nice person too!” I couldn’t agree more. Smoke Stacks, thank you for 13 excellent years. I look forward to many more to come!
CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: SMOKE STACKS
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If you’re familiar with the stomach-churning realization that you owe the government a significant amount for taxes this year, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there at some point. But even if the amount you owe is intimidatingly large, take this piece of advice from an expert: Regardless of whether you have the money to pay the whole tax liability, always file your tax return on time. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve helped who saw a hefty amount staring back at them and were too scared to file their return, putting it off for a later date. That’s understandable, but things will only snowball from there. If you don’t file your return by the due date, odds are you’ll forget about it, and the fees will start to pile up. The IRS will give you a 60-day window of opportunity after the April due date — or the October due date if an extension was obtained — to file your tax return with minimum penalties if you owe additional tax. After this grace period, the minimum penalty is either $210 or 100% of the unpaid tax, whichever is less. The failure to file penalty can be as high as 5% per month, up to a maximum of 25% for five months. Also keep in mind that interest accrues on both the tax owed and penalties assessed. If you’re owed a refund and don’t file, whether because you forgot or for some other reason, the outcome can be just as unfortunate. The statute of limitations for obtaining a refund begins running on the date that the tax return was due. If you never file, your refund is stuck in limbo, and after three years, the government will no longer let you claim it. For example, if you hadn’t filed returns since 2010 and decided to come clean this year and file all past returns, you would only be eligible to receive a refund for 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 if the tax returns were filed by April 15 of this year. If you waited until after April 15 to file all the returns, then refunds are only available for 2018, 2017, and 2016. Any refunds from 2010 through 2015 would be kept by the IRS. If you want to set up a payment plan, are behind on filing your returns, or need any other tax assistance, you can reach me at 262-752-6992. I’m always happy to help. FILE YOUR TAX RETURN NO MATTER WHAT FTR TAX TIP OF THE MONTH
ROASTED CORN SALSA
Corn is plentiful during the summer months, and this easy-to-make salsa is sure to be a hit at your next get-together.
1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped 1/4 bunch cilantro leaves, sliced
2 medium ears of corn, shucked
1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, seeded and thinly sliced
• • •
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 red onion, diced
Kosher salt, to taste
4. Add jalapeño, onion, tomato, and cilantro. Mix to combine. 5. Top with lime juice and season with salt. 6. Serve alongside your favorite tortilla chips.
1. Heat a cast-iron skillet to high. Char corn, turning occasionally, for 10–14 minutes until kernels begin to blacken in spots. 2. Using a sharp knife, remove corn kernels from cobs and transfer to a large mixing bowl. 3. With a wooden spoon or potato masher, gently crush corn to release starch and juices.
Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine
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5429 DEERFIELD ROAD MOUNT PLEASANT, WI 53406-1919
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My Entrepreneurial Journey How to Best Protect Yourself From Scam Calls Client Spotlight: Smoke Stacks FTR Tax Tip of the Month: File Your Tax Return No Matter What Roasted Corn Salsa Get the Most Out of BTS Season
TAP INTO THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON SCHOOL’S BACK!
As you load up the family for some final summertime adventures, preparing for the upcoming school year is likely one of the last things on your mind. Instead of shopping for school supplies, your main focus might be finding the best place to position your lawn chair around the campfire for optimal marshmallow roasting! But the back-to-school season is coming up, and families need to begin the expensive task of purchasing items for school. According to the National Retail Foundation, back-to-school shopping contributes to 17% of total annual sales. That’s a nearly $76 billion industry that your business could be cashing in on. However, when you only offer a special or sale because of a particular season, you are not tapping into the full capacity of the market. You need to make the offer something people actually want or need, be it chiropractic adjustments for kids carrying too many books or discounts on vehicle services for carpooling families. For example, if you sell and service computers, you must do more than offer 10% off all technology services for the back-to-school season. Provide
a sale on installing and updating programs for students or provide a gift with the purchase of a laptop for college students on the go. This makes your offer more appealing to your customer base, which will guarantee you happy and returning customers. There’s also a key demographic in the back-to- school market that often gets forgotten: teachers. Thousands of dedicated teachers across the U.S. have a classroom budget, and some must dip into their bank accounts to keep their classrooms stocked. Offering “thank-you” discounts and sales for teachers will bring more business through your door and help you support your community. Teachers can also serve as a direct marketing tool for your business. Whether it’s via mailers or in-person during open house nights, August is full of teacher-to-parent communication that could include coupons or recommendations to your business. The back-to-school season isn’t just for the big- box stores or retail providers. You can tap into this powerful market and make this last summer stretch a lucrative business season.
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