Sibling tax accountants Mark and Alyssa Fox love art and music, hang out with musicians and artists, and cater to self-employed creatives at Fox Tax, their tax preparation service in northeast Minneapolis.
So having an art gallery in their warehouse office, while perhaps not as inevitable as death and taxes, makes sense to them and their business. About half of their clients are in music, acting, art, design or other creative fields. Small businesses, bars and restaurants, and yoga studios, make up the rest.
"We were already working with artists," said Mark Fox, 34, who joined his sister working at a tax firm in 1999 before they formed Fox Tax in 2004 (in his townhouse; they opened in Northeast in 2007). "Those were the people that were building our business through word of mouth so we decided to support them back. We figured if we promoted them they would keep promoting us."
The art shows change every six to eight weeks, though the current one will continue through April. Like the rest of their lives, the gallery goes on hold during tax season. Both work 10-hour days seven days a week through the tax filing deadline, which this year falls on April 18. The firm temporarily grows from four employees to nine to handle the rush.
They scale back to 20 to 25 office hours a week much of the rest of the year. They also take time to travel: Alyssa, 31, went to Australia last year and plans to see Brazil this year; Mark went to Copenhagen and frequently goes to New York.
Three and out with Mark and Alyssa Fox of Fox Tax
- Sibling tax accountants?
Alyssa: We both kind of fell in love with taxes. It made a lot of sense to us. It's taking somebody's whole financial picture and putting it together in the best possible scenario for them. There's not always one answer to that question, so that's where the logic and the planning and the fun starts.
- Did you get along growing up?
Alyssa: I was the annoying little sister and he was the older brother who didn't want me hanging around. Everything changed around 20, 21.
Mark: By the time we started working together at the tax office, we realized we liked each other a lot as adults.
- Got a tax tip for creative folks?
Mark: Tracking things they spend. Creative people spend all their time and money doing creative things but they don't always think of all of them as their business.
Three more and out with Mark and Alyssa
- What is it like working through tax season?
Alyssa: You kind of live here. We say goodbye to our friends and our family for a couple months and hunker down.
Mark: We make up for it in the summer when it's nice out. Might as well work and make money when it's crappy out.
- Local galleries you like to visit?
- Favorite spots in Northeast?
Mark: The Red Stag's awesome.
Alyssa: Punch Pizza for lunch is the best.