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Isai Cortez | Taxes, IRS, and SynkBooks

Episode 074

At Home (Casa) with Taxes

Isai Bismark Cortez, a Los Angeles native, is the lead attorney for Bismark Tax, Inc. His practice area is concentrated in tax resolution. Isai earned his B.S. degree in Business Administration from the California State University – Northridge; a Juris Doctor from the Pennsylvania State University – The Dickinson School of Law; and a Masters of Law Degree (L.L.M) from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.

During law school Isai worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue – Office of Chief Counsel and that is where he found his love for the tax code. Isai knew that the tax system needed improvement and that there was something that he could do to help taxpayers. After graduating from law school, he went on and continued his studies at UCLA School of Law in order to focus more on tax and business law.

Isai wanted to build a company that would be consumer friendly and that would always give consumers what they were paying for, great tax help and full access to their attorney. Isai saw many companies offering tax resolution services, but these companies would limit the attorney time clients received. So that is why Bismark Tax, Inc. always gives their clients access to their attorneys. No gimmicks, just honest help.

In 2019 Isai founded SynkBooks, a website that offers bookkeeping software for small businesses, syncing bookkeeping reports into tax returns. During the past year Synkbooks sales have grown more than 300% and the firm now employs seven people. He says the key to success is giving customers a “too-good-to-be-true experience.” The Diamond Bar, Calif., resident is also an an adjunct professor at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law.


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Isai Cortez | Taxes, IRS, and SynkBooks Quotes

  • “The IRS is very involved in criminal investigations.”
  • “You have to pay for a professional. People don’t understand that sometimes, they do it themselves and they get in a lot of trouble. And we do a lot of that clean up.”
  • “That’s why we are called SynkBooks. We’re the only software that pretty much does the bookkeeping and gets your tax return ready.”
  • “My grandpa was the toughest guy I knew, and I was like, wow, my grandpa is scared. So I told my grandpa when I was four, I’m going to grow and be an accountant and fight the IRS and protect my grandpa.”
  • “Over the last two years, a lot of us tax professionals are burned out from all the tax changes.”
  • Isai Cortez grew up with little money and lived in a studio apartment with his extended family
  • Isai earned his BS degree in Business Administration from the California State University
  • He discovered a simpler way to bookkeep and created SynkBooks, which combines bookkeeping with preparing tax returns
  • Isai is the lead attorney for Bismark Tax, Inc
  • His focus is on tax resolution

Is it justified for people to be worried about the IRS?

In Isai’s opinion, family members and friends who own restaurants and businesses should not worry about the IRS or have deep concerns. It is the mega businesses that are often involved in illicit activities that need to be worried about.

In fact, Isai mentions that while a news reporter announces someone has been captured and everyone thinks that it was the FBI, there is a good chance it was actually the CID – the IRS’ criminal investigation division.


What is Isai’s connection to the San Gabriel Valley?

His original connection to SGV is Isai’s barbershop, Premier Barbershop.

His buddy Sam owns that business, and around the time of the pandemic, everyone kept complimenting his hair, and it made him feel good, so it became his permanent barbershop.

Also, Isai has a few clients in San Gabriel Valley, along with a few restaurants that he loves. Isai’s wife is from San Gabriel Valley, too.

What challenges has Isai run into?

He has spent extensive time and years building his relationship. However, he has started getting negative reviews from prospective clients that he isn’t choosing to work with.

They are calling Isai a snob when really he doesn’t think some clients are a great fit, and he also doesn’t want to offer a service just to be paid for something that a client likely does not need in their particular situation.

Can you tell us more about SynkBooks

Being involved in so many audits, Isai knew that there were opportunities for him to complete his tasks quicker. In fact, audits that would take him months he could now accomplish in weeks or days.

When he presented his work to the Chief Council, they acknowledged that his work was excellent.

There’s no other software that prepares a small business’s bookkeeping along with tax returns like SynkBooks.

Where does Isai’s passion come from?

Isai grew up really poor, and his family came from El Salvador. He remembers his grandfather, who didn’t speak English, received a letter from the IRS saying he owed $400.

They were poor enough that $400 might as well have been $400,000 – they didn’t have the money. The entire extended family was living in a small studio apartment.

He remembers seeing his father scared of the IRS, which was incredibly unusual; his grandfather was the toughest man he knew.

So at this point, he felt he wanted to grow up and become an accountant so he could fight the IRS and protect his grandfather.

This desire to become an advocate for people has stuck with him from that day.

How are all of the tax and fund changes going to impact the average residents of the San Gabriel Valley?

Thankfully, there will be a lot of San Gabriel Valley residents and business owners that will benefit from this.

The bad news is there will probably be more examinations and audits. However, it’s important to remember that there is help if you need it, and the IRS truly isn’t out to get you.

Make sure you have a professional assisting you.

Picture of Isai Cortez | Taxes, IRS, and SynkBooks

Isai Cortez | Taxes, IRS, and SynkBooks

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