TikTok Tax Advice Is Everywhere, but the Tips Aren’t for Everyone

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Sometimes the advice can be too general for your circumstance.

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TikTok offers a font of information at the swipe of your finger, with creators claiming authority on topics from home improvement and hair care to parenting and medicine. Even taxes aren’t immune from the TikTok effect: Short videos sharing advice for how to hack your taxes are abundant on the app, and videos under #taxtips have more than 185.3 million views. Strategies shared on TikTok include using your business to pay your kids tax-free (it’s a little more complicated than that) as well as writing off the entire cost of your vehicle if you use it more than half the time for work (uh, this could backfire later on). For every video shelling out expertise, there’s a response pointing out the ways in which the tips are flawed.

@your.tax.coach ATTN BUSINESS OWNERS W/ KIDS 📣 Add your kids to payroll! You don’t want to miss out on this tax-saving strategy! #taxtok #taxprofessional #accountantsoftiktok #smallbiztiktok #taxstrategy ♬ Addicted – KING COLE
@addison.jarman How Section 179 works for car tax write-offs 🙌🏼 #fintok #taxdeduction #section179 ♬ original sound – Addison Jarman

It’s the Wild West of tax advice—and CPAs are paying attention. Marnette Myers, a CPA and partner at Prager Metis in McLean, is hearing more about the app’s advice. “It used to be ‘My neighbor said I could do this.’ The next generation, it’s the TikToks,” says Myers. Just like her clients, she sees the videos while scrolling on her phone. One she particularly recalls: a TikToker counseling viewers that buying a suit and monogramming it with your name transforms it into a uniform that can be written off as a work expense—including the dry cleaning. (Sorry, hopefuls: Myers says that won’t work.)

Tax advice on social media has become so prevalent that a seminar at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ tax conference last fall focused on social apps such as TikTok. According to Eric Smith, a CPA and partner at Squire, Lemkin + Company in Rockville, the presentation acknowledged that there’s some good guidance on TikTok—particularly for young professionals—while also warning against the risk of overgeneralization.

“The bad advice usually takes the form of this amazing tax-saving opportunity, which is described in less than two minutes and completely devoid of any disclaimers about specific qualifications or details on what facts and circumstances must be met to actually qualify,” says Smith.

If you’re considering a tax trick from TikTok, first try to vet the creator’s credentials. Advice from a licensed CPA is more likely to be accurate than that of a layperson speaking about their own experience. From there, treat the tips as a starting point: Understand that taxes aren’t one size fits all, and think about consulting a professional who has access to your documents and the details of your situation. “Even when you’re taking advice from an article in the paper, it’s general advice,” says Myers. “The rule isn’t going to apply to everyone.”

Top Tax Accountants

Need advice on your taxes? These accountants were on our most recent list of top wealth advisers, in the March 2022 issue; they received the most votes from other financial professionals in the region. Almost all are certified public accountants (CPAs) or enrolled agents (EAs) and can not only handle tax returns but also often suggest ways to reduce your taxes. We’ve noted when they have certain other credentials, such as a law degree (JD), or certifications in financial planning (CFP and PFS).

Courtney Adam

Turner, Leins & Gold, Vienna and Rockville

Jeremy Bendler

Bendler & Company, Bethesda

Sharon Berman, CFP

BDO, McLean

Lisa M. Blackmore

Squire, Lemkin + Company, Rockville

Daniel Cohen

Marcum, Rockville

Kendall Coleman

CST Group, Reston

Walter Deyhle

GRF CPAs & Advisors, Bethesda

Gary Fitzgerald, PFS

Fitzgerald & Co., Vienna

John Fritsche, JD

Fritsche & Thomas, Fairfax

Brian Gershen

CohnReznick, Bethesda

Harry Harrison

Aprio, Rockville

Dwayne Holt


Joan Holtz, CFP, PFS

BDO, McLean

Robert Hottle, PFS

Baker Tilly, Tysons

Shawn Howard

Citrin Cooperman, Bethesda

Bryan Hunt


Jeff Johnson

Anderson Group, Oakton

Julie Johnson

Anderson Group, Oakton

Gabrielle Kaufman

RSM, Gaithersburg

Sam Klausner

Klausner & Company, Arlington

Robert Kopera

Squire, Lemkin + Company, Rockville

Howard Kramer

KWC, Alexandria

Jaime Lawson, PFS

Baker Tilly, Tysons

Krystal McCants

YHB CPAs & Consultants, Falls Church

Dawn McGruder

McGruder Group, Fairfax

Brad L. Mendelson

Mendelson & Mendelson, Potomac

Brian Morrison

CST Group, Reston

Marnette Myers, JD

Prager Metis CPAs, McLean

Jonathan Nichols

Huey & Associates, Herndon

Alison J. Olsen

Squire, Lemkin + Company, Rockville

Lauran I.Penn, CFP, PFS

Snyder Cohn, North Bethesda

Walter C. Pennington

Dembo Jones, North Bethesda

John Persil

CST Group, Reston

Richard L. Philipson, PFS

Robert Philipson & Company, Silver Spring

Brian K. Pollack

Lanigan Ryan, Gaithersburg

Carolyn C. Quill, JD

Thompson Greenspon, Fairfax

Matthew Radford

CohnReznick, Bethesda

Rebecca Rohe, CFP, PFS

Rohe Tax Services, Clarksburg

Joseph Romagnoli

CST Group, Reston

Steve Rose

RoseMcKenna, DC

Brett Scola, CFP, PFS

RSM, Gaithersburg

Eric C. Smith

Squire, Lemkin + Company, Rockville

Crystal Stewart

DeLeon and Stang, Leesburg

Jennifer Sarajian Stone

Andersen, McLean and DC

Keegan Stroup

Andersen, McLean and DC

Joel C. Susco

Withum, Bethesda

William (Billy) Thomas

Withum, Bethesda

Jeffrey Weintraub

Dembo Jones, North Bethesda

Brian Wendroff

Wendroff & Associates, Arlington

Andrew Youhas, JD

Youhas & Associates, Arlington

This article appears in the April 2023 issue of Washingtonian.

Daniella Byck

Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in NoMa.

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