The Global US Tax Plan Story
The origins of Global US Tax Plan Ltd., date back several decades. The business was initiated by James P. Rooney (Jim), a former banking executive who had a consultancy business that specialized in facilitating relationships between Thai, US and international companies. Towards the end of the 20th century, businesses in this region needed to develop their operational capacities as the economies of Southeast Asia began to emerge as financial centers.. The original company was called Taxplan Ltd. and was a spinoff of Jim’s consulting practice, established to assist US citizens residing throughout Asia in maintaining compliance with the US tax code. Taxplan Ltd. was headquartered in Bangkok, but also had offices in Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore.
For several years, Taxplan Ltd. was the go-to tax practice for US persons in Southeast Asia who needed professional guidance with their income tax planning and preparation, but did not have the budget to engage one of the Big Four accounting firms. As he approached retirement, Jim wound down his consultancy but kept Taxplan Ltd. active so that his friends and clients would have their income tax needs met. After Jim passed away at the end of 2015, his surviving spouse and daughter searched for another US income tax professional to take over his practice so that his clients would not be abandoned. Eventually, Jim’s family was introduced to Matthew Stevens, who ended up setting up a structure in Thailand to be able to service the remaining clientele.
Matthew first came to Thailand in 2004 for a year-long program as an exchange student at Thammasat University – a life-changing experience that opened up a whole new world to him. After returning to the US to complete his studies in economics and accounting at university, Matthew opted out of the conventional path of working at one of the Big Four accounting firms to obtain his CPA license. Instead, having been bitten by the travel bug in Thailand, he took a job teaching English in Japan. After a few years of fun and adventure in and around Asia, Matthew returned to the US for family-related reasons in the midst of the financial crisis of 2008-2009 – not exactly an ideal time to start a “real” career. With his accounting degree and several years of tax preparation experience from seasonal jobs in college, Matthew ended up working at a law firm that specialized in bankruptcy and tax, which were two fields that flourished while the rest of the economy was tanking. This position not only enabled Matthew to acquire an Enrolled Agent license from the IRS but also gave him valuable experience in the following fields:
• Legal research
• Tax and estate planning
• Financial consulting
• IRS audit and tax court representation
• State tax agency representation
• Discharging tax debts in bankruptcy filings
• Forming an optimum entity structure for a specific business purpose
As an entrepreneur at heart, Matthew eventually hit a glass ceiling. He ended his employment on good terms and, in 2011, launched his own tax practice called Equilibrium Accounting. During this time, he acquired an MBA degree and, on a personal note, married a young woman he had met as an exchange student in Thailand who had become his best friend. After living together in the US, Matthew decided to move back to Thailand so his wife could pursue her career and be closer to her family. It was not a difficult decision to make as Matthew has a basic level of fluency with the Thai language and had felt at home in Thailand since he first lived there as a student a decade prior.
For the first couple of years, Matthew kept his tax practice in the US active while working remotely in Thailand. He also explored other business opportunities such as financial analysis and venture capital, worked on a couple of start-up projects, and began networking with the business community in Bangkok. Through these activities, he learned of the under-served market of US citizens needing professional help to be compliant with the complicated US tax law and expeditiously educated himself on all the international reporting requirements US taxpayers are subject to. On making contact with Jim’s family and the vestiges of Taxplan Ltd., he pulled his resources together to take over Jim’s practice after his passing, and Global US Tax Plan was born.