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Preparing for the busy season

In April, Lynn Kreun will take a trip to Lake Tahoe with her sisters. Until then though she will work 90 hours a week.

As a professional tax preparer, that's just the way things work out. The first four months of the year are chaos.

Things at Woodlynn Tax North, the company Kreun owns, are just heating up. And while it means a lot of work, Kreun said she doesn't mind.

"I like working with numbers and it's fun," said Kreun.

Over the next several months Woodlynn Tax will process more than 1,200 personal and business tax returns. Nearly 1,000 of those Kreun, who has prepared taxes for more than 20 years, will do herself. In addition to Kreun, Woodlynn has three part-time tax preparers on staff.

"We pound it," Kreun said. "There aren't enough hours in February."

To accommodate her customers Kreun will work six and sometimes seven days a week. Monday through Friday she will work from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. While she tries to keep those hours Kreun said often she will go later into the night. She tries to keep Sunday a day of rest but again, Kreun said she will occasionally make appointments that day if a client can't meet any other time.

"I try to keep Sundays clear to do laundry but it doesn't always work out that way," said Kreun.

While grueling, Kreun said tax season isn't as awful as it seems. She said she enjoys the work and gets to reconnect with clients she hasn't seen since the last tax season.

"It's almost like a social event," said Kreun.

Kreun has had many of her clients for years, so she enjoys seeing them return each year. She has even started doing the tax returns for some of her clients' children.

"It's amazing how fast time goes," Kreun said of her 23 years in business.

The time has seen a lot of changes in the way taxes are done. When Kreun started everything was done by hand on paper. But like most things computers have revolutionized how tax returns get filed. Kreun said the company e-files all returns, but they keep paper copies as well.

"I wonder how we got along without them," said Kreun of computers.

While computers have made things easier, Kreun said she still reviews everything because even computers make mistakes.

"I do take the time to double check because once in a while there's something not right," said Kreun.

Leading up to the busy season Kreun has spent months learning about the tax changes that will apply this year. Kreun said there are updates every year and that staying on top of them is key.

"There's always something and you have to stay on top of it," Kreun said. This year some of the updates include relief for those hit by storms in the Midwest this past spring and an economic stimulus package.

Kreun said the advantage of going to her instead of a company like H and R Block is the personalized attention she gives each client. Additionally, after the tax season is over clients can still contact Kreun.

"Year around (clients) can get a hold of me" said Kreun.

Kreun started in the tax business in the late 1970s working for her father-in-law, who was an HR instructor. In the early 1980s she began preparing taxes for people and in 1986 she opened Woodlynn Tax in Farmington with a partner.

In 2006 Kreun and her partner went their separate ways. Woodlynn Tax South continues in Farmington and Kreun runs Woodlynn Tax North. The two companies are no longer affiliated with one another but maintain the name Woodlynn Tax for the sake of recognition.

For the first year on her own Kreun worked out of her home. Then in 2007 She opened her office at 15185 Carrousel Way in Rosemount. The location she said has served her well.

In addition to filing taxes Woodlynn Tax North also offers some bookkeeping and payroll services. During the off season Kreun said she takes appointments.