It’s not every day you come across someone who has such a profound passion for taxes. Lucky for those of us who don’t, there are knowledgeable professionals like Sam Tutko to serve as a trusted guide through the ever-evolving tax world. Sam has an unyielding desire to continue learning everything he can about this often-complicated subject that has such an impact on pretty much every human being in modern society. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Sam to be found with his nose in the latest tax manual, even when on vacation…much to the chagrin of his wife. But as the Vice President of Tax Planning at Miser Wealth Partners, Sam considers it his calling to help his clients optimize their tax strategies and protect their assets.
Sam was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but moved to the Knoxville area at only six months old. He grew up mostly in Farragut and spent much of his youth playing travel baseball and swimming competitively in school. He also worked an ongoing part-time job from the age of 15 at Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center in Knoxville.
Sam knew all along his career was headed for some sort of mathematics-driven industry. That eventually fueled him to earn his first undergraduate degree in microeconomics with a focus in econometrics from the University of Tennessee Haslam School of Business, followed by a second degree in supply chain analytics.
Tax Talk with Sam
Along his journey of higher learning, Sam became increasingly fascinated with government implemented policies for generating tax revenue.
“There’s strategy behind what the government does to generate new tax dollars,” Sam said. “I thought it was really fascinating because if they have a strategy behind how they operate in terms of what taxes they create, there has to be strategy on the other side of the coin. It’s not just ‘they do X, so we do Y.’”
Sam continued to devour every bit of information he could find on the multi-faceted subject, even after his education was officially complete. While still helping out at Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center, owner Johnnie Stringfield introduced Sam to his close friend, Derek Miser. After Sam and Derek got to talking about finance, the rest, they say, is history.
“Johnnie turned me on to Derek and I got introduced to what Derek does,” Sam said. “Derek had a position that was developing in terms of tax planning. I never really thought I’d be pursuing exactly tax credentials, but as the demand grew, so did my interest and my need to pursue that.”
Sam jumped right into his role at Miser Wealth Partners, fully immersing himself in all aspects of tax planning to help clients reap the most benefits while avoiding any IRS pitfalls along the way. As an enrolled agent with the IRS (among the highest credentialling awarded by the federal organization), Sam participates in heavily regulated continuing education courses to stay abreast of any tax law changes coming down the pipeline, which seem to happen as often as the changing of the seasons at times.
Sam points out that since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the tax world has been in a bit of a freefall. But he remains committed to staying at the forefront of any changes to contribute to the overall benefit of his clients’ portfolios.
“Ever since then, everything is different,” Sam said. “Your tax brackets are different. How you interact with a number of things from a business perspective is different. On the corporate side, everything has been shaken up. Tax preparers have had to learn a lot of new things. And then there was the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) 2.0 Act in 2022. It seems like every single year for almost 10 years now, there is some sort of new tax law that completely shakes up the landscape for tax planning. Miser Wealth Partners is on the hot button every single time. That’s what I have in terms of an advantage is I want to learn that new stuff, and it’s changing all the time.”
Through Sam’s partnership with Derek and the other skilled professionals at Miser Wealth Partners, he delights in the amazing collaborative effort of a team that truly wishes to see clients reach their goals of financial security.
“Derek and I are very dogmatic in the fact that, from a fiduciary perspective, we don’t ever want to have shackles around our hands when it comes to what’s actually needed for the client. The fact is that’s the majority of the industry. The client needs a comprehensive team of people that can speak to each other without shackles or some sort of agenda.”
That said, fighting over clients is never part of the equation at Miser Wealth Partners. It’s all about a group effort do what’s best for the client at the end of the day.
“Whenever we have a discussion about a client in any regard, it’s about analyzing the implications from varying perspectives,” Sam said. “I might say, ‘Ok, if you do X, this will reduce Y in terms of tax liability.’ My solution to a problem may not always correlate with what’s necessary. It has to be hand-in-hand, and it has to create harmony. It has to make sense from a tax liability perspective and from an income, investment, or quality of life perspective. And it has to align with protecting your assets from a legal perspective. That’s really what we do.”
Ask Sam any day of the week what it means to work for Miser Wealth Partners and have such an influence over helping clients achieve their utmost financial goals by way of first-rate tax planning and he’ll give you the same answer every time.
“It means a lot,” he says. “This is unequivocally what I want to do for the rest of my life. In that regard, it means a lot that I get to work for Derek Miser and Miser Wealth Partners because they’re in the industries I want to be working in, and they’re in the specific niche that I want to work with. It’s a whole lot more rewarding and interesting to me to be dealing with complex tax returns and complex planning that I get to do on a day-to-day basis.”
When Sam can break himself away from his love of tax planning, his main focus lies with his wife, Tiffany, and baby daughter, Adaline May. On the rare occasion he’s not spending as much time as possible with them, you might find him skeet shooting to improve his aim.
To learn more about what Sam can do for you, call us (865) 281-1616 or click here to set up a meeting at a time that’s convenient for you.