After over three decades running his own accounting practice, Don Liddycoat has sold the business to Jejei Estes, who will take control of the business officially on an open house on Wednesday, Dec. 1. An open house will celebrate the occasion with snacks, treats, and balloons.
Liddycoat, who is 72 years old, said it is time to retire and spend more time with his family. He said that he is not totally stepping away from accounting and will be on board in the new business during the first year throughout the transition process, and will remain on call to help Estes with any issues that may arise.
He described the new opportunity as a chance to remain involved in the community by continuing to serve on the Lake Health District Board and volunteer for various organizations in the community.
Liddycoat reflected on his career, including the time he spent as a Russian translator in the Air Force from 1972-1974 and how he decided to return to college after his time in the Air Force as he was heavily recruited by the CIA and other agencies after his time in the Air Force. He initially got his start after graduating working in corporate offices in Portland, but wanted to work more with individual clients, and moved to the Lakeview area in 1979 and opened his business in 1986. Estes joined in 1991.
“I am passionate about accounting and when the opportunity came to purchase the business from Don I didn’t hesitate,” said Estes.
She moved to Lake County from the Philippines, where she was working in accounting, 31 years ago with her husband. Estes initially started working at Liddycoat’s office at the front desk and then began the classes and exams she needed to earn her tax preparer, accountant, enrolled agent and more certifications during her time working at the office.
“When she first came here she was the secretary. She had the technical skills to do accounting, but she took an English as a second language course to learn the language. I started her off doing some tax returns, and then it grew from there,” said Liddycoat.
Estes said that she would travel to Klamath Falls to take the classes needed to be a certified tax preparer, and said she was encouraged by Liddycoat to take the tax preparation class.
“He is a very nice boss and I have always been passionate about helping people with their taxes, that I wanted to take the classes needed to become certified,” said Estes.
In a time before virtual learning, Estes would travel on the weekends over Hwy 140 to Klamath Falls to take the classes and the certification tests.
After becoming a licensed tax preparer, Estes did not stop there and continued her learning and certifications throughout her career.
Estes is one of the few people in Lake County who is an enrolled agent. As an enrolled agent she is certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to represent clients in front of the IRS during an audit or a hearing. She said the exam takes two days and is split into three parts.
“I did not want to stop learning and every step along the way was to become a licensed tax consultant,” said Estes.
Ever since she began working for Liddycoat in 1991, Estes said she has enjoyed working with her many different clients, building relationships and helping all of her clients with their tax and payroll needs. She has expanded her repertoire beyond just tax preparation into doing payroll for businesses and local non-profits. She also has experience filing taxes for individuals who split time between different states.
Estes did not want to close the business, as there are not many licensed tax preparers and consultants in the community. That would have left people having to travel long distances to Klamath Falls. One of the things that pushed her to purchase the business and keep it in its current location is that people already know where it is located.
“I am not nervous striking out on my own. Don will always be there if I have any questions,” said Estes.
“She has the experience and the personality to strike out on her own. I am confident that she will do an excellent job taking over the business,” said Liddycoat.
Estes said that the business services will remain the same — only the name will change to Jejei Estes, EA, LTC, Inc. The address will remain 220 N. G St., and the phone number will remain 541-947-3636.