Recently, Braintree tax lawyer John Mullaney was working with a doctor from Massachusetts, providing him with specialized advice wrought from his experience as an IRS agent.
The doctor mentioned to Mullaney a couple of colleagues from Georgia and Tennessee who needed help preparing their taxes. Up until last year, Mullaney might have called around to look for a firm to help the out-of-state doctors. Now, though, all he had to do was shout across the hall.
One of Mullaney's partners in a new venture in Braintree called 304 Group is Jim Henderson, co-owner of the tax planning and preparation firm TaxSense. Henderson's company, which also has offices in Norwood, Plymouth and Dorchester, had the right software and took on the referrals.
"We want every single problem that you face to be handled out of this office," said Mullaney, who is also a Braintree Town Councilor. "It certainly gives us a bigger impact on somebody who walks in the door."
Henderson says the term "holistic" is somewhat cliche now, but agrees with the idea. "I've always been about that, doing things with a team approach."
304 Group came together last September, joining Mullaney and his colleague Michael Modestino, a general practice attorney, with Henderson and his partner Sean Grealis and bankruptcy specialist Patrick Culhane. They work in a third-floor office at 100 Grandview, adjacent to the AMC Theater.
The building features a much nicer view than Mullaney and Modestino's last office – on Granite Street – and also saves the group thousands of dollars per year on rent. Those savings help keep their rates down, Mullaney said, and also contribute to the group's ability to offer services to people with various income levels.
"We adjust what we do depending on the client," Modestino said.
Much of what 304 Group does centers on financial services, though a glance into the office's conference room, filled with athletic memorabilia, might make one think there is a sports management aspect as well. That's because one of TaxSense's longtime clients is former Boston Bruin and Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr.
Henderson, whose first office when he started out on his own was in Braintree, met Orr in the mid-1980s. He has since recruited a number of other pro hockey players as well. Their taxes can be complicated, Henderson said, because they often have to file in as many as 30 different states.
That type of expertise again helped out Mullaney last year when he was working with a contractor who owed the IRS $100,000. He filed taxes in four different states, Mullaney said, an easy referral for Henderson.
Oftentimes clients will sit down with one member of the firm and mention a friend or someone in their family that needs help with, for instance, a divorce or bankruptcy. In those cases, Modestino and Culhane are right across the hall. That is the point of "peak interest," Henderson says, after which "life happens and they get distracted."
The next addition will likely be someone who specializes in elder law, who can delve into the often complex financial decision-making that comes with estate planning.
"It affects every family," Modestino said. "Every family with aging parents has this issue."