ORWELL — Annette Herbster built a successful tax business from the ground up, and it all started years ago when she went to get her taxes done.

Herbster was raised in Mesopotamia and went to college after her youngest child entered kindergarten. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in business administration through Trumbull Business College and Bryer State University. 

Herbster didn’t know she wanted to pursue a business path until she was in her mid-20s. But one day while having her taxes done she realized she could do the same.

“That’s exactly how I started out doing it,” Herbster said. “I started working from home in 1988.”

Herbster worked from home because she couldn’t afford daycare, and it afforded her flexibility as a mother. Eventually she rented office space in 2007 and moved out of her house and expanded her business.

Herbster’s Tax Service now has two full-time employees and two seasonal employees during tax season. The company does about 1,000 tax returns per year and also provides bookkeeping, payroll and notary services. Herbster said she loves the work she does and she’s proud of the success she’s had, though she still sometimes finds herself surprised at how long she’s run a solid business and how far she’s come.

“In 2010, I purchased this building and I’ve been at this location since then,” she said. “I’ve been in business for more than 30 years. Sometimes I sit at my desk and I think to myself ‘I don’t know how this happened or how I got here.’”

Herbster is also an IRS registered tax return preparer, something she had to sit through class time and study in order to achieve. Being in the tax business involves annual continuing education to keep abreast of the constantly changing tax codes, she said.

“I sat for a test a couple of years ago and it is a very specific designation that allows me to be registered with the IRS,” she said.

Herbster said people don’t always expect the owner of a tax business to be a woman. Over the years she has encountered people who were taken aback when they came into the office asking to see the owner and she told then she was the owner.

One time, Herbster said a former landlord came to their building when they were renting and introduced himself to her husband, who helps out in the business, while disregarding her completely. 

“People don’t expect a woman to be in this field,” she said. “I think this is common in some technical and legal fields. I think it’s still kind of that way and discrimination still exists.”

Herbster said despite experiencing such things occasionally along the way, she has always had a supportive husband who has helped her  whether working around the office, supporting the family financially when she was first starting her business or always encouraging her to further her education.

For more information on Herbster’s Tax Service, visit them at 327 E. Main St., Orwell, or call 440-437-8838.