After flying under the radar for most of her career as a tax lawyer, Kelly Phillips Erb decided to start a blog, spurred by her belief that “paying tax is painful, but reading about it shouldn’t be.” Little did she know that Tax Girl would eventually become a daily presence on Forbes.com. “I wanted to keep our clients updated with things that were going on in the tax world, because there wasn’t a lot out there in terms of tax literature that was written for lay people,” she says. “It was all incredibly academic.”
Evidently, Erb is doing something right. Aside from its affiliation with Forbes, the American Bar Association Journal has recognized Tax Girl several times as one of the top legal blogs in the industry.
Erb’s columns have also made it onto the pages of Forbes, and she’s currently working on two books—one a joint collaboration with infamous Survivor winner Richard Hatch, who served prison time for tax evasion. Admittedly, the national spotlight is something this rural North Carolina native is still getting used to. “I was the first person on either side of my family to go to college,” she says. “I never knew any female lawyers growing up. I only saw them on television.”
Doing her family proud, Erb enrolled in law school at Temple University, where she discovered tax policy. “It was really fascinating to me,” she says. “Taxation is a very powerful thing. It can alter the decisions you make in life.”