Native Texan, professional journalist, tax geek.
Kay Bell is a proven professional in both journalism and corporate communications.
Her career includes almost two decades in Washington, D.C., as Congressional staff, as well as in the private sector, and several years writing for mass-circulation publications and Web sites. In between projects, she has written one tax book and contributed to two financial books.
Her forte: Translating difficult subject matter into lively, readable copy.
Her promise: You've found the best writing and editing services "write" here!
Taxes, taxes and more taxes
Since 2005, Kay has been contributing editor and principal tax reporter for Bankrate.com, a preeminent personal finance website.
The Bankrate job, in which she writes copy, edits and helps manage the site's annual tax guide, is a natural for Kay who, for five-plus years, was in-house tax writer/reporter/editor for Bankrate.
She joined the company in October 1999 to help launch the website's tax channel, which follows federal and state tax developments with an eye toward often-overlooked moves that could save taxpayers money. During the tax off season, Kay's in-house Bankrate responsibilities included editing general personal finance stories and, for several years, managing the site's small business section.
Her daily posts, humorous, pointed and insightful, have earned her a large following, both at her blog and within social media.
Her tax blog also is two-time winner of a Plutus Award, presented annually in a variety of categories by the professional Personal Finance Bloggers (FinCon) community. Kay's peers recognized Don't Mess With Taxes in 2011 and 2013 as Best Tax Blog.
Don't Mess With Taxes also has been cited by Moneysmartz as one of the Web's best tax information blogs; twice tapped as one of Austinist's best Austin blogs (February and August 2006); and included in the Top 10 Tax Stories of 2005 by TaxProf, a listing that was subsequently reprinted in the respected tax journal Tax Analysts.
But one blog is not enough for Kay. She also writes Bankrate.com's Taxes Blog, a perfect complement to her journalistic contributions to the website.
Books about taxes (and more)
In 2009, Kay's first solo book, "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes," was published by FT Press. It examines ways individuals can make the tax code work to their filing advantage, whatever their stage of life.
She's a contributor to "Personal Finance: An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management," a reference book, published by ABC-CLIO in 2015, for high school and college students and the educators who teach those subjects. Her chapters cover an overview of the federal tax system, tax returns, tax deferral, online personal finance options, and flexible spending accounts.
Kay joined several of her Bankrate colleagues in 2012 to publish the Book Baby ebook the "Future Millionaires' Guidebook." She wrote the chapters on taxes, a comprehensive (but succinct) look at everything from payroll withholding to deduction options to saving for retirement, and estate planning.
Several of Kay's Bankrate.com articles on the taxation of gambling winners also are included in The Gambler's Guide To Taxes: How to Keep More of What You Win." The most recent edition of this handbook was published by Lyle Stuart in 2003.
SKB Editorial Services LLC
Only Kay’s desire to return home to her native Texas could lure her from a full-time tax writing job. Fittingly, on Tax Day 2005, Kay cleared out her cubicle and a few weeks later headed back to the Lone Star State.
As soon as she unpacked her PC, Kay started her own firm, SKB Editorial Services LLC. As principal of her Austin-based company, Kay provides, on contract and freelance basis, writing, research, editing and communications consulting services for a professionally and geographically diverse clientele.
Kay produces general interest stories on topics ranging from auto maintenance to home remodeling to holiday planning. Her stories frequently have been published on such Web sites as USAToday.com, CBS.MarketWatch.com and AOL.com, as well as in numerous newspapers and their Web sites nationwide.
Kay also has been hired to:
• Create a new feature column for an Austin, Texas, magazine
As writer of "Worth," a financial column that ran from June 2006 through April 2011 in Austin Woman magazine, Kay provided Central Texas readers with money management advice, ranging from the serious subject of how couples cope with combined finances to the more lighthearted, but fiscally important, issue of budgeting for beauty.
• Develop online tax content for a major Maryland-based mutual fund company
T. Rowe Price marketing department hired Kay to write and design a new Internet section so that potential investors in the company’s Program for Charitable Giving can better understand the tax value of philanthropic gifts.
• Design and produce a financial management course for a Florida law firm
Under new bankruptcy law, individuals who file for bankruptcy must now complete a federally-approved financial education course before the bankruptcy can be discharged. A Palm Beach County, Florida, law firm retained Kay to create such a proprietary online course. The curriculum includes detailed lessons and accompanying exams, as well as various worksheets, illustrative tables and student exercises that emphasize financial management concepts and skills.
• Contribute to a nationally-recognized small business Web site
Kay created content for the Tools and Tips section of the National Federation of Independent Business. Her stories covered business-related concerns ranging from company retirement plans to business expensing options to special tax breaks for companies along the hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast.
• Write investing articles for private newsletters and Worth magazine Respected financial publishers and money management firms Motley Fool Income Investors, Brinker Fixed Income Advisor and First ROI sought out Kay's financial expertise and writing skills to create informative and accessible articles for their clients on complex topics such as the foreign tax credit, municipal fund tax considerations and home equity loan pros and cons. She also currently ghost writes articles for an Austin wealth management firm for publication in Worth, the bimonthly wealth management magazine for high net worth individuals.
Kay's diversity as a writer is displayed in her non-financial writing gigs, most notably as a motorsports columnist. From March 2008 through December 2013 she was the motorsports columnist for various Randall-Reilly Publishing publications that serve the trucking and transportation industries. As both the Crazy Woman Driver featured in "Changing Lanes" magazine and as the fan with Views From the Grandstands for the company's flagship publication "Truckers News," Kay offered rants and raves about all types of auto racing.
Other clients and links to examples of Kay's work can be found in the left column.
Kay also is experienced and comfortable writing TV/radio copy.
In her capacity as tax editor at Bankrate.com she provided regular reports on tax and other personal finance topics for AP Radio and appeared on-air for expert interviews, live and taped, on AP and Bloomberg radio networks, ABC, CNNFN, Marketplace and other traditional and new media broadcast outlets.
One of Kay's recent interviews was with the public broadcasting program Marketplace, where she shared her insights on the looming 2013 fiscal cliff issues that Congress must soon deal with.
Honors and Awards
In addition to the Clarion and Plutus awards for her blog writing, Kay also has been honored in other ways.
She was selected in 2011 as an Outstanding Alumna of her alma mater, Texas Tech College of Mass Communications and Media, Texas Tech University.
In 2009, she was named in September 2009 to a three-year term on the National Professional Advisory Board to the College of Mass Communications and Media at Texas Tech University.
She was selected in November 2006 as a member of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), a group of volunteers dedicated to helping the IRS identify ways to improve customer service and satisfaction. TAP is a Federal Advisory Committee established under the authority of the Department of the Treasury. While on TAP, Kay was chosen by her peers in 2009 as chair of TAP's Area 5, which represents six mid-America states.
Professional Associations and Memberships
To stay up to date on journalistic developments, Kay belongs to the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association for Women in Communications, the Society of American Business Writers and Editors, the Writers' League of Texas, Texas Non-Fiction Writers, the National Tax Association and the Online News Association.