All About the Tax Shelter

The Tax Shelter History

In 1971, John Lill and Johnny Fowler founded the Taw Shelter on Baxter Street in Athens, Georgia, under the corporate name of National Tax.

After preparing taxes out of their homes for many years, Mr. Fowler and Mr. Lill made the decision to form a company together. They concentrated on growing the tax business while Mary Lill, John’s wife, performed bookkeeping, payroll, and business services.  Mary focused her attention on the corporate clients and the growth of the accounting business. In 1984, The Tax Shelter expanded for the first time and hired an accounting supervisor and two accounting staff members. 

The firm has always focused on excellent customer service and being on the cutting edge of technology. The Tax Shelter bought its first PCs in the early 80s and was preparing returns on computers before anyone else in the Athens area.

Electronic filing began in 1986 and again, The Tax Shelter was the first firm in Athens to participate. The Tax Shelter experienced dramatic growth in the late 80s due to the popularity of electronic filing and various tax law changes that resulted in more taxpayers receiving refunds.

By 1989, the firm needed more space and moved to the location of 620 Hawthorne Avenue in Athens.  

Ken Lill, John’s son, started his career working in Atlanta in the early 1990s. Ken came to work at The Tax Shelter in 1996 and purchased ownership interest shortly thereafter.  Ken started taking an active management role in 2000. By this time, the firm expanded to two other offices operating under The Tax Shelter name. 

John Lill retired from management in 2004, but the firm continues his policies of exceptional customer service and cutting-edge technology. The firm has grown to over 20 employees–eight accounting and tax professionals, seven administrative employees, multiple partners, and four locations in Georgia.  Our main office remains in Athens, offering a unique product to the area. We have the expertise and knowledge of a traditional CPA firm, can handle the tax volume of a franchise tax operation, and pride ourselves on having the best customer service in the industry.

 During the 2000s, we continued to grow and, again, needed additional space. In 2009, we purchased a lot next to our office and added a new building that currently houses all of our services in the Athens area. As we continue to grow, we strive to maintain our focus on John’s founding principles of excellent customer service and cutting-edge technology.


Our mission is to help clients maintain financial viability in the present while taking a proactive approach to achieve future goals. This requires open communication to reach an understanding of our clients' needs through research and sound analysis. The Tax Shelter is dedicated to meeting these goals with high standards of excellence and professionalism. 

Our offices are a staple of each community in which they are located.  We pride ourselves on the level of esteem that we have earned.

We earned the respect of the business and financial community through our dedication to hard work. We believe this is a direct derivative of our talent and responsiveness to our client base. Whether you are a current or prospective client, rest assured that individuals and businesses who choose The Tax Shelter receive expertise and timely service.