Nothin' Special, But We Try

GW Carter, Ltd. is a Certified Public Accounting firm located in Edina, MN. The company specializes in tax return preparation and planning for foreign nationals investing in or visiting the United States.

In order to provide J-1 visitors efficient, safe and affordable tax return services, we designed this J1 Tax Refund site and it’s customized internet-based service procedures.

Gary W. Carter, Ph.D., M.T., C.P.A. (Founder)

Gary received a B.A. in accounting from Eastern Washington University in 1977, and a Master of Taxation degree from the University of Denver in 1980. He began his tax career as a revenue agent for the state of Alaska. He then worked as a staff accountant with a regional CPA firm in Spokane, Washington. He later worked as a senior staff accountant for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., the predecessor of KPMG, in Denver, Colorado. Gary has been a certified public accountant since 1977, and am a member of the AICPA.

After receiving a Ph.D. in taxation at the University of Texas at Austin in 1985, he became a tax faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and the Associate Director of the Carlson School’s Master of Business Taxation Program. He remained on the tax faculty at the University until 2010. Gary received multiple teacher-of-the-year awards, and, in 2013, was inducted into the inaugural Carlson School of Management, Master of Business Taxation Program Hall of Fame.

In 1995, Gary was made aware, by the International Student Services Office at the University, that there was virtually no help available for the foreign national students and scholars on campus who were required to file tax returns. He began working with the IRS and the Minnesota Department of Revenue to establish a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site at the University, dedicated to helping foreign students and scholars with their federal and state tax filing obligations. At that time the University had 4,000 to 5,000 foreign students, researchers and visiting faculty on campus from approximately 135 countries. Initially, although he had a strong tax background, Gary was a novice in the area of foreign national taxation. He relied on some very knowledgeable IRS specialists, who were extremely generous with their time and resources, to get up to speed. During his remaining tenure at the University, Gary annually recruited, trained and supervised accounting students for the free preparation of thousands of nonresident tax returns for students and scholars. They provided this service not only to nonresidents at the University of Minnesota, but to those at several other area colleges and universities as well.

Over the years, Gary was frequently asked to unofficially consult with payroll departments at the various schools regarding withholding requirements for nonresident academics. In 1997, he launched the predecessor of our current Web site at To our knowledge, this site was the first comprehensive Web-based source of U.S. tax information for foreign nationals, predating even IRS Web resources. Gary’s motive for this Web site was simply to take pressure off his faculty e-mail inbox by offering explanations to common questions about nonresident alien taxation to my VITA clients. Unfortunately, although emails from VITA clients declined, they were replaced by emails from foreign nationals around the world asking a broader array of tax questions. These inquiries continue, and the research required to provide knowledgeable and accurate answers has enhanced Gary’s knowledge of foreign national taxation. In 2001 he began a part-time Web-based tax service, primarily to help those individuals who had returned home but had a tax filing obligation. Our practice became full-time when Gary left the University in 2010.



From eBay to Mary Kay, Taxes Made Easy for Your Home Business, J.K. Lasser (John Wiley & Sons), November 2005.

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Karl Disney, C.P.A., M.B.T. (Tax Manager)

Karl has an active CPA License and a Masters of Business Taxation degree (MBT) from the University of Minnesota. He has over 20 years of extensive corporate and public accounting tax experience – from a Big-4 accounting firm to corporate tax accounting for Fortune 500 companies, to acting Tax Director for small to mid-size firms. Karl started his tax career working for four years at KPMG in its Financial Services Division. He then spent the next nine years working in industry for companies such as Best Buy, Katun Corporation, GMAC Residential Funding Corporation, Northwest Airlines and CRP Holdings, LLC. He served in a variety of roles from tax senior, to tax analyst to tax manager. He started his own firm in 2008, serving as controller and tax director to several small and mid-size firms. In 2011, he reunited with a favorite professor from the University of Minnesota’s MBT Program – Gary Carter. He has worked at GW Carter, Ltd. since then, specializing in expatriate and nonresident returns. Karl’s commitment to serving clients to ensure their satisfaction makes him an asset to this firm. He is an independent self-starter and highly motivated to deliver exceptional results. He has strong organizational and time management skills, and his communication abilities provide peace of mind to those he serves.

Yilian (Elaine) Li, C.P.A. (Tax Senior) 

Yilian has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting (CPA track) from the College of Saint Benedict.

Yilian is fluently in Mandarin, Sichuan (Szechuan) dialect and English. She interned with Shanghai Certified Public Accountants and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.   

Yilian joined GW. Carter, Ltd after graduating.  Her goal is to help individuals, especially foreign taxpayers, navigate through complex tax laws and regulations in order to get the best tax outcome they are entitled.

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