Faith and Flip Flops
Written by Betsy Campbell on January 20, 2020
Faith And Flip Flops – Taxing Resolutions
Taxing Resolutions Making a list and checking it twice…..oops – that was last month. “I never did get my tax stuff organized in 2019 and now it’s 2020. Oh, my word, I am going to tax return hell! Did I shove all of the receipts in the box? Do I even need receipts? Is it a good idea to have my cousin’s exgrandma’s boyfriend’s daughter do my tax return in the back of a gas station?” I hear this ALL the time. You had to have known that eventually my two worlds’ were gonna collide in your best interest! Yes, in my real-life job I own an operate an accounting firm and have for 28 years, so I have seen and heard it ALL! As we all know, you cannot go backward, only forward so let’s start the New Year out with the resolution to be prepared for the 2020 tax year. There are so many things you can do to make taxes less stressful to you that are simple; you just have to commit to doing them. Know your tax bracket and set your with-holdings accordingly. There are easy to understand charts online you can follow when filling out your new W-4 for 2020. My goal is for my clients to be at a flat line – meaning they do not owe much, nor do they get big refunds. Some of you just screamed, “But my refund is like a savings account and I need it.” NO, it is not a savings account. It is you over withholding and allowing the IRS to have use of YOUR money all year, gaining no interest. For the LOVE, set up a savings account and have the amount you are over withholding directed into a REAL savings account that YOU can control and gain a little bit of interest on. I mean really y’all, do you want the government in charge of YOUR extra funds?? Call your tax preparer BEFORE you sell property or stock or decide to make a withdrawal from an Investment account. Not doing that is like not calling before you dig and leaving the neighborhood in the dark. Do not be blinded by potential money in these situations only to be in the dark about their ramifications on your return. These things do make a difference and you will get your feelings hurt if you do not stop and do your research. This ain’t the Wild West during the Gold Rush-hold your horses people! Your tax preparer is there to answer questions, strategize the best way to approach your particular situation and have you cover any potential tax liabilities before year end, so you are not penalized. If you wait until the return is in progress it is too late. The fat lady has sung, and we might make you cry when we tell you there is a huge tax liability associated with a situation, we could have helped with had we known BEFORE it happened. Free tax programs are great…..for a very simple return. Yes, they prompt you and ask you questions but it is a program not a person that knows you or your tax situation. They do not talk back and if they could I’m pretty sure they do not have the education and experience to properly advise. You are not just completing a tax return – you are establishing a tax history so that if/when things change you are covered by someone who knows you and your goals. Seriously, a tax preparer would have stopped crazy dude from claiming his two dogs and making up their social security numbers, but the free tax program said, “Let’s do it,” and they ain’t Nike! Want to guess who got called to fix that little doggie project??? And I am sure the look on my face said what my mouth could not. Out with the old and in with the new! If you do something new and exciting during the year like get married, have a baby, adopt a child, buy or sell a home, change jobs, etc. make copies of the related documentation and add it to your tax file – you know, the one you are going to start after you finish this blog/podcast. You will need them for your taxes so do it while it’s fresh in your head. Believe you me, if you get married and forget to tell your tax preparer, we will laugh at you behind closed doors and you are going to owe your sparkling new spouse a big apology gift (yes, this has really happened). Repeat after me, “I will make this whole tax thing easy for 2020 now that I know it does not have to be hard. I will NOT claim my dog, the neighbor’s dog and definitely no cats. I will ask questions BEFORE taking extra money that I do not usually have. I will not have my taxes done while pumping gas.” In case you were wondering, I happen to know a great place to get your taxes done and enjoy a few laughs in the process. Happy Tax Season 2020 to all, and to all, wishes of big refunds!