Sometimes it pays to ask questions

joyfulguyMarch 4, 2008

Over several years, in discussions with tax preparers, I've asked a number of them whether, when their clients come to pick up their completed tax returns, quite a few ask for some suggestions as to how they might rejig their financial situation slightly to reduce their income tax bill.

Almost all of them reply that scarcely anyone ever asks such a question. Quite a number say that they've never heard it!

I find that answer incredible!!

If someone who knows the income tax system well has just finished preparing my tax return, he knows a substantial amount about my financial situation.

It seems to me that it would be wise to pick his/her brains with regard to some ways that I might manage my affairs to result in cutting my income tax bill substantially.

Especially since, if I'd waited until I'd written the cheque, or had my wallet safely lodged back in my pocket, the information would probably be gleaned free of charge!

For how many years have you had a tax preparer complete your income tax return?

Have you ever asked that question?

And if your accountant does it, have you consulted her/him about some ways that you could take a slice off of your tax bill?

I hope that you haven't had your return completed yet, this year - for that gives you the opportunity to ask it, this year.

Make sure that you do!

Asking questions sometimes elicits valuable information - and sometimes one can receive it at no cost.

Imagine your rejoicing if you found a $20.00 (or a $50.00) bill lying on the sidewalk.

This could be worth far more than that.

And it could work again in coming years.

(That info'll cost you $15.00. Jus drop it into the Bank of Good Cheer, account No. 12345).

Enjoy your tax season, everyone - just think - next year you might be able to arrange your system in a way to pay 15% less (on a slight wage increase).

ole joyful

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Thanks OJ, I have never asked it, but will try to remember to do it this year yet.

I've had the same tax preparer for about 10 years so she is knowledgeable about me and my finances.

Sue

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 1:39AM
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patser

We have that discussion with our tax guy about 3-4 times a year and then again when we drop our paperwork off at the annual visit. We never wait until we pick things up. Your idea is a good one.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 12:06PM
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joyfulguy

If the guy/gal is running her/his legs off at this time of year ...

... maybe take him/her out for coffee/lunch, later in the year when things are less hectic.

Problem: they'll have forgotten your situation, by then. Take the return as refresher.

You don't let your employees lay about doing nothing (or next to it).

Same for your Dollar-employees - put 'em to work! Effectively! Tax-efficiently!

o j

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 11:56PM
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joyfulguy

For you U.S. folks, your tax preparers will be less busy now ... maybe a good time for that discussion, if your preparer remembers your situation. But take your return along, if your location is outside of his/her office, in case.

Canadians ... most of your preparers aren't interested in any extraneous talk, these days ... they're running around like dogs chasing their tails, preparing returns: as one accountant told me, from 9 a.m. till 11 p.m.

But talk to him/her later.

And next year, if you take your return in early in the season, the preparer will have some time to talk, when the preparation is still fresh in his/her mind, when you come to pick it up.

Good wishes for finding a couple of ways to reduce your tax load, with minimal rearrangement of your financial business.

Canadians: earning dividends on Canadian stocks was taxed a lot lower than the major types of income, including interest, up till 2005 ... and the benefit enjoyed a major expansion as of 2006, so the advantage is a lot greater, now.

Good wishes for putting your dollars to work ... wisely.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 2:54AM
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