A Service Upgrade: Tax Planning

This is an exciting time for software in my little corner of the world. There’s so much available, from apps aiding retirement planning and investment management, to software that helps me run my business. These are just fancy tools, of course, and can only be helpful if you know how to use them. But for planners like me who enjoy delving into the details, the level of innovation creates tons of possibilities, especially for the important subject of tax planning.

Our tax code is easily one of the most complicated parts of our financial lives. It has tons of moving parts, changes frequently, and just about everything is interconnected; one simple change can have expensive ramifications.

While I’ve long done tax planning and strategy work for clients it’s mostly been pen and paper, Google searches, and studying client returns and the IRS’s website. This is useful but often incomplete without help from the client’s tax advisor.

The issue is that most tax advisors don’t really do tax planning, or at least they don’t make the process easy. Instead they focus on preparing tax returns. We’re all aware that this is a difficult seasonal grind, so it’s understandable if some of the profession goes MIA between seasons. This creates problems, however, because tax advisors have client data in their own software and crunching numbers amid all the complexity pretty much requires replicating it.

I don’t normally use these posts to talk specifically about my business, but this week I wanted to introduce a new service: tax return review. I spent the better part of a year evaluating a new software program called Holistiplan and was waiting for after tax season to open it up to you.

My ongoing clients will get this at no additional cost and my hourly folks can access it as a separate project.

Let me be clear in that I’m not angling to replace your tax advisor. That’s a full-time job and I already have one. Instead, I want to provide better financial planning that helps you through life’s important decisions. Since just about all financial decisions involve tax considerations, efficiently analyzing your tax return will help me help you more.

Here’s how it will work –

The process begins with you getting a digital copy of your tax return. Upload it to my website www.ridgeviewfp.com by clicking on “Secure File Upload” in the Clients dropdown at the top of the homepage, or at the bottom of each page. There are no space limitations, so you can upload the whole document, ideally as a PDF. A clear scanned copy saved as a PDF works also.

We’ll upload your return to Holistiplan for analysis. It typically takes a few minutes.

Then the software deletes your return. It only holds the return data, not your personal information. This is an extra level of security I implemented with the company.

Then we’ll look for planning opportunities. Some are obvious while others might be deeper in the weeds. Or maybe you’re in good shape already. Either way we’ll be able to tweak your prior year numbers to gauge the impact of extra income, capital gains, funding an IRA, and the potential for Roth conversions, to name a few.

We can hop on a Zoom call and look at the information together, send you a report with our notes, or both. Also, Holistiplan keeps everything current, so we’ll be able to understand how any changes to the tax landscape might affect you.

Then we can look for help and confirmation from your tax advisor. You’ll be able to ask specific questions and, hopefully, get good answers.

Ideally, we’ll keep doing this every year. We’ll build up history for you and, hopefully, leverage tax planning to help make your financial life better.

Have questions? Ask me. I can help.

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