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Master Your Tax Game: And Keep More Money in Your Pocket

Master Your Tax Game: And Keep More Money in Your Pocket

March 07, 2024

You might feel like you're at the mercy of the IRS, but there's good news – the tax code is brimming with choices you can make to ensure you're not paying unnecessary taxes. Everything from withholdings and filing status to qualified account contributions and business structure, the choice is truly yours. So, why choose inaction when you can take control?

How to Win the Tax Game

Choose Your Moves Wisely

I have heard it so many times before “I killed them on my refund this year” and while refund checks may seem like a victory, in reality, they represent an interest-free loan to the government. Winning the tax game isn't about the size of your refund; it's about intentionally reducing your lifetime tax burden and ultimately lowering the total tax the IRS keeps. Make strategic moves that put more money in your pocket and stop leaving the IRS a tip.

All CPAs are tax planning experts: Not so fast...

While CPAs excel at filing forms, not all of them are proactive tax planning experts. Having a tax preparer is valuable, but it's essential to seek someone who actively identifies planning opportunities rather than just ensuring compliance. It is imperative to elevate your tax strategy beyond your annual tax return.

Debunking Tax Myths

Don't fall for the myth that it's too early or too late to worry about taxes in retirement. Every year brings tax-saving opportunities. And many tax-saving opportunities have annual caps, so you need to be intentional about taxes. The more proactive and consistent you are, the more you stand to benefit in the long run. Time is money, especially when it comes to tax planning.

Embrace Change:Tax laws aren't static

Contrary to the belief that tax laws are unpredictable and planning is futile, doing nothing is still a choice. Acting on proposed changes has heightened risk, and any tax planning (just like all planning) must include the risk of change. Acknowledge these risks, stay informed, and adapt your tax planning strategies accordingly. Planning for change is as crucial as planning for the present.

IRA Wisdom: It's not a blank check

Defer taxes strategically, but don't assume a million dollars in your IRA means a million dollars in your pocket during retirement. You must understand the nuances of tax liability and ensure you're not signing up for a partnership with the government where they have the power to increase their ownership percentage at any time without your agreement.

Your Tax Victory Plan

Don't let the complexities of the tax code overwhelm you. Seize control, make intentional choices, and develop a proactive tax strategy or work with a professional who understands these issues. You must play the tax game strategically, keeping more of your hard-earned money where it belongs – in your pocket!


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About the Author

James M. Comblo, CFF
is the President & CEO of FSC Wealth Advisors. His greatest passion in the financial services industry is helping clients live the life they want, not the life they are forced to. To learn more about him click here.