Tax Planning: Where to Start
Tax planning to some can be stressful, and to others isn't a priority. The most common objection is 'I don't make enough money to need help with tax planning'. But the reality is tax planning makes sense for everyone of all income ranges, and, when done well, more than pays for itself.
The best place to start is to organize your documents. Personal budget, last year's tax return, typically three months of bank statements, plus a few other similar items are necessary for evaluating and coming up with the best tax plan for your situation.
Once you have gotten everything together, it's time to speak with an expert.
Not Every Tax Preparer is a Tax Planner
While it does not require a license to help with tax planning, you may want to consider using a licensed advisor from a related field. Financial advisors, CPAs, EAs, attorneys, etc, are an excellent place to start looking. If you're unsure which is best for you, take a look at the differences between some of these licenses.
So, How Do You Plan for Taxes?
Help with tax planning comes in several varieties. For some, it is that conversation at the end of the year about what things they should buy to offset their taxes. For others, it is tax deductible investments that both build their investment or retirement portfolio while reducing their current-year tax bill. Whatever form it comes in, however, it starts with a conversation with your chosen expert.
There are a lot of great online blogs about help with tax planning, and a lot of individuals choose to do their own planning. Finance Buzz several great tips about tax planning, but even they ultimately recommend finding a local expert. With most local planners providing free upfront consultations, what have you got to lose?