Let’s Talk Taxes

Let's Talk Taxes | www.TheHeavyPurse.comBenjamin Franklin aptly said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Both are something many of us fear and prefer to avoid thinking about them. They may never be our favorite topics, but you want to get in front of them, so that you can have a modicum of control, rather than be at their mercy.

It’s been my pleasure to sit with clients for the past 23 years to discuss their finances, hear about their dreams and help them become reality. It’s a real honor to witness their financial evolution. During our conversations, one topic that always pops up is taxes. Many hope that I know the secret to avoiding them. 🙂

Over the years I have heard all kinds of crazy (and often illegal) ideas to hide money as everyone is convinced there is something that the “wealthy” do to pay less taxes. The fact is there is very little you can do to “hide” income from taxation. However, there are many opportunities — all legal — to help reduce your tax bill, but they do require some planning on your part.

Tax Strategies that May Reduce Your Tax Liability

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to focus on the follow topics:

You may discover that you done a great job in all these areas, but I suspect many of you will uncover some missed opportunities. It’s my hope that I can help you identify areas that will benefit your overall financial plan and well-being now or in the future.

PLEASE NOTE: These strategies will not all be relevant to your personal situation and should be discussed with your CPA and financial advisor prior to implementation.

What I will not be doing is telling you how to prepare or file your taxes. I am not a CPA and for most of you reading this, I am not your financial advisor and do not know your personal situation. The information I will be sharing is intended to give you a place to start a conversation with your CPA and financial advisor.

Got Tax Questions?

It can be very difficult to stay up-to-date on the ever-changing tax code. If you have a question on the topics I will be discussing, please send it to me via the comment form below, and where appropriate, I’ll address them within the series.

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Please Note: I may not be able to answer every question received and cannot give specific advice on your individual situation, but only offer general guidance. I will do my best to give you plenty of food for thought for your discussions with your CPA and financial advisor.

Tax season is in full swing, and many of us dread this time of year. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’m looking forward to helping you take a fresh look at taxes and your money.


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February 9, 2015  •  25 Comments  •  Taxes

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  1. Monday, February 9th, 2015
    Looking forward to this series! Our taxes have gotten more and more complicated each year, and the process of gathering all the required documents and getting everything ready takes a lot of time each year - and this is all BEFORE we file our taxes!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      Thanks, DC! Taxes tend to get more complicated as we age and do more, earn more and realize that we need to employ more sophisticated tax strategies. It does me a lot of time to gather everything for my CPA too, even being organized!
  2. Monday, February 9th, 2015
    Great idea for a series Shannon! I heard all sorts of things when I worked at the brokerage as to crazy things people were doing to try and avoid taxes and it usually either made me want to cringe or laugh. That said, we started working on our taxes this past weekend and as our business has grown we've become much more aware of our need to try and legitimately reduce our tax base.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      I imagine we have heard very similar things. Nobody wants to buy a penny more in taxes then required, but I don't want to big fines or go to jail either. LOL! It's always the catch-22 of good business growth, the increased taxes. Hopefully I'll be able to give you a couple of good nuggets that can help you out!
  3. Monday, February 9th, 2015
    Ugh, not looking forward to it. :( And all I have to do is organize my stuff and that still takes forever!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      It's never a fun process and it seems like even with good organization that it's still a time-consuming endeavor!
  4. Monday, February 9th, 2015
    I am not looking forward to filing our taxes; however, I am looking forward to this series. It's important for people to be aware of all of the nuances of their personal taxes and how to optimize their choices before they file. I have seen clients overpay by the thousands because they didn't take enough steps as they should have.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      Me too, Shannon, and they are always shocked when I point it out to them. Taxes may not be "fun", but too many people do them as quickly and often as cheaply as possible and miss out on some key strategies that can benefit them now and/or in the future.
  5. Monday, February 9th, 2015
    Looking forward to your tax tips Shannon! :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      Thanks, Kayla!
  6. Monday, February 9th, 2015
    I'm meeting with my accountant this week. I wish I was brave enough to do my own taxes but I really fear making a mistake.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      I don't do my own taxes either. Unless your taxes are truly simple, I generally recommend using a CPA because tax laws are always changing and it's very hard even for them to stay on top of it, much less you and I. But just like with finances, even if you work with a professional, you need to also have an understanding of how it works too.
  7. Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
    Looking forward to this series too!! Like Tonya, I have lots to do to get organized, and am NOT looking forward to it. I am grateful though that we've got a relatively cheap, super knowledgeable tax guy to do the heavy lifting for us. :-)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      It's always great when you a have trusted professional helping you out, especially with taxes. There are so many nuances and changes every year. It can be overwhelming!
  8. Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
    Looking forward to this series. I am kind of a nerd I guess, but I kind of like learning the nuances of tax law. It is kind of tedious and sometimes confusing at times but it's good to know. I remember the first time doing taxes and my dad made me do it with a pencil filling out the worksheets and stuff. I hated it, but gained a better understanding of how it all works. I am so glad there is tax software nowadays to do it (he still prefers to fill it out by hand). I think that legitimately reducing your gross income and taking advantage of tax deductions and tax shelters are often overlooked as a way to save yourself a lot of money.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      I remember doing taxes with paper and pencil too, Andrew. It's actually a good way to learn because while the tax software is definitely helpful, a lot of people rely too heavily on it and don't really understand how taxes work. Having a good tax strategy now and particularly with your retirement income is critical.
  9. Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
    Definitely looking forward to this series. Great idea!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      Thanks, Michelle!
  10. Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
    I'm in the camp that you should have a pro do your taxes - even as someone who likes to learn this stuff, I prefer to have someone else do my taxes. But I am looking forward to learning more!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      I definitely agree that having a professional do your taxes makes sense for most people. But I also believe people need to understand how taxes work and look at the bigger picture beyond just getting their taxes filed. Taxes have a big role in retirement planning, which most people don't realize.
    • Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
      Actually I think for many people who are just W-2 workers, taking the standard deduction, and not much doesn't seem necessary (and is more expensive) to hire an accountant. Some of the staff at the tax preparation sites aren't necessarily tax pros...some yes but not all. Whether you go to a pro or not, I think it's important to have somewhat of an understanding of taxes though.
  11. Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
    I can't wait to read this series. People love the sexiness of talking investments but taxes are an area that can (as you know) make a portfolio hum....yet are esoteric enough that few cover this ground....
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      Thanks, Joe! I agree - everyone always wants to talk about investments, but the impact a good or bad (or no) tax strategy can have is significant and often overlooked.
  12. Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
    Shannon, I can't wait for your post on tax strategies because I haven't settled my taxes yet. When would you post your first post about this?
    • Shannon Ryan
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
      Thanks, Jayson! The first post is this upcoming Monday, February 16. :)
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan