As the holidays approach, it’s a time to get together with family: cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, long-lost friends. However, one of the most important members of your life sometimes gets forgotten during this time, and that would be your wonderful and much loved accountant.
I have been practicing accounting for over 30 years and the number of people who don’t plan never ceases to amaze me. When I am doing their tax returns in the following year, I can’t tell you how many conversations end with the client exclaiming “Oh my goodness, I wish I had thought of that.” And I always say, “This year, make an appointment to see me before the end of the year so we can plan.”
So don’t forget me during the holidays.
Here are some of the reasons that your accountant is (or should be) on your “People I Must Visit During the Holidays” list:
- Year-end strategies – If you are a small business, perhaps buying equipment that you need anyway right before year-end will give you a big tax savings. Accelerating expenses or delaying income are strategies that people like me (accountants) can help you with!
- Deferring gains on sales of businesses or sales of stock, or accelerating gains on sales of businesses or stock, depending on your situation. Taking capital losses to offset short term gains.
- Analyzing medical deductions. Since medical deductions have a hurdle of 7.5% or 10% to clear, it is best to try to bunch all dental and/or medical elective work into one year.
- Analyze contributions in the year you think are going to be in the highest tax bracket. It is important to put all things that are periodically discretionary into the bracket that most benefits you.
- Switching investments is always a tax saving strategy whether it be at year end or anytime. Using tax exempt investments and or switching to dividend income to take advantage of the reduced tax on qualifying dividends (which are most dividends).
So, while you are planning your holiday, your shopping, your visiting, please put your accountant on your holiday list. We are waiting for you to come in so we can give you some sage advice that will save you money and avoid having to tell you when we do your taxes in the spring, “Too bad you didn’t come to see me.”
Remember not visiting your accountant could be more damaging to your life than whatever guilt that aunt and uncle could possibly bestow on you for conveniently forgetting them!
Oh yeah, and before I forget, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!