Are You Working Without a Strategy?

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There is a great story in a Stephen Covey book about a group of men hacking their way through a jungle. They were making great time but one guy wasn’t so sure what they were doing was right. The other guys ignored him and kept working. But, that’s when the lone dissenter did something strategic and that made all the difference.

Stephen Covey tells us: “A leader is one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation and yells -wrong jungle!”

That’s strategy. Planning what you do. Starting with the end in mind. Thinking through exit strategies before you even get going. And then reminding yourself at periodic intervals of what you need to do to meet your goals. And making sure you’re in the right jungle!

How often do you step back and look at your plans? Your business goals and how you’re meeting them, your contacts, your marketing strategies, your new business opportunities and most importantly, the strategies around the taxes you pay.

If I Paid You $20,000, Would You Stop Working So Hard?

I recently did a free review of a new client’s past tax returns. She worked very hard at the business, kept all the company books and kept on top of the tax planning for her company too.

She figured there was no one who cared about her company more than she did and she didn’t want to let go. She did have a CPA prepare her tax return because, well, it was complicated enough that she knew there were a lot of things that could go wrong. And as much income as she made, she didn’t need an audit because of a stupid mistake in the tax preparation.

The first thing I noticed as I reviewed her returns was that her tax plan would be great for someone just starting out in business, but it didn’t make any sense at all for where she was with her business now.

In fact, I immediately spotted a couple of things she could do with her business structures and deductions (and no, it wasn’t the old tried and true – put money in a pension plan) that would give her an immediate tax benefit of $20,000. There was one catch. She had to step up her game and stop trying to do her own planning. She had to quit working so hard and trying to do it all herself.

The part she had to get over, besides what to do with the free time and extra money, was that she had left $20,000 laying on the table each and every year. That was something we couldn’t go back and fix.

What Got You Here is Not Going to Get You There

If you’ve got a successful business, chances are you got there because you did many things at once. You had to watch your pennies and be very efficient with your resources.

Then as your business grew and the economy changed, you may find that you have to put your head down and just get the job done. The ability to be strategic and take time to look at where your business is actually going just goes out the window.

And now it’s time to think about your taxes. The problem occurs if you’re thinking about how much in taxes you’re going to pay when you file your 2008 tax return, not how tax law is changing in 2009.

It’s never been more important to be strategic in your tax planning.

There’s a lot of change coming for taxes. You can’t drive forward watching in the rear view mirror. Yet, that’s what happens when your only tax planning comes at tax time when you’re looking at the records that are already a year old.

Unless you’re a tax professional, you don’t have enough time to keep up on all the changes coming your way. But, it’s more than just knowing the law changes, it’s also thinking strategically about how to position yourself to take advantage of changes like:

Higher federal tax rates, Capital gain rate increases, Alternative Minimum Tax changes (maybe going away?), Higher Social Security tax, More income subject to Social Security, Increasing Nexus issues for states, More flexibility with pension plan investing, Stronger asset protection tools, C Corporation rate decreases, and Thousands of more proposals.

It’s easy to get started with Diane Kennedy’s Tax Services, our full service tax practice.

Start by getting a free review of your tax return.

Send in a copy of your past return via our secure fax (602) 258-0721, or Mail a DVD of your returns or paper copy of your returns to:

Diane Kennedy’s Tax Services 5350 W. Bell Rd C-122-608 Glendale, AZ 85308 Email a PDF of your returns to Emails are not secure, so please put a password protection on the files first.

I’ll then review your returns and come up with a quick strategy outlining how much money we could save you. Richard will call and/or email you with you the results and send out the paperwork for you to become a client.

At this point, you have a choice. I hope that you become a client and that we continue to work together as your business and investments grow and change through this and other economic changes.

We want to have a long term relationship with you. That means you won’t get hit with a hard sell technique to become a client. And our business grows by referrals which means the better you do, the better we do.

We’re in a tricky economic climate right now. There are a lot of changes going on for business owners. I have clients making hundreds of thousands (even millions) more than they ever have before. And I have clients who are barely hanging on. Some, like me, have become active with Internet businesses. Everything is changing – how we make money, how we run businesses, whether there is credit available to grow and how much in tax we pay.

It’s never been more important to be strategic in your tax planning.

If you’d like to talk directly with Richard before you send your returns in for your FREE! CPA tax review, you can reach him at 888.592.4769 or via email at

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