It’s been said that the three most costly words in the English language are “Do It Yourself.” Sometimes it can be downright dangerous – like in the case of brain surgery, which I’m not even sure would be a possible do it yourself project.
Mostly it just costs you a lot of money, like when people try to do their own tax strategies and tax preparation. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting some of the Top Common Mistakes that Do-It-Yourselfers Make when it comes to their tax returns.
Mistake #1: Missed Election – Section 179
Sometimes you can amend past tax returns to recover from tax return filing mistakes. But there is one thing you can’t recover from: a missed tax election. Typically there is a “default” tax position that the IRS takes and in some cases, you’re allowed to do something differently, but only if you file a tax election along with your return.
A common tax election is something called a Section 179. If you buy furniture, equipment and the like for your business typically you have to capitalize the expense (treat it as an asset) and then over time depreciate it. You must make an election to do so. If you file your return without making the election, you can not go back and change it. You’re stuck.
This missed election cost a new client of mine $35,000 in taxes. It’s too bad he filed his returns before he talked to us.
Mistake #2: Too Much Salary – S Corporation
If you have an S Corporation, there are two ways that you can receive income. One is through salary. It’s income to you and an expense for the company, which is a flow through to you anyway. So, it’s tax neutral except for the payroll taxes. The taxable income that is left within the S Corporation is taxable to you and is reported via K-1.
Generally most people want to minimize the salary they take from the S Corporation because that money is subject to payroll taxes.
Ever so often I run into someone who wants to maximize their salary for other reasons, such as funding a pension. But, if you do this, make sure you do it right!
I had a new Tax Strategy client that had made a major mistake regarding salary. And, even worse, they had done it based on the advice of their current CPA. In their case, they had taken a salary that was much larger than the income of the S Corporation. That meant that the salary had to be reported as income on their tax return. It created an expense in the S Corporation. Typically that wouldn’t be a problem. But, in their case it was.
You see they didn’t have enough basis to claim the loss. They had actually created PHANTOM income and then had to pay tax on it! The cost to them for this mistake: $35,000 in taxes that they should not have had to pay.
Customized Tax Strategy
I’ve spent the last 4 years writing books, building websites and developing a massive non-profit fund-raising effort. My company still got requests every day for personalized tax strategies, but for the past 4 years we’ve had to say that I no longer do them.
Today, I’m happy to announce that, on a limited basis, I am back doing strategies. These are the same strategies that I used to guarantee $10,000 tax savings from. Since the fee was $10,000, it became a no brainer for my new clients. They were guaranteed to save in taxes at least as much as the fee. And since the average tax strategy client saved $14,500 per year, it was easy!
I can’t guarantee a return anymore. The AICPA (which governs rules for CPAs) has stated that we can no longer guarantee a result.
In a little bit, I’ll tell you more about what it would take to qualify to be one of the limited number of clients that I will personally work with to develop a customized Tax Strategy. But, first, I want to tell you about what I can guarantee if you are selected to get one of the Customized Tax Strategies.
The process starts when you contact Richard by calling him directly at 602.237.6090 or via email Richard@USTaxAid.com. He’ll talk to you a little bit about the program and determine whether this really is a good fit for you.
TAX STRATEGY PROCESS
After you’ve spoken to Richard, and if you and he both agree that a tax strategy for me would work for you, he’ll email you out a Tax Questionnaire.
Please complete it all. The more information I have, the better the strategy will be.
You then send it in with either a check or a credit card. We won’t run the card or deposit the check until we’ve done one more thing.
I will look at all of the information you’ve sent AT NO CHARGE. Now you might ask yourself why I would go through that when I’ve turned down so many people in the past 4 years who are willing to pay me $10,000 or more for a strategy. I want to make sure this program will work for you first. I’ll do a quick calculation of tax savings and then Richard will call you with the results.
You have a choice: (1) To proceed with the strategy, at which time we’ll run your credit card or deposit your check, or (2) Cancel the whole thing. There is no charge to you if you cancel. Of course, I’m not sure why you want to do that if you know that the average savings is over $14,000 and you’ll know your specific minimum tax savings already because I will have gone through your information
I’ll then go through your information, your questions, your plans, etc in more detail and we’ll have a phone appointment, typically within 2 weeks. At that time, you and I will personally go through all of the details you’ve sent. If you’d like, we’ll tape the conversation so that you have a record of all the items we discussed.
We’ll send out a CD of the conversation along with a customized tax strategy package, outlining the details of the next steps for you. But, that’s not the end of it.
We’ve found that many people continue to have questions after the phone call, so I’ll be available for email questions for a period after that initial call and we’ll have a follow-up call to cover the initial strategy or new ideas, if you want. (We do ask that you send all of your questions, spreadsheets, new deals, whatever you have in advance of the follow-up call so that I’m prepared and don’t waste your valuable time getting up to speed.)
I’ll have one of our DKAffiliated CPAs on the follow-up phone call with me so that there is an easy transition to ongoing consulting services.
Please note that this is a limited time offer and I’m accepting only a few clients per month for this offer.
Now, here’s the best incentive I know. Four years ago I charged (and got!) $10,000 per strategy. If you’re one of the clients selected for this special program, the cost will only be $5,000.
Please call Richard at 602.237.6090 or email him at Richard@USTaxAid.com to get started right away. You won’t be on the list for a strategy until you’ve submitted the completed Tax Questionnaire, so please call or email Richard today to get started right away.