• Maybe it’s because saying this makes the work we do here in my Worcester tax office seem all-the-more essential (alright, guilty as charged), but the ever-increasing complexity of our tax code is becoming a significant problem. The Form 1040 instructions estimate that on average it takes a taxpayer around 18 hours to complete a tax return.

    And that’s the average. And speaking of average, there have been approximately 4,680 changes to the U.S. tax code (let alone the states) since 2001, which is an average of more than one per day.

    And when you print out the *guidance* explaining the tax code, it’s over 1-foot high. Let alone the 4 million words of the code itself.

    So, I guess all of this is to say — there’s a reason we do what we do. We get to cut through the fog of all of this complexity and ensure that YOU are protected from the grasping hands of the IRS and its minions. It’s part of what makes what I do so rewarding.

    Now, before I get into the meat of what I want to talk about today, I wanted to highlight a couple things from last week:

    1) The IRS is not accepting most individual tax returns until January 30th. Due to the last-minute nature of the tax bill passing Congress, their systems have a lot of catching up to do, apparently. Which does NOT mean that we cannot meet with you or *work* on your return before that point. Only that we won’t be able to officially “file” it until that week.

    2) There is something at the end of this post that you might be grateful for.

    Now, onto my main exhortation for the week …

    Worcester Tax Expert Gives Concrete Steps For Making 2013 The Year You Finally Get It Done
    I’m fully aware that just a couple weeks ago, right here on my blog for our Worcester tax preparation service, I wrote you about my simple “one word resolution”. So this isn’t about making another new year’s resolution.

    This is about finally becoming a saver, instead of a spender. It’s about much more than retirement, but let me scare you with this: for every seven years you delay saving and investing for the future, you will likely cut in half the income you would enjoy at the end of your life.

    Ouch. So, let’s make this year the year that we get this thing moving, shall we?

    Here are some ways to get off your hind end and get it done…

    1) Set goals you’ll actually keep. First, ask the right questions about what you are wanting to do with your resources and stay the course until you’ve found the answers. Then share what you are doing with someone you trust (I’m happy to be this person for you!) — because goals that are shared are ten times more likely to be acted on. Don’t wait until you have everything set up to seek out accountability.

    2) Write down your goals, and make them tangible. Set your savings goals as a specific annual percentage of your adjusted gross income (AGI). It’s a great starting point to save at least 10% of your AGI in tax-free retirement accounts and another 5% toward retirement in taxable investments. If you are behind on your savings, you may want to save even more in order to catch up.

    3) Come up with an actual financial strategy besides “save more”. Look at retirement vehicles, such as annuities, tax-savings plans, etc. Start by investing just enough to get the entire match from a company’s 401(k) plan (if you have one) and then fund your Roth IRA accounts next. After these two, make certain you have enough non-retirement savings.

    4) Set it and forget it. I bold this one, because it’s huge. Automating putting money in an employer-defined contribution plan is easy. Automating a taxable savings plan is just as painless. Most banks or brokers offer an automatic money link between an investment account and a checking account. They should also offer a monthly automatic transfer between the two accounts.

    Going into further detail would actually entail sitting down and creating a true, full financial plan–so just give us a call, to discuss your particular situation and goals: (508) 753-3532

    But I will say one last thing: the most critical component of wealth management in the new year will be tax minimization. With the potential for inflation rates to fluctuate even more than the stock market in 2013, and for the many different ways creeping at us by which the government will seek to add “revenue” (some of which are hidden even from avid watchers like myself), it’s never been more important to monitor what “Uncle Sam” is seeking to take from your wallet!

    To your family’s financial and emotional peace…

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    $29.00 Off Any Tax Service
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    Print This and bring it to our office–and receive an instant $29 credit towards any tax or financial service for 2013
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