The other day I received a set of tax returns to review along with a list of questions. When you send in your returns for a FREE tax review, we ask you to send a little bit of information about where you are with your businesses and investments, what your goals are and how we can help you.
In this case, the letter that accompanied it was an in depth, “How do I…” long list of questions that had to do with the tools of a tax strategy. In other words, “How do I form a C Corporation…” “How do I set up a MERP?” and the like.
The problem is that these are just tools. You have to first have a strategy and a plan before you can get to the tools.
Imagine that someone handed you a pile of lumber, a hammer and nails and told you to build. If you got it right, you’d get a million dollars. You built a bird house. But that wasn’t what you weren’t supposed to build. You were supposed to build a boat. There’s a lot of difference! Now let’s say there is the same scenario and you are allowed to ask 3 questions first. Would those questions be “How do I use a hammer?” “Where do I cut the lumber with?” or maybe you would ask “What am I supposed to build?
A plan means you know what to build. Tools help you with the plan.
Before you can have a plan, though, you need a strategy. How do you move from where you are to where you want to be? What is the overall strategy? That’s the first step.
If you stop there and never develop and implement the plan for your strategy, you’ll never move. You’ll just be stuck in the never-ending struggle of always getting more information, but never doing anything with it.
There are three steps:
If you have a strategy without implementation, you’re getting knowledge and not taking action.
If you have a strategy without compliance (filing the tax return), it’s a waste of time.
If you miss any one of these steps, you might as well have not started.
When it comes to saving taxes, it’s all or nothing. Strategy-Implementation-Compliance. Make sure you’re following all the steps you need so you can pay less tax.