"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said." – Peter F. Drucker

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, the start of the year is pretty important, in my opinion. And the LAST thing you need is to be stressed over finances.

Yet that’s, unfortunately, how many families start their year, this year.

So, is there anything we can do to help?
Yes, we live to help you with your taxes, but what truly animates me and my staff is the fact that assisting real families (like yours) can make a difference — not just in your "bottom line", but in the peace by which you operate. That’s, really, why we do what we do.

So, do let us know if there’s anything at all we can help you with: (618) 532-7223

Indeed — we’re getting very close to the point where we begin to see many folks walk through our doors with their tax information in hand. Last week, I posted a mostly-complete list of what you will need to get your taxes done.

Well, today my message runs a significant risk of being extremely self-serving.
I get that, but I want you to know that isn’t why I’m writing it.  Sure — I want my business to do well, and that happens when our clients keep using our services and refer their family and friends our way.

But I’m writing this today to give you a warning about some new options available to taxpayers, which haven’t always been there. I hope you hear what I have to say, and that you take it to heart.

Alan Newcomb’s
"Real World" Personal Strategy

Hidden Problems In Popular Tax Filing Options

For various liability issues, I’m loathe to actually mention this company by name, but let’s say (for the purposes of this conversation) that there’s a big, popular company who made its fortune on the backs of lower-income taxpayers called H&P Black (a name picked completely at random). This company is flooding the airwaves with a brand new program offering "free" tax preparation.

Maybe you’ve heard about it? Well, like many such things, there are, shall we say … strings.

First of all, here are the restrictions:  it only covers those filing the 1040EZ federal form, which covers only the very simplest tax issues. It can’t be used by anyone who has dependents, makes more than $100,000 per year, is age 65 or older, claims adjustment to income like alimony or tuition deductions, or itemizes deductions. Thus, homeowners who deduct mortgage interest or people with large charitable contributions can’t use the 1040EZ.

Plus, filers have to pay fees for state tax preparation and any other fees incurred — which have a tendency to pile up.

Asked by stock investors why [said company] was doing this, an executive replied: "Our ability to monetize this program means a minimal impact on our net average charge," [said company] Retail Tax President Phil Mazzini told analysts on Dec. 7. (source)

It’s always enlightening to look at executive interactions with stock analysts to see why public companies do what they do, I’ve found.

So — in summary: don’t be seduced by the siren call of getting something for nothing. You usually end up paying for it, in a whole host of ways.

In fact, one of OUR revenue centers over the years has always been in fixing the mistakes made by these "big box" retail tax outfits and off-the-shelf software programs, and discovering loads of missed opportunities and overpayments.

(Because, speaking of software: do you remember when our current Treasury Secretary used the leading tax software to do HIS taxes, unintentionally created a bunch of errors with it, and then blamed it for all of his tax problems in front of the Senate? Not an uncommon issue, I’m afraid.)

The old adage *is* an adage because it’s so often true: you get what you pay for. It’s the foundation for a stable economic system because it’s almost always true.