What if You Don’t Have a Tax Strategy?
If you don’t have a tax strategy, my recommendation is to get one in place beforeyou file your next tax return. Waiting to file your tax return until your tax strategy is created can provide more flexibility and opportunity.
Here’s how. When you file your tax return, you are taking a position. For example, claiming your home office as a deduction on your tax return is taking a position. You are taking a position on how the area of your home office is calculated.
Consider this scenario:
Pierre files his tax return claiming his home office as a deduction. He calculates the area of his home office to be 10%. After developing his tax strategy, Pierre learns that his home office area is actually 20%.
If Pierre has not filed his tax return, he can claim the larger deduction. If Pierre has filed his tax return, then claiming the larger deduction could be more challenging because when it comes to tax returns, consistency is very important. If Pierre files his tax return using 10% and then changes it to 20%, he will have more explaining to do.
Keep in mind that it is not only how a deduction is calculated that may change, but where a deduction is claimed. Your tax strategy identifies these key positions.
Keep Your Tax Strategy Up-to-Date
If you already have your tax strategy in place, be sure to review it at least once a year with your tax advisor. Tax strategies evolve and the tax law changes so it’s critical to update your tax strategy regularly to make sure it is still minimizing your taxes.
A good time to do this is when you prepare your tax return. You can make sure your tax savings are properly captured and identify opportunities for the future.