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Financial Planning / Tax Strategies


Subject:  Need tax advice Date:  12/14/2012  11:35 AM
Author:  doc2012 Number:  117132 of 129721

Subject says it all. I need tax advice. While I know that the Fool community has the best of intentions and probably more than a few very sharp people who really know what they're talking about, the topic is too important to simply act on free advice received on a community bulletin board. I don't think "but the guy on said..." would fly in the face of an auditor.

So I need a professional tax advisor. I don't like accountants because I've dealt with too many of them and have found that very few of them actually know what they're talking about. The majority just want to collect your money in April, fill out your return, and see-ya-next-year. If and when you do get audited, they just say "but I only filled out the return based on what the client told me!!" and disclaim all responsibility for error. And in the past when I did discover errors they had made that cost me thousands, they NEVER apologized. The best they offer is to re-do the returns at "no additional charge" (the nerve).

So that leaves, I guess, tax attorneys (very expensive option and probably a bit overkill as my tax situation isn't THAT complicated), tax preparers like H&R Block, and maybe CFPs & other financial planners/advisors?? I really just don't know where to turn.

I'll give a for-instance. I have a traditional IRA that comprises 100% nondeductible contributions. My basis is actually greater than the current value since it lost some value. So I was thinking, great, I'll convert it to a Roth and owe nothing. Ah but wait, I didn't know until recently about the pro-rata rule. The value of my old SEP-IRA would be aggregated and therefore I would have owed tax on the conversion. This is the kind of stuff that is NOT intuitive to someone who doesn't know the tax code very well. Well, at least it wasn't intuitive to me, and I'm glad I found out before I made the conversion. But I'm scared that there are thousands of other little tax nuances unbeknownst to me that might bite me on the behind of I start mucking around with my money on my own.

To be honest, I really need comprehensive financial planning. But that's a whole 'nother story, and at this time of year, the most important thing I need to concentrate on are tax strategies, since my rates are almost surely going up next year.

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