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Depending upon the level of your tax planning needs, and your skill/knowledge set, you can obtain tax planning information in other ways besides actually sitting down with a tax planning professional. Here are some other ways to be assisted with your tax planning needs:
Online: Many tax firms offer online tax planning advice. Some have an online library offering tax information to help taxpayers plan their taxes. Or, you can obtain insight into how certain events will affect your taxes. This is a self-serve program and is best served by taxpayers with basic tax needs or a fundamental knowledge about how to do tax planning. Tax professionals and taxpayers in general will do well with an online tax planning library. That is, if the information is presented in easy to understand terms and not technical lingo.
Tax Software programs. Many tax software programs include tax planning information. Also, some may include a free advisory contact with a tax planning professional. H&R Block offers this through their TaxCut products – both online and offline.
Library. Go to your local or university library and pursue the periodicals available. Or, read the IRS Code (for those hearty and rather masochistic taxpayers). Not including the IRS code, there are a variety of publications available in easy to understand terms to help you understand tax planning issues.
Books. There are many books available to help with tax planning. Insight into various tax laws as they relate to tax planning issues are discussed. They are written for the general population to understand and contain a wealth of useful information. J.K.Lasser is a very popular one (for instance).
Tax planning seminars. Local tax professionals like to sponsor seminars to inform taxpayers about current issues and tax planning insights. Some charge a fee and some do not. Sometimes these seminars are a way to get new clients for the sponsor. Other times the main purpose is simply to educate.
Personalized – phone, email, chat. Many tax preparation firms offer tax planning services outside of their software program. For the taxpayers' convenience, methods of contact vary from phone to online chat. These forms of contact offer taxpayers a more personalized conversation whereby tax planning issues specific to them can be asked. Check with your tax software program features.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|