More in-depth post within The Pledgettes community where I share how much I spend on tax services.

Taxes is a popular topic that comes up this time of year. And you’ll usually hear me talk about two different things.

1 – What tax service do you need/want: tax preparation or tax strategy?

2 – There are different professionals that can help you with taxes: Enrolled Agent, Tax Accountant (CPA), and a Tax Attorney.

Know what services you need and who is the best professional for you.

Often times when I’m in conversations about taxes, I’ll get asked about my Financial A-Team and my experience.  This is my experience. This is not Financial Advice. This is not Tax Advice. 

Here we go…

My dad is a CPA and I often accepted his help with taxes. However, my first year paying taxes at 15 (I started working at age 14), my dad had me go to the library to pick up the needed tax documents. I remember there was a massive table at the library entrance with stacks and stacks of printed out tax forms to take. (We’ve come a long way). 

Then as tax software came to be, my dad would have a license for the tax software and I would go to his house and complete my taxes on his computer. I would go through the software and answer the questions and then we would review it together before I hit submit. (Side note: Hasan Minjai did an episode on TurboTax – worth a watch). 

It wasn’t until I met my husband and we were married that our taxes became a bit more…complex. We left our full-time jobs; he took a part-time job as an employee and I went the independent contractor route. We traveled full-time in our Airstream (my dream and goal to get back to soon-ish). We rented out the house we owned on Airbnb. That was the last year we used tax software.

We hired a CPA at a tax and bookkeeping firm. We thought we were getting tax strategy but they were giving us tax preparation. We would upload all our numbers and our documents and they would spit out a return. It sort of felt like they were just entering our numbers into software. We became frustrated because they weren’t planning with us; they weren’t asking us questions, and we weren’t getting any value.  

Because of our dissatisfaction with our CPA, we sort of swung for the fences and hired a Tax Attorney. They had a membership model (based on the number of LLCs we have and the different types of returns). Our taxes have also become more….complex…with more LLCs, investments, and revenue sources.

The first year we were with them, they returned a Tax Strategy Blueprint with recommendations that would reduce our tax liability by three times their fee.

We had multiple calls with them to review how we wanted to move forward. With our membership we get zoom meetings with them so we can strategy about long-term and near-term goals and ideas. We can ask questions about the tax implications and liabilities with these goals and ideas. And we feel like we have a true partner. 

In addition to the Tax Strategy Blueprint, we received a Summary (see image) with more details that explained the US tax code and a 67-page tax plan that links to IRS documents and resources breaking down all their recommendations and the action we would take.

I share this all because, like anything with your finances, there is no one-size-fits-all. A financial strategy doesn’t fit into a 30-second reel, one blog post, one money conversation, or one financial book.

Your personal financial journey is as unique as you. You are the CEO of your Money, you build your Financial A-Team to help you achieve your Big Financial Goals and have fun on the journey.

You got this!