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STAY ON TOP  OF YOUR TAXES

What You'll Learn In Today's Episode
  • Important factors when you consider QBI
  • Tried and true ways to improve your tax planning abilities
  • Things Advisors get wrong when it comes to the intersection of tax and estate planning.

Summary:

Returning guest Thomas Kopelman of allstreet Wealth is back on the show to talk about the evolution of tax planning in his practice and share specific ways he is helping business owners save thousands. Steven and Thomas talk about the complexities that can come with great tax planning and Thomas shares how he has been able to refine his skill set and deliver massive value to his clients by picking one area at a time to focus on. Listen to the end to hear about some exciting new things Thomas is involved in that includes one of our great sponsors for the upcoming RTS Tax Planning Summit.

Ideas Worth Sharing:

People fail to realize that we don't always have to find perfect. Sometimes good enough can be helpful. - Thomas Kopelman Click To Tweet You also can't expect what you're not asking for. - Steven Jarvis Click To Tweet There's no point in just talking about ideas, but never enacting them. - Thomas Kopelman Click To Tweet

About Retirement Tax Services:

Steven and his guests share more tax-planning insights in today’s Retirement Tax Services Podcast. Feedback, unusual tax-planning stories, and suggestions for future guests can be sent to advisors@rts.tax.

Are you interested in content that provides you with action steps that you can take to deliver massive tax value to your clients? Then you are going to love our powerful training sessions online. Click on the link below to get started on your journey:

Retirementtaxservices.com/webinars

Thank you for listening.

Read The Transcript Below:

Steven (00:49):

Hello everyone, and welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Services podcast, Financial Professionals edition. I’m your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA, and with me today I have a very special guest, Thomas Kopelman, who has his own firm Off Street Wealth and as of recently is the head of community at Wealth.com, who’s partnering with us on the upcoming RTS summit. So Thomas, welcome to the show. Happy to have you back. You’ve actually been a guest before.

Thomas (01:14):

Yeah, thank you. I was just going to say second time coming on here, always love doing it. Nothing more fun for me than talking tax planning.

Steven (01:21):

Yeah. Well, I always appreciate when people can sincerely say that with a smile on their face because there’s not always a lot of us that get excited about tax planning, but I’ve found that those who do, it’s because of the impact they see for their clients. I know that’s the case for you, that this isn’t, Hey, let’s have some nice weekend reading. As we see the impact it can have, the tax savings, the ability to help people accomplish other goals, and so heck yeah, we’re going to nerd out on it.

Thomas (01:46):

Yeah, I think for me it’s changed a lot how much I like talking about it because early on, working with young 20 somethings people, I mean best case you’re talking Roth versus traditional or maybe a deduction from an HSA or great you tax loss harvested $3,000. That can offset some income, but beyond that, it’s not that quantifiable of, look at the impact that these few moves make and now from moving to working with either equity comm people, which obviously there’s a lot of tax planning around when to exercise a MT, all that stuff. I mostly work with business owners now, which is self-employment taxes, entity selection, QBI, all of those. And when the numbers get large and people are making 500,000 to millions of dollars in profit a year, the tax planning reaches tens to a hundred thousand dollars of impact. And when people see that, they get really excited too about working with you and the changes that can make for their life.

Steven (02:44):

And this is just one of the things you’re doing for your clients. And so I mean, a lot of times, especially when you’re talking about business owners, you can have a lot of situations where you’re getting them more tax savings than they’ll ever pay you for your advising fees just from the tax piece. And that’s before we’ve talked about anything else. Before we dive into some specific examples that you’re bringing up there. I just want to highlight and love your thoughts on this, all of those things you just listed as potential opportunities. I’m just going to go on a limb here and say that you don’t have any proprietary secrets that no one’s heard of that really Google has the data on all those things you just talked about, which that’s the same for me too. This isn’t a criticism of you. When we talk about tax planning this isn’t about, I think people too often get focused in on what’s the thing that no one’s ever heard of before? And that’s not what this is about. This is about having a consistent repeatable process so you can actually help people take advantage of those things because even the business owners, even the highly compensated equity comp type people who have a significant income, maybe they’re working with a CPA, that doesn’t mean that someone’s watching out for these tax planning opportunities.

Thomas (03:46):

Yeah, I think that’s a really important note. I actually just did a podcast last week talking about this as well as that I think it’s a miscommunication problem. People think, Hey, I come to you. You come up with these tax planning ideas. Do I have a bad CPA or an accountant because they haven’t talked about them. And the thing that I help people realize is you can’t expect what you don’t pay for. There’s all these people who are find the cheapest tax repair out there, pay 500 bucks or 750 bucks, and they’re like, why aren’t they coming up with any planning for me? And it’s like, you didn’t even pay a dollar for a time or a meeting. There are a lot of tax repairs out there now who do tax planning plus prep and they have the subscription fee or the yearly fee in that model, if they weren’t giving you the tax planning, by all means be upset, right? But when you’re paying somebody just for filing, you can’t expect them to be coming up with all of these strategies for you or looking through and finding opportunities because that’s just not the relationship you chose to engage in.

Steven (04:44):

Well, I like how you said that you can’t expect what you’re not paying for. You also can’t expect what you’re not asking for. I see this happen all the time. Taxpayers will go to their CPA to their tax professional and say, I want you to get the biggest refund right now today as possible. I don’t care about anything else. Just give me a huge refund. I saw on TV that I’m supposed to get a giant refund. And then they could leave that office and immediately go to their financial advisor and say, Hey Thomas, I want you to help me out with my plan for the next 30 years. How do I save money over time? And now you’ve given contradictory requests to two different professionals, so you’re going to get different answers.

Thomas (05:18):

This is why I vet everybody’s CPAs when they come in, we do a call, we start talking about some of the strategies and things we’re thinking about and get a feel for do they know what they’re doing or do they not? Sometimes there’s red flags enough that you know right away not a good enough person for the job. A couple recent cases, I had a client who came in who, his business, he owns the a hundred percent of it, he’ll do 1.2 million in profit this year. He was set up as an S-corp with zero salary fired. That person’s fired because at the end of the day, I mean just going back to the QBI side, a high salary for him is really advantageous Just by knowing that 50% of W2 wages is kind of that equation that you’re going to be looking at. Another one is, I had clients come in who they were domestic partners.

(06:08):

And in California you can file in state as domestic partners, but federally it says directly on the IRS website, you cannot do this. Okay, great. Well, these people, they filed for years prior married filing jointly by their tax repair. Okay, immediately that’s going to be fired directly on the IRS website that says that you cannot legally do that. And so I think there’s some of those options, but beyond that, it is important for us to vet the people because half the time I’m like, they forwarded me this email and they said, here is the advice from the tax repair. And I said, that makes no sense. The whole goal is not to lower your taxable income in that given year. The whole goal is to lower your total effective lifetime tax bill. And that’s our job to think about. And when you’re paying somebody just for filing and they say they want to look good, right? They’re going to tell you here’s how to lower that bill. And that still could be helpful for certain people. And there’s plenty of situations where lowering taxes in that year is actually not the best opportunity. They don’t know about when next year is going to look like your growth potential, what we think of the future when you’re going to retire, all of those other pieces.

Steven (07:11):

So Thomas, I want to come back and talk more specifically about QBI because I think a lot of people misunderstand how that works. But before that, I kind of want to go down this rabbit hole just a little bit. I love what you’re saying about vetting the CPA in your client’s life, but I try to make sure that what we’re talking about as actionable as possible for my audience. So tell me how that works in practice. Is that part of your onboarding that before you take on a client, you’re vetting their CPA that comes later down the road? Are you setting that expectation out of the gate with the client that, Hey, we might fire your CPA? Talk to me about how that works.

Thomas (07:40):

Yeah, I’ll say I have maybe had 10% of my clients come in and think they have a good CPA. They either have none or they’re like, I know they’re not very good and this is an important piece, but I’ll say a couple things. We don’t vet anybody before them becoming client, but we have a different funnel because everybody vets us from content and comes in, we don’t do a financial plan or give recommendations. We just meet, here’s what it looks like to work with us. Do you want to be a client? Then we sign them and then we go through the digging. Then we create the financial plan, and then once the financial plan is done, then we go and have a call with the CPA. Sometimes it’s before if it’s like a perfect example we’re working on with somebody right now, and I was trying to figure out are they an SSTB for QBI because that really changes the way that we’re going to want to pay.

(08:22):

I didn’t think they were, but I know that that’s tax advice that the CPA should be giving. And so before we created the plan and made those assumptions and changes, we wanted to meet with them. But I guess on the actionable side, it really is, Hey, here’s the tax planning ideas that we have or estate planning ideas we have. How do you feel about these? Do they make sense to you? And if we’re talking about things and they’re like, oh, I don’t know about that, or I can’t enact that, then that’s a really good teller for us of, Hey, we’re going to go to somebody different. We already have a bunch of edit professionals that we use, and the hardest part for us on finding these were there’s a lot of good CPAs moving to, we only take on planning and filing, but for us, that doesn’t make sense for our clients because we’re doing the planning.

(09:05):

We have an EA starting next month who we’re going to be doing all the planning in house. Our clients would be double paying for that. So we need to find good people who are willing to just do filing. And that honestly took a bunch of time to figure out what to do. We even thought about bringing it in house, but then you have one person to solve business owners equity, crypto real estate that actually a lot of people think it’s a value add to have in house. I actually think it’s a disadvantage because now you need somebody who specializes in everything and a lot of times that doesn’t get you the best in each category.

Steven (09:37):

Yeah. Well, I feel like I almost, I’m sponsoring you to say that, but I happen to agree that’s why our whole model works the way it does is that tax filing in-house on occasion, I see it work out well for advisors, but it usually doesn’t pan out the way they wanted it to. One other question on that, we’ll get back to the QBI. So have you ever had a situation where you get to that vetting point and you say to the client, Hey, listen, I don’t think the CPA is a good fit. We need to go somewhere else. And they’re like, Nope, I’m really attached to them. This is my uncle. I’ve been with them for 20 years. I mean, you’re working with younger professionals, maybe it doesn’t come up as often, but have you ever had that come down to, Hey, you got to pick one or the other?

Thomas (10:10):

Yeah, we’ve had a couple harder conversations on that and I’m like, Hey, I think we need to find you somebody different. And they’re like, well, X, Y, and Z I feel like they’re pretty good and they do this. I’m like, but think about these three things that happened. I think these prove that they’re not knowing they’re doing well, but they did give me the disclaimer that maybe that wasn’t right. I’m like, but they still did it, right? They said that, Hey, this could be a red flag, but they did it. That’s not worth it. We don’t want a CPA who’s going to say, oh, you want to pay zero in taxes? Sure, I’ll make it look like this. Right? We want somebody who says, Hey, I get your idea here, but that’s not realistic. This is the best options to do within our legal ability. To me, at the end of the day, it’s not worth it knowing that the bottom end client that we take on is making above half a million dollars a year, many in the millions. It’s okay to pay tax. You want to pay the least amount of tax possible, but cheating the system and having to worry about it down the line is absolutely not worth it.

Steven (11:06):

Yeah, a hundred percent agree. We have that conversation all the time with clients. If we want to pay every dollar we owe, that’s the goal. We just don’t want to leave a tip. We don’t want to approach this from the standpoint of let’s hope nobody notices. That’s a terrible way to set yourself up.

Thomas (11:19):

Exactly. And if you think about this average person, let’s say they make a million dollars and they have a 30% effective tax rate, right? $300,000. If we can lower their effective tax rate by 5% over their lifetime, that is super impactful and they still have $750,000 left over a year. And so for some of those people lowering, it might be DB plans, it might be maximizing QBI, it might be retirement accounts. There’s people that we work with that do short-term rentals and materially participate. I mean, there’s a bunch of different tax planning strategies that you can do within the system to lower your taxes. And that’s just in my mind, the right way to do it.

Steven (11:59):

Let’s talk about a couple of those ways you’re helping them lower tax bills. We’ve talked QBI has come up a couple of times already and let’s dive into the details of that a little bit more because I think it’s commonly misunderstood. And even for listeners who don’t have business owners as clients, I see advisors get this wrong on their own returns all the time. I’ve helped advisors go back to amend previous year returns because their CPA didn’t understand that they qualified for QBI, and this can be really impactful for this advisor that I was working with, it was several thousand dollars for each year of additional QBI that really came down to just checking a box related to whether or not they’re a specified service trader business.

Commercial (12:37):

Prospects walk through your door for investment advice, but they become clients because of the tax advice you provide them. If you are a financial advisor who struggles with implementing key concepts of tax planning for your financial advisory clients, then on September 27th through the 29th, you will want to be at the live in-person event hosted by Retirement Tax Services in Las Vegas, Nevada. Register now at retirementtaxservices.com.

Thomas (13:05):

Yeah, and that’s the hard part. I think what I found is that low level advisors and low level tax planners do not understand QBI. Everybody’s initial piece of advice is being an LLC elective in tax as an S-corp. Once you hit that, everybody has different threshold. I’ve seen people say like 60,000 in profit, maybe I just don’t see a need to be like, here’s your 50,000 salary and 10,000 in profit to avoid self employment taxes because of all the other fees and requirements that are there. But the general advice is pay yourself a low salary, take the distributions, you save the 15.3% above and beyond that, but that really only gets to 160. And so I have a lot of these clients that are that example, they make a million dollars, if he pays himself a hundred thousand dollars salary, he has that $60,000 left where he pays the self-employment tax.

(13:58):

So let’s say that’s 9,000 additional dollars, self-employment taxes, and then you have Medicare that continues on, okay, great, that is more taxes there. But for him, the a hundred thousand gets him a $50,000 QBI deduction, a $300,000 salary gives him $150,000 QBI deduction. So even though self-employment taxes are more, that ends up netting him significantly more in tax savings. Plus now he can actually fully fund his solo 401 K, which he would not have been able to do based on that salary amount, which then gives him more in deductions. And so I think it really comes down to understand that QBI, you have the beginning here, which is the 20% of business profits, which in that situation is we’ll keep W2 wages lower, the lowering the self-employment taxes and the 20% there is super helpful. But then you hit those phase outs and I think people don’t realize that. I think the phase out’s like 440 or something if you’re married, is right around that number. I mean, we have spreadsheets and Holistiplan that we use to figure this out and calculate it, but then above that 440, it really ends up being that 50% of W2 wages and you start to use that two sevens rule to figure out where that in 20% profits kind hit the same number, but it becomes really big.

Steven (15:13):

Yeah, this is certainly one of those areas that I think people who at least know QBI exists the whole, we got to educate you that’s even is out there. But then a lot of people just stop at the, oh, well it’s 20% so it doesn’t really matter. And so I’m not going to mess with my income to make QBI go up or down. Why would I? But to your point, it’s when we get into some of those phase outs where now it changes what number that’s even based on, it’s not as simple as just what were my profits for the year. There’s definitely room to really help people there.

Thomas (15:43):

And I think it’s maybe one because people don’t work with business owners. I mean, it’s still a new realm where financial planners are business owner focused because forever it was like investible assets. And most of my clients, if people look at our firm’s ADV and say that we lie about our clients because most of our clients are business owners and they’re taxable assets outside are not a lot. And some of them choose to self-manage with our advice even though they’re making millions of dollars a year. We have clients that have tons of rentals. They do their business, they do rentals and they do retirement accounts and that’s totally fine. But there’s also, it’s a lot of them, the people who focus on business owners work with solo practitioners who make 150, $200,000 a year. And so again, QBI is pretty simple there, but then there’s only a select number of people who are working with business owners that are not on SST bs. A lot of times because consultants go out, financial advisors go out, medical professionals go out that actually have to worry about this, but you can add so much value if that’s your audience because they know nothing about it. Nobody’s helped them on that. The last two clients we sat down with, I mean they’re going to save over 80,000 this year in moving forward until QBI potentially goes away in 2026 on those tax savings. That’s a lot.

Steven (16:59):

Yeah, those are not small dollars. It is interesting as the industry keeps evolving and changing that you find more of these to probably the majority of the industry feels like an exception, but it is all about the clients that you serve. And while I post plenty of content on LinkedIn and I’m all for information sharing, as I consume information, I try to be super mindful of, okay, how does this apply to my clients? And advisors need to do the same thing. There are certainly going to be advisors listening who they’re in that traditional, I work with pre-retirees and retirees and by that QBI stuff sounds nice, but it’s never going to be applicable to me. That may be the case. But the more you can educate yourself about what is out there, the more likely it’s going to be that you can help when these situations arise.

(17:44):

And for somebody who doesn’t do this all the time, it probably is more on the side of be of this so you can ask the questions when they come up as opposed to someone like you Thomas, who’s doing this all the time when it comes up. I mean you’re just knocking out of the park, you’re bringing this EA in-house to take it even further than you are now. But I think there’s so much value in at least being aware of these things. So you know what questions to ask because almost guaranteed their CPA is not asking the questions.

Thomas (18:06):

And I mean there’s definitely levels to this right mean, I look back a couple of years ago and I’m remember learning about when does corp make sense? And obviously you talk with your CPA and they’re like, okay, well then how do we figure out the salary? What are the tax savings there? And then I remember a couple years ago hearing about QBI, I’m like, oh my gosh, another thing now I got to go learn. And now I feel like I know it super well. And that’s the thing that I attribute a lot of the value I give to is I commit to one thing to learning really deeply at a time. Recently I’ve been going deep into estate planning and trying to go, I’m just getting more higher net worth clients that are approaching the exemption number now, let alone what it’s going to be when it gets cut in half and people who are really going to be there.

(18:47):

And before that it was really working on tax planning. And if you take a quarter and just try to learn as deep as you can into different parts that your clients are going through, I mean it’s wild how much deeper your knowledge can get. And there’s so many people like you. There’s an advisor, his name’s Ben Lake that has helped me a ton. He works more of at a family office type place and he’s helped carry me through my learning on a lot of this stuff that study groups and other professionals are really willing to help get you to a spot where you probably couldn’t have got to alone.

Steven (19:17):

Thomas, let’s pivot. You mentioned estate planning in there and we talked about the top of the episode that you now have this role with Wealth.com, and you can tell me if I’m wrong, I think part of that role came out of the fact that you were already using Wealth.com and you personally were an advocate, a fan of what they’re doing. So talk first about what that looks like in your practice. How are you leveraging a tool like Wealth.com to help clients with estate planning?

Thomas (19:43):

Yeah, I think couple parts. So first on the story side, so I actually met them in person at a conference is when I first got exposed to Wealth.com. I met a couple of the co-founders. I went to dinner with them. I was like, man, I love these guys and I love the product they built like, well, I’ve used all of them. I started with Helios that went out of business. I went to Trust and Will and then I went to Wealth and one of ’em was like none of them really had any tech behind it. It was like you did it online, but then everything was not in tech and in reality, part of the conversation for us as clients is just making sure the estate planning is set up right, beneficiaries, it flows through the conversations that can be had and also just making sure it’s done because where your kids go, who makes medical decisions for you, financial decisions, those are all huge.

(20:24):

And business owners, they need their financial power of attorney for plenty of issues that could come about. But I was in talks, I maybe said two years ago, I wanted to be take a head of community role. I felt like it’s a really great way to use the brand that I’ve built to make more money for me, but also then attach myself to a brand I believe in. And I had a ton of opportunities and of them I would use the product or I liked the leadership or felt good enough about the company because obviously part of that’s going to be equity in the company too. And I was kind of finalizing talking to the cold places and that I saw Wealth met them and I was like, oh, this is the place I know this is the place I want to do it at.

(21:02):

And I’ve always said the only place that comes to mind for me was Altruist before this because I love them, I love Jason. And so I actually asked them for the role. I reached out to them and said, Hey, I’m in this position. I’m looking for this. I think that I’d be a great fit for you. I don’t even know if you guys have thought about hiring this role. And I think within two weeks it was done. Deal was done, we negotiated, I got brought on and we’ve built a lot over these last few months. So it definitely came from me really loving it. But I think on the estate planning side, research shows that advisors are the reason people get their estate planning done. And so I think that puts an interesting relationship on us is I’ve had one client come in so far their estate planning done, they’re an attorney.

(21:45):

It’s just how it is. Everybody says it’s too expensive, which is part one. And I think this breaks down that a lot. And two, it’s not a fun process. You go to meet with the attorney maybe in person, there’s a bunch of steps. And so there’s this pain point for people where, hey, we need some more of the basic stuff done. A basic will, maybe we need a revocable living trust and we need to be able to put our house or a business, whatever those things are without giving advice here, but not everybody’s getting it done. And so this has been the trend. How do we use these? And for more simple cases, my clients that are planning to sell a business and we’re moving part of the equity in the business into grads or slats, whatever the different strategies you use, that’s not the right solution.

(22:32):

There’s way more complexity involved. But where these can be really good on is getting those things done. A perfect example is, hey, maybe you have a kid, maybe they just turned 18, right? They’re going to college, they need a will. What happens if they were drinking and X, Y, and Z happened and they need somebody to make medical decisions for them and they don’t have their estate planning done because nobody wanted to go pay an attorney for it. That’s a pretty good option for it. Or Hey, we have business owners, you’re going out of the country and what if something happens to your business? We should get your power of attorney done, financial power of attorney done. I think there’s a bunch of scenarios here, and I still use it. I kind of basically invite my clients to it. It helps guide them through to say like, Hey, here’s a good, whether you need a trust-based plan or a will-based plan helps facilitate it, they go get it notarized.

(23:21):

Now we have the visualization inside of there to have those conversations. And then the second pain point is nobody updates their estate plan. You look at somebody like you did have your estate plan, but you had one kid, now you have four now you moved houses. Now you started a business. People don’t want to go do that often. And so for our clients, they can just go get those done and updated whenever they needed to without cost being a barrier or it really being a pain point. Everything would be there. They just need to make the edits and get it done. And so for me, I think that there’s attorneys out there who are very skeptical, right? They’re like, nobody’s going to replace us. And that’s fair. I don’t think that attorneys are not going to exist in the same way financial planners feel attacked when robo-advisors exist.

(24:05):

But at the end of the day, I think people get caught up in is it the perfect solution? Is a robo-advisor going to be as good as me? No, but is a robo-advisor going to be better than somebody DIYing their investments that knows nothing about it? Yes. And sometimes good enough is way better than the alternative. I mean, think the perfect example is there’s advisors who say, I would never work with a client and just get them a financial plan because most clients don’t get it done. And you’re like, well, maybe it’s not perfect and not working with you ongoing, but giving somebody a financial plan helps steering them in the right way is better than nothing. Imagine if doctors said, you’re supposed to come see us every month. That’s the best way for us to take care of you. And they said, because you won’t do that we’ll never see you. They don’t do that. They let you come in once a year if they need to. They let you come in every year and a half because that is good enough and it’s better than the alternative. And I think people fail to realize that we don’t always have to find perfect. Sometimes good enough can be helpful.

Steven (24:59):

I really like that analogy. That’s not one I had heard before. But yeah, comparing it to, I’ve certainly had experiences, thankfully not my own, I stay pretty healthy, but no family members who have had recommendations from doctors that include regular checkups, regular whatever it might be. But to your point, the doctors still gives ’em everything they can and says, okay, best of luck. You’re going to be better off coming back in. But I really like that one. I’m just kind of ruminating on that. Thomas, I really appreciate you sharing your perspective on that. And I totally agree that there is so much power in the execution to be able to help somebody with the execution, but anything we can do to push people in the right direction is going to make a difference. I really like this concept of small hinges swing big doors, and we usually use it from a tax planning perspective like we were talking about before, of how do we lower their effective tax rate over their lifetime or their lifetime of their wealth. But we can take a step back and use this in a bigger way as well of just anytime we can help clients even take a small action if we’re pushing them down that path further, this is value to them. To your point, yes, it would be lovely if they would implement everything we tell ’em to and we can work hand in hand and it just gets done perfectly. But that’s not how life goes. And that shouldn’t be perfection should not be the enemy of progress.

Thomas (26:15):

Yeah, I think as an advisor, I’ve definitely been learning that over time too. Everybody’s not going to be accountable. And sometimes you have to hold people’s hands more. Sometimes you have to oversimplify things. Sometimes you have to go with what’s good versus what’s perfect. And that’s just the nature of the world we live in and everybody’s different. I’ve had clients who sit down, they’re like, I just feel like I don’t know where we’re going. I don’t know what we’ve done yet. I’m like, because every meeting we revisit the exact same action items that need to get done, and then we give you due dates and we get back to the next meeting and the same action items sit there and they ask the same questions about why to do ’em, whatever. It’s like, okay, hey, you either are going to have to take the steps or we should end the relationship because there’s no point in just talking about ideas, but never enacting them. I think that’s the hard part about financial planning is it’s not in the advice, it’s in the advice plus implementation because great advice is worth nothing if you don’t do anything with it.

Steven (27:10):

And that’s a perfect segue because we always want to make sure the information we share on this podcast is valuable, which to your point means you’re taking action. And so we wrap up all these episodes with action items advisors can take on the things that we’ve been talking about. So Thomas, as we think about what we’ve been talking about today, what is an action item you would recommend to advisors who are looking to do more for their clients around tax or estate planning?

Thomas (27:31):

Yeah, I think first and foremost is every client should give you your tax return. That is a requirement for us from onboarding day one. We get the last two year tax return. We have workflows that come to them in April asking for them. I don’t think you can really do any tax planning without that. So I would say that’s step one. I think step two for us is understanding on these business owners, who they are and what they do. Right away we figure out are they an STB or are they not? Because that changes. Are they going to be phased out versus are they not? We also want to look at growth and where they’re going because that makes a lot of changes too, and entity selection. I think on top of that, as financial planners vet their professionals, right? If you are a good financial planner, but they have a terrible estate plan attorney and a terrible CPA, they’re actually going to make you look worse because you’re not going to be able to get everything done.

(28:26):

And so I hear the same thing from every client coming in. They say, we pay so much in tax, we want to lower our tax bill. That’s what every prospect to me coming in says, because most of them are paying two, three, $400,000 a year in tax, and we just need to make sure that hey, everybody is on the same page. We are making the changes that are needed to get you to the right spot. And so I think the takeaway there is build the team. I view us as a small scale family office where we’ll find and vet all the professionals we will be in on those meetings. We’ll actually communicate with them without you even needing to be there. And the value add for people is huge. That’s their favorite thing is that we make sure everybody’s on the same page because when they come in, they’re not.

Steven (29:10):

Yeah, I love that. The other thing that stands out to me from what you were talking about is that advisors need to commit to leveling up their knowledge, their education around these different topics. And I like the framework you put around that of pick a topic for a quarter, whatever that looks like. It needs to go on your calendar, it needs to be time bound. You need to really make a commitment. So I really appreciate you sharing that. And then selfishly along those lines, if you’re looking for where that next piece of knowledge comes from, the RTS Tax Planning summit is at the end of September in Las Vegas, or virtual option is available as well. We’re really excited that Anne from wealth.com is going to be there live and in person talking about estate planning. It’s going to be a day and a half all focused on tax planning and how we get this done in practice. So if you’re looking for where that next bit of education around tax planning comes from, it’s going to be a fantastic option. So Thomas, really appreciate your time today. It’s always great to learn from you and see how your practice continues to grow. So thanks for being here. Really appreciate it.

Thomas (30:07):

Thanks for having me on. Hopefully we’ll do another one in like a year.

Steven (30:09):

Yeah, I’ll love to see how it’s changed again in a year. To everyone listening, thanks for being here. And until next time, good luck out there. And remember to tip your server, not the IRS.

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