Click Here To Listen To The Retirement Tax Services Podcast


  • Why you may not be getting returns from your CPA as an advisor. (5:20)
  • How to make your CPA understand that the client is who benefits. (8:40)
  • When the advisor should reach out to the tax planner. (10:00)
  • The importance of having clear expectations when reaching out to CPAs. (18:00)
  • The importance of making tax returns clear and easy for the client. (19:30)
  • The benefit of having compliance on our team. (23:30)


Are there specific things that advisors can do to improve their tax planning process for their clients? The answer is yes. And by avoiding a few common mistakes, advisors can make it easier for their CPAs, as well. Today we will be playing a recent conversation I had with my brother, Matthew Jarvis, on his podcast The Perfect RIA. During this discussion, we share how you can improve the relationship between CPA and advisor (regardless of which title you fall under).

Listen in as we explain why CPAs may be hesitant to help out advisors without any previous relationship being established. You will learn the importance of reaching out to your tax planner in a polite and friendly way, how to ensure your CPA feels comfortable working with you, and why it is important to remember that this is a collaboration.

Ideas Worth Sharing:

CPAs have a lot to do, and calling in favors for a random advisor who has no relationship with them is just not on their list. – Matthew Jarvis Click To Tweet Part of the way you can make it easier for your CPA is by making it very clear that the client is the one who wins. - Steven Jarvis Click To Tweet You need to be able to set yourself apart from other advisors right off of the gate, and offering to pay for an hour of your CPA’s time is the best way I have seen to do that. - Steven Jarvis 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

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:

Thank you for listening.

Read The Transcript:

We’re not overpaying. No, we’re not overpaying. We’re not overpaying anymore. The tax code’s complicated, boring, and overrated. You don’t want that, you want a pro. One thing that you should know: this is a radio show. It’s not tax advice, don’t take it that way.

Steven Jarvis:     Hello everyone, and welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Services podcast, Financial Professional’s Edition. I am your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA, and in this show, I teach financial advisors how to deliver massive value through tax planning.

For today’s episode, we’re going to do something just a little bit different, and I’m really excited about it. I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on the Perfect RIA podcast with my brother, Matthew Jarvis, and we had a great conversation about mistakes that advisors make when it comes to tax planning. So, rather than try to recreate the conversation, we’re just going to play it here today so that you can hear this great dialogue between Matt and I about things that advisors can do to really improve the tax planning process for their clients, and listen through to the whole thing because we also talk about a great opportunity coming up to hear even more of about things like this that advisors can do to really up their game when it comes to tax planning.

Matthew Jarvis:   Hello everyone, and welcome back to another episode of The Perfect RIA podcast. I am your co-host, Matthew Jarvis, and with me today is not Micah Shilanski, but rather, Steven Jarvis, CPA, and yes, you did hear the same last name. Steve and I are in fact brothers. Steven is the president and founder of Retirement Tax Services, which I would, without any bias, say is the best tax planning resource available in the industry. Steven, how are you today?

Steven Jarvis:     I’m doing really great. I’m questioning how you can say that without any bias, but that’s okay. We’re here to talk about taxes, not our brotherly relationship.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s right. That’s right. Right away, to make sure that we’re delivering massive value on this episode like in every episode, normally, we save action items for the end. I want to give you an action item right now as you’re listening, assuming you’re not driving in your car or if you are in your car, you’re driving a Tesla, go to Retirement Tax Services, and download the Desktop Tax Guide. I have this on my desk currently. I have a copy on my conference room table. Steven’s got one he’s holding up if you’re watching the video. This is our most … It’s my favorite tax tool there is. Steven, I know it’s one of the most popular ones that RTS has.

Steven Jarvis:     Oh, it definitely is. Our members love it. Our audience loves it. I get people sending me selfies of them with this on their desk. I just, I love it. It’s such a handy guide because, yes, I’m the CPA on the call here, but you can’t commit all this stuff to memory. You want to have good resources. You don’t have to memorize.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Yeah. Two of my favorite takeaways from your tax guide, Steven, one, it’s got the tax information for when the Tax Cut Jobs Act, also known as the Trump era tax cut, when those expire, what those rates were going to be, and then of course, on the backside, you’ve got the only one I’ve ever seen, which is the guide to state by state income tax. Now, you and I live in Washington where income taxes, it’s not an issue, but for at least 43 states, it is an issue, and so it’s a good resource to have.

Steven Jarvis:     Oh, yeah. Most definitely. We get lots of feedback on that back page, Matt.

Matthew Jarvis:   Perfect. Well, today in this episode, we want to talk about tax mistake number five. Now, why is it number five? Well, it’s five of seven tax mistakes, Steven, that you and my co-host, Micah Shilanski, are going to be discussing on April 27th. Is that correct?

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, that’s right. We’re really excited to be doing this session. Obviously, we get a lot of questions from advisors. We get to see a lot of things with advisors and taxpayers because not only do I work with advisors on how to deliver massive value to their clients through tax planning, I also work with taxpayers on a pretty regular basis especially this time of year, and so we get to see firsthand mistakes that get made and not just how they get made but what to do about them.

So, Micah and I are teaming up on April 27 to share the top seven mistakes that we see advisors make and what you can do about it. So, this is going to be a great session, and we’ve put a lot of time into this. This isn’t just Micah and I getting together and shooting the breeze for an hour. We’ve put together resources that we’re actually going to give out to our audience members so that they have a one-page guide that’s kind of one of the ways they can address these different mistakes. So, everyone who attends is going to get this great session. They’re going to get things they can take away and put right into practice.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love that. I’m really excited for it myself. Well, today, we’re going to look at mistake number five, which is that you’re making the CPA’s life a living hell. By the way, I picked that title, not Steven. He had something more polite like you’re having a hard time getting tax returns from CPAs or something like that, but here’s what I often hear, Steven. I’m sure you hear the same thing. I talk to advisors. They say, “Matt, I get that I need to be doing tax planning with clients, but I asked the client for their tax return. They never got around to sending it to me. I asked the CPA for their tax return, and they never got around to send it to me either, so I gave up.”

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. You’re not getting returns from your clients and their CPAs for two different reasons. Your clients are probably really well-intentioned, and they just don’t get around to it. The CPA isn’t giving it to you because why should they?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah.

Steven Jarvis:     I mean, this episode’s getting released in April. I know this firsthand from talking to CPAs. A lot of advisors are waiting until the tax deadline, and then on that day or the day after, they’re saying, “Hey, go ahead and send me all of my client’s tax returns,” and they leave out the part where there’s any value in it to the CPA. The CPA’s like, “Yeah, I’m going to go to Mexico for the next two weeks, and then I’m going to ignore you when I get back,” because the advisor hasn’t done anything to make this easy or impactful for the CPA.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. For the advisors listening, I want you to take a step back. It’s easy to say, “Well, that’s the CPA’s job. It’s their responsibility. The client told them to do it.” Maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t, but you calling and asking the CPA to give you information is not different than you calling and saying, “Hey, Steven, would you come over Saturday and wash my car?” Now, of course, you would never call Steven and ask him to come over on Saturday to wash your car, but what you’ve instead done is say, “Hey, Steven, would you spend some of your time, some of your team time that you’re not going to get paid for, that you’re not going to get any direct benefit from, that you have to go get a form for,” which we’ll talk about in a second and just do all that because you’re a nice guy.

Now, some CPAs are just nice guys, and they’re not managing their time well, and they say yes, but most, Steven, to your point, are saying, “I got a lot to do pulling favors for some random advisor that called me that I have no relationship with is not on that list.”

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, and to take it a step further just to really get in touch with what’s going on in reality, it’s not even just that the CPA-

Matthew Jarvis:   Yes.

Steven Jarvis:     … says, “Hey, I work with 1,000 taxpayers every year. I’m not going to take the time to pass those tax returns along.” Every CPA I know has had bad experiences with advisors making their life worse when it comes to them preparing the tax return to begin with, whether it’s not communicating strategies that have been put in place, or it’s getting forms to the CPA late, or it’s misexplaining to a client how a certain tax revision works, and then the CPA having to be the bearer of bad news. So, the CPA is coming into this most often with a bad impression of what you did to begin with, and then they’re not looking to do you favors on top of that for no apparent reason.

Matthew Jarvis:   Steven, I talked to an advisor one time who had gotten the tax return from the CPA. The advisor believed that he had found a mistake on the tax return, so he emails the CPA and the client at the same time, right? Huge mistake. Hey, there was this mistake. The CPA comes back and says, “No, it wasn’t a mistake.” This exchange escalates until the advisor is threatening to send in a complaint to the AICPA on this CPA. I looked at the thing, and I’m like, dude, I’m pretty sure the CPA didn’t make a mistake here, but either way, you just need to never call this guy again. This guy now hates your guts, and it all started with him doing you a favor by sending this information. The CPA has no legal or moral or other obligation to send you a copy of a tax return. In fact, Steven explained for us, they actually have a legal or ethical obligation to not send it to you.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. So, the CPAs get to follow a whole bunch of different regulations. The AICPA is the governing body for the profession. Of course, when we’re dealing with taxes, there’s a lot of IRS requirements. The IRS actually has very specific language around what a consent for a taxpayer to authorize a CPA to give their tax return information to anyone looks like. This isn’t just, hey, let me put together a couple of paragraphs that says we’re all going to play nice and share information. This is very specific language, and it has to include the link to report harassing behavior and stuff like that to the right authorities. There’s very prescriptive language.

So, there’s nothing about this that is simple for the CPA unless you take the time to make it simple for them, unless you’re setting them up for this to be crazy simple. So, let’s talk about why you would do that for a second because it kind of just sounds like we’re going back and forth on whether the CPA should do this or the advisor should do this, but we got to keep in mind that, at the end of the day, you have to be coming at this from, how do I add value to my client? Part of how you’re going to make this easy for the CPA is by making it really clear that the client is the one who wins.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. That’s a great point, Steven, right? If we come from an adversarial basis, we’re not going to have any progress here, and so I guess that probably the first step I would say in that process, again, you’re listening to this right in the thick of tax season. You are not going to reach out to the CPA. You’re going to hear this podcast, and you get really excited to reach out to him. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t reach out to … Steven, when is actually a safe date just as a general rule of thumb? So, we’re in the middle of tax season. It’s the beginning of April right now. When would you say is probably a safe time to start reaching out to CPAs and taxpayers?

Steven Jarvis:     I’d say for most CPAs, you should reach out in May.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. This isn’t a couple of days or a week or two. Unless something’s really burning down and you can really articulate why this is time sensitive, I would recommend you wait until May.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Yep. I would agree. Now, something you could do right now, this depends on your relationship with your different preparers. I wouldn’t do this cold, but if it’s somebody you know, go onto Amazon or wherever you shop and get one of those giant workplace boxes of single serving Advil so that they come in the little packets, and buy that and send it with cute little note, say, “Hey, I’ve heard that tax season can be a little difficult. Enjoy your time,” or something like that like, “Here’s to take a little pressure off during tax season. Ha ha.” Then, send it to him.

Don’t do the knockoff, by the way. I’ve seen advisors, Steven. They get the knockoff version like, great. Is that the message you’re sending? The cheap, expired Russian stuff? No. Send them the right stuff, so it’s a cute little thing, but yeah, Steven. In May, I would reach out to him, and personally … and Steven, push back on this. I would reach out and, “Hey, Steven, I think we have a couple of clients in common. Can I pay for an hour of your time to learn the best way for us to share information back and forth so that you’re following the rules so that we’re all happy? Is that something we could do?”

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. That’s a great way to start that conversation because even once you get outside of tax season, most CPAs will build their practice so that they’re crazy busy during tax season, and then, they’re trying to take off as much time as they can the rest of the year. So, this isn’t just they suddenly magically have all this time that they want to give to you. You still need to make sure it’s clear that you’re coming from a place of respect, that you’re coming from a place of collaboration, and how is this serving the client? So, this isn’t gratuitous lunches or the classic, hey, why don’t you come to the Chamber of Commerce meeting with me, and we’ll exchange business cards? There needs to be a clear purpose to it, and you need to be able to set yourself apart right out of the gate. Offering to pay for an hour of the CPA’s time is the best way I’ve seen to do that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. It’s important to remember for us, as financial advisors, right, we typically live in this AUM model, this retainer model, this type of thing. Most CPAs worlds revolve around the hourly model. So, by going in saying, “I’m going to pay for an hour of your time,” for us, that might seem a little bit foreign. It shouldn’t, but for them, that’s just par for the course. That’s how they live is this hourly model, so you’re understanding them. You’re respecting them. Now, depending on your relationship, they may or may not actually want the money, but that’s fine. You’ve gone above and beyond to do that.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. So, let’s circle back for a second. We just kind of dove straight in. You talk about this a lot on your podcast. I talk about it a lot on mine of why it’s so important to get tax returns all the time, but let’s talk for a second as to why we’re doing this and how to communicate to the CPA. Okay, here’s why it’s important that … Here’s why I’m reaching out to you and why I’m willing to go out of my way to make this really easy for you to follow through on so that it’s clear to everyone that this is to help the client win.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great reminder, Steven. Of course, on the webinar on April 27th, Steven, you’re going to have a one-page guide that you and Micah have used in your respective practices to communicate this with your CPA. So, it’s not like you’ve got to run in there and just talk as fast as you can. You’ve got this piece that you can walk through, but Steven, a couple that I mention is I say, hey, listen, the clients are always confused about how much they should have withheld when they’re taking their RMD or when they’re taking distributions or When a client calls me and they’re starting Social Security, they’re always confused how much they should withhold in taxes. So that we don’t have to bother you all year long with those questions, if we can just take a look at the tax return, that will solve a lot of those issues.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, I love that. So we don’t have to bother you all year long. I like to reinforce that, hey, you know what? We work really proactively with our clients to plan ahead and to make sure that we’re sanding off the rough edges of their tax bill where it makes sense, but we know that it only counts if it gets reported to the IRS correctly. So, we would love to be able to take a look at the tax returns so that as we look at next year, we know the kinds of things we need to pass long to you to make sure it’s easy for you come tax time.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s right. Another one I’ll use, Steven, is I’ll say, “Boy, Mr. CPA, we both know that sometimes, clients forget to give you all the 1099s.” I pause because the CPA is like, “Oh, yeah. Every time.” “Hey, if we can get a copy of the tax return, we can always look and make sure that they’ve given you all the 1099s that we’re aware of.” This, by the way, is a great time to introduce the RTS 1099 letter to say, “Hey, I know we sent this to you in January,” or “We’re a new relationship. We haven’t sent it to you before. Is there anything else you’d like to see on this to make sure that you’re getting all the information to us? This is a two-way street. I’m asking you for something, but I want to make sure I’m providing you everything I can as well.”

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. All great things to help. Again, show the CPA that you’re going out of your way to try to help your clients, and that as part of that, you’re going to make their life easier because a big difference between a lot of financial planning practices and CPA practices like we’ve mentioned is that just the sheer volume of clients that you work with.

So, just the way the models are set up, right, wrong, or otherwise, that’s just the way they’re set up, financial advisors tend to work with fewer households. So, a lot of times, CPAs just aren’t thinking about, well, hey, what can I do for my 1,000 people I work with to make their lives a little bit easier, but if you come to them with the ideas and with the tools to make this easy … So, you’ve drafted a consent for them that you and they can send the client can sign. You’ve provided a secure link so that they can easily send you the documents. They’re not thinking about, “Oh, well, how do I get this to you and follow all the data security policies?” that you’re giving them timelines and ways to follow up, all these kinds of things so that all they have to think about is, is there signed consent? Great. Which client is it for?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yes. When you get to future iterations with the CPA, this, again, gives you a reason to meet with them, if you can get the relationship where you can say, “Hey, each year, if you could give me the information sharing agreement that you need and I’ll get the clients to sign that, and I can give it back to you because we’re going to already be meeting,” or to warn them ahead of time so that when they’re meeting with the client, they can have the client sign it at that time because again, not only are you asking them for this information that’s going to take them time, but they’re going to have to go back and get that form signed.

So, they’re thinking, “Great. I’ve got to pull this PDF. I’ve got to track down the client. I’ve got to get them to sign it. It’s going to be three or four emails back and forth.” Again, all they’re seeing is all this time burning up, and they’re not really getting anything in return.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, it’s definitely not … It’s not an easy ask in every situation. What we’re outlining are ways to make it more likely to be successful, but I mean, full disclosure, you’re probably not getting to a 100% where every CPA that your clients work with are providing this every single time. In fact, I mean that was one of the motivations for creating a firm like Retirement Tax Services that works exclusively with financial advisors is to make some of those things so much easier. So, when I work with advisors, as we get done with a tax return, we just have a portal we can upload it right to. We’ve taken care of the consent early in the process. So, that’s certainly unique in the industry, but just because we can’t get to 100% doesn’t mean we shouldn’t push for more.

Matthew Jarvis:   Steven, I guess I would add on that. So, Retirement Tax Services is definitely at the far extreme of sharing information with advisors that you work with, right? You’re getting the 8821 signed by the clients. You’re getting information sharing agreement. You’re talking with the advisors throughout the process, but you’ve built your whole model around that. On the opposite end of the extreme, no matter how well you approach this, there will still be CPAs … and by the way, we’re using that as a blanket term, tax preparers, right?

H&R Block is not going to do this for you no matter what, right? If you call H&R Block and say, “Will you send me a copy of their client’s tax return?” no matter how many nice things you do, they’ll never going to send that. So, don’t be shocked or even upset when you talk to a tax preparer and they’re like, “I’m just not going to do this. It’s not my jam. I’m not going to do this.” Right? When that happens, you got to say, “Okay, great. Well, thank you so much. If there’s anything we can do for you, that’s great.” Now, you’re back to working with a client saying, “Hey, we just got to work with you directly. It really doesn’t work out for your tax preparer to send it over to us.”

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. It’s great to have those clear expectations going into this so that, in part, so you don’t get frustrated and just quit after the first person says, “No, I’m not going to do that.” Every now and then, of course, somebody has to be an exception to the rule. We recently had an RTS member who took this approach of, “Hey, can I offer for an hour of your time?” and the very next day, after having met with the CPA, got a referral from the CPA. I mean, hey, that’s great, but don’t tell anyone else because now, they’re going to think that’s what’s supposed to happen every time.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, that’s pretty rare. Actually, I remember hearing that story. It probably took me about two years of meeting with CPAs to actually start getting referrals. Then, once I did, I get a very steady stream even to this day, but yeah, congratulations to that advisor. Of course, had he not followed that process, he would have exactly zero, so well done to him.

Steven Jarvis:     Well, and I mean, if you hadn’t followed that process, yeah, it took you a bit longer, but you would also have zero. It can be daunting when we talk about, hey, this could take a while. You’re not going to get to 100%. You might be two years in before you get a referral, or you get any sort of positive reaction from this, but that’s still two years farther ahead than you’ll be if you wait five years to put it in place or whatever math you want to use. I mean, you’ve got to get started. You’ve got to start working these processes.

Matthew Jarvis:   Steven, let’s take this one step further. So, you’ve talked to the CPA, or you find out that the client works with H&R Block who’s never going to share information with you. So, you exhaust that channel of you’re going to get it from the tax preparer. That’s the ideal world is you get it from them. So, you’ve exhausted that channel. You’re not going to get it from them. Where are advisors seeing success and actually having clients provide that tax return, right? Because we hear from advisors all the time, “I’ve asked my clients. They’ve not sent it back to me. I asked them three times. They said no three times, or they never got around to it.” Where are you seeing advisors have success with that?

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. The two things that come to mind are just like with working with the CPA, you’ve got to make this just so easy for the client that it’s almost an afterthought. The other piece that might seem only somewhat related because it’s not to do with processes, but you can’t make this optional for the client. The advisors who have the best success with this with clients or prospects is they explain this as a required part of their process, that it’s not a negotiable piece. It’s not, hey, if it would be convenient for you.

Those are the same advisors who have made this just stupid simple that whether it’s a secure link or that they’re mailing out a prepaid FedEx envelope, they make it easy for them to send in a hard copy, whatever’s most convenient for the client, they’re putting on the agenda for their client meetings, what ever that system or those multiple systems for getting the documents, it’s the combination of it’s really easy for the client, and the advisor’s taking the time to make it clear where the value comes from and that this is not optional for me to do my best work.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Two things that I’ve found, Steven, that help with this in my own practice, right, we have a very high success rate with getting clients to provide their tax returns, one is to compare it to something clients are already used to. So, I work primarily with retirees. They’re all going to the doctor on a regular basis. I’ll say, “Mr. and Mrs. Kline, you know how every time you go to the doctor, no matter what it’s for, they take your blood pressure and your pulse?” “Yep.” “Same thing for us. The tax return is, in a lot of ways, like your blood pressure, and it tells us if there’s other problems going on. So, we may not see anything directly there, and your CPA might be also looking at it, and I know that when you went to the doctor yesterday, they took your blood pressure and your pulse. This is part of our process.” Right? So, it makes this connection for them on that.

The other is I point out things that we’ve caught. So, we just, this year, Steven … Actually, three weeks ago, a client brought in their tax return, and they had self-prepared. There’s an issue there, but they had made an $800,000 mistake. $800,000 mistake. They had just retired, and they had reported a rollover incorrectly in the TurboTax software. So, I can go to all my clients now and say, “Hey, listen. Here’s why we do it, because this year, we caught an $800,000 tax mistake.”

Now, for advisors listening, you might have never experienced that yet, and you will in your career, but you can simply say, “Hey, an advisor that I know, Matthew Jarvis.” You don’t have to name me. “An advisor that I know caught an $800,000 mistake in his client’s tax return. This is why we look.” So, back to this whole thing, why is it valuable to client? Why do they want to take time out of their day, out of their life to do this hassle? Here’s why.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, that’s a great example to use because when we ask for those tax returns, we want to set clear expectations, and we want to make sure the expectation from the client is not, “Oh, my advisor’s getting my return because they’re going to find me tax savings every single year.” Right?

Matthew Jarvis:   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Jarvis:     Using examples like that of checking the blood pressure or the pulse or sharing stories of times that things have gone wrong or that you have been able to proactively help a client because I’ll get the question all the time, because we do tax preparation and tax planning together, and so for some clients, the fee we charge is higher than what they were paying H&R Block or even their last CPA, and they’ll say, “Well, why am I paying you for this extra stuff? What is this?”

So, we talk about it. It’s not that I have something proprietary that no one’s ever heard of that you have to pay to pull back the curtain, and it’s not that I can guarantee you X amount of savings every single year. It’s that because of how often we do this and how many people we’ve been able to help, we know that by consistently taking this approach over time, we’re going to keep turning over these rocks, and eventually, there’s going to be something under one of them to make it worth everyone’s while.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yep. I love that. I want to do a quick note on compliance. I know another one of the mistakes you’re going to be covering is compliance and things related to compliance. You need to make sure, as a financial advisor, whether you’re with a broker dealer and they have strict compliance or you’re on your own, that you’re not creating this false sense of security around tax planning, right? So, I mentioned we found this $800,000 mistake, but whenever we’re talking to clients about taxes, we’re reminding them and this mistake is that, like, “You need to go back to your tax preparer and talk to them about this.”

We are a second set of eyes. We’re not guaranteeing that we’re going to find mistakes, right? So, we need to manage those expectations just in general but also from a legal standpoint. This client that we found the $800,000 mistake, our first advice to them was, “You need to hire a CPA and get this straightened out. This is clearly not accurate, but I’m not totally sure how you got here, and I’m not going to log into TurboTax with you and try to figure out what button you pushed wrong,” because that’s just a minefield.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. For a lot of people listening to this podcast or those who listen to my podcast who are probably on the higher end of doing tax planning anyways, but I like to just point out for people, because of the sheer volume of advisors I work with and in lots of different places, this idea that tax planning is a differentiator just because maybe you’re in an independent space and you think, “Oh, all those people at the big places, they can’t do any of this,” that’s just not true anymore. At Retirement Tax Services, we work with advisors at the Ed Joneses of the world, at the Ameriprises of the world. Those big shops are coming around to allowing tax planning and then sometimes, even encouraging it.

The 1099 letter you mentioned earlier, we have an advisor who’s with Edward Jones, who got their compliance department to approve it. He made some tweaks to it. He made it customized for what they wanted, but we’ve got to look at compliance on our team to help to protect us, as you’re talking about, but especially for advisors in what we maybe more traditionally think of is the more independent, maybe with the more options as far as what compliance is going to approve, you can’t just ride on that as, “Oh, well, that’s going to magically make me different.” The landscape is changing on that. You need to really lean in and have a proactive, intentional approach to this stuff.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Boy, that segues nicely into another one of mistakes I know you and Micah are going to talk about, which is where you’re getting your tax advice, right? If you’re thinking that you can get a 1099 and magically know … or excuse me, 1040, magically know what to do with it or that you can Google how does this client pay less in taxes, that just doesn’t exist. In fact, it’s another minefield where you’re going to find a lot of wrong information. You could really dig yourself into a deep hole.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. Google might have all the answers, but the problem is Google has about 17 million copies of all the answers, and trying to find the one that’s actually right for Bob and Sue, I mean, good luck.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, I think, Steven, we’ve outlined in a really fast paced, on a high level, this process. I know on April 27th, you are going to go to deeper with Micah. Of course, Micah has had great success in his very successful practice on working with CPAs on getting tax returns from clients. Tax planning is a big component of his practice, so that’s going to be a lot of fun, but let’s jump into some action items. What are things that advisors can be implementing right now even in the middle of tax season as they’re listening to this episode?

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. So, as this episode comes out near the beginning of April, this is when you should be making your plan for how you’re going to be interacting with CPAs, with tax preparers for the rest of the year. So, we’ve thrown out a whole bunch of things today. Just pick one or two. Pick one or two things you’re going to do this year for every CPA that your clients work with to make their life easier. Whether that’s sending out the big bottle of Advil before the deadline, sharing examples of the 1099 letter, offering to pay for an hour of their time so that you can learn from them, there’s all these things you can do, but commit to at least one or two of these things you can do to make CPAs’ lives easier this year.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love that. Action item number two, if you’re listening to this podcast, it’s because you love podcasts, or you at least love hearing advice from systems that work. The Retirement Tax Service Podcast, Steven’s podcast, is the same theme. Steven is working with real clients and real advisors day in and day out. So, what he’s talking about is not theory. It’s not something he read about in the tax code. This is, how do you apply the tax code to real clients? Retirement Tax Services, you can pull it up in your iPhone or wherever you listen to podcasts. Be sure to, when you listen to it and your mind is as blown as mine is, give it five stars because that really helps the podcast grow.

Steven Jarvis:     Well, and I love five-star reviews from people who aren’t related to me. Those are my favorite kind.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s right. That’s right.

Steven Jarvis:     So, another action item. Matt, you already mentioned it earlier, but just we had so much great feedback on it. I just want to really highlight it. Go out to and download our reference guide. We make it available to anyone who will give us their email address. With that email address, we’re just going to send you more tax information, so you’re going to win twice. So, make sure you go get your copy laminated, put it on your desk, send me a selfie.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s a special kind of spam like, we’re going to fill your inbox up with great tax knowledge. You got to be a special kind of person to like that, right? There’s just this narrow slice. It would almost seem like a prank if you’re not in the industry like, we’re going to sign you up for a tax newsletter, but for us, it’s great.

Last action item, on April 27th, Steven and Micah are doing the Seven Mistakes that Advisors Make on Taxes webinar. This is an incredibly valuable webinar. It is free, of course, to Retirement Tax Services members. There is a discount for members of The Perfect RIA, but for the general public, it’s $97 to attend. I will offer you my personal guarantee. If you attend this webinar and you don’t get 10X your value, call me personally, and I will refund your $97 to attend. I am that confident that this is going to be a session that will not just blow your mind but will set you up for success for the rest of the year. Now, because Steven is my brother, I’m going to hunt him down for the $97 if he didn’t do a good job, so I know he’s going to do a good job.

Steven Jarvis:     Perfect. I love the added pressure.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s right. That’s right. Well, thank you all so much for listening. Steven, thank you for being here. Really excited to see you again on the 27th, and until next time, happy planning.

Steven Jarvis:     Happy tax planning. All right. Thanks for listening, everybody. So glad that you’re able to hear that conversation between Matt and I. If you haven’t already, go to to get signed up for our online session this week so that you can come learn all about these mistakes that advisors make when it comes to tax planning. Of course, our RTS essentials and premier members have automatically been registered and get to attend as benefit of being a member, so until next time. Happy tax planning.


We’re not overpaying. No, we’re not overpaying. We’re not overpaying anymore. The tax code’s complicated, boring, and overrated. You don’t want that, you want a pro. One thing that you should know: this is a radio show. It’s not tax advice, don’t take it that way.


The information on this site is for education only and should not be considered tax advice. Retirement Tax Services is not affiliated with Shilanski & Associates, Jarvis Financial Services or any other financial services firms.

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