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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode
  • Our favorite scripts on tax planning for communicating with clients
  • Why you should tell a client as little as possible (or at least only what you really need to) on a tax strategy before implementing
  • Insight on the emotional roller coaster of "buying" a tax strategy.


Fresh off of the spring surge and the tax filing deadline Steven Jarvis, CPA is joined once again by Micah Shilanski, CPF (r) to talk about tax planning in the real world. Micah and Steven both share recent experiences with clients and best practices on communicating the complexities of tax planning in a way that clients will remember and take action on. They of course nerd out on all things Roth and share opportunities for Advisors to get more involved so be sure and listen through to the end.

Ideas Worth Sharing:
“You have to have a process of success in place no matter where you're at, no matter where you want to get to.” - Micah Shilanski Click To Tweet
“I'm not going to recommend to clients things I'm not willing to do or at least consider myself.”- Steven Jarvis Click To Tweet
“If your investments generate a tax bill, your investment should pay the tax bill.” - Micah Shilanski Click To Tweet

About Retirement Tax Services:

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Read The Transcript Below:

Steven (00:53):

Hello everyone and welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Services podcast Financial Professionals edition. I am your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA, and with me, I have none other than Micah Schilanski. Micah, welcome back to the show.

Micah (01:05):

Ah, Steven, so great to be here, right? It’s so fun to talk to you on the heels of your tax season. Everything’s kind of wrapping up on that. I’m sure you had a few things to do in the last month or two.

Steven (01:15):

Just a couple of things. It turns out I always like to say it doesn’t count as good tax planning until it’s reported correctly, and so we’ve just gone through all of that. Hey, let’s report it correctly kind of a thing.

Micah (01:25):

No, that’s super important, and then that client communication, and there’s a lot that goes on in this. We part of the hours so to speak, in order to get all of these things put in place and a lot of stuff that the client doesn’t see.

Steven (01:36):

Yeah, I’ll have to find some other forum for being able to talk all sorts of nerdy stuff about how the tax filing season works from the CPA perspective, but I want to be respectful of all of our advisor listeners and really what I want to chat about is during this time of year, you’re also going through a pretty busy, intentional focused time through surge, through your spring surge and in talking to your clients, I get to see firsthand that you are in fact regularly talking to people about taxes. And it brings this question to mind for me that I’m sure a lot of other advisors have, which is, it’s one thing for you to talk on a podcast about all the things you cram in. So Micah, tell me again, how do you fit so much into these surge meetings, including taxes?

Micah (02:16):

Yeah, Steven, Surge, of course, this is our value season is a way to think about it. This is the time that we get to come together, meet with our clients and deliver mass amounts of value and help them move the needle. It’s a time that I get really excited about and that comes with a lot of work just to be clear, but we all know that as part of the whole genie gig, right, is you got to be able to do the work in order to perform these things in order to transform people’s lives. And so with that, Steven, I’d say it comes to your question, it’s about a process about you have to have a process of success in place no matter where you’re at, no matter where you want to get to. If it’s a huge gap, then maybe it’s just a little process we’re going to tweak to, but you’re going to boil down all of our stuff too, and it sounds pretty lame when you start peeling the onion back. There’s a lot of rinse and repeat, but we have a very repeatable process that we do with every single client to make sure we’re delivering the most value we possibly can through surge.

Steven (03:07):

Micah, these meetings that you have during surge, these aren’t hours long. This is an hour per client, right? Just the 60 minutes?

Micah (03:14):

Yeah, a hundred percent correct. We were limited to an hour, but that’s an hour of meeting time. That’s not an hour of value time. If you think about it, you have a 60-minute meet from the time you pick the client up or they’re in Zoom or if they’re in person meetings, you pick ’em up at the lobby, you bring ’em into the conference room, there’s a little bit of chit chat, then you got to go through the questions that they have, then you got to get together on an agenda, then you got to deliver value. Then you got to start wrapping up at least 15 minutes before the end so you don’t have 60 minutes of pure value time. You got to be really intentional about how are you running the meetings. We always call it running the clock in the office about being, Hey, let’s be super intentional that we’re helping the client make progress and if we spend the entire time chit-chatting with them, that might’ve been some benefit, but that’s not value to them at the end of the day.

Steven (03:59):

Well, and then to include taxes in that less than 60 minutes, you have to add value. You mentioned that there’s preparation that goes on because if you get into that meeting and you’re like, ah, let me look at your return for the first time and let’s kind of scan through this and figure out the context, and that’s when you’re navigating that you’re going to blow up your time. You’re not going to be able to get through it. So talk about what the preparation for that meeting is specifically to this topic of taxes. 

Micah (04:20):

Let’s talk about the preparation as in now for the next 12 months because taxes aren’t a one-and-done thing as you know. So one of the things is we’re wrapping up our meetings in spring meetings, we’re always talking about what taxes are going to look like for this year, and so we’re keeping this running tab on all of our clients as to what are the tax things are we doing? Are there QCDs? Have we satisfied RMDs? Are we doing charitable-advised funds? Are we doing Roth conversions? Are we doing excess distributions? Is there health insurance we have to worry about in order to qualify for a tax credit? So we always have these things that we’re working on with the clients and every meeting we’re planting the seed with those so we can make sure we’re keeping tabs on them. So I think a mistake that I hear when I’m talking to a lot of other advisors, is they’re not doing that.


They’re thinking they’re going to show up for one meeting, have one tax meeting, and it’s all going to be great and says, look, at least for me, this is too complicated of a process. You got to break it down into little steps and bring the client along with you throughout the year. Then as we get through the year towards the end of the year, now we can start talking about cool things like Roth conversions and how our QCDs are working and RMDs or anything else that we need to work on, or if there’s a tax problem, a client all of a sudden sold a second home. It was like, okay, well, we’re going to have a big tax bill and there’s not much we could do about it besides grid and barrett, but we got to come up with a tax plan. They weren’t expecting to pay so much in taxes, and I’m sure you remember who that client was, right? They weren’t expecting to pay so much in taxes, but it was like, well, we sold the house and this is what it is. So now what’s our plan to satisfy that tax bill and we’re trying to get them set up for a successful tax season.

Steven (05:54):

So many good things in there, Micah. One of the themes that running under that stands out to me is this consistency with which you’re talking about taxes. So we keep it front of mind so that even when something unexpected happens, we still have this baseline to work from because it can be easy for people like me who talk about taxes all the time outside of the client situation to advisors, whoever might be to kind of go through it. It’s this neat little thing that we can have this conversation, we can explain the logic, and then everyone’s happy at the end, which we forget until we get back into those client meetings that no matter how beautifully you articulated the long-term benefits of Roth conversion, at some point that money is still going to leave the client’s account and it’s going to be a little bit painful for them. They’re going to see all of that money going to end IRAs, and that’s really a telling moment of, have you done a good job articulating the value of this so that when they have that pain, it’s immediately replaced by the confidence in the plan that’s in place.

Micah (06:50):

So let’s pick on that one, right? I’d love to dive into Roth conversions and I think there’s a little bit of things in there that you got to be thinking about how to set up for success, but let’s talk about Roth conversions. So Steven, one line that I mention a lot, now you do a lot of our clients’ taxes, so you can tell me on your side if you actually hear this or not, but one of the things I always tell my clients is your investments should pay for themselves, and what does that mean? That means if your investments generate a tax bill, your investment should pay the tax bill, and I’m always seeding that with them for a couple of things. Number one, capital gains. Look at last year, all of a sudden in the last quarter of the year is when the markets took off and clients had more capital gains than they were anticipating coming into September, and so the great news is, at least from my perspective, my clients feel that says, Hey, if this generated a tax bill, the investments are going to pay for it. Now, that’s my theory. You’re actually doing the taxes with a lot of our clients. What’s the reality on that one? 

Steven (07:43):

So this is kind of part of that fun dynamic of both of us are out there talking about these kind of things and that I get to kind of check your work sometimes. So what I’ll tell you is that I appreciate so much when I meet with your clients and they have that lens. Some of ’em will repeat it word for word back. I think that’s some of the federal employees that maybe have military background that are repeating it word for word back to me, but for most of ’em, it’s just the concept of they’ll still have that moment of, oh, that’s a lot of taxes, but wait, Micah always tells me that there’s a plan for where the taxes are going to get paid based on where the income came from or some version of that because it’s so easy for a client to get to the end of the year and sometimes not even be aware of what their investment returns were, right?


I had to explain it a few times this year, Hey, just because those dividends didn’t come into your bank account doesn’t mean they’re not taxable. And so it’s a big difference in conversation between, Hey, you had income, therefore taxes, and now we got to figure out how to pay it. And the client saying, okay, Micah told me that there’s going to be a plan for this, and they feel confidently leaving that conversation as opposed to the clients who they’re not upset that they have to pay the taxes, they’re not upset that they made money, they’re concerned that they don’t know where the cash is going to come from. Does something else have to get sold? Do I got to move it between six different places?

Micah (08:55):

How am I going to pay the bill?

Steven (08:57):

Yeah, they’re not opposed to doing their patriotic duty, it’s just this logistical moment of where’s the money come from?

Micah (09:04):

Yeah, I think that’s really it, right? And at the end of the day, what they’re thinking is the money has to come from my checking account. So like, crap, I was already spent that money. I already had other plans for this money, and now you want a $10,000 tax payment that has to be made in a couple of weeks. Where in the heck is that going to come from? And that brings that undue stress and anxiety in a lot of our communications with clients. I’m trying to build this credibility with them because unexpected things will come up that say, Hey, great news. We have a plan, great news that if your investments generate this taxable income, no worries. We’re always setting aside money to save for taxes. Sometimes we may not send it to the IRS in advance because we don’t want them to have your money for too long, but that might mean you owe money at the end of the year, but no worries.


We’re going to have that inside of our plan, so when that comes, we’re going to know where to pull it from. Mr. And Mrs. Client, is that okay with you? And they’re like, yeah, that makes a ton of sense. But Steven, it’s one of those things, I have to say it in every single meeting. I can’t just say it once and then they remember it. This is something I say every single meeting, if there’s any potential tax liability and we get to address it when we’re doing Roth conversions, let’s say that we’re not withholding taxes, we make an estimated tax payment. There’s a lot of things that go on with that one. We help make the estimated tax payment and then also let the clients know it says, Hey, this is an estimate. This is pretty close to what you will owe, but it may not be enough. We don’t want to send the IRS too much money. So that means that the end of the year you might owe a little bit more. Don’t worry about that. When that comes up, we’ll get your taxes. We’re already going to have money set aside for you in case you need it. Is that going to be okay with you?

Steven (10:35):

Again, Michael, I’ll tell you from working with your clients, it makes such a difference. We’ve got several premier members that are just crushing it with the communication on the tax side because as the tax preparer, it just makes all the difference in the world because the alternative to that is that maybe the advisor even did a good job of having that initial conversation of here’s why we do Roth and here’s the value in the long term and all of these different things, but if we don’t come back to it consistently, we’re going to have these real painful moments. And I just want to focus on this for just a second because I think a lot of our listeners will key into this as well, but I keep coming back to this emotional piece of it because that’s one of the ways we can deliver massive value and go beyond just numbers on a page because whether the client got upset about paying the taxes or not quantitatively, they might have the same outcome, although maybe not because they’re less likely to follow through if they’ve got all these negative emotions tied to it.


But why not get them the quantitative benefit of doing the Roth conversion and have them have a good experience along the way?

Micah (11:31):

And this is one of the ones right now, premier clients with RTS is going to be different because Steven, you’re very pro-Roth conversions. Wouldn’t it make sense? Right? You’re also fair to call it and say, Hey, I don’t know if it makes sense for a client in certain cases. So it’s great to look at that, but you got to be really careful for my clients that aren’t using RTS, and this isn’t just a plug for RTS, but especially I tell the other advisors on my team is saying, Hey, you need to sell this Roth conversion to the CPA, or they will back the bus over you at the end of the year because all that CPA is thinking of is about last year’s taxes, not about the next 10 years, and we know the largest bill our clients are ever going to have in retirement is taxes, and we’re trying to address that.


And the CPA says, I got to deal with you once a year. I want this to be as low as I possibly can for this potential year. So really working with that communication on Roth conversions about how were the taxes paid, are they withheld? Is it an estimate? How much of that estimate should be? What do they think about the conversion? Giving CPAs a range and having them come back with the dollar amount, just the inside trick. I love, I shouldn’t say trick is just communication style I love with CPAs, Hey, it looks like we could convert up to 60,000. I was thinking somewhere between 40 and 60,000, but you know what? You’re the tax expert. What do you think we should convert? Well, $52,000. Awesome. We’ll do 52 grand, right? Does it really matter that we give up that 8,000 bucks? No. Then at the end of the day it says, great news, I talked with your CPA, Mr. And Mrs. Client and they recommended you do $52,000. And that’s how my communication is going to go through. And clients love. They absolutely love it that I’m in communication with their tax preparer. And Steven, you make it easier for me on that communication, which is really nice working with RTS, but that communication is still absolutely required.

Steven (13:07):

And you mentioned CPAs back in the bus over the advisor. Let me give you an example of how that comes up and why that comes up because you talked about CPAs wanting to lower the tax bill this year. The other thing that CPAs are trying to do is not be the one to blame when the tax bill is unexpectedly high. So traditional CPA sits down with a client, client’s got a $20,000 tax bill due client says, what the hell just happened? Why do I have this big tax bill? The CPA looks at their two-year comparison and says, oh wait, we went from zero IRA distributions to a hundred thousand dollars I a distributions. Must have been that your advisor’s an idiot. That’s why if pay these taxes, let’s pay the taxes and move on. Now, that’s not even a hypothetical. Those are rough numbers of something that came across my desk this year except for the idiot part of that.


Because what I do is when I dive into that, I say, wait a second, this is with an advisor I know who typically does a very good job of withholding the right amount of taxes. So let’s take it a step further. Instead of taking the easy route and saying, Hey, an extra a hundred thousand dollars of IRAs, that must have been the problem. Let’s move on. We dive a little bit deeper and realized, wait a second, the withholding was almost perfect. In fact, the withholding helped you out a little extra. And then here’s these three other things that they weren’t top of mind for the client. As I went down those three other things that had to do with investment income, that had to do with a new pension that had zero withholdings off the top of my head. I forget the other one, but there was three of ’em.


And as I went through ’em, the client’s like, oh, that’s right. I remember all those. That totally makes sense. Yep, let’s go ahead and get the taxes paid. And then they left. Having that Roth conversion reinforced in their minds that not only was it a good idea, but logistically it was taken care of well, and then Micah, I would imagine for your clients who don’t work with me because you have a lot of those as well, so this probably may be a little bit more of a helpful tip for everyone who doesn’t work with RTS. You’re going and still getting tax returns after they’ve been filed and going back and reviewing. So even if a different CPA has backed the bus over you, you are going to get that context and have that awareness that you know can come back later and make sure that was addressed correctly. Correct me if I’m wrong on how you’re approaching that

Micah (15:03):

Slight correction in there. You’re spot on. One little thing. I see very few tax returns after they are filed. We request clients to get their returns before they are filed, and then we kind of keep a tally in the office just to see what our error rate is. It’s just kind of fun. How many errors are we catching, right? Sure. And we’re about like 21% for this year. And so 21% of the returns that we look at, we’re correcting something. Now does that mean we’re saving everybody $10,000 in those 21%? Unfortunately not, right? But that does mean we’re finding things out there. So we keep this little score in this little tally, and that’s a stat that I use with clients as saying, Hey, four out of five returns that I see are fantastic, but about one out of five, there’s something that’s incorrect and we’re able to fix it before you have an issue with the IRS and I would love to get a copy of your tax return.


Odds are there’s going to be absolutely nothing wrong with it. Your CPA does a fantastic job, but I’d love a second set of eyes. Think about it as a second opinion. Is that going to be okay if we do that before you file your taxes? And Steven, when you ask it that way, one, I’m setting the communication standards here where they’re not expecting me to find an error. I’m setting the communication standards that says, Hey, the odds are you should be at this great job. And the odds are there’s no errors whatsoever. But I still want to take a look because we have found errors in the past. And then if we look at it, it says, oh my gosh, man, X, Y, Z did your return. They did a fantastic job. Looks like we went through our 37 point checklist and now it’s doing all of these great things that goes over really well with the client. But I always want to see a draft if I can for that. Again, 20% that something was missed. 

Steven (16:35):

Some of you might be listening thinking, Hey, why are you telling me this after the deadline’s over? I can’t go back and do that. And you’re right, the time machine’s broken. But now Micah, you mentioned earlier now is when we need to be planning for next year’s tax filing season. And if you didn’t get drafts this year, then yeah, right now is when you should be requesting the final copies of every one of your clients’ tax returns, put ’em through the 37-point checklist or whatever you want to use, request all of those returns, and then now is when you need to start the conversations planting the seeds for next year. If you want to start this process of being able to get draft returns. Because Micah, I would have to imagine that the first year you decided it was a good idea to get draft returns, that wasn’t just like a magic flip of the switch that everyone just brought you draft returns the first time, and it was as simple as that.

Micah (17:15):

Oh, thank you for that. It was a while ago, but that was pulling teeth to get clients that wanted to get their taxes at all, but two to get draft returns. And it was like, well, you’re not a CPA. I mean, that was a response that I would get. Well, you’re not a CPA. Well, you’re not a taxpayer. Where’s this coming through? Then we’re able to slowly show over time how with all of our clients, it says, Hey, getting it to us in advance saves you a lot of hassle in the end. Now they really appreciate it for new clients coming on. So let’s say you’re not currently getting draft returns any returns, guess what? That’s just the way it is going forward for all new clients and they don’t know any difference. It’s great news. This is one of the ways we help our clients is we like to review all of their tax returns.


Same reason I use it for estate planning documents, I’m also not an estate planning attorney. Great news. We like to review all of our client’s estate planning documents, so I’d love a copy of your will, healthcare directive, power of attorney trust, LLC operating agreements, like any of those other things. We’re going to review it from a financial planning standpoint. And it’s like, oh, okay, well that’s just what he does. So going forward, it’s super easy, going backwards you got to have that old world new-world conversation. And a lot of the ways that I like to have this, Steven, is just saying, Hey, great news. I’m always learning. I’m constantly improving. And one of the things that we’re going to add as a great service to you is reviewing your tax returns before they’re filed because here’s what other advisors are seeing that are already doing this. They’re finding 20% error rates on returns, and this is something we want to help you with. And here’s our experience in having to work with this in the past, and that’s an easy way clients will hand over the returns.

Steven (18:39):

So many great scripts in there of how we make sure we get this done. Micah, as we’re talking through these different Roth pieces, a couple of conversations are coming to mind that I’ve recently had with clients and a similar question that came out of it. And the theme seemed to be that it was for clients who were either doing their first Roth conversion or they were doing a much larger Roth conversion this year. I know having had conversations with some of the advisors and then just making some assumptions here, part of the extra urgency is that we’re coming up really quickly on the expiration of the tax cuts and Jobs Act. So we already know that tax rates are going to go up in two years. So this question I’m getting from clients, I want to hear how you respond to it before and we’ll see how closely our responses align is, hey, the client says, Hey, my advisor told me this great Roth conversion. We did it, it’s done. But I know one of the reasons we did it was tax rates are set to go up in two years. What if they don’t? And they might have a whole list of reasons they think it might not go up, but how do you respond to that? Well, what if they don’t go up?

Micah (19:33):

So this is one, when you’re positioning the Roth conversion, this is where you should present that question to the client, and this is a guided discovery. This is what the client needs to think about whatsoever. So a couple of things I’m going to do is same thing, right? Is saying, Hey, we’re looking at Roth conversions. Why in two years our current laws expire? Our taxes go from here to here, Mr. and Mrs. Client, if you could pay taxes from here or here, which one would you choose? And they always choose the lower one. It says, well, great, I agree with that, and we can only do tax planning for the current law that we have today. Now, who knows what Congress is going to do? Mr. And Mrs. Client, you guys probably missed it, but just to let you know, it is an election year.


Then they generally laugh at that one. So we don’t know what’s going to happen with the election or what’s going to happen with Congress or what they’re going to do with tax law, but we’re going to make plans based on the laws that we have today. Now, if you really feel that Congress in the future is going to lower taxes lower than they are today, and I disagree with that, but that’s okay. If you think it’s going to be lower, then you’re a hundred percent right. We should not do a Roth conversion. That would not make sense for you. If you think there’s a possibility that maybe a little bit more than 50% that Congress in the future, maybe not in this next year, but at least in the future is going to raise taxes, maybe we should be looking at this Roth conversion for you and Steven, that’s generally where I leave it and it works pretty well. What are your thoughts? What’s your experience with that?

Steven (20:53):

Love that framing of it. Quite often I’m getting involved in this conversation after there’s already some foundation, right? Because typically the advisors I work alongside, I’m not the one presenting Roth to bring it up first. So usually I’m kind of adding to the conversation. And so a couple of other things I like to build in there is highlighting the flexibility that Roth conversions create because it’s not just the actual tax savings that are an advantage if tax rates go up. And the other piece I’ll throw in there, I don’t know how you articulate this to clients, but I think philosophically at least you’re coming from the same place as I say, Hey, Mr. And Mrs. Client, this just so you know, this is also how I personally approach this. And so I’ll pick different ways as far as how that gets articulated to what level. But for me, that’s a huge point of emphasis that I’m not going to recommend to clients things I’m not willing to do or at least consider myself. I’m not in the exact same situation as all of my clients. So that looks different at different times, but at least the types of things I’m talking about recommending, considering I always want to come from a place of I’m recommending this. I do it personally. 

Micah (21:50):

I love that. I agree with you 100% on the communication standpoint. The only thing I’d push back for advisors out there, be careful how much ammunition you bring. All of those statements are a hundred percent true, right? But if I have somebody that’s borderline on the fence, I’m going to tell ’em enough to say yes, that’s it, right? I’m not going to sell ’em on all these other things. Now Steven, I really know why I would do that until just recently I was at Genius Network and they had a speaker up there talking about when people buy, why do they get buyer’s remorse. And it was very fascinating. I never thought about it this way. But see what happens is people walk in and there’s a wave that happens and they get sold on all of these great emotions as to why they should buy, why they should buy, why they should do something.


Then they buy, then their emotions go down. Now what happens is they’re still better than they were from the beginning, but they’re off of the peak of the wave they’ve fallen and now this is buyer’s remorse where you can still look at it and say they’re better, but they’re not at the top. And so this guy had his great point about saying, Hey, when you’re convincing somebody of something, they should actually do use the least amount that you possibly can. After we get the yes, then we bring in all of these other great reasons as well. And I never articulated it that way again, somebody else had to explain it to me. I was like, oh my gosh, that’s really what I like and what I do. And that’s kind of the same thing I’m working with my other advisors on. Let’s give ’em enough to say yes and then afterwards let’s keep building on that yes.


So they don’t get that buyer’s remorse because when taxes come, the other thing I tell my clients all the time, this sounds like a great idea today. It’ll be an okay idea when we pull the trigger on it and you’re going to think it’s a bad idea when you look at your tax return. That’s the progress that we’re making here. But I also want to tell ’em what their emotions are going to be with this because when they feel that emotion of that $20,000 estimated tax payment if we’re doing a massive Roth conversion, that hurts. And when they get that emotion of that tax return from you that says, holy crap, we added 120,000 of income or whatever that was for this year, that hurts. And they’re going to be like, was this really a good idea? But now they have to go back in their mind and say, wait, wait, this is how Micah said I was going to feel. And he’s going to also say, this is all my clients feel when they do a Roth conversion. But I can tell you got two different types of clients. Ones that do Roths and ones that don’t. The ones that do five years later, they’ll tell you it’s one of the best things they ever did. They absolutely love it. The ones that haven’t are still complaining about their tax bills.

Steven (24:05):

Such a good point in there, Myah. Maybe some of it’s just like, I like when it’s reinforced that the way I’m doing something makes sense for more than just whatever reasons I came up with. Because even as I think through how this usually works for me and when I’m coming into the conversation, I’m coming in at one of those points where the emotions have come down. I wasn’t there for the initial sale as you raised it. The emotions were high, super excited about Roth conversion. I’m coming in when the pain’s there. And so that’s part of the motivation on my part to say, Hey, here’s some other things that you may or may not be aware of to start pushing that kind of back up. They were true all along, but man, that’s a really helpful framework. 

Micah (24:37):

It was really great to pick that up and be like, huh, alright. I really need to be more intentional about communicating that because again, proper sales is communicating to a client what they need to do to achieve their goals. That’s what sales is, helping them move along that journey towards their goals. And Roth conversions are generally a part of that.

Steven (24:54):

Yeah, Micah, we of course want to be respectful of everyone’s time and make sure that people can take action on this. And as we’re having this conversation, it’s reminding me of why I enjoy hearing from other people, what they’re doing in the trenches. Honestly, for the people who listen along with what I do here, it’s probably been a while since I’ve given you a new fact on Roth conversions you’ve never heard of. But I mean just talking to you today, Micah, I’m learning new ways to approach this, new ways to communicate, and this is why I get so excited about our Summit and about in-person things that we do. And this fall we’ve got the second annual RTS Tax Summit coming up in Phoenix, September 25th through 27th. Super excited about that. You can go out to and get signed up as we’re recording this, just in the last 10 days, 20 new advisors signed up for the conference. It’s going to be phenomenal. There are going to be so many people in that room who can help share from their personal experience of here’s how we keep elevating this. So there’s my plug for the summit because it’s going to be amazing. Micah, as you think about the conversation we’re having today, what are action items advisors can take now while they wait for the summit to come around to do more on taxes? 

Micah (25:57):

I’m going to throw out two out there and one we didn’t get time to talk to, but I’m going to throw out out real quick, Steven, if I may. And that’s one of the things with QCDs, qualified charitable distributions. Open a separate account for this and name it Charitable distributions. Charitable slash QCD. It helps the client. It massively helps the CPA because when the client doesn’t tell the CPA that they had a QCD distribution, they get a separate 1099. And on the 1099 it says it’s a QC D. Nine times out of 10, the CPA says, aha, something’s going on here. And it promotes that. So number one, always open up separate accounts for QCDs. It works out really, really well. The number two, you got to practice your script on Roth conversions. Why does it make sense to do it? How do you communicate it?


And Steven, you brought up lots of great points, right? So I would be like point 1, 2 and 3. If point 1 gets you where you need to be, then let’s stop the conversation. Let’s move on with life. If you need those extra points, let’s bring those in there and just be ready for it. We do not role-play enough in our industry whether we feel uncomfortable, we feel embarrassed about it, et cetera. Well, you know what? Professionals role-play all the time. It’s called practice. And they practice. They get out there, they do those things, et cetera. So when it shows up on game day, they’re able to provide value. And that’s what I need you guys to do as well. Practice, practice, practice so you can provide value when it’s needed.

Steven (27:13):

Mike has such great recommendations. Know what to even add to that practice. Make sure you open those separate accounts. So I guess really the other takeaway there is make sure you’re learning from people who are doing this in practice so you know what works in front of a real client. Micah, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. It’s a pleasure as always.

Micah (27:27):

Steven, thank you so much for having me on here. It’s always great to see you. I really appreciate the opportunities to talk taxes. I like to geek out on it as well. And I’m looking forward to the summit.

Steven (27:35):

For everyone listening, thanks for being here. And until next time, good luck out there. And remember to tip your server, not the IRS!


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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