Click Here To Listen To The Retirement Tax Services Podcast


  • The benefit of setting up tax buckets. (2:00)
  • The importance of setting expectations upfront for taxes. (5:00)
  • How to show your clients you are delivering value every single quarter. (9:30)
  • The importance of understanding the difference between what’s available online versus what’s required in practice. (15:00)
  • How to build a business plan with your client. (17:00)


How do we work with business owners to make sure that we’re doing very effective tax planning? The first step is a professional and collaborative effort between advisors and CPAs. So, in this episode, Jamie Shilanski, RFC®, will be sharing her experience working with CPAs and how she has created the ultimate tax planning strategy for her clients.

Listen in as Jamie describes what the dishwasher rule is and how to ensure you’re providing the most value for your clients every quarter. You will learn the importance of helping your clients draw up a business plan, understanding the different types of businesses that are available (and how they run), and standing up for your client when required.

Ideas Worth Sharing:

Whenever you receive money, you owe taxes. - Jamie Shilanski Share on X We want to provide value and help people. - Jamie Shilanski Share on X Build all companies as if you’re going to sell them. - Jamie Shilanski Share on X

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

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Thank you for listening.

Read The Transcript Below:

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 professionals’ edition. I am your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA.

And today’s episode is part two of a conversation I started last week with Jamie Shilanski. So, if you haven’t listened to that, absolutely go back and listen to it.

You can dive right into part two if you’d like, but this is continuing the conversation around how do we work with business owners in particular to make sure that we’re doing really effective tax planning. So, here we go jumping back in with my conversation with Jamie.

Jamie Shilanski: So, can I jump gears now and talk a little bit? So, we left the entity structure, now I want to talk about like, how do I prepare clients for taxes. Because like I said, I deal with a lot of salt of the earth people.

And so, when they start their company, my goal is that they’re going to be multimillionaires. Like why else would you get in business? Because people that say, “Oh, I don’t want a boss, I don’t want to work for anyone.” I’m like, “Oh, nope, pass; you’re not my ideal client,” because you have no concept.

You own a business, you now work for everyone. You work for all of your employees, you work for all of your clients, you work for all of your vendors. You are now working for more people than you thought necessary because you have to juggle all of these human elements to it while staying compliant.

So, a lot of times, the very first thing that I like to do on the financial planning side when I deal with a business client, is from day one, we set up tax buckets. And I had like three or four meetings with one CPA firm that was doing the back-office support that did not like this.

And Steven, you’ll relate to why they didn’t like the different buckets. So, what a different bucket is, this is not investment buckets, these are cash buckets. So, these are just bank accounts. That’s what this is, a bank account.

So, I set up several different bank accounts. One in which all of the income, the revenue drops, and then the second it drops, we disperse 30% over into account, a bank account, and guess what that account is called? Taxes.

Steven Jarvis:     Taxes, yeah.

Jamie Shilanski: Because if it’s called savings, or if it’s called anything else, we’re going to spend it for anything else. But we’re nipping that account, we call it taxes. 30% minimally goes into that account.

And the reason why I want to say minimally, is some of the listeners might be like, “Wow, 30% is really high tax bracket.”

It is not the highest tax bracket. And I just told you my goal is to get you to be a multi-millionaire. That’s where we’re headed. And in order for us to do that, you better be saving 30 and most chances, I’m going to bump that up to about 37%. We got to skyrocket that.

So, setting up these accounts with the clients, telling them here’s why we’re going to do it. And that’s really difficult when you’re first starting, but if we can do that with clients, if we can say, “Hey, here’s a hundred percent of your revenue, we’re going to collect all of this and we’re going to carve all of that money over to this bucket that’s called taxes, then when we have to make our quarterly estimated payments, you’re going to be on track for that.”

And remember, most of my clients have never made a quarterly estimated payment. They don’t even know that. They’re like, “What do you mean taxes are due April 15th?” And I’m like, “Well, no, not for businesses.”

For businesses, the deadline is going to be in September, but that is not when you owe the IRS. You actually owe the IRS whenever you receive money. Whenever you receive money, you owe taxes. That’s our tax system.

And so, we make these quarterly payments, and we’re going to put money aside in that account. Now, if I put 30% in that account and the client ends up in a 20% bracket-

Steven Jarvis:     Great news, yeah.

Jamie Shilanski: Fantastic. I’ve never had my client be like, “Why did you have me save all that money?” But if we don’t do this, and if we don’t do this very disciplined, and they end up owing — I remember the first time I ever had to tell, I had a small business owner that became a applicable large business owner in 18 months.

Steven Jarvis:     Wow.

Jamie Shilanski: In 18 months, they had just radical growth. I mean, whiplash hold the reins, you’re on it for a ride growth. And so, they went from being military employees, and they had paid, maybe $30,000 a year in taxes with combined income, to all of a sudden, having a million dollar tax bill; one million dollars.

And so, the first time that I ran this projection and I called her and I said, “Hey, listen, good news is we have this money set aside in the account, but I’m going to need you to log online, make your estimated tax payment.”

And she said, “Okay, great, how much?” And I said, “250,000.” And it was silent on the phone. And she was like, “That’s the total tax bill, so I divide that by four?” And I said, “No, that’s this quarter’s tax bill.”

And then Steven, I’ll never forget because I always make a joke or try to bring a little laughter to it, because what are you going to do when you owe a million dollars? You’re going to cry or you have to laugh.

And so, I told her, I said, “Hey, thank you for your patriotism.”

Steven Jarvis:     That’s one of my favorite lines.

Jamie Shilanski: And so, then she responds back to me and says, very jovial, but she said, “B-I-T-C-H, I did several tours in Afghanistan, my patriotism debt is paid.”

Steven Jarvis:     Fair enough. I don’t have an argument to that one.

Jamie Shilanski: I was like, “Oh, and we’re done.” Yep. Sorry.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah.

Jamie Shilanski: Yeah. And that’s where working with that CPA and then that CPA, because when they had the quarter … oh, and prior to that, when they had the quarter million dollar tax estimate, the CPA didn’t call the client.

The CPA called me in a panic and said, “Listen, they owe a quarter million dollars. I don’t know how to tell them that. Would you handle this?”

And then that was, for me, a lot of people would shy away from that, and I’m like, “Hell yeah, I’ll tell them that’s a win. And I’m going to remind them why that’s a win.” Because if you’re paying a quarter million dollars in taxes, how much money did you just make right out of the gate?

Steven Jarvis:     Well, and Jamie, the other reason that’s a win is because you’re setting expectations and you’re dealing with this upfront. When we’re talking about estimated payments, we’re talking about quarterly. Yeah, I can spin that conversation as a win all day long.

We can focus on what that means for their business. It gets a lot harder to do if this comes as a surprise in April, and there’s a bunch of penalties associated with it. That ability to say, “Hey, let’s focus on the positives,” gets really diminished if this is a shock late in the game. So, setting those expectations early is so critical.

Jamie Shilanski: So, Steven, I want to talk a little bit about that and get your feedback on this because one of the reasons I was so excited, and if your listeners are not an RTS premiere member, what are you doing with your life?

Like, seriously, what are you doing with your life? Especially if you’re like me, where you want to provide tax value, you understand the importance of it, but you always don’t always see the wins. You don’t always see how to do that.

So, one of the ways with this quarterly payment with these clients that we’re going to have that million-dollar tax bill, was on my letterhead, I drafted up and I said, hey … I copied and pasted what the CPA projected as estimated payments, and I said, “Based on the trajectory of income, this is where we think you’re going to be. This is what we think your estimated payments will be. And by the way, don’t worry, the money’s in this account. This is how we’re going to allocate for it. This is where it’s going to be at.”

And then I sent it over to the CPAs and I said, “Hey, can we collaborate on this? Can we both of us sign this letter together; make sure we’re showing it to the client. They see the roadmap. They know, one, their income is super high, fantastic. Their tax bill is disgusting, but we’ve got money set aside for it. And this is how we’re going to do it.”

And Steven, they emailed me back and said, “We need to talk.” And I mean, just imagine that, like we need to talk. And I was like, “Okay, well what? Did I give a math wrong?”

Steven Jarvis:     This is the response from the CPA, right?

Jamie Shilanski: Yes. This is CPA.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, yeah. We need to talk. Go to the principal’s office.

Jamie Shilanski: Because I didn’t give it to a client. I said, “Hey, let’s collaborate. Let’s get this down. These are your numbers. You’re going to tell them what the taxes are, I’m going to show them how to pay for it. We’re going to win both of us together here”

So the CPA emails me says we need to talk, which is never a good sign. And so, I pick up the phone, I’m like … because I’m one of those people that don’t delay it. I’m like, “Oh no, you got something to say, what are you going to say?”

So, I called and they said, “Hey, we have a problem with this letter.” And I said, “Okay, great. Where’s the math wrong? Like let’s dive in. Okay, I made a mistake.” And they said, “Well, no, you are supposed to provide them with financial advice, and we provide them with tax advice.”

And I said, “Okay.” And I said, “Well, that’s the first half of the letter is your tax advice, and it says coming from you.” And they said, “Yeah, but this is on your letterhead.”

And I stopped and I said, “Oh, we have a letterhead problem? I don’t give a … put it on yours. I don’t care. Just get this letter to clients. I do not care.” I said, “Okay, fine, put it on your letterhead.” And they said, “Well, that’s our problem.”

And I said, “What?” And they said, “We don’t do this. We don’t … this is too one-off for us. This isn’t what we provide for clients. At the end of the tax season, they’ll get a letter that says what their estimated quarterly should be for next year, and that’s what we give them.”

And I said, “Okay, but that doesn’t account for any of the growth that we just projected for this year, because you’re only using historical numbers, and I want to make the assumption that we’re going to have growth. We want to move up, and that means more taxes, that we’re going to have to pay along that way.”

And they said, “Sorry, we just, we don’t do this. We don’t approve this letter to go out. We absolutely just do not want you to send this to the client with this type of projection.”

And when I heard that, that’s when I think I met you at the first conference and I kind of shared a little bit of that story (the letterhead story), and you were like, “That’s absolutely BS. Here’s what we offer at RTS, and I want your clients to absolutely see four times a year where they can take advantage of taxes. Taxes are not something you should be doing in January. They are something that you should be doing every single quarter. And even if you can’t deliver value that quarter, show them how you could have, had they worked with you, had you been.”

And so, finally this last year, we decided … and I sat down with our book of business and we’re like, “That’s it, we’re moving all clients to RTS.”

So, in 2023, we want to go out to all of our clients, shove them under Retirement Tax Services. I am tired of CPA nonsense about whose letterhead it is on. We want to deliver massive value to clients.

We want them to pay the least amount of taxes possible by being a fair and contributing citizen. And we want to provide value. And I don’t care if it’s on my letterhead or RTS’s or where it’s coming from; provide value and help people.

Steven Jarvis:     Jamie, so many great things out of that. Well, I’m flattered, of course, that we get this opportunity to work together and that you speak so highly of it. Where this service model came from though, is really just identifying those needs.

I didn’t wake up one day with this epiphany that, “Hey, we can change the industry.” All I did was listen to advisors like you who talked about the pain they experienced, and then realizing that at the end of the day, we needed some kind of approach where the client winning is the focus.

That it’s not a matter of whose bright idea was it or who gets credit for it, or that we have to fight over who’s wrong in a particular situation. Because at the end of the day, hopefully, we all got into these finance-related service professions because we want to help people.

And for me, the best way I’ve found to do that is to collaborate with advisors. Because I mean, as we think back over this conversation we’ve been having, I mean, there’s so many points in there where, yes, taxes are important, but they’re not the whole picture.

And from where I’m sitting, I do a better job serving my clients when I can collaborate with advisors as well. So, yeah, for me, it’s a no brainer.

Of course, I would collaborate with the other professionals in my client’s life, and as long as they know that I’m here, and I’m available for them, that I’m a resource for them, here’s how we’re going to deliver value, if it’s on your letterhead or my letterhead or it comes from your team or my team, we’re not going to fight about any of that.

Jamie Shilanski: Yeah, I don’t care. Well, you don’t want to fight me, Steven. I pull hair.

Steven Jarvis:     No, that is very true, Jamie. We’ll just assume you would win in a fight. We will not have that one go live.

Jamie Shilanski: But one of the things that you gave me at a conference that I had seen you at was the Augusta role. So low IQ. And everyone’s been talking about it like, “Oh, this is how you can take two weeks as business owners, it’s tax-free income, blah, blah, blah.”

And so, I had taken that home, and I’d read about it before, but what was different about a conversation with you was you showed me how to do it. You didn’t just say, “Oh, there’s this strategy out here.” There are thousands of strategies out there. If I don’t know how to do them, then who cares about them?

And so, you sat down and said, “Well, here’s what you could do with your clients. This is how …” and I said, “Well, how do I justify that? How do I tell them?”

And you said, “Well, great. Look up the local rental rates of different facilities, and write a memo. Say what you attended, put it in your file because when you get audited by the IRS, you pull out that memo and say, ‘Yep, we had two weeks at my house. Here are the different dates that we used it. I rented out to myself, here’s what three different local rates were going for, and took that money right out of the company.’”

Steven, I went home and my next surge, I sat down with one of my biggest clients that owns a big oil company. And I said, “Hey, I know about the strategy, it’s called the Augusta one commonly, et cetera.”

And he said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know about that because the CPAs that I already worked with, they’ve already been telling me all about that. And they said I’ve been doing it for years.”

And I said, “Well, why haven’t you deployed it?” And he said, “Well, they didn’t tell me how to do it. I don’t know how to do all this.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh.”

So, we sat down, like pounded out a five-year spreadsheet and said, “Hey, here’s how much how many meetings you’re going to have.” Because guess what? He was having meetings at his house.

That’s where his leadership board was meeting at. That’s where he was hosting different client worries. He was already doing all of these things legitimately, but getting no tax advantage deduction for that. And so, we sat down, I did a little quick spreadsheet and I said, “Hey, let’s go do it for the next five years.”

And then he ended up … I think we were able to extract almost 84,000 because of where he lived with his premier real estate of doing it over five years. Not, in a year, over five years.

And I circled it and I said, “Here you go. Here’s what you are able to achieve if you follow this strategy for this next five years.” And he looked at that and he goes, “I don’t pay you enough.”

He goes, “How come my CPA never explained this to me?” I said, “So glad you brought it up, let’s go ahead and double my fee.” I’m just teasing.

Steven Jarvis:     Another great example of what’s available online versus what works in practice, because to your point, I didn’t come up with the Augusta rule, it’s been around for years.

You can find lots of people who will talk about it in really gimmicky ways that it’s kind of like nod, nod, wink, wink, we can all do this, like, let’s move on.

But nobody goes through and says, “Okay, no, here’s the documentation you need. Here’s the form that you filed because even though it’s tax-free income, you still need to report it. And there’s a way to do that. And here’s where it makes sense, and here’s situations where, sure, it might apply, but the administrative burden of doing it, it’s probably better that we don’t do it in that situation,” but be able to go through and identify which clients it’s even applicable for.

I know you’re a big fan of the dishwasher rule as well, but there are clients that I’ll talk to these strategies about, even if I’m not entirely sure if it’s going to apply, because I want them to know that I’m thinking about these things for them.

And say, “Hey, you know what? Right, this isn’t going to be a good fit.” But now, when they go to someone else and hear about the Augusta rule or whatever else it might be, they’re not thinking, “Hey, why didn’t Steven tell me about that?” Oh that’s right, we went through this, it’s just not a good fit for me right now.

Jamie Shilanski: Well, and that’s really important. I know we joke about the dishwasher rule, getting credit for the work that you’re doing, and a lot of people, they’re like, “Oh, you guys just want credit all the time.”

Hell, yes, I want credit of course, because I’m doing the work. Do you want to produce something and not get any credit for it? Not get any validation? You want to talk about head trash around raising your fees or charging a premium for your services. It’s because you don’t think you’re providing value. And if you don’t think you’re providing value, then figure out how to provide it.

So, I provide so much value that you sit down with a top client that says, “I don’t pay you enough, let’s talk about raising your fees.” I mean, come on.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah. You can’t get a better testimonial than that.

Jamie, you and I, you started with, hey, you’re not a tax nerd, but clearly, you and I have lots we can nerd out on and we can keep nerding out for the rest of the day. But we want to make sure that we turn this into actions that our listeners can take.

So, as you think about the conversation we’ve been having, what are your top two things that everyone listening to this needs to immediately go out and do?

Jamie Shilanski: Well, if you think you don’t work with small businesses, you’re probably lying to yourself because everyone has a small … we all have side hustles, especially this emerging generation of millennials. They want … so, it’s Airbnbs, it’s real estate, it’s storage companies, vending machine. Everyone’s got some kind of side hustle that they’re working on, so that you need to become more affluent in talking about small businesses.

And not all roads lead to an S Corp. There’s time that’s appropriate, there’s time it’s not. And so, I would say action item number one, if you’re sitting down with a client, you need to help them draw out that business plan. If it’s one page or a hundred pages, I don’t care; have a proforma, don’t have a proforma, but where’s this company going in the next five to 10 years?

Build all companies as if you are going to sell them because it mitigates all of that strain and burden. And then you, especially if you’re working with small business owners, you need to sit down and be that quarterback.

Explain to the coach what you’re going to have done on that field. Talk to them about the plays that you want. They tell you to go or not go, and then you get in and talk to the attorneys, talk to the CPAs, do the heavy lifting. And also, take advantage when CPAs don’t want to have conversations with clients, win.

That is a solid win for you because you don’t mind talking about money, and you don’t mind telling them, “Yeah, you got a million-dollar tax bill, but guess what, we got 1.3 sitting in an account. Let’s go spend it. Let’s go do these things.”

So, having a plan, making sure that you’re comfortable and aware of the different entity types and what you should do, and going to bat for your client, delivering the most amount of value possible, and don’t get your head wrapped around “not invented here.”

Who cares what letterhead it is on? Deliver massive value for your clients, and that will become transparent across everything that you do. You want to earn more money? Provide more value, and when you provide more value, money finds you.

Steven Jarvis:     Jamie, those are such great recommendations. The one I would add onto that, which I know is a common refrain for our listeners, but it makes such a difference; Jamie, you mentioned it kind of in passing because it’s such ingrained part of what she does already — you have to have tax returns for all of your clients.

Jamie talked about getting three years of tax returns. We talked about this kind of generically cause we don’t have the tax returns in front of us. You have to have the actual details. You have to have the real information to have an impact on your clients.

So, get tax returns for all of your clients every single year, all of your prospects, get the real data, make sure that you are providing just incredible value in all these areas.

Jamie Shilanski: Yeah. And Steven, I have to tell you I love listening to your podcast because I’m not a tax aficionado. So, I always pick up little nuggets and I’m like, “Yes, okay, that’s what I’m going to do.”

And it triggers different ideas for me. I also love prior, when we were just essential members, I love the little nuggets of information that you’d give out, your tax guides to have on our desk, in our conference rooms at the office was phenomenal. But the biggest change that we made in our practice was becoming premier members.

Being able to deliver that much value to our clients, sensational. I mean, over the top. You want to talk about comprehensive financial planning — you can’t have that conversation if you are not an RTS premier member, period!

Steven Jarvis:     Well, Jamie, thank you so much. I definitely appreciate that. We love working with you as well, along with all the rest of our premier members.

Jamie, thank you so much for taking the time to come on and talk with me and share your expertise and experience, it’s been great having you on the show.

Jamie Shilanski: I loved it Steven, thank you so much. I told you you’re my favorite Jarvi.

Steven Jarvis:     For everyone listening, until next time, good luck out there. And remember to tip your server, not the IRS.

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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