Click Here To Listen To The Retirement Tax Services Podcast


  • Why Jason’s firm took tax preparing in-house. (2:30)
  • Why every CFP should have a basic understanding of tax planning. (5:00)
  • The biggest things to think about when considering taking tax planning in-house as an advisory firm. (6:00)
  • Common strategies Jason is seeing that move the needle on his clients getting value from the process. (11:05)
  • The benefit of bringing tax preparation in-house and how this streamlines the process for clients. (15:00)
  • What tax preparers should be doing other than simply turning out 1040s. (18:49)
  • The importance of collaboration between tax preparer and financial advisor. (26:15)


Proper tax preparation can transform your clients’ finances. As taxes impact nearly every aspect of their lives (and yours), being aware of that presence as a financial advisor can save your clients thousands of dollars every year on retirement withdrawals, keeping investments efficient, and more. So how do you decide when you should bring tax preparation in-house as a financial advisor? Jason Speciner, Director of Investment and Tax Planning and Founder at Financial Planning Fort Collins, will be joining the show to discuss the shift in his practice that he has seen since bringing tax preparation in-house and the hurdles he and his team have faced along the way.

Listen in as Jason explains the things he sees in his firm that move the needle the most in terms of his clients getting value out of the process and how you can go above and beyond as a tax preparer. You will learn the importance of explaining things to your clients in a way they will understand, how to streamline the process for your clients, and how to evaluate whether you should bring tax prep into your firm.

Ideas Worth Sharing:

One of the things that’s very interesting about marketing for tax prep as a financial advisor is that you will get clients very quickly. - Jason Speciner Click To Tweet How we’re explaining things is more important than what we’re explaining. - Jason Speciner Click To Tweet We’re all human and we’re all going to make mistakes at some time or another. - Jason Speciner 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

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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 in this show, I teach financial advisors how to deliver massive value through tax planning.

And on that theme, I’m really excited for my guest today because he is both a financial planner and doing tax preparation in-house. So, Jason Speciner is the owner/founder — you’ll probably have to correct me on what all titles you have.

But at Financial Planning Fort Collins, he is both a CFP and enrolled agent. And Jason, I’m just really excited to have you here with me.

Jason Speciner: Yeah. Hey Steven. Thank you very much. Yes, I am the Director of Investment and Tax Planning and the Founder of Financial Planning Fort Collins. So, you are just about right.

Steven Jarvis:     Perfect. Close is what we’re aim for except for when we get to the tax return that we want to get it pretty exactly right.

So, Jason so excited to have you here. We had a chance to meet in person in Denver here recently. I got to hear how you approach financial planning with your clients and there’s clearly a huge emphasis on taxes.

What I really want to focus on is I get a lot of advisors who are kind of interested in this idea of, “Oh, well, I should just have tax preparation in-house, that’ll just make my life so much easier.”

Now, personally, I might come off as a little bit biased since I work with financial advisors to essentially, co-source their tax preparation. I come along and say, “Hey, you don’t want to do that yourself. You want us to do it for you or with you.”

But you’re doing this in-house and it’s going rather well for you. So, talk about kind of how you got to this point where you wanted to be doing tax preparation in-house and what that looks like inside your firm.

Jason Speciner: Yeah, it’s really interesting because a lot of folks assume just based on how our firm’s name took shape and our entity name being Fort Collins Tax Service LLC, that we started as a tax firm and kind of migrated into the financial planning realm when actually, the exact opposite is what happened.

So, I started as a financial planner 15, almost 20 years ago now. And about halfway into it, I was kind of looking for ways to actually bring more value to my clients and just be a more resourceful kind of advisor to them.

And one of the things that popped up was, of course, the tax prep and planning aspect of things. And so, I approached things initially from that end to actually get into the preparation itself and pick up the planning components along the way.

And so, long story longer, the firm basically just kind of matriculated into something that was a deeply rooted process in the tax prep and planning part of things. And so, we’ve kind of bundled that now into what we call comprehensive services, which is incorporating the financial planning, investment management, and tax prep.

And so, our clients engage us for all three of those. That’s who typically finds our greatest value. And as far as the actual tax prep process goes, that is still largely my baby. That’s something that I still actively engage in.

And so, that’s one of the things that, for me, it’s something that scratches an itch, so to speak, as far as it gives me some closure on things. Like a lot of financial plannings can be very open-ended. There’s a lot of stuff where you’re solving for problems that don’t necessarily fit well together.

A tax return on the other hand, once you get to a kind of an end result, you know you’ve reached it, it’s in the right place. And so, it all kind of fits together well. And so, that part of it is really enjoyable for me.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, that’s really interesting. There’s some good self-awareness there. I mean, I’m probably part of the group of people at times that’s almost criticizing tax preparers for this obsession with just getting last year done.

But I think you’re articulating a lot better that for a lot of people, it just fits their skill set, their personality to say, “I want to be able to work on something that I know I can finish and is done and there was an answer to.” And when we’re just planning for the future, it can be really hard to find that closure to use your word for it.

So, I like that you have that self-awareness that you’re able to both be involved in that planning aspect and then kind of scratch that itch by doing some taxes along with it.

Jason Speciner: And seeing the planning through the return, I think it was Andy Panko I heard on your brother’s podcast talking about specifically, the idea that you get through to this point where you kind of see the planning through the numbers on the return. That also helps a lot with understanding where the planning opportunities are.

And just getting an idea of, okay, well, how will this planning concept actually translate to the entries on a return, and what will that actually do in other areas too?

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, absolutely. I definitely think there’s a certain kind of minimum level of understanding that any financial advisor should have of how things impact the tax return because every money decision has a tax impact.

So, part of it from my standpoint is how does an advisor who doesn’t yet have taxes incorporated in their process think about this decision of, “Well, do I just keep ignoring taxes?” Which I hope we could all agree that’s not the answer.

Do I try to find a service like Retirement Tax Services or something else out there where I have a trusted partner that I can refer people to? Or do I take the step like you have Jason to say, “Okay, you know what, I’m just going to do this in-house.”

And as I talk to you about doing tax prep in-house, like we’ve talked about here, it kind of scratches an itch for you. You’re really excited about it. I’m not going to come along and try to talk you out of it and say, “Hey, you got to come to RTS because you can’t keep doing this yourself.”

It seems like it’s going really well, but I also know advisors who have tried this in-house tax prep thing, and it just hasn’t worked out as well as they wanted it to. So, maybe share where you do see some of the pain or friction and what you’ve done to solve it so that it is a good experience for you.

Jason Speciner: That makes total sense. And I think part of it is just the background and the understanding of what actually goes into it and what you need to know and how to actually prepare accurate tax return and do it consistently.

And also, incorporate the planning side of it. So, it isn’t something that you can just kind of turnkey ad in in house because you’re going to need to have some prerequisite knowledge, some understanding, some just basic right kind of coaching to understand like how to actually make the things go round on the tax return.

So, that I think would be the biggest pain point to uncover first and to understand is that something you’re willing to do. Do you either have someone on staff or on your team that can do those sorts of things, or is that the job you’re going to take on. And like I said, like that was the job that I kept as we scaled up and enjoyed doing.

But ultimately, that may not be the right direction for every firm and every lead advisor especially as far as actually working through the mechanics of a tax return for sure.

Steven Jarvis:     So, Jason at this point, how many tax returns are you doing a year?

Jason Speciner: Well, so I’ve actually kind of … that number has gone up and down recently. We used to have a tax prep only engagement with several clients. So, I was getting close to 200 tax returns per year.

And I did that for a couple years, and I realized real quickly that that was not going to be the future because it was going to just continue to grow. One of the things that’s really interesting about marketing for tax prep is you will get clients very quickly if tax prep is kind of the siloed offering.

And so, as that was kind of running away for me and it was just ruining capacity during tax season, we actually eliminated that. And so, that dropped me down closer to about a hundred returns.

Ideally, at the end of kind of the day, if I’m in that 100 to 200 range in the long run, I think that would be a pretty good spot. And so, I would expect this year, actually, because we are going to be doing a little bit more client graduations and just working through our relationships with current clients now, I’d probably expect that to settle around 75 to 80 this year.

Again, with that upside of 200 being like that’s the cap. That’s where I was already at one point a few years ago. And I said, “There’s no way I want to get much big beyond this.”

Steven Jarvis:     That’s really interesting. So, for us, about every 200 returns, we start looking at do we need to add another team member? So, our team members help both with the planning and preparation, but they’re certainly not running a financial planning practice like you are.

I mean, for those listening who don’t have a lot of context for especially small tax prep shops, I mean, I know people who will personally do 600 to a 1000 returns in a year. Like the numbers get crazy to me.

But when you’re in that range, you’re churning out 1040s, you’re not looking at tax planning, you’re not looking for other ways to add value. I mean, you kind of started this all as we jumped into the conversation, Jason, saying that it wasn’t just you knew all along, “Hey, we’ve got to do taxes.” You took a step back and said, “How am I going to add more value?”

Got committed that taxes was going to be a piece of that, built your skill set, add this as a service. And so, it started with a why, it started with the value proposition, which is regardless of what service we’re talking about adding within, well, any kind of business within a financial planning practice though — we’ve got to start with that value proposition and get really clear on that, get committed to it, and then figure out how we’re going to address it.

Jason Speciner: Yeah, absolutely. And I think your point about when you get to about 200 returns, if you really want to be consistent and getting the most out of each engagement for each client — once you get into that 5/600,000 return range, like I just don’t see how you could see the forest through the trees at that point. You are just buried in tax returns.

So, yeah, so that 200 upper limit and I think you would agree that that’s a really good number — that allows for those kind of capacity things. And so, whether it’s in source or outsourced, you have to really start thinking okay, when you hit that limit and I’ve definitely thought about this, like what does that mean?

Well, that means we’re going to have to bring somebody else in to prepare tax returns if we’re going to keep it in-house. And so, there’s that other decision point, which I totally get.

Retirement Tax Services could give you that kind of automated flexibility and scalability in that sense. But for us, it’s more of like as we grow, what do we actually do as far as like splitting up those responsibilities and making sure that we’re back to that core, that thing that we’re really good at. And that is the financial planning component of it.

This is more of the ancillary, it’s kind of the accessory to things. It’s saying we’ll take this tax strategy we’re going to talk to you about in our financial planning meetings, we’re just going to take it end-to-end and we just like it. That’s part of our value proposition as far as what the deliverable ultimately is come tax season.

Steven Jarvis:     So, Jason, talk a little bit about the tax plan you do with clients. I mean, what are some of the common strategies that you’re seeing apply to your client base that you really feel like help move the needle on your clients getting value from the tax process?

Jason Speciner: It’s really interesting you ask that because we’re like just right in the middle of doing some tax planning year in tax planning November, I feel like is the best month to do it because it gives you a runway to actually act on it if you identify some strategies.

One of the big ones this year are Roth conversions. We’re in a year where Roth conversions are going to make a lot of sense just from the on sale aspect down to the anticipated tax changes in 2026.

And so, we’re evaluating those decisions and doing that pretty broadly this year, just simply because I think there’s a lot of opportunities there on the Roth conversion side.

But then, we get into other areas, especially like once we do the year-end tax planning, we identify things like charitable bunching or those sorts of other strategies, we can also go across into the next year.

And that’s where we get more forward-looking, so we’ll actually do our second batch of tax planning consultations where they’re necessary. We do those in May, and so, we’ll actually look at kind of like, here’s what happened last year, but here’s what we really think things are going to be turning on and looking on a forward looking basis.

And it gives us more of that sort of taking shape and sculpting things out for longer term when we engage in that. Because we have all that information fresh. The client just went through that whole process of gathering everything up and we just looked at a tax return and we’ve just kind of paid the bill and now, there’s motivation to actually make changes.

So, that’s kind of how we split up the tax planning, is splitting it between those two parts of the year. And again, just having that intimate knowledge of the actual return as being the preparer of that return really helps in that process.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, it’s hard to replace that level of detail, that level of knowledge. I mean, we do the best we can with how we work with advisors, but there definitely is a difference between getting into the return yourself, which is why we still share returns with all the advisors we work with.

Like we don’t want this to be completely siloed and cut off. Like to do effective planning, not just for effective tax planning, but effective financial planning in general, you really need to have at least some familiarity with what’s on that return.

One of the things I often talk about as far as the value of getting your tax returns, reviewing tax returns, being involved in the tax prep process, is that if it doesn’t get reported correctly, it may as well have not happened.

And that can feel like kind of just an ambiguous statement to make of, and it can be easy to kind of tell yourself, “Oh, well, that’s not happening to my clients. My clients don’t have errors in their tax returns.”

Just earlier today, as we’re recording this, I was on the phone, I was on a call with an advisor who just last year, he actually took the time for all of his clients … he got nearly all of his clients’ tax returns.

As they went through, they kept track of how many of their clients had tax returns with errors or issues on them. Jason, would you like to guess what percentage it was?

Jason Speciner: You’ve put me on the spot here. Let’s go with half. What is that? You say 50%? Is that fair?

Steven Jarvis:     That’s not an unreasonable guess, and that probably speaks to the fact that you have been doing this for a long time and you’ve seen just the sheer variety of things that can come up.

For this advisor, it was 27%, which depending on where you’re coming from, that 27% might sound better than 50%. But great, in the industry, we like to talk about the dream 100 of who are your 100 clients, but so great.

Think about 27 of your clients having errors on their tax returns, and we’re not talking about the dot was missing on the I. We’re talking about there was some kind of issue that needed to be corrected from a tax reporting standpoint.

So, this isn’t going to be one of your clients has an issue on their tax return. This is common, it’s consistent, it’s unfortunate. But it happens in part because of some of the things we’ve been talking about that a lot of tax preparers are trying to just churn through so many returns each year.

Not only that, but a lot of tax documents and Jason, I’m sure you see this; a lot of tax documents without additional context really aren’t that helpful as you talk about Roth conversions or these other tax planning strategies.

I mean, you’re set up in a great spot to help your clients because you’re helping them with the planning and then you’re reporting on the tax return. But when those are two different people, a lot of context gets lost and things get misreported.

Jason Speciner: Yeah, I think Form 8606 is probably the most maligned form I’ve ever come across. Especially when you just dive into things with IRAs and you’re going through conversions and backdoor Roth contributions and the whole nine yards, like that is the thing that ultimately stands out to me most is when you hear, “Hey, this form isn’t here and it should have been.”

I mean, it’s just so often that that kind of happens. I guess, high, I guess on the air rate only because like you said, like I come across these things often and I see things that come in and I try not to be too hard. You never can be too hard on the last person because we’re all human, we’re all going to make mistakes at one point in time.

But yeah, I mean, it’s often that I could just picture stacks of paper on the desk and a thousand tax returns being turned out the door, especially at the very, very tax prep focused firms where they’re just maybe not quite … they’re dealing with a lot of quantity and it’s difficult to do that.

And so, part of our pitch, so to speak, as far as where our tax prep process fits in really well, is how controlled and how regimented it is, and how systematic it can be. And I know you all do the same thing, and that makes a world of difference in the result that you end up at the end of the day, is what kind of process you’re following to actually see that return through from the W-2s and the 1099s that hit it out the door to what’s actually getting filed with the IRS.

Steven Jarvis:     And for as emotional as money is in general, taxes are exponentially more so. I’m sure you get as much kind of joy or satisfaction out of this conversation as we do to be able to say something different than every other advisor out there.

Which is when you’re doing the planning, instead of having to say, “Hey, we think you should do a Roth conversion for such and such amount, but why don’t you go talk to your tax preparer, make sure they’re on board, or let us know if they have any thoughts or feedback,” any of those kinds of things.

You can end that with, “And we’re going to help you get this report, we’re going to help you execute it. We’re going to help you report it, we’re going to take care of it start to finish.”

That’s a different client experience than describing this beautiful, wonderful, magical tax planning strategy and having to end it with, “But go talk to your CPA and let me know how that goes.”

And so, as we’re working with advisors, there’s the slight addition there, of, “Hey, we partner with a CPA. We partner with Retirement Tax Services who is going to help us with this.”

But to me, there’s just so much more value to the client and having that be a cohesive process from start to finish instead of having this big break right in the middle where we say “Great, I did my part. Now, we’re going to hope that the other guy does his part too.”

Jason Speciner: I mean, you want your solutions to actually be solutions and you don’t want to create problems for those solutions.

And ultimately, when you come up with a solution that it needs the stamp of approval from two or three other professionals — not to say that other professionals don’t have a tremendous role in adding value to their client’s lives.

But there are some things where you may not be able to execute on a strategy simply because it just takes too many steps externally to actually happen. So, to get things from the client’s standpoint streamlined, and to get things working well for them, like that’s where we look at that idea like you said of just, we’re going to make sure that this particular thing, whatever it is, is seen through end-to-end and clients, just they love that.

Steven Jarvis:     And the value goes in both directions of having a financial advisor who also doubles as or can also provide through their team the tax preparation as well as the other direction of, “Hey, we did tax preparation, but we have this planning mindset.”

I know when I listened to your presentation at the conference we were at, one of the things you said that stood out to me because I always love learning how other people explain these things.

I think you were talking about kind of order of operations and helping a client understand what accounts to contribute to and looking at, “Hey, maybe there’s some things we should fund before we jump right to setting up a 529 plan for kids.”

And so, I’ll probably get it wrong, the look of recognition on your face, I think you know exactly what I’m talking about. So, I’ll let you share how you explain this one to clients.

Jason Speciner: And so, this is one that I’ve just noticed is I’ve seen clients that have very topped off 529 plan accounts and retirement accounts that aren’t looking so great, but they also have retirement as their number one goal.

And so, I noticed this whole conundrum and I think to myself, “Well, when you’re boarding an airplane, you’re getting ready and they’re kind of going through all the safety announcements, one of the things they point out to you when these oxygen masks come out is what should you do.

Well, if you have kids with you, you should put your oxygen mask on first and then get the kids oxygen mask on. And that exact thing will apply to retirement, 529 planning, and education funding in general.

I mean, oftentimes like we overlook the idea that a lot of these retirement savings vehicles will be very effective as college planning tools. And so, we can utilize these as a dual strategy because who knows what your kids are going to do when it comes to college? Who knows if they’re even going to go to college or who knows who’s going to pay for it?

So, there’s so many unknowns there that if you get your mask on first, you’ll be able to help your kids get their mask on, and hey, maybe whatever got the mask dropping down in the first place was a big goof and you don’t need to do it.

But the bottom line is you take care of yourself, and then you’ll be a better position to take care of the others around you.

Steven Jarvis:     I like that analogy so much. To me, it illustrates what is often missing from a lot of tax preparation relationships for taxpayers, even for ones who work with financial advisors.

Tax preparation so often is focused on let’s get this year’s tax return done. It’s very factual, it’s very data-driven, which those are good things to a certain extent, but it misses this why piece, this behavior piece.

Let’s take it a step further and say what … to your point, in this situation, the client’s number one goal is retirement, not necessarily education. And so, if all you’re doing is churning out a 1040, which is what a lot of tax preparers are doing, it’s what a lot of tax preparers are being asked to do, there isn’t that moment to step back and say, “Well, what other conversations should we be having?

And I mean even before I heard you say that, I totally agreed with that line of thinking. I love learning from other people of how they’re explaining this because different things are going to resonate with different clients.

Different things are going to resonate with different advisors as far as how they explain this because I love learning from other people, but I always want to just adjust things a little bit so I feel good saying it too, that it flows for me, and some of that comes from practice as well.

Jason Speciner: Yeah, I mean, I think how we explain things is probably more important than what we’re explaining ultimately, at the end of the day. Because in any right complex and overly … even if it’s a great, great strategy, if it’s overly complex and it doesn’t hit the right notes and doesn’t hit the client the right way, it’s not going to get executed and it’s ultimately, not going to be the right strategy because it’s not going to be a strategy at that point either.

So, I sometimes get over caught up in analogies like that and other times like I can’t find the right ones. But ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s how to make sure that the advice lands right for the client.

And yeah, if all you’re doing is seeing the 1040, I mean, how many times if you’re just looking at a 1040, you wouldn’t even know that there was a distribution, for example, from a 529 plan. It’s just one like point of like thought there, is like there’s opportunities to miss lots of things just strictly focusing on the tax form itself for sure.

Steven Jarvis:     Oh yeah, we could go down a huge rabbit hole on that one. I was just having a conversation earlier today about a taxpayer we worked with who had inadvertently double reported their non-qualified stock option income, which unfortunately, is relatively common because of how it gets reported.

It gets reported on a W-2, it gets reported on a 1099-B, but it kind of in a misleading fashion. And so, this is certainly not uncommon that it can get double reported. But to your point, if all I do is take the 1040, put the numbers in, move on with life, this gets missed over and over again.

As you have practice with this, there’s things that you can be on the lookout for that if you’re having that planning mindset, you’re going beyond, “Hey, let’s just get the numbers in.”

And you’re starting to look for … one of the things I’m always looking at is on Schedule D. If we have got stock transactions, I’m always looking at are there transactions for the stock of the company the taxpayer owns.

Not that that inherently means anything’s wrong, but it’s just that I’ve seen enough things go wrong that’s kind of just a little bit of yellow flag for me of, “Hey, I need to ask some additional questions here.”

Maybe there’s nothing wrong, but there certainly could be a planning opportunity. That’s how we identified this issue with the taxpayer double reporting their income. We said, “Hey, wait, you’ve got large transaction in your company’s stock, let’s learn a little bit more about that.”

And we were able to help them get a huge refund from the IRS for a year we amended, and then avoid that same issue going forward. But it was all because of those questions that we were asking.

Jason Speciner: Stock comp is just a minefield of potential tax reporting issues. And I think like frankly, the best preparer for a return with lots of stock comp on it is going to be somebody that is intimately aware of and familiar with your equity compensation.

And so, that ultimately, is like very likely going to be your financial planner or somebody who is quarterbacking that relationship between your financial planner and your professional tax preparer like Retirement Tax Services or another CPA.

So, it really takes a lot of coordination to get those things right because like ultimately, like there are very, very large dollar errors that can happen with stock comp for sure like double reporting, it’s tip of the iceberg.

But yeah, there’s stuff that like you go down through like mergers and got to keep the code section, Section 361 and it escapes me at this point, but like things that happened there that you need to have your head in the swivel about and just on down the line. So, yeah absolutely.

Steven Jarvis:     Jason, something you said in there, I’ll have to admit that I think in a perfect world for a lot of clients, the ideal situation would be the financial advisor is also a tax preparer and can do both.

That’s going to give a single individual the most context, the most insight into what’s going on, the most likelihood to prevent errors to find opportunities. Now, in reality, that is almost never the case. You are definitely the unicorn here of both doing the financial planning as well as the tax preparation.

I only know a handful of advisors who do it and enjoy it, who do it successfully. For so many other advisors, I guess to me, it’s a close second, but still the advisor doing the tax prep would be the ideal; is finding a tax firm that partners with advisors that collaborates directly with them.

And yes, that’s a little bit biased because that’s what we do. And honestly, we created Retirement Tax Services because so many advisors couldn’t find that in the industry.

But there’s so much that gets left out and missed if there isn’t active communication between the advisor and the tax preparer. I’m almost on this campaign to help that happen for advisors, whether it’s with RTS or someone else — that collaboration is transformational.

Jason Speciner: And you should be. I mean ultimately, at the end of the day, we’re doing our clients a service by having that sort of collaboration in place. And too often, you have advisors in the field that are intimidated by the COIs.

That are maybe not collaborating with, but just frankly, like put off by the tax preparer or the CPA who did the return and not really working in engaging with them. And this is an opportunity for us to build some bridges.

And whether that is with that CPA that you’ve come across with 5 or 10 times in some of your client’s stuff or whether it’s working with Retirement Tax Services or another firm, it’s ultimately at the end of the day, like in service to your client.

And yeah, we may have the kind of unicorn factory at Financial Planning Fort Collins, and we really enjoy bringing these things together for our client’s best interests, but ultimately, like we’re taking the kind of intentional steps and the process that’s necessary to make that happen.

And that’s not always going to be a good fit for what every financial planner is looking and aiming to do with their financial planning practice.

Steven Jarvis:     Well, Jason, I really appreciate you coming on and sharing your insight. We always want to make sure that we’re helping our listeners turn the information we share into action because that’s where we get value from it.

So, for listeners who have ever considered, “Hey, maybe I should have tax prep in house,” what’s a good first step for kind of evaluating what that could look like or evaluating whether that’s really a road you want to go down?

Jason Speciner: So, I’m one of those that likes to start tinkering with things and seeing if they are a fit, if I can actually do something with some information. So, I think one of the good ways to evaluate this, if you’re a CFP you’ve already done the tax component of the CFP coursework, which is one way to go to kind of get a sense of this.

But if you really want take it a step further, go and study for this special enrollment examination, the EA, basically the test for EAs. And study the individual component of that and see how you do and how you kind of connect with that, and understanding like what’s involved with actually preparing tax returns.

And getting through that kind of idea of like, here’s kind of the knowledge set and the ideas that you need to be able to focus on and work well with, and just get an idea of if that is a good fit for you or not. And if it’s not, that’s your opportunity to identify that it’s probably a good thing to be outsourcing and be looking for a partner.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, I like that. It gives you a hands-on way to really explore if this is going to be a good fit for you. For advisors listening who just right out of the gate are thinking, nope, that’s never going to be for me. I totally get it. It’s not for everyone.

The action I really recommend, I mean this is released in the end of November. We’ve got a month left until the end of the calendar year and then we get into tax filing season.

I think something that everyone should do, and Jason, I would imagine you do this every year too, is to take a step back and say, “Okay, what am I doing this year to improve my client’s experience with taxes?”

And that evaluation’s going to look a little bit different for you, Jason, since you do the taxes in-house. But every financial advisor is helping their clients do things that have a tax impact.

So, I think every financial advisor should be standing back and saying, what’s that thing I’m doing this year to improve my clients’ experiences with taxes.

Jason Speciner: Yeah, I think that’s an awesome right way to think about something that most people look at is like a burden, a chore. Is how can you actually improve this thing? How can we make it better? And so, whether it’s delivering information that just is more helpful in the right times, that could be a big one.

But then ultimately also, improving just kind of the overall look and feel of what actually goes into getting a client ready as an example for actually being ready for year-end, being ready for tax season. Any little bit can help there for sure.

Steven Jarvis:     Well, Jason, I appreciate you coming on today. Like I said sharing your insights, it’s been great talking to you. I always love being able to nerd out a little bit with other tax professionals out there.

Jason Speciner: Well, hey, thank you so much Steven, for having me. It was really fun and I enjoyed chatting and hope to do it again with you sometime.

Steven Jarvis:     Yeah, of course. For everyone listening, thanks for being here. If you made it to this point in the show, clearly you’re enjoying something about what I’m doing here. So, take a minute, go out and give us a five-star review, leave a comment.

We love to see the audience continue to grow as this reaches thousands of advisors now. 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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