What is Strategic Tax Planning?
STA guides business owners through the fog of uncertain tax laws to substantially reduce taxes and avoid risks and penalties. This fog is created by our current tax laws and lack of guidance from Congress.
Currently five times longer than the Bible (and increasing by one change a day, on average), the Internal Revenue Code relies on vague and confusing language such as “reasonable compensation” and “ordinary and necessary business expense.” With this fog creating by the ever-changing Tax Code, some taxpayers take blind gambles, running substantial risk of audit and penalties. Conversely, another group of taxpayers will not enter the fog and incur far more tax than legally necessary; they considerably pay more than their “fair share”. Simply stated, Strategic Tax Planning is the process of structuring and conducting business and personal transactions so taxes are reduced to the lowest possible level while protecting business and personal assets in our litigious society.
The overall aim of Strategic Tax Planning is to maximize “after tax” income, protect assets, plan for the eventual exit from the business, and minimize estate and inheritance taxes. This is accomplished through the Strategic Tax Planning process, which includes a team of professionals investigating the Tax Laws together with the business owner’s individual facts and circumstances, to develop a customized Strategic Tax Plan. In other words, a Strategic Tax Plan serves as a map by which to guide business owners to a safe path through the fog of uncertain tax laws. While the hazards in the fog may be fearsome to the inexperienced, the due diligence of a prudent Strategic Tax Planning team of professionals serves as a beacon of light to illuminate the uncertainty and expose the hidden dangers in the fog of the Tax Law, ultimately permitting business owners to safely structure their businesses and transactions within, while protecting their assets and realizing substantial tax savings.
What tax planning is and is not:
- It is legal
- Numerous tax code provisions prove the intentions of Congress to allow and/or encourage lawfully structuring of business and personal affairs to claim tax benefits (including deductions, exclusions, credits, and deferrals) on a fully disclosed basis.
- It is proactive
- Tax planning starts at the beginning of the year, by creating strategies to reduce tax expands. It is much easier to plan ahead, and there are more options available than an end of the year scramble.
- It is synergistic
- Tax planning considers the tax consequences and benefits from multiple perspectives including personal benefit, business benefit, ownership’s succession wishes, current and desired retirement planning, ownership’s estate planning wishes, and asset protection.
- It is not tax preparation
- Tax preparation is accomplished by a competent professional who understands tax reporting. Tax preparation occurs after a period has been completed. A tax preparer would be deployed to implement some of the recommendations within the business owner’s customized tax plan.
STA assigns numerous tax professionals to each client engagement to ensure that all potential opportunities are identified, thoroughly researched, and evaluated in light of the client’s specific circumstances and project goals. The project commences with an on-site visit by a Senior Tax Consultant or multiple Senior Tax Consultants who meet with the business owner and perform the necessary on-site due diligence to determine the scope of the engagement and gather information.
While the Senior Tax Consultant serves as the primary point-of-contact during the engagement, the Senior Tax Consultant will work closely with a select team of tax professionals in identifying opportunities, structuring the recommendations, and preparing a written Tax Strategies Report (TSR).
Upon completion of the TSR, the Senior Tax Consultant will meet with the client (and current professionals, if desired) to present each recommendation, the associated tax and asset protection benefits, and discuss the manner in which they may be effectively implemented. Although the Senior Tax Consultant will thoroughly explain all recommendations, the TSR will also illustration the recommendations. Because business owners are not tax professionals by trade, the TSR is presented in “layman’s terms·, so that a non-tax professional may understand the function and benefit of the recommendations.
Subsequent to the presentation of the report by the Senior Tax Consultant, STA will be available to provide guidance to the client’s legal and tax professionals during the implementation of the recommended tax strategies. If deemed appropriate, STA has developed close professional relationships with other firms that may implement all, or a portion, of the recommended strategies.