New Jersey tax attorney Martin Shenkman is one of the gurus of every aspect of planning that touches on the IRS code. When I saw his "two tax mistakes to avoid," I had to pass them on.
AdvisorOne talked to the great one and came away with two big takeaways.
First, Shenkman says it's a mistake to put off any tax planning moves while we're waiting for the November elections to give us all political clarity.
After all, there's no time but the present. And if the tax code changes after November, your clients who lock in present policy now will be safe if the rules get tighter and the exemptions shrink.
If, of course, the rules somehow get looser next year, it's easy to revise an existing tax plan to take advantage of them.
Shenkman's second bit of wisdom is that there's no single silver bullet to solve every client tax problem at once, and there's no sense in waiting for Washington to create one.
Working with the tax code is hard work. It requires diligence, patience, and even stamina.
Yes, these two points look a lot like the tax wisdom we hear every year. That's because they don't actually change, no matter where we are in the election cycle or which party's in power.
The tax code will always be in a state of flux. There will always be uncertainty and unanswered questions. Advisors who can deal with that can focus on what they can control on their clients' behalf -- and ultimately get better outcomes.