I’ve been a CFP® for quite a while, but I don’t know everything, especially when it comes to tax laws. It seems like we hear about new proposed tax changes every few weeks, and it can be hard to keep up on which of these bills pass and what they mean for our clients.
While most news stories about the economy are relevant to us as financial planners, information about possible tax changes is especially vital to understand. When tax laws change, we need to know about it, and we need to know how those changes will affect our clients.
That’s why I keep a list of reliable resources I can use when my clients have tax questions I can’t answer right away. Today, I’m sharing those resources with you.
1) Expert CPAs
CPAs need to be experts on tax laws in order to serve their own clients effectively. I get a lot of my news about tax changes from Jeff Levine’s Twitter. He does an excellent job of breaking down complicated tax policies into understandable language.
2) Trustworthy news sources
3) Official bills and legislation
Sometimes, it’s best to go right to the source. You can find the text of proposed bills on the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee’s website. For example, here’s one of the proposed tax changes that may end up becoming law.
Bills are usually super long and hard to read, but you can skip to relevant portions by using the Find feature in your browser to look for certain words and phrases. When I’m reading through a new bill, I just CTRL+F to read the parts that particularly affect my clients or identify key areas through the table of contents.
4) Communities of experts
As financial planners, we are experts in some topics, but no one can know everything. That’s why it’s vital to become a part of a community (or several communities) of experts. Online forums like FPA Activate and FPA Connect make this easy. You can take questions to the community and also get a chance to contribute your own expertise to fellow financial planners.
Ready-made online communities are easy to find, but you can also form your own study group of financial professionals, as I have. If you take this route, make sure to look for people with different perspectives and areas of expertise. My group includes a diverse range of professionals, from CFP®s to CFAs.
5) Professional contacts
If you’re working through a really specific issue with one of your clients, it may be necessary to reach out to individual professionals. For example, I sometimes contact a client’s CPA for specific, niche questions about tax laws or uncommon situations.
6) Financial planning software
When I chose the financial planning software to use, I made sure to pick one that could handle tax questions and updates. eMoney is very responsive to tax changes, which makes it a great choice for me. Holistiplan is another one I recommend.
What are your go-to resources for financial planners?
As financial planners, we have to understand tax laws to serve our clients effectively. That means we need to have reliable places to go to find information on the latest changes and proposed bills.
I’ve shared some of my favorite resources, but I’m always ready to learn more. Please share your favorite resources for tax information in the comments below!
Sharing resources is just one of the ways we can help out our financial planning colleagues. The Amplified Planning community is full of experts who are ready to provide their unique perspectives to relevant (and challenging) conversations. Sign up for our email newsletter to get the latest on these powerful discussions.