That April 15th (or this year, April 18th) deadline looms large over many of us, causing us to put all sorts of items on our financial and business plan to-do list on hold, held in a stasis until our filing is complete.
But now the taxes are hopefully behind you (expect for you extension filers). It’s a great time of year to do some reflection and consider what you have been putting off for far too long:
- Updating and/or creating your estate plans. Estate plans are not a one-shot document. Life changes occur. New children, grandchildren, marriages, even illnesses or debilitating events may have an impact as to how your finances are organized. Now is a good time to review your documents and discuss them with your attorney to make sure they are current and reflect what you want.
- Tax planning far in advance to alleviate the sting of April 15, 2017. May and June are great times to discuss with your tax attorney and your accountant what steps you can take advantage of to lessen your future tax burden. Not only will these professionals now have the time to meet with you to have such a conversation, they will be thrilled to be on the planning end of things and not just the filing end. Thinking through the course of the year, are there capital investments including equipment purchases that you should make by December 2016? Are there bonuses or payments that should occur in 2016 or should they occur in 2017? What hiring decisions do you anticipate making in the next year? Are they any timing consequences to these decisions?
- Review significant business documents. If you own your own business, you may be wallowing in documents of all types. But there are few key ones that need regular review and even tweaking. These include but are not limited to employee handbooks, operations manuals, finance and payroll documents, and even emergency procedures.
- Compare health care plans. You are likely to have a yearly re-enrollment date for your health care plan. Regardless of the date, take time to compare what’s out there and be sure the plan you are selecting is working well for your family financially and in terms of care. Now that the taxes are done, you may also have an aggregate amount of unreimbursed health care costs. Are you taking out enough from a health savings account or are you taking out too much and leaving that money on the table? If you or your spouse will be phasing into Medicare within the next year, do the research now on which supplemental insurance you want to purchase.
Conduct your own legal spring cleaning right now, locating relevant documents, consulting with expert advice and moving from putting out fires to moving forward in a planful, comprehensive manner.