Taxing Weather

Those of us in Central Ohio saw temperatures see-saw from well below zero to well above zero this winter, but mostly below. If you are like me, you too are wondering if spring will ever come. The calendar says March, but the temperature shouts January. To add to the misery (for some), it’s also tax season.

Uncle SamOur unusually cold winter doesn’t necessarily mean that next winter will be as cold, or as erratic, or as depressing. And the same holds true for tax returns. If after navigating your 2013 tax forms you were disappointed with the return, or regret any of 2013’s financial decisions in regards to charity (Form 990) or income (1040), or business (2106), you don’t have to repeat last year’s actions. There are ways to avoid paying taxes.

Before you call the sheriff, there’s a difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. Tax evasion is breaking the law and is illegal; tax avoidance is minimizing your taxes through legitimate means and is totally legal.

Judge Learned Hand (1872 – 1961) famously wrote: “Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”

The wise judge is right. So we remind you once again to contact the Stewardship Foundation. As a public foundation, we can offer anyone (you don’t have to be wealthy) possible tax avoidance scenarios customized to your individual financial needs, as well as the needs of your family or business. Developing a strategy now lays the foundation for a happy 2014 tax return next year.

Oh, and about that spring—according the Old Farmers Almanac, the rest of March is expected to have an average temperature of 42 degrees, with rain and snow through March 9, followed by sun and showers, then a few flurries around the 22nd – 24th, and finally mild temps. April is forecasted to be 4 degrees above normal. Alleluia!