Tax Preparation and Planning
The foundation of good financial management is professional and personalized tax preparation. This annual ritual enables you to see how much tax you are paying, how much money you are both spending and saving for retirement and enables you to review your investments.
Strauss Tax Service works with you to prepare your personal tax return. We provide you with a check-off list and review each tax document. We prepare the tax return with you and explain the complex and ever changing IRS tax laws so you understand what happened this year and can make good decisions for future years. We also ask questions to get you all deductions, file amended tax returns if required, and are here year- round for your questions, and to explain and reply to any letters from the IRS or IL (often for underpayment penalties). If you need to file estimated taxes or change your withholding, we help you do that as well. And, if need be, we work with you and the IRS for an audit or with IRS problems, including non filing of back tax returns.
Many clients see us during the year to do tax planning if they inherited money, sold a stock or mutual fund, got married or divorced, had a death in the family, or started a new business. Our quarterly newsletter, The Strauss Report is sent to all clients to keep you up to date with the ever changing tax laws.
Estate and Trust Taxes/Planning
Following the passing of a loved one, there is a lot to do. Taxes do not go away (even if there is a Trust) – either for the deceased or for the beneficiaries. There are new tax rules for the final 1040, for IRAs and 401Ks and savings bonds and new tax forms such as a 1041 or a 706. As an Executor or a Trustee, your responsibility is to the deceased, the beneficiaries - and the IRS. There are possible tax consequences prior to death and new tax laws related to both Estates and Trusts. In addition, the responsibilities of the Executor of an Estate or the Trustee of a Trust require coordination with attorneys, tax professionals and financial advisors.
Strauss Tax Service explains the tax-related issues in Trust and Estate planning prior to death. In addition, we review the tax responsibilities of an Executor or Trustee after death, including timelines, required tax filings and issues related to working with the family of the deceased. We prepare the required tax returns, the final 1040, all 1041 ( trust income tax returns for the IRS and IL), 706 ( IRS Estate Tax return) and IL 700 if required. We also answer questions from the trustee or personal representative, and help them coordinate with the beneficiaries.
Estate and Trust Tax planning is also important to consider before one passes away. We work with you to help you understand the complex inheritance tax laws, review current trust and wills for potential tax issues and answer questions. Whether you have a small or a large estate, having the administration go smoothly - and as you wish - is truly a gift to the person who is responsible for distributing your assets.
Retirement Planning and Investment Education
When you retire - either by choice or not - there are a lot of tax decisions to make. Some important questions to consider are:
- How much money do I need to retire?
- When can I take Social Security – and what are the tax consequences?
- Should I rollover my 401K and how do I know what is the correct amount to rollover?
- When must I start withdrawing from my IRA and how does it work?
- How do I plan for taxes when I retire - withholding vs. estimated taxes?
- What about medical insurance and expenses when I retire?
You should not wait until the last minute - especially since the paperwork from your company is overwhelming and often confusing.
Strauss Tax Service can check your current retirement plan - including 401K and Social Security. We can help you determine if you are on track with your retirement goals, review your 401K plan and ask questions so you are not surprised either at tax time or as you spend the money you have saved. We do not sell any products or get any commissions; rather, we work to educate clients about investing and investment products and we review portfolios and talk with you and your financial advisor.