Often, when it comes to questions of personal tax, I hear people say that it’s an issue for their accountant; usually followed by a woeful story about how bad that one year was when they had a tax audit. And economic policy gets a dull glazing of the eyes.
Which is fair enough, I guess.
When these same people say things like:
- “I choose to use homeopathic remedies over prescription medication because I believe that it’s a healthier alternative option”; and
- “I don’t believe in global warming”; and
- “I was happy with that employment contract”…
I raise both eyebrows.
By the same logic, you should only be making the medical decisions if you’re a doctor; the global warming assertion if you’re a scientist; and signing contracts if you’re a lawyer. But you’re probably none of those. And yet you make do anyway.
We’re willing to Google medical treatments, Wikipedia environmental theories, and discuss legal contracts with friends before we sign them. We’re happy to have those opinions.
But somehow, when it comes to the business admin, we’re happy to let that slide. We just hand over to someone else, and hope that it all works out, and that we don’t get another tax audit.
Finance is not rocket science. Neither is tax.
But if you know nothing about it, then you get burned at the worst possible time.
An example: estate duty tends to hit you bang in the middle of mourning the loss of your beloved parent: rocking your already rocked world. By some happenstance of time and aging, you’re suddenly liable for the tax on the total worth of the recently deceased. And if there aren’t cash reserves and you don’t take advantage of the exemptions available – you’re going to be doing a fair amount of fire-selling just to raise the money to pay it.
And don’t just rely on your accountant – there’s a clerk in the back that just wants to get your return submitted and invoiced without any hassle, so that he can get home early to his wife and kids.
Do not be CRAZY. Pay well for some good advice from a respectable lawyer today*.
I realize that I’m probably preaching to the converted. But spread the word.
*Never attempt to save money on a lawyer, doctor or medical insurer. You pay for what you get there, I’m afraid. S|aving money on a lawyer will probably cost you money in the end.