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Stalking the Accountant: Tax Planner for the New Tax Laws

Tax season is here with concerns about tax law changes effective this year while we still use the old rules for preparing the 2017 return. Several new tools are available to help you determine how the tax code changes will affect you.

Drake Software, the program I use in my office, has developed a Tax Planner incorporating the changes in the TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT. If we prepare your return you will get a copy of this diagnostic automatically at no additional cost showing what your taxes would have been if the changes applied to 2017. No more guessing.

I am also officially opening my doors for additional tax clients! This is important. This summer will be busy as serious planning is needed for all taxpayers with rental properties or business income. Past advice is out the window as new rules mean new advice! Some people will need to consider different entity structures to take advantage of the new rules. Regular clients will have first pick of consulting sessions. If slots are available after serving clients I will open the doors for non-clients. I’ll keep you informed.

If you prepare your own return you should consider Drake’s DIY program with the link below and in the right column. You will receive the same diagnostic tax professionals using Drake provide.


If your tax professional uses software without an effective planner or you prepare your own return outside this blog you might consider the Tax Proposal Calculator offered by the Tax Policy Center. I’ve played with the calculator and find it helpful.

[After I published, Jeff from Maximum Cents (a blog you should consider reading) left a comment with a link to an even better tax calculator than I provided above.

This is what I love about the blogging community. Our group intelligence blows away anything I can do on my own. Thanks for sharing, Jeff.]


The stock market has been on a tear. Now is the time to consider monitoring your wealth building with Personal Capital. The easy money has been made with the massive market run-up. Having a plan and clear visual of where you stand financially is a powerful resource. Clicking the image below takes you to Personal Capital. Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t know.


Concerns over the market also have people thinking about different places to invest their money. Lending Club and Prosper were a great alternative until issues arose a year or so ago. I’m currently withdrawing all my funds from Lending Club and Prosper due to the high level of risk compared to the declining returns. This is a slow process, but nearing the end.

A similar investing model backed by real estate is offered by Peer Street with comparable returns. Lending Club and Prosper are unsecured loans with a higher level of risk. Peer Street isn’t a perfect answer, but certainly a consideration for a limited percentage of your portfolio. Clicking the image below takes you to Peer Street. Kick the tires and let us know what you think in the comments.


Student loans came up in the comments this week. Debt is the number one enemy of wealth and student loans are structured with serious risks to the borrower. I’ve pasted a link below to SoFi. At the very minimum kick the tires. Before interest rates climb higher you want to get your loans under control.


Before we get to the fun stuff, remember next week is our drawing for $100! The drawing is open to all subscribers. Check the Where Am I page calendar for more drawing dates and details.


Now for the fun stuff to enjoy the rest of your weekend!


What I’m Reading

Richard Branson has made a name for himself doing business differently and having fun in the process. I bought several of his books a few weeks ago and cracked open The Virgin Way: If It’s Not Fun, It’s Not Worth Doing.

Richard’s style is different and it resonates with me. I fell in love with the FIRE community for their frugal ways. Early retirement always sounds nice, but retirement in its traditional form isn’t for me. Enter Sir Branson.

Branson convinced with his words and lifestyle you can have the best of both worlds: free time with family and doing the things you enjoy, plus keeping the business. He also provided me with ample evidence I need to listen more and better. I tend to talk too much. (If you’re reading this dad do not comment. We, ah, you can laugh about this at the card table.)

Branson has a refreshing style I enjoyed more than I originally thought. If you want a fun, entertaining and informative read, I recommend The Virgin Way.


What I’m Watching

Natural history and science are common threads in my viewing habits. My guess is you’ll enjoy as much as I did this YouTube video on how the Earth’s landmasses moved over millions of years. [240 million years ago to 250 million years in the future]


Professor Brian Cox is a favorite. In the video embedded below Cox explains The Biggest Threat to our Civilization.


All that serious talk requires balance with a humor piece. Jim Jefferies is a riot. His humor reminds me of George Carlin with an Australian accent. Here Jefferies explains the situation between North Korea and the U.S. Enjoy.


What I’m Listening to

Talking about Australia, here’s a song from Midnight Oil I listened to this week. [Beds are Burning]


Finally, I rarely listen to recent music releases. The following video of Somebody That I Used to Know played at the gym ad nauseam a while back and YouTube must have heard about it. Now I can’t get the darn tune outta my head. I’m passing the blessing on to you.


Enjoy your weekend, kind readers! Can’t wait to get back with you again Monday.


Monday 29th of January 2018

think the concern with Lending Club might be hyperbole. My returns on there and Prosper have hovered around 7% for years. I'm going on year 8 with lending club. i tried Prosper, had similar success, but found it redundant to have both so am phasing that out. Have never used autoinvest features. the normal min investment on Peer St is $1000 tho! have been using that as well with similar success. generally hoping we continue to see higher rates without damaging the economy.


Monday 29th of January 2018

Keith, What is the best way to engage with you regarding possible consulting? email, contact via comments (ie. like this)? Also, could you possibly do a post on how to best navigate / manage a situation when someone has multiple IRAs (deductible and non-deductible - ie. IRA aggregate rule) and how it impacts taxable distributions & Roth IRAs - this can be confusing if not handled correctly so want to get expert insight / recommendations.

Thx, Dave

Keith Schroeder

Monday 29th of January 2018

Dave, the Contact form is the best way to reach me. I'm unable to transfer comments into my database and we don't want to air personal information publicly.


Saturday 27th of January 2018

I can't find any pricing on the site - perhaps I'm just missing it? Or what the differences are between the different plans?

Keith Schroeder

Sunday 28th of January 2018

Mark, it depends on the return. The program calculates the lowest fee when the return is done so pricing is hard to show up front. Here is the full pricing:

January and February Basic Free Deluxe $24.95 ($19.95 per State) Premier $44.95 ($24.95 per State)

March thru April 15 Basic Free ($14.95 per State) Deluxe $29.95 ($19.95 per State) Premier $49.95 ($24.95 per State)

April 16 thru October 15 Basic Free ($19.95 per State) Deluxe $34.95 ($24.95 per State) Premier $54.95 ($29.95 per State)

Taxpayers will automatically receive the lowest price option available for their tax situation.

I lifted this from my admin page they provide me.


Saturday 27th of January 2018

Lending Club and Prosper looked great a few years ago when the stock market was anemic and when they were returning 7-8% on average. Last year I broke even with Lending Club and only made a few dollars with Prosper. Needless to say auto reinvest was turned off long ago.


Saturday 27th of January 2018

seems like this site is becoming more and more just a collection of referral links, sad.

Keith Schroeder

Saturday 27th of January 2018

Bob, Saturdays are for Stalking the Accountant. The links are there for reader's reference. Some are referral links, most are not. I put in the work to publish over 800,000 words in the last two years. At least let me earn half of minimum wage for my time. And, as I noted earlier, every dime of profit goes to charities. That alone is worth considering affiliate links here.

This post's links came up over the previous week. For example, when a reader has issues with their student loan and I pass the info to everyone, that is a value added service. All the videos are NOT affiliates though YouTube might have ads on the videos, something I don't control.

All the links I provide are resources readers in this demographic look for. That's significantly different from slapping every program on every page. I break up text on regular posts with ads to help the eyes avoid unbroken solid text. I also use images.

Some of this stuff ends up on the TWA Recommends page, but not all. I share the referral because somebody asked and I shared what I knew. If there's as affiliate program I try to sign up. It all goes to help the kids helped by the charities this blog supports.