029: Whatever You Do, Don’t Do These 7 Things to Save on Taxes
You know those friends that you can do anything with? The ones where you can call up at the last minute and ask if they want to grab coffee ☕ and maybe stroll through Home Goods and Target for a good 2 hours on a Sunday. Ya know, for research?
In some ways, we like to think of ourselves as those friends – except the money saving edition‼️😬😬
Now don’t get us wrong, we love a good deal. 🧡 Perusing through the aisles of any quality store, looking at the pretty items on display, and smelling the sweet scent of candles and other goods set our souls on 🔥 fire.
And when we can cut a few coupons in the process so we can justify the money we’re about to drop? Even better.
Hey! Those throw pillows were: buy one get one free! You had to have them.
We are also known for saving you in places that you didn’t even know you could save in. The ultimate coupon clip. Paying less in taxes! 💪
If you’re anything like us, the more money in your pocket at the end of tax season, the better. 😘😘 You’ve heard the old adage of the many different ways to save on taxes. Some of those reasons sound like:
👉 Go on holidays and write them off as business trips. While we love a vacation, I am coming back with the sun burning both skin and the hole in my wallet.
👉 Write off as many things as possible (a.k.a. buy unnecessary items) by year-end so your bank account is as low as possible. Again, we’re big fans of a home goods store but there’s only so many Live. Laugh. Love signs a girl can have.
👉 Gamble away since you can have a write-off. This plain just sounds sketchy!
👉 Label everything as “entertainment” because that’s the way they claim them as expenses. As much as I love the theater, no your nieces’ school performance of Annie is not an entertainment expense.
👉 Become your own H&R Block. If you’re thinking Hey, I can save a lot of money this way! There’s a reason these people get stressed during tax season.
👉 Don’t get married, just kidding, do get married, because you can file jointly and lower your tax brackets! This advice is just plain confusing and takes everything romantic out of marriage.
👉 And the last reason: make babies so you can claim them as dependents! I’m sorry– did you just tell me to form another life to bring on this planet for tax purposes?! Now that’s just plain cringy. 🤯
And, don’t worry we have a story on that later!
Of course, these are extreme examples and they are old-school strategies that have worked for generations. Heck, they might have even worked for you! However, we’re here to say there is another way to cut your taxes down to virtually zero.
Zero dollars, that is.
Of course, this came with a few tries on our end and we’ve learned the hard way which options work without zero dollars on our balance sheet by year-end that allows us to have profits in our business without having to expense everything. Let’s just say we don’t dread the month of April anymore.
And we want to help you get there!
That’s why today we are sharing ➡️ 7 things you can stop doing to save on taxes so that you can keep more money in your pockets and grow your wealth simultaneously. And the best part? It’s still true to you. This way you can expand financially in a way that will get you closer to your goals, fund your lifestyle and your schedule.
So together we’re also here for the ride of breaking down these old school methods of the past to save on taxes that simply don’t make sense anymore and instead, lean into keeping more money in your pocket the right way that helps create abundant income. *Ahem* passive income– to fund the lifestyle of your dreams!
And hey, if that includes stopping at every aisle at Target and not thinking twice at the cash register, we’re here for it!
Stop Making Babies Just to Claim Them as Dependents
There was this one interaction with our former CPA that we’ll never forget. It was around tax season and we were contemplating this massive six-figure tax bill that we owed. In the middle of shuffling through paperwork and thinking through options he looks at us dead in the eyes and says “Hey since you’re paying a high six-figure tax bill, one of the ways to pay less in taxes is to claim dependents. If you have like 4 children you can write off $3500 per each one or something like that $ amount.”
Now don’t get us wrong, having children is wonderful and a total gift. But we surely don’t want to have them so I could write off $14,000 per year (or so)! I mean it would possibly help with dropping my tax bracket maybe that is not enough compared to how much it would actually cost to bring a human life into this world. Between 🏥 hospital appointments to diapers to daycare times FOUR. Whew…I’m exhausted. So big shout out to all the Mamas out there making it happen at home. 🥰
Just because someone said that’s one of the ways you can cut your tax bill, don’t go out of your way and have babies for the sake of tax purposes. Instead, if you’re qualified as a real estate professional, you send out your money for them to make babies (a.k.a. interest) for you.
Trust us when we say that’s a more sound, sustainable and scalable way! When you send your money to make babies, particularly in the 🏢 multifamily apartment asset class, you get to enjoy the tax write-off with depreciation.
The amazing thing is that when you DO send your money to make babies if you’re qualified as a real estate professional, you can use any passive loss to offset your active income, which then will help you keep more money in your pocket, while growing your passive income stream, and help free up your time as well!
We love kids, but they don’t exactly free up your time!
Now for those of you who aren’t qualified as real estate professionals yet, you can use your K1-paper loss to offset any passive income activities, so you won’t have to pay any taxes on them.
These are just some helpful guidelines. Our best advice is to make sure you check with your tax professionals for your particular scenario.
Stop Claiming Your Personal Holidays as Business Trips
It’s no secret that we love to travel. ✈️🏝️🌊 I mean, our whole Instagram is filled with awesome memories from some of the world’s most incredible destinations. We feel so fortunate and blessed. 😊😊
And you know what we’re not thinking about when we’re hopping between ⛱️ islands in the Maldives, taking 🚗 road trips in Namibia, or swimming alongside the majestic 🦭 sea lions in the Galapagos? How we’re going to expense this trip for tax purposes.
Now, we know people who claim their holiday trips as their business expenses although those family vacations have nothing to do with the business.
Plus, nobody likes that guy on the trip with his AirPods in as he makes “just a quick call”.
You see, according to the IRS, to write off any business trips, you must participate at least 50% of your time for business. For example 〰️ if you want to write off a trip to an island in Hawaii to check out some real estate ventures, you need to make sure it’s really a real estate investing trip. You will need to have all the necessary paperwork. For example a brochure of the real estate that you visited, or tickets to the real estate conference that you went to.
When you write off incorrectly, you can be challenged by the IRS if you get an audit. Make sure to keep a clear document and all the paperwork (like the brochure) necessary related to your business trip.
This doesn’t mean we aren’t down for a trip to Hawaii for a real estate conference, we’re just saying make sure you know how to prove it.
Stop Buying Unnecessary Items by Year End for Tax Write Offs
Like we mentioned earlier, we love a good deal. And especially for you up-and-coming business owners and entrepreneurs, we know how easy it is to fall into the trap of buying all the latest and greatest tech toys.
I mean, you need the new iPhone to sync to your new AirPods to make business calls and the new laptop which you’ll do all your work on plus ensuring your health is on track as a company so you’ll also need the new smartwatch. And you’ll be able to write it off at the end of the year anyway. 🙄
See? So easy.
Showing your bank account as zero may get you to reduce your tax bill, but it also means you’re spending your money away vs. keeping more in your pocket.
Stop letting the zero in your bank account mean you’re on the winning side because the reality check is that you’re actually not. At the end of the day you will end up with unnecessary items that you absolutely may have no use for. Our best tip is for you to buy items with a purpose that will help grow your business. We only want to see things in the positive, not negative! Both in your life and in your bank account.
Stop Gambling Away
Do you know what one of the hardest addictions to break is other than our obsession with drinking boba?
It’s gambling. ♠️🎲 Because the mindset is they can win it all back in just a second so they keep trying and trying hoping the odds will land in their favor.
It also explains why it’s easy to get stuck and think this is another way to write off taxes. In fact, many entrepreneurs we know use these methods because they think they want to try their luck while at the same time saving on taxes.
Our best advice is, save the gambling for a responsible trip to Vegas and not during the cusp of tax season. 😂😂 As innocent as it starts in the beginning, gambling can quickly grow into a terrible habit that will be unproductive to your life.
And if you or someone you know is struggling with this, we can’t recommend seeking help enough. Call the National Gambling Hotline 1-800-522-4700 to seek support.
Stop Labeling Everything as Entertainment
Our other method to not save on taxes? Labeling everything as “entertainment.” 🥞🍳
Let’s be honest, that Nobu lunch you took with your girls was not an entertainment expense. Sure, they might have asked you how your real estate gig is working out but there was no strategy involved, or investors you were trying to bring in. Just a couple of lychee and elderflower martinis.
Hey, no judgment here! Not too long ago that was us too when we first started. Only when we realized that the entertainment category is restricted to be used for business purposes only. Any expense that takes money away from your pocket may hurt your bottom line.
And, as much as we love oysters 🦪, they tend to be a tad pricey. Be intentional and let all the charges be for business entertainment. Don’t spend any money just because you think you’ll pay less in taxes.
But do celebrate your big tax wins with some sushi by the sea if that’s your thing!
Stop Becoming Your Own H&R Block
Moving on to filing taxes. Raise your hand if you’re guilty of thinking you can file your own taxes.
Us too. We thought “Hey, this is easy enough and we can save a few hundred dollars by not hiring someone to communicate to the IRS for us.” 😬😬
We dream big around here. The reality is, you need at least 10,000 hours to become an expert on anything in any field. We thought filing taxes was so straightforward we could become our own H&R Block.
More like H&R Blokes. We were way in over our head and started hiring professionals. But even then we ran into some issues. Like in Nancy’s story earlier, even though we were hiring CPA’s, their advice on how to not pay taxes was to have children or get married.
I’m sorry, is this 1955? 😆😆
While she was good in many ways, this was not the advice we were looking for. While we all have legal, moral, and ethical obligations to pay taxes we think it’s important to follow the guidelines of what the government really wants us to do.
The government doesn’t really care which side of the cashflow quadrant you are in, either way, they get 40-60% from your tax pay or they get you to do what they want you to do which is to become a producer and give opportunities to others to make money in this economy.
No matter how you slice it, Uncle Sam and his band, the IRS, get out on top and we’re here to make sure we’re working smarter, not harder, around it.
So while you may have to shop around for a good tax expert they are totally worth every penny. Our current CPA is good and expensive! (We are not kidding here!) But they are experts in real estate accounting and have hit those 10,000 hours to become an expert faster and better than we ever could.
Now we have an incredible CPA who tells us things like tax law is a roadmap to financial freedom, filled with incentives for entrepreneurs and investors like us! All we have to do is follow the rules of the rich‼️
Don’t Rush Into Getting Married So You Can File Jointly and Potentially Lower Your Tax Bracket
And finally, don’t get married so you can file jointly to potentially lower your tax bracket. Honestly, every time we hear this we can’t help but chuckle to ourselves. All we can picture is one of us at the altar 👰♀️🤵, white dress and all, and someone rushing into the building to stop the wedding like Stop! you don’t have to do this! There’s another way!
And in this case, it isn’t some other person vying for our heart, it’s someone helping us save on taxes on our terms! Take, for example, our friend the pediatrician. She is so amazing and we remember her saying she never wants to get married because she grew up in a broken home situation and it scared her to make such a commitment.
Which is a totally real thing for so many people. She never wanted to get married and was super content living with her boyfriend and living her life. At the same time, she was paying a lot in taxes so her CPA suggested they get married so she could file jointly and lower the tax bracket.
What is with these CPAs and their marriage advice?! 🤪🤪
Well, luckily for her it did work out and she now has two beautiful kids of her own. I guess taxes can get a little romantic.
We still don’t want a CPA officiating anyone’s wedding!
It’s About the Money You Keep
So those are the 7 things you can put on your not-do list when it comes to tax savings. Our hope is that you learned something and, honestly, feeling a little relieved that your tax savings do not depend on if wedding bells are in your future or not!
While this is a list of “stops” and “don’ts” there are other ways to not only cut your tax bill but keep more in your pocket while simultaneously generating a passive income to grow your long-term wealth.
Remember this 〰️ tax laws are basically a series of incentives that the government uses to push for certain policies. Like, producers. So if we approach the tax law with that point of view and look at it as a way to incentivize ordinary people like us to act accordingly, we will get to keep more money in our pockets!
Because, at the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you’re giving, but how much money you can keep.
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