Photo Credit Loanshak

Last week I told you all about an opportunity my hubby, an accountant, and his firm were going to do for FTM readers – not one, not two but THREE free tax returns and consultations for THREE (get that THREE) of you!  Plus, there will be two of you who will win 50% off vouchers for a tax return and consultation.  And just for entering the giveaway, even if you don’t win, you receive 20% off a tax return and consultation!  You might be asking yourself why have someone else do your taxes for you?  Well, apparently there’s a huge difference between tax preparation (which is what most of us do) and tax construction (what you’ll win with this giveaway).  My hubby, Ben, who’s not a writer (I mean he can write but it takes him forever and a day b/c he’s so detail oriented) wrote a little information for us on the differences.

Tax planning/construction vs. tax preparation

Written by Ben A.

When it comes to taxes, many people think it’s just a matter of collecting all of your year-end statements that you receive in January. Then after that making sure the numbers end up in the right spot on your tax return. With the ever growing complexity of our tax code, simply preparing your taxes with the numbers you’re given could result in Uncle Sam holding onto more of your money than he needs to. 

So what’s the alternative? The alternative is to use the complexity of our tax code to your advantage as much as possible and construct what your tax return will look like instead of simply putting the numbers on a form and letting it spit out a final number for you. Sure, you can go to your local H&R Block and they’ll take your statements and get you that final number, but that’s it. Beyond just getting a final number on your tax return, you should be getting much more from your accountant. 

Things you should be getting advice on from your accountant are: 
– How much tax you’re having withheld from your paycheck

– How much you should be putting in your 401(k)

– When should you refinance your mortgage

– Year-end tax planning opportunities

– Maximizing income tax brackets and capital gains rates

– How to take advantage of credits such as the child care credit or the retirement contribution credit

– If you should make traditional or Roth IRA contributions

– Should you convert your IRA to a Roth IRA?

– Should you set up an Education Savings Account for your kids?

– Should you have a Health Savings Account?

– Should you lease or buy your next vehicle and if you buy should you pay cash or finance it?


This list is not all inclusive.  As you can see this relates just as much to your financial picture as a whole as it does to your tax return. Without guidance on these issues, you won’t be aware of the potential damage you may be doing to your overall financial health. So for your own sake, make sure you are finding someone who will provide you with more than just a tax return.  You should have an accountant who will provide you with an overall assessment of your financial picture. Your objective is to construct your tax return not just prepare it.


Here’s the Rafflecopter form for you to complete!  If you’re interested in receiving the 20% off for being a follower, please contact me at ftmalways [at] gmail [dot] com.  Even without the discounts or giveaways, if you’re in need of someone to help you with your taxes and finances I know Ben would be more than willing to help you.  You can email him directly at ben [at] ctbcpa [dot] com.  


Good luck and thanks again to my brilliant hubby, Ben, and CTB for this generous giveaway!

Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.