By Andrew Schwartz, CPA
This year’s most interesting observation has nothing to do with taxes or personal finances but instead deals with civility and kindness.
The world we live in has really become quite nasty:
- Our political leaders on both sides of the aisle have become extremely partisan and uncivil in recent years.? Unfortunately, these are the people setting the tone and tenor for the whole country.
- Social media allows a level of anonymity that provides anyone with internet access the opportunity for unabated nastiness without any repercussions.
Based on interactions I’ve had with quite a few of my clients this past tax season, I think the general public is fed up with all the nastiness we are dealing with in our culture today.? Never had I had so many clients take a few minutes during the tax meeting to say something to me along these lines:
Andrew, I don’t think I have told you this before but I really appreciate working with you over all these years and just wanted to sincerely thank you for helping me out with my taxes and other basic financial planning issues for the past xx years.
Hopefully what I observed this past tax season is actually an unofficial and unorganized movement from those of us who want to live in a more civil society.? In response to the kind words I received from more than a few of my clients this past winter, I have personally tried to take a few extra seconds during an interaction with another person to give genuine thanks and appreciation to that person.?A little kindness to maybe counteract someone else’s nastiness.
With that being said, thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule each month to read the short articles that I post. I sincerely appreciate it.
Prior Years Trends and Observations
Here are the most interesting trends that I observed during the prior tax seasons along with links to those articles:
2018:? That tax season I noticed that high income couples earning between $300k and $500k stand to make out the best under the new tax rules
2017:? That tax season I noticed that more of my clients installed solar panels on their homes during 2016 than all of the prior years combined.
2016: The number of clients who instructed me to allocate $3 of their tax liability to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, due primarily to the craziness brought on?by the Trump/Clinton Presidential Election.
2015: The year of the energy efficient tax credit with lots of my clients purchasing solar panels, electric cars, and even re-charging stations for those electric cars, including my long-time Dr. Jim who purchased all three.
2014: With a variety of tax hikes taking hold in 2013, the trend that tax season was higher taxes on lower income for high-income taxpayers, with many clients getting stuck paying obscenely high balances due.
2013: This was the first tax season that I noticed a sizable uptick in the number of individuals taking advantage of Health Savings Accounts.
2012: Record low interest rates meant that many homeowners refinanced their home mortgages at least once during 2011, including all but one or two of my clients who had a mortgage.