With the joys and boys of summer fresh upon us (in the Northern Hemisphere), it spoils the fun to bring up taxes. Summer is time off from school and most of society either joins in or gets the heck out of the way.
So why bring up taxes? There are better things to do!
Unlike Christmas, taxes ARE a year round evolution. Every paycheck or dividend return is a taxable revenue event. Every mile driven and bill paid has potentially tax significance. The smartest of us plan their taxes carefully, using each day each occasion to maximize yield against risk. Tax planning is a bit of an art. Those that can afford it pay a professional and the rest of us need to study up. Accountants aren’t tax planners either; their job is to keep you from getting audited, which is contrarian to minimizing the tithe.
Sadly for most – “the number” is a random lottery that hits on or about April 15th (in the US.)
So how can that change?
Let Big Data be the Big Brother of tax planning.
Small Data taxes is the W-2 or 1098 or form X that arrives with the snowdrifts on your doorstep in January. If you’re good, you have a system for collecting them all neatly. If you’re great, that file started long ago with the various receipts of life. With all the other faded New Year’s resolutions, you vow to “do them early this year,” whether that means sitting down at the computer or sitting down with your accountant.
The Big Data tax file accumulates every month, every day, every minute. It’s a continuous flow of information that absorbs records and sorts your transactions as well as some actions and secretes a constant number on demand. Your tax “number” sits on your life’s dashboard along with the today’s stock report and how many steps you took.
If you want to burrow into the Big Data tax data, you can set parameters or let it roam free. Big Data taxes finds the patterns you don’t see. Big Data knows you’ve hit a limit or a new variable. Big Data even talks to you, “what if …” you beckon, and it responds with … another number. Uncle Sam meet Siri.
This technology isn’t available today but it is quickly rounding second (or third) to come home. The data is definitely THERE but perhaps Turbo Tax hasn’t quite tapped the line yet. Batter up and Seasons Greetings!
Many thanks to my friend at Intuit who let me bend his ear on this idea during the eMetrics conference this week in Chicago. You know who you are 🙂