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Updating Your Annual Plan

“And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again”

One of my favorite Christmas carols includes that phrase about school starting again and as a parent I never really understood that. When the kids were out of school I always had a great excuse NOT to think about things such as estimated tax payments or year-end planning because there was always the beach and baseball and the pool. 

But as we settle into September with the kids back at school it’s time to pull out the business plan and take stock of where we are for the year. The third quarterly estimated tax payment is due by Friday, September 15th and now is a great time to make adjustments to your annual plan.

How has the year gone so far? More customers than you had planned? Net income and cash flow are up for the year? Maybe down for the year? How about prospects for the remainder of the year? New business in the pipeline? New opportunities to explore?

September is a great time to stop and re-plan or update your existing plan for the remainder of the year. If your results for the business are better than you had planned then it is a good idea to make sure you have the cash flow to address the extra tax burden of success you will face next April 15th . If you need to increase your third and fourth quarter estimated tax payments then you will have the detail necessary to calculate those estimates. If on the other hand your business is lower than you had hoped then certainly it is a good time to adjust the amount you anticipated sending in to the IRS. Never send them more money that you absolutely have to and never any earlier than you have to.

The bottom line is that NOW is the best time to stop and take a look at how the year has unfolded so far and how the remainder of the year is liking to look. Don’t spend a whole week crunching numbers and consuming Advil, but take a few hours and look at the numbers. Ask yourself, “How are we doing?” Update your plan and if the numbers are different than you had planned then you will know you need to adjust your tax estimates as well.

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