Jeff Levine, a tax specialist with Kitces.com and Buckingham Wealth Partners, has added a new role to his current list of activities. He’s now a tax planning specialist for Holistiplan, which makes tax planning software for advisors.
A constant presence on Twitter via the handle @CPAPlanner, Levine — both a CPA and a certified financial planner — will advise the firm on ways it can further tweak how its software reviews clients’ tax returns for potential financial planning issues and “opportunities,” Holistiplan said Tuesday.
“Jeff knows taxes back and forward and advisors, too, so we can use his expertise for the sweet spot — making [Holistiplan] as usable and capable as possible and taking it to next level for advisors,” said Kevin Lozer, CFP, one of Holistiplan’s co-founders.
Lozer founded the firm with Roger Pine, CFA, CFP, last year, and the software is now used by about 1,200 firms. This year, the executives decided they “wanted to add a tax planning CPA to the team,” Lozer explained in an interview.
They spoke with Levine over the summer and soon knew there “was a fit, as Jeff’s objectives aligned with ours,” according to Lozer. “The one thing that [advisors’] clients say most helps them is tax planning.”
Vacuum to Fill
Levine says he’s glad to work with Holistiplan, as most tax planning software on the market for advisors is either “not deep enough” or geared for highly “seasoned and knowledgeable tax professionals.”
Advisors “need to know tax rules and future scenarios for their clients,” explained Levine, “and that education is what we want to provide with the software.”
This includes helping advisors worth with issues like understanding the planning implications of clients’ adjusted gross income vs. their taxable income, added the tax expert, who also is the founder of Fully Vested Advice, a provider of financial education and consulting services.
While advisors do not give tax advice (that’s up to CPAs), they do share information about tax issues with clients as part of their financial planning work, Levine points out.
For example, “this means looking at what happens if a client liquidates an investment and then has a $6,000 gain,” which could put the client over the threshold for some government services by $200.
Holistiplan “makes it simple by telling you what the gain would do,” Levine explained. “It’s a five-minute check that could save a client thousands of dollars. And you can do the same check for opening up one kind of IRA vs. another.”
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