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Tax Season: An Opportunity for Financial Literacy Lessons

Financial literacy pig doing taxes

The end of tax season is fast approaching, and CPAs everywhere are no doubt looking forward to the end of their busiest time of the year. Although I bashfully admit that my returns still have yet to be filed, I see this time of year as a prime opportunity for me to take a good look at my finances. Sure I keep the typical year-round budget, and do my best keep my finances in check, but there are always places for improvement. Since joining team AICPA, I have realized, more than ever, that year-round tax planning can truly help prepare you for life changes, while staying on track to achieve financial goals.

When I started my first “real” job at the age of 16, my parents made a point of having me keep track of my paystubs and file my own taxes. I still remember receiving my first paycheck and exclaiming, “They took my money!” Going from a neighborhood babysitter to a taxpaying member of the workforce was a big transition. But I thank my parents every year for making me learn the process of tax filing at an early age. Not only did it help me understand the tax system, but it helped instill good financial habits. I learned the value of budgeting and saving, and was able to manage my own college finances without a problem. As many of my friends started their first jobs at the end of college, I became the go to financial resource. It felt good knowing that I had a firm handle on my finances as I entered the “adult world” and that I didn’t have to worry about learning everything all at once.

Every year I continue to learn new financial lessons. Between changing jobs, increasing investments and continuing to pay off my student loans, the importance of year-round tax planning has become more apparent. Being a part of the financial literacy programs at the AICPA, including the launch of 360 Degrees of Taxes in 2010, has helped my financial and tax knowledge grow exponentially.

As a CPA, what information do you pass along to your clients? How do you help them understand the importance of year-round tax planning?

Claudia L. Cieslak, AICPA Staff. Claudia works as a communications specialist on the CPA profession’s volunteer effort, 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, and the award-winning public service campaign, Feed the Pig. Her role includes managing the social media properties and websites for both efforts, as well as writing the Feed the Pig Weekly Tip, in addition to supporting the internal and executive communications teams. 

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