Holiday season is drawing to a close, and we hope your celebration was exactly what you hoped for, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Toyotathon. But now it's time to begin anew, with a new year and a new decade. That means resolutions: time to finally start that diet, give up those cancer sticks, or sign up for that newly-deductible gym membership that most people start regretting around Groundhog Day.
You probably don't think of the IRS as being interested in helping you keep your New Year's resolutions. But they do want to keep you healthy so you can keep paying taxes. Three years ago, the IRS sent letters to 3.9 million Americans who had paid fines for not carrying health insurance, suggesting ways to find coverage. At first glance, that seems incongruous — like, say, Quentin Tarantino directing a remake of Little Women. But a team of Treasury economists has discovered that the letters did encourage people to sign up — and saved an estimated 700 lives.
Now, we're not here to debate the merits of mandating health insurance. And we don't have anything to say about the IRS getting all up in your business. (They must think, hey, if Facebook can do it, so can they.) But the story got us wondering, what other ways the IRS could use the information they already have on us to remind us to make our lives better as we open the 2020s? The answers might surprise you!
Your tax return is just the beginning. Tax planning is the key to stop wasting money on taxes you shouldn't be paying.