From the Mailbag

I’m facing a big tax bill. Every year I have trouble putting away money for quarterly taxes. What’s a good trick to get money saved?

Here’s my favorite technique to save money: save into a central savings account that’s difficult to reach, then pay yourself a separate amount into checking from this fund. Have money automatically deducted from this central savings account each month for your tax bill before you pay yourself money to live so that you don’t face these huge bills.

It’s a horrible mistake to pay tax penalties. The IRS assesses a five percent penalty for every month you’re late filing. Then they tack on a half percent penalty per month on late payments. These amounts are on the overdue sum, not the entire tax due, and are capped at 25 percent.

The biggest problem I see?

People try to use discipline to fix their saving problem. Don’t trust your financial picture to your ability to be “disciplined.” Take 15 minutes with your bank and set everything up on automatic deduction. You’ll be happy you did the next time you encounter a large tax bill and the money is already saved.

2012-04-04T15:46:23+00:00