Well, the brackets are set — and the nation’s collective basketball madness has begun.
Billions fly around every year for this tournament (probably much of it not reported on Form W-2G!), and it’s become a huge part of this season, as you no doubt know.
But there is another, often-unnoticed, part of this season that always makes me shiver a little for West Michigan taxpayers: Unclaimed tax refunds.
Every year, the IRS tells the public about this phenomenon, and every year, I am mystified by those in West Michigan who miss out. This year, over one million taxpayers are missing out on a median average of $847 in unclaimed funds, simply because they didn’t file a tax return in 2014. There is over $1.1 billion (yes, with a B) sitting in a federal escrow account somewhere, and it might have your name on it. After April 17th (this year’s filing deadline), all of those funds get moved over to Treasury operating accounts.
We don’t want that, now do we? If you did not file a return in 2014, let’s see if you qualify.
Or maybe you DID file that year, but your friends in West Michigan could use our help?
It’s probably the case that if you miss that 4/17 deadline, you won’t be able to negotiate that unclaimed refund money back from the IRS.
But, that said, it’s my contention that many of my West Michigan clients don’t realize how much MORE they could negotiate themselves into more favorable positions with businesses, salespeople, family members (!) and other intersectors of their weekly lives.
So, allow this week’s Note to give you a little bump to consider negotiating for more than just a car price.
No, this really has nothing to do with your taxes (except as it relates to how a qualified professional might be able to negotiate on your behalf when it comes to tax debts). But as you may have gathered, we are in your corner for every part of your financial life, and otherwise.
Ashley Forrest’s 6 Negotiation Tips To Get What You Want
“Remember you will not always win. Some days, the most resourceful individual will taste defeat. But there is, in this case, always tomorrow – after you have done your best to achieve success today.” – Maxwell Maltz
No matter what career you’re in, or how far you go in it, the ability to effectively negotiate can make the difference between success and mediocrity.
Whether it’s a multimillion-dollar contract, a job offer, or a luncheon, here are some trenches-tested negotiation tips that will bring you closer to your ideal outcome:
1. Know what you want in advance. Don’t go to the table, or enter any kind of adversarial situation without a clear, realistic idea of what you want to achieve. It will help you negotiate with confidence.
2. Ask for what you want. Don’t be afraid to make the first offer. You’ll set the tone for the discussion, and studies (and my experience) suggest that the negotiator who goes first usually comes closer to getting what he or she wants.
3. Understand what your partner wants. A successful negotiation should satisfy both sides. Instead of trying to crush your competition, find out what he or she hopes to get, and try to work together toward a solution that works for you both.
4. Don’t concede unilaterally. Usually one side or the other has to give something up. If you do that, be sure to get a comparable concession from the other person. Giving away something for nothing will be taken as a weakness to be exploited.
5. Don’t rush. Time can be your friend if you’re willing to wait for the right deal. If the other side senses a deadline, he or she may be motivated to hold out until the last minute, or try to force you into accepting unreasonable terms. Be patient and let the time pressure work against your partner.
6. Be ready to walk away. This can take a certain amount of courage, but it’s necessary to avoid being backed into an agreement you don’t want. If possible, keep an ally in reserve–someone with the power to approve or reject the deal. This can give you an out if you need to turn down a deal, or motivate the other side to provide you with a better offer.
Now, these negotiation tips are really useful in most every situation. The *only* situation in which I might have you handle something very differently? In conversation with your spouse. 🙂 That’s a whole different article, but we’ll save that for another day.
Forrest Tax & Accounting Services