We’re pretty darn good at navigating the labyrinth of our tax system around here (and we’ve been called the best Woodlands tax preparers!). But we may not be the most authoritative source on all things Valentines.

That doesn’t prevent me from chiming in on it this week though, with a little penny-pinching twist, if you will. That, after all, is what we tax pros are GREAT at (finding ways to save!).

But before I get to the love stuff, a few tax items for you…

1) For those who are claiming education-related tax credits (if you have children in college, this is for you, as the credits are quite nice), we can get those returns filed starting on Thursday (which, ahem, is Valentine’s Day!). This, of course, presumes that we’ve met with you and everything else in your file is ready to go.

2) For those claiming property depreciation, we are just now able to start filing those returns (the IRS opened those up on Sunday, the 10th). For the full list of forms which the IRS is NOT yet accepting, go right here: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/List-of-IRS-forms-that-1040-filers-can-begin-filing-in-late-February-or-into-March-2013

Lastly, if you have any questions about YOUR situation, feel free to email me or give us a call: (936) 273-1188

Now, just because it’s tax season here in Woodlands doesn’t mean I won’t offer dating advice. This was one of my favorite things to put together. Here we go…

Valentine’s on a Woodlands Tax Pro Budget
Look– whatever your particular financial situation, wouldn’t it be great to create romance “magic” without spending an arm and two legs? So, instead of the tired old “flowers, candy and chocolate” [boring!], here’s a few of my favorite modest (and occasionally tongue-in-cheek) suggestions for a sizzling Valentines … one that won’t torch your wallet!

Make a Video: You can use the video setting on your phone or digital camera, and create a heartfelt message of love for your sweetie. Then, post it to YouTube, Vimeo or another online video-sharing site and send it on! Um, just be sure to make that video setting to “private” unless you want to share with the world your dying love for your honey (hopefully with clothes on!).

Learn a Romantic Song and Sing it to Your Sweetheart: Well, I’m no singer, so I can’t say I’ve tried this … but I hear it works well. Even better, if you can’t sing, your valentine will give you kudos for the effort! You could step it up by writing an original song and then sing it. Or, for the slightly-less courageous, you could pull a page out of John Cusack’s book in Say Anything and hold a boombox (or iPod) above your head and blare Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”. That seemed to work.

Not a singer? More of a writer? Or artist? For the otherwise artistically inclined:
– You could pen a poem on nice paper
– or even paint it
– You can paint a picture of your honey. Just be sure it looks good.

The “Mix Tape” (or Playlist): This is an old standby of high school kids everywhere. Except these days, the “tape” part is a bit less convenient. Instead, make a CD or mp3 playlist of Sweet Love Songs and make a cover list/ liner notes on the memories of you and your honey from the songs. And you can make a Personalized Photo Album using Shutterfly or a service like it.

Romantic Picnic: Surprise your love with a ‘picnic’ in the park, at the beach, or any other outdoor nature spot. If the weather isn’t ideal for outdoors, you could bring the outdoors inside — find a fake palm tree, flowers, sand, beach umbrella, radio, towels (borrow them). Nothing says “I love you” like fake palm trees!

Write a Message To Be “Stumbled Upon”: Well, perhaps not *literally* stumbled upon (nor am I referring to the website), but try a nice outdoor surprise. With snow outside, you could stomp out the message and fill in the letters with spray paint or flower petals or rocks.  Or without snow, you can use sidewalk chalk to write a message to your sweetie.

Now — who said tax professionals weren’t good for anything other than your finances? You do? Hmmm …

Perhaps we should keep our advice restricted to things financial. Ah well. Happy Valentine’s Day, regardless!

And please feel free to call [(936) 273-1188] or email me and my staff with any questions (just no dating questions, please!).

To a loving — and financially sound — February …