Whether you are single or married, a parent or grandparent, you always need to look ahead to the future. Part of doing that means planning out your financial future and trying to save as much money as possible. That means paying as little as possible to Uncle Sam each year. So why is tax planning important? Because it saves you money and helps you avoid penalties if you can't pay those tax liabilities that might creep up if you don't plan properly.
The tax code is a huge, complicated thing that includes many little loopholes for getting out of paying certain taxes. The only way to take advantage of these loopholes is to plan ahead and know what might hit you. You could quite literally save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run, allowing you to enjoy that money yourself.
The first important rule to this kind of planning is to avoid making moves that are impulsive. For example, if you are single and in love, you might want to get married one day. This is great, and filing jointly can save you money–or it could cost you a lot of cash instead. You may be able to avoid certain tax liabilities by simply filing separately, waiting to sell a house one of you may own and other acts.
Most people start saving for retirement at a young age. This is wise, because it means you not only have more in the bank when that day comes, but all that cash is earning interest for you, so you have a lot more to draw from compared to what you put in. However, many things can cause you to have to pay out to the federal government from that retirement account. From capital gains tax to penalties for early withdrawals, look into what potential fees you may have to pay, then make sure you don't do anything to incur them.
For those that own their own business or are independent contractors, there is lots of additional planning that needs to be done. You should look ahead and estimate how much you might earn during the year, and then make plans to pay quarterly estimated taxes on it. Failure to do so means that you could rack up big fines.
If there is anything you don't understand in the code, it is fine to ask for help. Sure, an accountant or tax preparer may cost you money now, but it is an investment in your future. The few dollars you put down now to get expert help is just a drop in the bucket compared to what they might save you with a little prior proper tax planning.