In order to keep track of the word count in LaTeX, without taking into account the tags, I'm using the following aliased command:
alias countTex ='clear;texcount -total -q -col -sum *.tex'
Just add the above line into your .*rc file and you'll be able to get a very accurate estimate of the word count in .tex files.
In the example below I'm using it to do a word count of my thesis, which is broken up in different chapters. You even get a break-down of word counts per file.