Tax Season will be here before you know it. We are all starting to prepare our offices by cleaning up and maybe rearranging the office furniture. But there is a lot more to keep in mind when it comes to preparing for tax season.
As an ERO, the first thing you need to do is make sure that your EFIN is in good standing. You can easily do this with IRS’s e-Services. It’s very important to make sure that all tax preparers in your office have their PTIN renewed and ready. Even though it’s currently optional, keeping up with continuing education and collecting CPE credits is always a good idea.
Now lets talk about your clients. By now they are probably shuffling through business cards looking for your number. Be proactive, reach out to them first and welcome them back. For your existing clients, most professional tax preparation software have client mailing label printing options which ensures accuracy when reaching out to them. But I highly recommend personalized emails and get ready for it…. mobile text messaging. Don’t forget new potential clients. Small advertisement works well when reaching new prospects, like local papers and visible signage on your office fronts are very effective when reaching out to the community.
Making sure your computers and networks are all up to date and ready to go is a must. Also, make sure your internet speed is up to par. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of tax season with dial-up speed.
Having a client intake form with a signature sign-off at the end allows your clients to confirm or put down any basic main information that's needed to start a return like name, address, income type, dependent information with day care if applicable.
If you haven’t converted your office to paperless, I highly recommend you do. With a cloud storage service like Dropbox you can immediately scan all of your client’s forms, IDs and documentation. Hand back important and “irreplaceable” documents to the client and shred the rest. Talk about peace of mind... You may get a visit from an IRS Agent asking for random files within a certain amount of time (not days, weeks or months, we are talking like, 10 to 15 minutes!). You’ll know exactly where everything is and have it ready for the Agent in a timely manner.
Having the right professional tax software is imperative. To complement your new paperless office, online tax prep software is the way to go. Among my favorites is RushTax. There’s no installation or network configuration needed. This means that as long as you have high speed internet or 4g you can prepare taxes from anywhere. If you’d like to learn more about what makes RushTax so awesome, check-out this post.
When building partnerships in the industry, make sure that you choose companies that have your best interest in mind. Be wary of deceptive practices, like money loaned to you by software banking partners & sometimes software companies themselves. These tactics are used to trap you into another tax season and a season of unreasonable pricing. A “loan” may look appealing to us in December because many of us are running on fumes by this time. But the reality is that the funds will, of course, be taken out of your production during or after tax season. If you don't meet your goals, you will owe the balance and end up with zero profit or in a worse situation than where you started. Bad news!
With Refundo you can provide reasonable refund options to your clients no matter what professional tax software you are using. At an affordable price and of course no junk fees. You’ll always have check stock that meets your clients needs. Additionally, the Refundo Prepaid Visa debit card is one of a kind because it comes with a mobile banking application that allows your clients to better manage their money. Watch this.
Always keep all check stock and prepaid debit cards in a locked area or safe. If your client chooses to have a check printed in your office, its always a good idea to designate one responsible employee to hand out the check. Handing out double checks is a costly mistake. Create a check log, make sure the client is verified and have them sign for the check. How about implementing a photo verification procedure? Now that’s new ;-)
Before you know it our work hours will get a bit longer and the 7 day work week will be in full effect. Our clients will be making appointments and your waiting rooms will be filled with walk-ins. Lets get ready and have a fantastic and successful tax season. We’ll be right here with you through the whole thing. For any questions or information call us at 866.414.9947.