Are you prepared for this coming tax season?

 ITS_2014_Tax_Season_Checklist

Tax season is almost upon on us and by now I’m sure your brain is in gear and ready to start taking clients.  There’s a lot to do to prepare for tax season and once you’re in the thick of it you’ll be sorry if you haven’t dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. We put together a list of items to help you get ready for January 31st.

Personnel

  • Hired the proper amount of staff and determined availability to ensure coverage over the tax season.
  • PTINs obtained or renewed through IRS by all tax preparers.
  • Hired seasonal receptionist/administrative assistant(s).
  • Employment documents (applications, I-9, W-4, etc.) completed for all new employees.
  • Employment Agreements signed by all tax preparers (including non-compete, non-solicitation & confidentiality provisions).
  • Written the employee schedule for at least the first month.
  • Held or scheduled pre-tax season meetings: one with your corporate staff and one with your office managers.
  • Trained all new associates.
  • Trained all new preparers on tax software and on your policies and procedures.
  • All preparers have completed their CE courses.
  • All preparers are informed of the changes to the tax law for the upcoming season.

Tax Operations

  • Sent letters to clients to encourage them to come in early to have taxes prepared before January 31st
  • Mailed tax organizers and cover letters to complex return clients and scheduled appointments with them.
  • Set fees and charges for the new tax season.
  • Reviewed and updated policies and procedures.
  • Updated all tax software.
  • Installed current year tax software with customized fields for pricing, client sources, etc.
  • Establish Refund Transfer bank relationship if applicable.
  • Set-up e-filing system.

Office

  • Signed lease for all locations.
  • Taken inventory of all maintenance issues and either fixed or created an action plan for repairs before the season begins.
  • All signage is properly lit and in good working order.
  • If you are leasing a mall office, ensured that it is properly set-up and ready to go.
  • Ordered office supplies and updated inventory.
  • Arranged for phones and utility to be operational for all tax office locations.
  • Cleaned office interiors and windows.

Equipment

  • All office computers are in good working order (purchased new ones if necessary).
  • Updated all computer software.
  • Arranged to have computer support personnel for any issues during the season.
  • Purchased any necessary additional equipment.

Marketing

  • Contacted previous clients for business this season.
  • Written and/or sent out newsletters.
  • Prepared a content plan for your website and social media sites.
  • Arranged for any PR campaigns (ie. guest posts, press releases and articles).
  • Scheduled seminars out in the community.
  • Created and printed fliers, marketing materials, and brochures.
  • Created an internet marketing plan to include Google and/or social ads.
  • Purchased any advertising (newspaper, direct mail, TV, radio, sponsorships, etc.).

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Are you ready for tax season? Leave a comment!

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2 thoughts on “Are you prepared for this coming tax season?

  1. Helpful hint to the owners of this business. I see a lot of advice as to what we should do to be prepared for the tax season, it has been my experience that when you are trying to start a business and work a full time job, until they are up and running, you have to prepare and run your business at all hours of the day and night to provide your customers a pleasant experience that will make them want to come back as well as recommend you to friends. That includes training, but what do you do when you have a problem on an online tax training programs website at 1am on Sat morning a week before tax season starts. I know I know you might say “who waits till the last week to finish their training?” I would say you would be surprised at how many people are sitting in the same boat as I am right now. So while you are giving advice please allow me to give a little constructive advice. Have someone available during the weekends to answer technical calls. because believe me no one wants to read a note on a webpage that state live chat is offline leave a message and someone will get back to you in 24 hours, and you know they won’t get back to you before Tuesday of next week, because of all the other messages that will be left over the weekend. The sign should read “Need help chat with us live, except late nights and weekends.” Frankly I wouldn’t mind talking to someone in India right about now.

  2. Lenora, Your frustration in not being able to chat with someone live late nights and weekends is noted. I see that your comment was sent at 3:34 a.m. We would like to have real-time support available 24/7, but that is not feasible at this time given the low prices of our e-learning courses. As we continue to automate administrative processes of our Learning Management System we should be able to expand our live support hours. We appreciate your feedback. Thank you.

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