If you’re thinking about getting your tax business off the ground before tax season, you may have time to make it just under the wire. With a good base of tax knowledge and some great resources to help you, you can be up and running your own tax business in no time. We get a lot of questions from our tax students on how they can take their career to the next level by starting their own business so here’s a step by step list of how to get started.
Learn tax preparation
You can choose to learn only individual returns or both individual and business returns, but whatever you decide you’ve got to have the knowledge first.
Our Comprehensive Tax Course with Business Package (link below) will enable you to learn to prepare individual Form 1040 tax returns and get started in the tax business.
Obtain a PTIN and EFIN
In-order to prepare taxes for the general public or for other businesses, you must obtain a Preparer Tax ID No (PTIN) and Electronic Filing ID No. (EFIN) from the IRS. You can do that on their website here. Also, if you live in California or Oregon, you must meet special preparer licensing requirements. For information on those licensing requirements, check out the links below:
Purchase professional tax preparation software
You will need professional software to help you complete tax returns efficiently and effectively, handle all of your filing electronically, and keep you organized and running smoothly.
Choose a location
You will need a physical location where clients can come in and have their taxes prepared. You can choose to lease an office or operate out of your home but whatever you decide, you will need a dedicated and professional looking office to work out of.
Purchase office equipment
You will need a dedicated work computer, printer, etc. to operate your business.
Have a plan
Completing the steps above does not mean you will magically gain clients. You need to have a plan for how you will run your business, and where you will get clients. There are some great resources out there that can help. Here is a list of some:
1. SBA.gov – There are a ton of resources on this website as it is aimed to help small business owners become successful. The website’s resources include a guide to writing a business plan, articles about running a business and even advice on loans and grants.
2. Chamber of Commerce – Your local Chamber of Commerce can be a huge asset to your business. Chambers are great for networking. Also, many times they have seminars on running or managing your business that can provide much needed tips from people who are more experienced than you. As a member, you can also offer to run a seminar or class focused on taxes.
Get an online presence
Whether it’s a website, a Facebook page or a LinkedIn account (or hopefully all three), you’ll need to establish a presence online. Consumers do a lot of online research before choosing a new service provider – no matter what the industry. Potential clients need to be able to find out more about you (or just find you online period). If you are looking to build a basic website, there are some great companies out there that provide build your own solutions. These include Weebly, WordPress, Wix and 1and1 to name a few.
The Intuit Tax Education Program powered by The Income Tax School
All spots for this year have been filled, but applications are being taken for next year. This is a great option if you want an easy, turn-key solution to starting a tax business. This program includes education in both individual and small business tax preparation, a tax business start-up guide, and Intuit Tax Online tax preparation software with 25 returns included annually. Spots in this new program are limited this year and will likely fill-up soon. Find out more here.