How to Get Your Tax Business Off the Ground Before Tax Season

 

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.

http://shop.theincometaxschool.com/shopexd.asp?id=662

 

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:

California Tax Education Council

Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners

 

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.

 

Other Resources

Build Your Tax Business

IRS.gov for Tax Pros

Tax Business Owners of America 

The Income Tax School Blog

Five Best Practices for Starting Your Own Business

How to Use LinkedIn as a Tax Professional

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5 thoughts on “How to Get Your Tax Business Off the Ground Before Tax Season

  1. very helpful information i am just stuck on buying the software i want a easy one with every thing from small business owners investors home owners etc. i just cant seem to find the right software so i can start my own business any recommendations on software’s for the business i am starting?

  2. Pingback: Choosing tax software

  3. After following the outline above to ATTRACT new clients – this is how you ramp it up.

    1. FLYERS that can include a coupon and/or referral coupon.
    2. Referral Commissions – But, ONLY for NEW client referrals.
    3. Take the time to go the extra mile and find your client all of their deductions. Most preparers miss at least one simple deduction due to inexperience and/or time constraints that are self-imposed. Keep a list of the most missed write-offs at hand. A simple google search will yield the list for federal returns and your state’s returns that are most often missed.
    4. The importance of this is that you will most likely retain that client next year, and they will most likely tell their friends and family. A client’s loyalty and confidence in you is easily earned if you find a simple write-off that they could have been getting with their old preparer – had they been asked the question that would have determined their eligibility. WORD OF MOUTH yields the most clients in this industry – and most other service industries.
    5. Utilize forms that can be filled out while clients are waiting that will help expedite and streamline the process once they are in front of you. Make changes in your forms as you learn what works best and is the clearest and simplest for your clients to understand.
    5. Within a few years you will be swamped with clients through most or all of tax season. It won’t happen overnight, though.
    6. The higher the commission you pay for new referrals, the quicker they will come in.

    7. Three out of four returns nowadays result in a tax REFUND; which is often your client’s largest financial transaction of the year. They are placing a lot of trust and confidence in you. Make sure you respect that fiduciary relationship to the fullest.

    8. Keep your clients’ information SECURE.
    Identity theft has become an epidemic in recent years, especially in the tax industry. Personally, I shred and burn any sensitive documents that I need to dispose of. Take every conceivable precaution to keep your clients’ information secure 365/year – 24 Hours/day.

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