As a tax business owner or tax preparer, there’s a lot you need to do to get ready for the new tax season. Perhaps the most important decision will be figuring out how and where you plan to work next year to accommodate the needs of your clients, any employees you might have and yourself. So, whether you plan to go back to the office full time, work fully remote or decide on a hybrid work model, you should conduct a tax season checklist to make sure everything is ready for the upcoming tax season.
Operating your tax business fully remote
Deciding to operate your tax business 100% remote might be the best option if most of your clients prefer virtual meetings. If you decide to work fulling remote, be sure to follow these steps to operate your tax business more efficiently:
- Create a dedicated workspace in your home.
- Set up a secure client portal for clients to upload documents.
- Set up digital meeting software for your remote client interviews.
Operating your tax business in person
If clients will be coming to see you in person, then you want to take the necessary precautions to ensure your clients are comfortable. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to re-evaluate how to conduct in-person interactions with clients. Depending on the laws in your state, there might be health regulations you need to follow. Here are some additional tips:
- You might want to wear a mask and encourage your clients to wear a mask.
- Consider adding a glass or plastic partition to separate you and your clients.
- Sanitize commonly touched surfaces each day.
- Have an ample supply of disposable pens that can be sanitized or discarded after each use.
If you decide on a hybrid work model for your tax business, you will want to make sure you stay organized as you try to balance operating your business from two different workspaces.
LEARN MORE: How to start and grow your tax business
Tax season checklist
Here are some additional tips to help get your tax business ready for the busy season and to make sure you’re prepared to start taking clients.
- Make sure you have hired the proper amount of staff and determined their availability to ensure coverage over the tax season.
- Obtain or renew PTINs through the IRS by all tax preparers.
- Hire seasonal receptionist/administrative assistant(s) to help operate your business.
- Make sure employment documents (applications, I-9, W-4, etc.) are completed for all new employees.
- Make sure employment agreement are signed by all tax preparers, including non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions.
- Written the employee schedule for at least the first month.
- Conduct pre-tax season meetings with your corporate staff and office managers.
- Train all new associates.
- Train all new tax preparers on tax software and on your policies and procedures.
- Make sure all tax preparers have completed their continuing education (CE) courses.
- Inform all tax preparers of any changes to the tax law for the upcoming season.
- Send letters to clients to encourage them to come in early to have taxes prepared before Jan. 31.
- Mail tax organizers and cover letters to complex return clients and schedule appointments with them.
- Set fees and charges for the new tax season.
- Review and update 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.
- Sign leases for all locations.
- Take inventory of all maintenance issues and either fixed or created an action plan for repairs before the season begins.
- Make sure all signage is properly lit and in good working order.
- If you are leasing a mall office, ensure that it is properly set up and ready to go.
- Order office supplies and update inventory.
- Arrange for phones and utility to be operational for all tax office locations.
- Clean office interiors and windows.
- Make sure all office computers are in good working order or purchased new ones, if necessary.
- Update all computer software.
- Arrange to have computer support personnel for any issues during the season.
- Purchase any necessary additional equipment.
- Contact previous clients for business this season.
- Write and send out newsletters.
- Prepare a content plan for your website and social media sites.
- Arrange for any PR campaigns such as guest posts, news releases and articles.
- Schedule seminars out in the community.
- Create and print fliers, marketing materials and brochures.
- Create an internet marketing plan to include social ads.
- Purchase any advertising (newspaper, direct mail, TV, radio, sponsorships, etc.).
If you are a tax business owner and want to find out more about growing your business, Surgent Income Tax School has excellent resources for you. Our tax practice management tools will help you operate a successful tax office, grow your business and help you compete with national tax firms. Register today to learn how Surgent can help grow your business.