I want to start a tax preparation service

Discussion in 'Accounting and Taxes' started by tdaniels32, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. tdaniels32

    tdaniels32
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    I would like to start a tax preparation service. I have been doing taxes for 9 years mostly basic returns. I just moved to a new city and I'm not sure if I should start this business or wait until I get more credentials like an enrolled agent license. I know that I don't have to be an enrolled agent to prepare taxes and that is something that I am working towards any. I don't want to rent any office space, I was just thinking about doing more of a mobile/ drop off service thing. I want to get a laptop for business use and use an online tax program like Intuit's Tax Online cloud based software. I already have my PTIN and I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP). I would greatly appreciate any advice.
     
  2. Changed Creation

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    Hi tdaniels32
    I like your idea and think it can work. However you need to figure out what people in the area you are thinking of operating in, really want with regards to Tax preparation. If you can supply a solution for a want, instead of for a need, it will help you stay out of price wars. Then you also need to find a way to introduce what you offer in one short sentence that describes what you do different as opposed to other tax preparation service providers out there. So figure out what you can uniquely offer, and put that in every connection you make with a client (your marketing material). If you do this well it will go a long way with your positioning in the market, and it of course implies that you know what the other service providers out there are also offering to your target market. Hope this helps.

    :)
     
  3. ArcSine

    ArcSine
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    Welcome to the forum, tdaniels32, and congrats on the new biz idea.

    I can relate: Coming from a background in the public accounting space (former CPA) I did return preparation and tax research for (what seems like) a hundred and seventy-two years, give or take :)

    One bit of advice: do your homework when it comes to selecting your software. There's a boatload of 'em out there, but they vary considerably in terms of their capabilities, and thus in their capacity to best suit your specific needs. A lot of it has to do with what kinds of returns you'll be doing. If you'll be knocking out any corporate and partnership / LLC returns, for example, a lot of the "1040 only" type stuff won't cut it.

    Also, if your clientele will be scattered across multiple states, you'll want a program that isn't crazy expensive for adding additional states. And check the EULA (licensing agreement) of any program you consider. Some of them are licensed only for personal use, and would thus technically prohibit any commercial use. (Don't know exactly how they'd find out, but anyway, just sayin'.) So depending on the circumstances, you might have to step up to their "professional preparers" version, which most of them offer.

    A lot of preparers operate from their residences, that shouldn't be a problem. As long as you get on the phone with the clients from time to time, that should suffice for most. Chat the weather, the scores from last Sunday's NFL action, whatever. It's reassuring to know that there's a live personality on the other end handling their returns, not just a robotic email sender.

    And read, read, read! Find some online sources from which you'll stay updated on tax law changes and whatever are the latest rumblings in Washington that might bode changes. You want your clients to think of you as their first go-to whenever a tax question crosses their brain. They might not ever put you on their speed dial, but that's kinda the idea.

    If you've not already aware of 'em, there are some terrific resources on the web when it comes to doing your research. These guys, for example, are outstanding in their database coverage of Rev Ruls, Rev Procs, PLRs, court cases, you name it. And for researching Federal Regs, the electronic CFR can't be beat. (Although I see that they've discontinued updates as of Sep 27, for the time being.)

    Cheers, and best of luck with it!
     
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