Becoming a Trusted Tax Preparer


handshakeTrust can often determine the longevity of a business.  While small businesses may be able to advance for some time using aggressive marketing tactics, customers will not look back after they lose trust in a small business, especially if you provide financial services like tax preparation.  Last week we discussed ways you can help clients avoid an audit, and one of those was by preparing their taxes yourself.  In this week’s article, we’ll look at ways you can secure your position as a trustworthy tax preparer.As you build relationships with clients, it’s important that you do all you can to maintain their trust.  Here are five steps to securing a client’s trust in your and your services.

1. Remember that honesty really is the best policy.

If your client ever catches you in a lie, or what they perceive as a lie, you have lost their trust forever.  It doesn’t matter how small or big the lie may be. Nothing erodes trust more quickly than dishonesty.  As you interact with clients, you must practice the utmost integrity; it will leave a lasting impression that will secure their loyalty in your services as well.

2. Practice good listening.

Consider how you feel when someone gives you their undivided attention while you’re talking. You feel respected and valued.  As you show empathy and listen to your clients, you’ll demonstrate a genuine interest in their needs which in turn helps build trust.

3. Practice open communication.

When you practice open communication, you are really demonstrating an unwillingness to withhold information from your clients.  In so doing, your business practices become transparent, a quality that reveals your honorable nature.

4. Follow through.

There are some business owners who will make all sorts of promises, believing that promises alone will win customers.  Unfortunately, customers soon lose interest in a company that doesn’t follow-through.  If you tell a client you will do something, you are bound to do it.  Otherwise trust is lost.

5. Don’t gossip.

Clients will watch everything you do and make character judgments based on what they observe.  People with integrity do not gossip.  If your clients catch you speaking ill of someone else, they’ll begin to wonder how long it will take before you start gossiping about them.

When you build a trustworthy business, you earn a level of success you can really feel good about.  Not only that, but in doing so you build relationships with clients that are based upon loyalty and respect.  And that will enable you to retain clients more than anything else you may offer.In January of last year, the IRS released an article providing tips for tax payers looking for tax preparers.  If you’ve considered adding tax preparation to your service offerings, it’s important to know what the Internal Revenue Service recommends individuals look for when selecting a professional tax preparer:

  • Find out what the service fees are before the return is prepared. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of your refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.
  • Only use a tax professional that signs your tax return and provides you with a copy for your records.
  • Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form.
  • Choose a tax preparer that will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
  • Ask questions. Do you know anyone who has used the tax professional? Were they satisfied with the service they received?
  • Check to see if the preparer has any questionable history with the Better Business Bureau, the state’s board of accountancy for CPAs or the state’s bar association for attorneys. Find out if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.
  • Determine if the preparer’s credentials meet your needs.  Does your state have licensing or registration requirements for paid preparers?  Is he or she an Enrolled Agent, Certified Public Accountant, or Attorney?  If so, the preparer can represent taxpayers before the IRS on all matters – including audits, collections, and appeals.   Other return preparers can represent taxpayers only in audits regarding a return signed as a preparer.
  • Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions.

Enroll in UAC’s Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) Program for the Proper TrainingUniversal’s tax training can help you become a qualified and designated Professional Tax Preparer.  You’ll acquire expertise that clients appreciate while increasing your bottom line, especially during tax season.  Don’t wait to advance your career by enhancing your service offerings.  Enroll now in the Professional Tax Preparer Program. ResourceIRS.  “Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer.” 13 January 2009

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