The IRS is not restrictive in who may start an income tax preparation service, other than they require a person to get a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). To get your PTIN, go to the IRS.gov website, and it will direct you to the online application. It costs under $40 and takes about 15 minutes to complete the application to start a tax preparation service and receive the number. Generally, those having a felony conviction for tax fraud and other forms of financial crimes are not eligible.
A few states such as California have additional qualifications. If you want to prepare taxes in these states, you may have to take a test and register with the state licensing department. If you want to determine if your State is one of these, call the state department over licensing, or check it out online. They can tell you of any special requirements for tax preparation services.
Most municipalities require you to have a business license. This fee could range from $50 to hundreds of dollars. To research what it will cost you, search on “business license cost for (your city)”. In most cases, you can also complete the application online.
Contrary to a common misconception, a person need not have an accounting degree or be a CPA to prepare taxes. In fact, no specific education is necessary although it is a good idea to understand the basic definitions in the tax law before you hang out your shingle.
Though the income tax software does the hard work, a tax preparer should understand how to determine income tax status, who qualifies as a dependent, the process for calculating itemized deductions, and how to read the tax tables. With this simple knowledge and the help of software, a person can prepare more than half the returns they may be asked to prepare.
Nonetheless, the more income tax knowledge a person has, the more confident they will feel and the more returns they will be able to complete. Furthermore, the more complex a return, the higher fees, and the more income per hour a person will generate. For instance, a simple return may only generate a $75 fee. Yet, a more sophisticated return could earn hundreds of dollars and take less than one additional hour to complete.
The upfront investment, though not a qualifier, is among the lowest of any new startup. Other than the PTIN and business license fees mentioned above, the tax preparer needs a computer, printer, and tax preparation software. TurboTax and H&R Block, to name a couple, are not good software for the tax preparation business. With these individual packages, you will be limited in the number of returns, and your ability to complete all returns.
Instead, you will want a more robust package designed for professional tax preparers such as Intuit ProSeries, TaxWise, and Drake costing well over $1,500. These software packages are designed to be efficient, accurate, and for unlimited number and sophistication of returns. Take time to make the right choice, because you will likely want to use the same software for at least five years.
In summary, most people with basic knowledge of tax law and the help of a software package can thrive in a tax preparation business.
Being a parent who is living with disabilities can come with some unique challenges, especially if you have dreams of opening your own business. Figuring out how to get your business and up and running is just one, but you also need tools that will help you balance the needs of that business with the needs of your family. Not to mention your own needs. If you’re a parent with disabilities who is looking to start your own business, these pointers can definitely help.
Boost Your Business Skills With Online Training
Before you start your business, consider completing a few courses to help you better understand the process. The online format will give you the flexibility that you need as a busy parent while providing you with leadership skills, self-awareness, and self-confidence. All of which can be essential for establishing a successful new business of any size. If you’re concerned about costs, know that there are financing options designed to help you. To further sharpen your prowess as a business owner, also consider taking online accounting training from Universal Accounting School.
Develop Flexible Plans for Your New Business
With some training under your belt, you will be ready and competent to move to the next step and write a business plan. Business plans can be tricky for smaller startups, especially if you want to develop plans that you can actually use to fuel your success. As you start your general business plan, try to think about the needs and wants of your target audience, and then write with them in mind. Although details can be important, you should also try to keep this initial roadmap short and concise. As long as you have a few key elements, including a marketing plan, you should be all set to start your small business with confidence. Just like your overarching business plans, marketing strategies should be tailored to fit your target customers. Speaking of target customers, it’s also a good idea to ensure content is accessible, to connect with other folks living with disabilities.
Set Up Your Accessible and Functional Workspace
Most first-time business owners end up working from home, at least in the beginning. Since you will be working from a home with kids around, organizing a home workspace could be a smart move for your productivity. Bonus productivity points if you can set this office up in a room or area of your home that is free from distractions and interruptions. A spare room with a door is always the best bet but if you’re short on space or need to keep an eye on little ones, setting up your workstation against a wall can also work. Depending on your needs, you may also need to design this space with accessibility features in mind. For example, opting for a desk that can be easily adjusted to varying heights can make home offices more practical for those who use a wheelchair and embossed labeling can help those with low vision keep workspaces organized.
Create Routines That Work for You and Your Family
While working from home can provide the practicality and flexibility you need to care for your family, this sort of arrangement can also come with some challenges. Establishing clear routines and expectations for every member of your household can help reduce the stress of these challenges. So start with your family’s morning routine and work your way down from there. While structure can be key, it’s also helpful to find the right balance of flexibility and structure for your family’s needs. If anxiety starts creeping in, you may want to work in a few more breaks for rest, exercise, and family time. Once you have a schedule worked out, post it in your family’s command center, so you won’t have to remind kids about to-do’s and expectations.
Running a successful small business isn’t for the faint of heart. As a busy parent and someone living with disabilities, you’re already used to conquering challenges. So with time and know-how, you can easily turn those skills into incredible assets for your new business!
The success of marketing for a tax preparation business is defined by the planning and organizing of that process. Your marketing strategy is as effective as your marketing plan. With the rising competition in this business, there is no more space for improvising and a lack of effort in a marketing campaign. You’ll need to dedicate yourself completely to forming a successful and thoughtful marketing strategy.
The first step is to coin the marketing plan. There are several aspects that you need to take into consideration while writing a marketing plan. If you want to create a plan that will present your tax preparation business in the best light, this is what you need to do.
1. Determine Your Niche
The marketing plan will be more precise and personalized if you know who are your target clients. Will you focus on individuals or small businesses?
Additionally, consider the type of services you want to offer. For example, you can emphasize working with law firms, service-oriented businesses or you can specify the type of tax preparation like individual stock purchase.
Narrowing down your niche will help you to create a marketing plan that will be personalized for a specific audience. Personalization in marketing is essential for attracting the attention of your target audience.
Spreading a generalized message will fall into the shadow of businesses that claim to be experts in the domain that the clients want.
Make sure that you write down the service you want to focus on and the characteristics of the target clients you want to attract. Marketing to the right clients will seal the deal much faster.
2. Set Your Goals
Having a clear goal will make your marketing efforts more direct and specific. Goal setting is one of the basic steps of writing a marketing plan. It motivates you throughout the process and gives your marketing plan a purpose.
Your goals can be:
Increasing the number of clients
Promoting new tax preparation service
Maintaining the satisfaction of current clients
These are just some examples of what your marketing campaign can focus on.
“Every business that wants to pull a successful marketing plan needs to set goals. The tax preparation business is no different. Goals need to be clearly defined and as specific as possible, so don’t hesitate to even put the number of new clients you want to bring into the business this year,” shares Amanda Willis, a marketer at TopWritersReview who worked on several marketing campaigns for tax preparation businesses.
3. Analyze Your Competition
There is so much you can learn by observing your competitors – both the good and the bad. Their work and marketing can teach you what actions bring positive results and what actions fail with your target clients.
When you analyze your competitors, these are some of the aspects of their business that you need to look at:
Type of clients they have
Services they offer
Marketing messages aimed at individuals and companies
Signs they use on their offices to attract street traffic
Write down in your marketing plan what works well to give your guidance but also write down what you shouldn’t do. You need to look at less successful competitors as well to notice the marketing tactics that you should avoid.
4. Think about What Makes You Different
Tax preparation falls into a large industry with many competitors who are trying to do the same thing as you – reach out to more clients and improve their business’s success rate.
To write a marketing plan, you need to know what makes you different. In order to define that, look your business from four perspectives:
Strengths – Ask yourself what are your strong sides. Do you have well-trained employees? A long history of satisfied clients? Think about what brings success to your business to identify your strengths. Are you and/or staff a certified Professional Tax Preparer?
Weakness – Knowing your weaknesses will help you to stay away from promoting less successful aspects of your business. You might be a new company with not many clients to support your credibility so you don’t want to put the focus on that.
Opportunities – If there aren’t many tax preparation businesses in your area that is one opportunity to focus your marketing on. There are many opportunities that you need to think through and identify if you want to promote the businesses in the right way.
Threats – Government policies regarding taxes or other tax preparation businesses near you can cause a threat to your marketing campaign. You might not be able to eliminate the threats but being aware of their existence will help you prepare better.
Based on the research you did on competitors, you’ll be able to pinpoint your unique qualities or think of a few new ones that you want to adopt. For example, have you considered offering additional related services such as accounting, bookkeeping, as well as business coaching services to complement your tax planning and preparation services? Perhaps now is the time for you to build the premier accounting business in your area! (see what you can do to follow a Turnkey Business Plan)
Write each one of these aspects down to have a clear idea of your strong and weak spots that will be the baseline for creating a realistic and efficient marketing campaign.
5. Define Marketing Channels
The marketing strategy needs to be spread across different channels. There are several options and you have to make a pick based on your goals. However, the more channels you use, the higher will the chances be for improving your business.
Here are some options for directing your marketing efforts:
Social media networks
Networking (attending conferences and relevant events)
A combination of some or all of these marketing channels is the most effective choice.
Finally, once you define your marketing plan you should keep track of the progress at all times. Writing a marketing plan is a task that comes to an end quickly, but applying the strategies you set demands consistent determination and dedication. Tracking the progress of your marketing plan is necessary for making corresponding improvements and adjust the plan based on real results.
Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. Currently she many authoritative sources, you can check her last review of Trustmypaper. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.
For Clay Glassford life has purpose and meaning, who knew the adventure he would take when he decided to become an accountant. With a decision, hours of committed study he found the confidence to start his accounting business and has not looked back since then.
Listen in as Roger and Clay discuss this journey and the impact it’s had on his life in a positive way.
Clay shares some tips and advice that apply to everyone starting and building a successful accounting & bookkeeping business.
From a supportive spouse to now running a successful accounting business Steve Chase has a journey to share. Reflecting back to his youth he remembers as a Boy Scout enjoying the personal finance merit badge, who knew this was in his future.
Listen to Roger Knecht and Steve Chase as they discuss starting and building a bookkeeping business. Great advice, some tips, and tricks you don’t want to miss.
Hear what Steve feels we all need to know regarding our future roles in accounting.
Enjoy and remember this, if it’s about accounting, it’s Universal.
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