Looking for ways to set yourself apart from your competitors? Refund transfers can help.
What is a refund transfer?
A refund transfer is a bank product that allows your clients to pay your tax prep fees directly from their refund. When a taxpayer chooses to use the refund transfer process, the IRS directs their money to a refund settlement bank. The bank then deducts all relevant fees and disburses the money to you and your client.
In short, instead of paying your fee upfront, your clients can elect to have it deducted from their refund using a refund transfer.
Benefits: Why tax preparers should offer refund transfers
Offer more payment options
Providing a user-friendly experience improves client retention. And offering a variety of convenient payment options improves user experience.
Improve cash flow
Refund transfers help eliminate the need to chase down late payments. When clients choose refund transfer, you’ll be paid on time, every time.
Serve clients who can’t pay upfront
Unfortunately, sometimes the people who most need the help of a tax preparer can’t afford it. With bank products, they get the help they need, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of IOUs.
Help clients get their money faster
Refund settlement banks also offer refund advances. Clients can receive their money as soon as their return is accepted by the IRS, often before they even leave your office. In this case, the refund settlement bank disburses their money before they have received their refund from the IRS.
All banks offer several refund advance options, some that carry interest and others that are interest-free.
Not all of your clients may wish to receive an advance on their refund, but your fees will always be deducted before the final refund transfer.
4 steps to offering refund transfers
If you’re ready to start offering refund transfers at your tax practice, you’ll be glad to know that getting started is usually fast and simple.
1. Choose your bank
TaxSlayer works will all the banks, integrating both refund transfer and advance options into the software. So, the first thing you’ll need to do is choose the refund settlement bank or banks you want to partner with.
From there, look into the features offered by each bank product and decide which ones would appeal most to your client base.
For example, if your clients would love to receive their refunds as a Walmart MoneyCard, Santa Barbara TPG could be a great fit for your business. If you want to keep bank fees low for your clients, Refundo offers an uncomplicated program with a simple fee structure.
2. Set up accounts
Each of the six main refund settlement banks allows you to apply for an account online. The online application will prompt you to select your tax software before you begin. If you use TaxSlayer Pro, you’ll be able to integrate your software with any of the six banks.
As part of your application, the bank will ask you to complete a 20-30 minute compliance course and provide information on your background and business. Make sure to have your EIN and EFIN handy.
Once your application has been approved, you’re ready to start offering refund transfers to your clients!
3. Market your new offering
Bank products help you differentiate from competitor tax preparers. Use your storefront, website, and social media channels to advertise your new offering.
Remember that most clients won’t be familiar with the term “refund transfer.” Phrases like “Tax Preparation at No Upfront Cost” or “Get Your Refund Faster” will be far more effective.
4. Educate your customers
Make sure that each client who qualifies for a refund knows about the refund transfer process. Explain that refund transfers do come with additional fees, and make it clear that your clients don’t have to use them. For clients who can’t or don’t want to pay you upfront, refund transfers are worth the increased cost.
Refund transfers, or bank products, can help you grow your business and give your clients the best tax experience possible.
Ready to get started? If you’re a TaxSlayer Pro user, your personal Customer Growth Partner can offer expert help choosing the best bank products for your practice.
This article was last edited on August 16, 2021.