Six Things Tax Professionals Can Do During the Off-Season to Set Up for Success 

Tax preparer considering ways to prepare for tax season with the help of TaxSlayer Pro.

Whether you’ve run your tax preparation business for one year or ten, you know every tax season brings several months of intense and focused work. That’s why now is the time for tax professionals to set themselves up for next year’s seasonal tax preparation rush. From reorganizing your office to purchasing and setting up your tax preparation software, we’ve got six tips to ensure you’re ready for smooth sailing when preparing and filing your clients’ taxes next year.  

1. Clean and organize the office 

If you’re a seasonal tax preparer, you want to avoid scrambling to organize your office in the middle of tax season rush. Rather than waiting till December or January, start organizing your office for the new tax year now. Establish a system for organizing client files and associated tax documents, whether you use a digital storage system, a paper filing scheme, or a little of both. If you know where to find tax forms and past and existing clients’ information, you’ll save time during filing season and reduce your risk of making costly mistakes.   

2. Securely store client information  

As a tax professional, you have access to a lot of personal data from your clients, such as Social Security numbers and bank account information. Make sure you have a secure filing system for client data and documents, whether using encrypted cloud platforms or purpose-built client portals to store, safeguard, and share your clients’ information, receipts, and tax documents.  

3. Renew your professional tax software 

It’s always a good idea to purchase (or renew) and set up your professional tax software before the rush.  Check to ensure the software works with all the tools you’ll need, including printers, scanners, and your antivirus or firewall software. Now is also a good time to ensure your professional tax software is compatible with ancillary products-like bank products, identity theft protection, and audit assistance offerings.  

4. Renew your PTIN 

Tax professionals must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) from the IRS to operate a paid tax preparation business and submit tax filings, claims, and refund paperwork for clients. You’ll need to renew that PTIN every year. Typically, the IRS makes applications for PTIN renewal available in mid-October.  

5. Refresh your marketing efforts to attract new customers 

Of course, the key to a successful tax preparation business is retaining and attracting customers. Take advantage of the slow season to refresh your marketing efforts. There are a lot of ways to market for a tax preparation business, including direct marketing to current and prospective clients through email, optimizing your website so it ranks higher in search engines, and staying engaged on social media, whether that’s through a channel like LinkedIn or Facebook.  

6. Hire and train additional staff  

If you’re going to need help with your tax preparation business this season, whether that means hiring another tax preparer or engaging a receptionist to respond to customer inquiries, now is the time to start the search for seasonal tax preparer help and to get those new employees trained so they can hit the ground running when tax season rolls around. And remember your own continuing education, too. Make sure you stay abreast of new IRS regulations, tax credits and deductions, and filing dates.  

The more you can do now to organize your tax preparation business for the next filing season, the more time you can devote to your clients when they need you most. Learn more about how to streamline your business with professional tax software from TaxSlayer Pro. 

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