Whether you’ve been working as a preparer for years or you’re just starting out in the industry, opening your own office could mean big things for your business. Here are four pointers for setting up your new space and building a tax prep office that turns a profit.
1. Register Your Business
If you’re an established tax preparer, you’ve probably already taken care of this step. If you’re new to tax preparation, however, opening a tax office will involve structuring your business and gaining the necessary credentials with the IRS. The most basic steps for starting a tax business include obtaining an EFIN (Electronic Filing Identification Number), applying for a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number), and registering your business with your state.
You’ll also need to make decisions about marketing strategies, the types of clients you’ll serve, and the continuing tax education and credentials you’ll pursue. Our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Tax Preparation Business offers more details and tips for getting your business off the ground.
2. Choose an Office Space
There are several factors to consider when you choose an office for your tax prep business.
The size of your office will largely depend on how many employees you plan to have. If you’re opening a full office with multiple employees, you may need an entire suite, while a single-room office could work if you are the only preparer.
In addition to considering the proximity to your own home, you’ll also want to think about the types of clients you’ll serve. If they tend to live or do business in a certain area of town, it may make sense to choose a space that’s farther from you but closer to them.
The cost of an office space can be tough to swallow if you’ve been running your business from home. While paying for an office does eat into your profits, an office can help you expand your business and make more money in the long run.
As you determine your budget, try to project how much additional revenue you’ll earn in the next several months or years if you have an office space. You may be able to serve and attract more clients or even hire additional employees. If your projected revenue outweighs the cost of rent, opening an office likely makes sense for you.
3. Consider Coworking
If traditional office space isn’t within your budget, don’t immediately discount the idea of opening a tax office. Coworking or shared spaces offer a unique office solution that works well for some tax preparers. Membership fees for a coworking space are often far less than rent payments for a traditional office. On the least expensive plans, you’ll usually have access to communal workspaces. When you need to take a client meeting, most coworking spaces offer conference rooms that you can reserve either as apart of your membership or for an additional fee.
If a bullpen-style work environment isn’t appealing, many coworking spaces also offer private offices for both individuals and small teams. Because you won’t have your own storefront or entrance, these private offices are often less expensive than traditional offices. Plus, you’ll save on things like utilities, technology, and internet service.
4. Set Up Technology & Software
Computers, tax preparation software, and fast, reliable internet are essential for every tax office.
As you choose your tax preparation software, consider how you prefer to work and which tax forms you’ll need to serve your clients. If you think you’ll still work from home occasionally, cloud-based software will allow you to work from multiple devices.
In order to save and share data more easily, some larger tax offices set up a network server. If your office has more than one computer working on taxes, the desktop version of TaxSlayer Pro can be easily configured for multiple users.
While tax preparation software is the most important software you’ll use at your tax office, it’s not the only one you need. From firewalls to PDF readers, you’ll need a few more products to help you work efficiently. Our Tax Office Checklist will help you make sure you have everything you need to get your new office ready for tax season!