While any tax season can get a bit hectic, this one will prove to be particularly challenging for tax professionals and their clients. It is important to make sure that you tune your clients for success to ensure that they can manage this complicated tax season and that you can help them get the most out of the American Rescue Plan's provisions. The most critical piece of the puzzle? Communicate clearly, early on, and often.
Get in touch
As you learn about new laws or regulations, reach out to your customers to give them your insight and the digestible version of what it means to them. This is your chance to break the jargon with easy-to-digest insights and demonstrate your expertise. Not only does this give clients peace of mind that you are always up to date on evolving laws, but it also helps them think about how they apply to their own taxes and can lead them to concern themselves with questions. Use platforms like blogs, social media, presentations, face-to-face meetings (if possible), and newsletters to get the word out.
Encourage your clients to get in touch with you when financial life changes over the course of the year, rather than waiting until tax time. Maintain an open line of communication with your clients to help them make the best decisions – that is, during the tax year to have the greatest impact on their tax returns.
For example, with the changes in the child and care loan changes for 2021, it is particularly important for customers to keep a close eye on the applicable care spending during the year so that you can ask yourself how much their income in 2020 was compared to last year Use the American Rescue Plan income requirements to determine the appropriate time to file or help them review the various effects of the new Child Loan Guidelines on their budget and tax return. This is a great opportunity to advise your clients and prepare them for financial success in 2021.
Finally get to know your customers! The better you understand their individual situations, the better at planning how you can help them maximize the benefits of the American bailout plan. Work with your clients to create a customized and flexible plan for their taxes (this year and beyond) that takes into account their marital status, loved ones, employment and more to ensure you get the benefits they are entitled to can secure.
If you have self-employed clients or small business owners, take this opportunity to understand their needs and goals for the next year so you can help them get the most of the PPP loans on offer in this last round and other benefits of stimulus funding.
With early communication and the right preparation, this tax season can be an opportunity to deepen your customer relationships and build your knowledge as a tax professional. Equip yourself with the right information by using resources such as trade magazines, professional organization websites, webinars and Intuits COVID-19 Resource pageand of course the latest guidelines from the IRS. Keep your customers open to provide them with as much information as possible, and share your best tips, tricks, and insights to help them stay organized and be sure they are in good hands this tax season.
Mike D’Avolio, CPA, JD, is a tax law specialist for the Intuit ProConnect Group. Sarah Molouki, CPA, MTx is with Intuit ProConnect Group.