I don’t think there is a better time than in the past eight years to get into the tax resolution business than now. I say this because of the convergence of some key industry metrics and observations. It’s almost like a “perfect storm,” given the IRS’s 2020 focus on increased enforcement. Additionally, tax season is the absolute best time of the year to market for tax resolution, as taxes are top of mind with everyone. Especially people who owe back taxes or haven’t filed their tax returns for several years, or both.
First off, 2018 (the latest year that statistics are available) saw IRS levies up over 8% than in the previous year. This is the first time in nearly a decade there has been an uptick in levies issued. Watch for this key metric, as well as notice of federal tax liens issued, to increase in 2020 and beyond. Congress has just given the IRS $285 million as a budget increase in 2020, most of it earmarked toward enforcement. This is the first time in nearly a decade that the IRS’s budget has not been cut.
The IRS, under its new commissioner Charles “Chuck” Rettig, has hired over 1000 new revenue officers and revenue agents in 2019 and another 1000 are planned in 2020, including hiring criminal investigation (“CI”) personnel. This is also the first time in 20 years that the IRS commissioner is not a Washington insider or bureaucrat. As a matter of fact, Rettig is one of us. He was a practicing tax attorney in the private sector specializing in tax resolution work before his appointment.
With over 22,000,000 Americans already identified by the IRS as either owing back taxes or not having filed their income tax returns or both, there is way more demand than there is supply.
In order to attract this fast-growing client base, your tax resolution marketing toolkit for 2020 should include both “offline” and “online” strategies. Your offline marketing strategies can include targeted direct mail to taxpayers who have NFTL’s filed against them. You can obtain these names from your local county recorder’s office or you can purchase these from a reputable list broker. In addition, you could do a direct mail (and online) campaign to taxpayers with cryptocurrency transactions. The IRS is focusing a lot of compliance and enforcement resources here.
Don’t ignore taxpayers that are involved in the cannabis industry either, especially distributors and dispensaries. Although cannabis is legal in 40 states, the IRS doesn’t recognize this industry as legit, therefore owners of these companies really need our help. Other industries, such as truckers and mom-and-pop-brick-and-mortar “cash” retailers are also more susceptible to having IRS problems than the general taxpaying public.
Other direct mail strategies can include referral marketing campaigns to professionals that come in contact with tax resolution clients, such as CPAs, EAs, bankruptcy attorneys and others. You can obtain a list of CPAs, EAs and unenrolled preparers in your area via the PTIN list on the IRS’s website. The list is free.
Radio advertising has and will continue to be an excellent source to attract tax resolution clients who are searching for an immediate solution to their IRS problem in real time. Radio advertising can be very lucrative; especially if you have systems in place for qualifying and closing prospects over the phone and charging appropriate value priced fees, and a system on how to collect those fees, before the case is resolved.
Your online marketing arsenal should include increasing your online presence with lead capture websites and/or landing pages, pushing content out to your blog (this helps you rank high in organic search). Review sites, such as Yelp, will also be a great way to increase your organic search results. Make sure you get your clients to give you glowing reviews on these sites.
Additionally, paid search or “pay per click” campaigns on Google Ads (formerly Adwords) and Facebook can also prove quite profitable if you have the right messaging in place, systems to capture contact information and budget parameters set up in advance.
Also, don’t ignore presentations to potential referral partners, leveraging networking groups, podcasts and paying to be included on “top ten” listings.
Other categories to market to in 2020 include (as the IRS has made these a high priority in 2020 regarding enforcement) is:
- Syndication of conservation easements
- Captive insurance companies and
- Businesses that owe 941 payroll taxes.
I predict that 2020 will be a very good year for practitioners to either formally start offering tax resolution services as a separate practice area or to expand and grow this part of your practice if you’re already in the business. To learn more about starting or expanding a highly profitable tax resolution practice click here: https://www.rozstrategies.com/live-training/