Tax season’s end is quickly approaching—sort of. It will be followed shortly by the beloved extension season. The burnout is settled in by and garnering the motivation to keep working on extended returns post April 18 takes significant effort.
But there are simple ways you can add value to your tax clients without taking any more time to prepare returns.
One simple tool is to provide your clients with a year-over-year tax comparison. Most are printed automatically from your tax software but not every practitioner takes the time to go over it with their clients. Tax season is stressful for clients too and they often don’t understand what their return is even supposed to look like, which is why they hire a professional.
The year-over-year comparison takes no extra time to prepare even if you did not prepare the prior year return. You can simply pull up both years and utilize it as a tool to review the current year work.
Doing the comparison is not only a great way to train newer staff who may not necessarily know how to check their work, but it’s also a great tool to help the client understand why their tax situation may vary from year to year. With 2022 returns, a lot of COVID relief provisions expired like refundable credits and boosted deductions.
Clients may not have experienced any changes in pay or withholdings, making it difficult to understand why the amount of refunds or balances due have changed. The two-year comparison makes it easy to see differences and can help ease client stress when it comes to reviewing returns.
The next easiest client value hack is transmittal letters. Don’t skip them even when you are e-filing returns. Every tax software gives you the option to print them out automatically. Providing your clients with these, even for e-filed returns, not only is going to help ease client stress, but it will cut back on the number of inquiries you receive from clients about how to make payments and what the next steps are.
Transmittal letters double as a great review tool. Less experienced staff members can be trained to read these as part of their self-review to make sure the instructions to the client make sense. Does the letter give instructions to make payments but the client indicated they wanted electronic withdrawal? Were estimated payment vouchers correctly set up or does the client need these?
It can be easy when we are in burnout mode to focus simply on getting returns signed and out the door. But if you want to set yourself apart from your competition without increasing the amount of time you have to spend on jobs, these easy hacks can provide your clients with a lot of bang for their buck and will keep them coming back to your practice in the future.