While every tax season can get a bit hectic, this one will prove extra challenging for tax professionals and their clients. It’s critical to make sure that you set your clients up for success to ensure that they’ll be able to navigate this complicated tax season and that you’ll be able to help them make the most of the American Rescue Plan provisions. The most critical piece of the puzzle? Communicate clearly, early and often.
Get In Touch
Reach out to your clients as you learn about new legislation or guidance to give them your insights and the digestible version of what it means for them. This is your chance to cut through the technical jargon with easy-to-digest insights and showcase your expertise. This not only gives clients peace of mind that you are keeping on top of all the evolving legislation, but it also helps them start thinking about how it applies to their own taxes and may prompt them to reach out with questions. Use platforms like blogs, social media, presentations, face-to-face meetings (if possible) and newsletters to get the word out.
In your outreach to clients, encourage them to contact you when financial life changes occur during the year instead of waiting until tax time. Keeping an open line of communication with your clients to help them make the best decisions – ie., during the tax year to have the biggest impact during tax filing time.
For example, because of the changes to the Child and Dependent Care credit for 2021, it is especially important for clients to keep close track of applicable dependent care expenses during the year so you can ask what their 2020 income was as compared to last year to determine the opportune time to file based on the American Rescue Plan income requirements or help them look at the various ways the new guidelines around child credits could impact their budget and their tax return. This is a great opportunity to provide guidance and set your clients up for financial success in 2021.
Finally, get to know your clients! The better you understand their individual situations, the better you can plan for how to help them maximize the benefits of the American Rescue Plan. Work with your clients to build a customized and flexible plan for their taxes (this year and beyond) that takes into account their family status, dependents, employment and more to ensure you’re able to secure the benefits they are entitled to.
Additionally, if you have any clients who are self-employed or small business owners, take this opportunity to understand their needs and goals for the next year so that you can help them make the most of PPP loans and other benefits offered in this latest round of stimulus funding.
With early communication and the right preparation, this tax season can be a chance to deepen your client relationships and build your knowledge as a tax professional. Arm yourself with the right information through resources like trade journals, professional organization websites, webinars, Intuit’s COVID-19 Resource page, and, of course, the latest guidance from the IRS. Keep the lines open with your clients to channel as much information as possible to them and provide your best tips, tricks and insights to help them stay organized and confident that they’re in good hands this tax season.
Mike D’Avolio, CPA, JD is a tax law specialist for Intuit ProConnect Group. Sarah Molouki, CPA, MTx is with Intuit ProConnect Group.
See inside May 2021
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