Do I need to be a CPA, Enrolled Agent, or attorney in order to do tax resolution work?

This is a very common question that I get from unenrolled preparers, particularly those from states like Oregon , California, Maryland, and New York that have their own state-level tax preparer licensing in place.

Short answer: Unequivocally YES, you need to be an EA, CPA, or attorney in order to represent taxpayers in IRS Collections.

In order to sign a Form 2848 and represent somebody in front of IRS Collections and/or Appeals, an individual must be an EA, CPA, or attorney. Under current IRS regulations, this is non-negotiable. The IRS does not recognize any of the state-level preparer licensing programs for representation purposes.

Connecting with an EA, CPA, or attorney is a great way to be engaged in this work, but the unenrolled preparerer is limited to the tax prep and bookkeeping in support of the case. We have plenty of preparers that attend our classes in order to better understand the process that they’re supporting when working with an EA/CPA/JD on IRS Collections representation cases. In fact, many CPAs and attorneys send their admin staff to our classes in order to learn how to work cases.

But never forget that the tax prep and bookkeeping is the lower dollar value work, compared to the actual representation component. It’s the most labor intensive component of tax debt resolution, but it’s the lowest value work for the client case.

I personally encourage all unenrolled preparers to simply go take the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) to become an Enrolled Agent. Most preparers can pass Parts 1 and 3 with limited or even zero study, and Part 2 is passable by most folks with a few weeks of intense study. Becoming an EA literally doubles your earning potential overnight, plus it’s also a hedge against the inevitable passage of a bill by Congress to give IRS authority to regulate preparers. Become an EA now, and you’ll bypass any impact of future legislation in this arena.… Continue reading

The Hero’s Journey

I’m currently engaged in a personal academic study of Homer’s classic Greek works, the Illiad and the Odyssey.

What? What??!!??! It sure beats my other recent academic inquiry into Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga. Yeah, you read that correctly.

Hey, I’m a twice divorced, middle aged, American, male. I…I….I kinda like the idea of an attractive, female werewolf that could rip my head off. Team Leah Clearwater, FTW!

Didn’t see that coming, did you? Actress Julia Jones, 38, is of Choctaw, Chickasaw, and African American descent, studied ballet from age 4, and is a graduate of Columbia University, for any of the other 54% of readers that are men. She recently portrayed the character Kohana in the HBO show Westworld, and currently appears in the Liam Neeson flick Cold Pursuit.

Ahem. 🙂

Wait, what was I talking about?

Uhhh, let’s see… Team Jacob, Team Leah, Team Quielute, Greek literature, Sirens, right, right…

At their core, both the modern literature of Twilight and the 8th century BC literature of Homer are about the hero’s journey.

That epic journey from nobody to somebody. From worthless to priceless. From peon to super-hero.

The generic story is as old as recorded history itself. It’s the basis of entire movie franchises, and, at risk of offending countless readers, the basis of entire religions.

From Abraham to Odysseus to Jesus to Muhammad to de Broglie, The Hero’s Journey is an integral part of what makes us human. In truth, it’s the very story of the human condition. And, it’s a story that will play out into the future as we colonize the Moon, Mars, Proxima Centauri b, and encounter extraterrestrial species that throw our entire concept of being into utter chaos.

But here’s what excites me: No matter what changes in the world around us, you, too, can have your own hero’s journey.

Maybe you want to pull a Jassen, and rise from American poverty to the American 5%.

Maybe you want help ensure a drought-free future to thousands of Eritrean farmers.

Maybe you want to ensure the economic survival of your rural town of 50 people.

Maybe you want to ensure your own child receives a college education.

Maybe you want to ensure that your own family has a meal tomorrow.

No matter where you start, and what your objective may be, there is a Hero’s Journey to be had.

I obviously don’t know who you, dear … Continue reading

30-Day Tax Firm Marketing Challenge: Day 17


Online Marketing

Priotize lead magnets ideas and outline one.
Estimated Time: 60 minutes

Grab your brainstorming list of lead magnets yesterday.

For each item on the list, you’re going to give it a score of 0, 1, or 2, across three different categories…

Interest: Your interest in actually creating this particular lead magnet. If you cringe at the thought of having to do the work to actually produce it, then give it a zero. If you think could actually be interested in making it, give it a 2. If it could go either way, give it a 1.

Ability: Some things are simply easier to create than others. A book, for example, is a big task, even though one can literally be written in a weekend (it’s not a fun weekend). Even a one page PDF can be a lot to create, if it’s a flow chart or infographic. Those require more time and effort than some people realize. So consider your ability to create this in a timely manner. Assign a score of 0 for something you don’t think you could actually get done, and a 2 for something that would be easy for you to create.

Value: What will be the perceived value of this lead magnet to the prospect? Things that provide a precise solution to a very specific problem will always have the highest value. Be sure that you’re looking at this from the public’s perspective, not yours. With a critical lens, assign a zero to those items with the least value, and a 2 to the items with the highest perceived value to the public.

Now add up those scores. The maximum score is obviously six. How many sixes do you have? Any fives? Fours? I wouldn’t consider actually pursuing anything less than a four, for what it’s worth.

Take your highest one or two scoring items, and start to create an outline for the lead magnet. I find the easiest to do this is by stating the problem and the desired solution up front, then creating a series of questions I can answer that bridge the gap between the two. Don’t get bogged down in minutae today — just sketch out an outline.


Offline Marketing

Prioritize lead magnet ideas and outline one.
Estimated Time: 60 minutes

The challenge here is identical to the online marketing chalenge, above, except applied to your physical lead magnet brainstorming list from … Continue reading