Tax Return Preparation Daily Client Checklist

If you’ve been doing tax returns for very long, you may find the thought of having a checklist to do them to be somewhat ridiculous, especially if your tax software has a good “interview” mode that you use and rely on.

In reality, this checklist has more to do with everything BUT the tax return. If you are running a busy tax preparation office during the height of tax season, having an organized and efficient way to handle the large numbers of people coming through your office quickly becomes vital, and if you don’t have a swarm of people coming through at tax season, then you owe it to yourself to take a look at your filing season marketing plan.

This checklist really covers what to do with clients when they walk through the door until they depart with a completed return in hand. If you operate your practice as a drop-off service, then you will need to modify this slightly. This checklist is based on a new client coming in for whom you have never prepared a 1040 in the past.

Tax Return Preparation Client Checklist

  1. Ensure that client is properly greeted and provided Client Information Sheet to complete.
  2. Create client folders, set up in computer system.
  3. Review Client Information Sheet, asking questions regarding anything that comes up off that sheet.
  4. Inquire about items NOT marked on Client Info Sheet, but which are common tax items (deductions, credits, allowances, dependents, etc).
  5. Make necessary copies of client documents.
  6. Enter client data and complete the return.
  7. Review refund/payment options, as applicable.
  8. Review bank product options, as applicable.
  9. Obtain all necessary signatures.
  10. Provide client with return copy.
  11. E-file return.
  12. File documents as necessary for storage requirements.

Daily Items

  1. Process e-file rejections. Contact clients regarding these, as necessary.
  2. Print checks and distribute to clients, if applicable (for bank products).
  3. Confirm appointments, as applicable.

As you can see, there are groups of items to do daily, and also items to complete on each and every client.

Again, it may seem ridiculous to you to have a set of checklists for completing these actions, since you are likely used to doing them anyway. However, by having a procedure that is adapted to how you run your tax practice, and reviewing it regularly, you can operate your practice more efficiently and ensure that other preparers whom you supervise are all on the same page.… Continue reading

Tax Resolution Client Daily Checklist

This daily checklist is very specific to working collections and examination cases. If this is not a practice area for you, then you can basically skip this entire article. For some practitioners, this is the majority of what we do, even during tax season.

Tax resolution work is often very time sensitive. A big piece of what clients actually pay for is to have the tax professional simple manage the process and ensure deadlines are met, taxpayer rights are preserved, etc. The actual paperwork involved in tax resolution also needs to be accurate, so there is an element of precision that needs to be maintained there, as well. Having a checklist to manage your way through this process helps immensely.

Tax Resolution Daily Client Checklist

  1. Complete Tax Practitioner Priority Calls and file setup for new clients
  2. Contact clients regarding outstanding document needs (including financial documentation and missing returns)
  3. Sort and label incoming faxes and mail
  4. Calendar any IRS deadlines
  5. Update 433’s with new incoming information
  6. Follow and update New Client Checklists
  7. Make Revenue Officer and other Service phone calls
  8. File all necessary Appeals, IA requests, OIC applications, penalty abatement applicatios, etc. for the day
  9. Weekly followup with inactive clients

This checklist covers the majority of the actions I need to review on a daily basis in order to stay on track with all my clients. Having a plan like this for each day is the key secret to managing a large case file inventory. Each case file has it’s own written “plan of attack” that serves as a resolution plan and progress tracker for that particular case, but the overall daily checklist gives me a dummy check to make sure I stay on track on with all my clients.

Tomorrow we’ll delve into the Tax Preparation Client Daily Checklist.… Continue reading

Tax Practice Daily Marketing Checklist

This is probably my checklist that you are most interested in taking a look at. The Tax Practice Daily Marketing Checklist provides an answer to the most important question most practitioners ask themselves: How can I get more clients?

Even if you have no real desire to grow your practice, you still need to do marketing. Let’s face it: Clients leave for a variety of reasons. Perhaps their cousin became a CPA, or they were enticed away by some EA’s marketing. In order to keep your practice the same size, you’re going to have to replace this lost client.

If your goal is to grow your firm, then client acquisition is a fact of life. Regardless of your tax practice areas and specializations, you need to be doing marketing in order to generate leads, get prospects in the door for consultations, and successfully get them to retain your services. This entire process starts with lead generation, which is what marketing is really all about.

This daily marketing checklist is meant to be used equally across all practice areas. Even if you only operate in the tax preparation space, it is equally useful to you. Alternatively, if you offer an extensive range of tax and accounting services, then this checklist can be used across each practice area, and often in an overlapping manner. What you say (your marketing message) and who you say it to (your market) may change, but the principles of the checklists are the same.

This checklist consists largely of other checklists, which will be discussed in greater detail later.

Tax Practice Daily Marketing Checklist

  1. Marketing Technology Verification Checklist
  2. Daily Internet Marketing Checklist
  3. Daily Direct Mail Checklist
  4. Daily Telephone Marketing & Followup Checklist
  5. Marketing To Existing Contacts Checklist
  6. Monthly Newsletter Checklist
  7. Print Media Marketing Checklist
  8. Weekly Professional Network Checklist
  9. Seminar Marketing Checklist

This checklist includes activities that you may choose not to participate in. The more marketing activity you do, the more leads your going to generate, and the more consultations and therefore clients you are going to have. Some of these marketing activities are more time consuming than others, and some require more capital than others. Depending on what stage your business is in, some of these activities will make more sense than others, or be more appealing than others.

For example, if you hate speaking in front of a group, and don’t have anybody on your staff that will do it, … Continue reading