Communicating your value as a tax practitioner is critical – no client can be taken for granted. The good news is that marketing and communications don’t have to be difficult or expensive. The AICPA’s Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit will help you establish yourself as a leading provider of tax services, all year long.
Four conversations to have with clients (and eight tools to start them)
Below are points to raise with clients as tax season approaches, with suggested resources from the Toolkit to reinforce your expertise in the discussion.
- Act now to save money on your tax bill
Whether it’s making more contributions to a retirement plan, altering the form of gifts, or making stock decisions, a variety of strategies are still available to lower tax liability. In meetings, review the Tax Planning PowerPoint on year-end tax planning and potential strategies, and send year-end tax planning letters to individuals and small business owners, encouraging them to consult with you now.
- Federal tax laws are mostly the same, but due dates are different
With the exception of expiring tax breaks such as the tuition and fees deduction, most taxpayers will not notice significant federal law changes affecting their upcoming return. But they will notice new return due dates, particularly earlier deadlines for partnerships and FBAR. Offer clients the Tax Law Snapshot – a 4-page overview of key tax issues affecting individuals and small business – and educate them about 2017 due dates for returns with a client letter.
- Worried about tuition? Let’s explore options
Whether your clients are parents of a college student or students themselves, they may have just paid a spring semester bill and are concerned about future ones. One of the new brochures from the Toolkit may help. Tuition Tips: Paying for College highlights education tax benefits and other financing options and ways their CPA can assist. For those looking to go back to school, Tuition Tips: Spotlight on Adult Students provides helpful information and reinforces the value of their CPA in making decisions.
- ACA rules and penalties have changed
Make sure business owners are clear on their ACA obligations, particularly now as the threshold for “large employer” has dropped to 50 full-time and full-time equivalents. Do I Need to Provide Insurance? is a fact sheet that explains key rules. Meanwhile, individual clients need to be aware of how the ACA may affect them, as the penalty for lacking coverage has jumped considerably. What the Affordable Care Act Means for You – a 2-page summary - or detailed FAQs to answer common questions are valuable education tools.
Leveraging tax season effectively
While the busy season is a challenging time for CPAs, it also offers a tremendous opportunity to capture the attention of future clients while taxes are on everyone’s mind. Using resources from the Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit, you can be ready to seize the moment. To raise your visibility, you can:
- Tweet and be tweeted – it’s easy with dozens of ready-to-go tax tweets like these: Will a Roth IRA conversion help w/taxes? Contact your local CPA to learn more or Refunds for some may be delayed so start early! Learn more from your local CPA. You can repurpose these for use on LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Be a resource for your local and regional media. Modify and send the Sample Media Release that addresses filing season issues to raise your profile within the community.
- Be proactive. Review Tips for Promoting Additional Services for suggestions on reaching out to clients after tax season, which includes a sample worksheet for identifying other services you could provide them, based on their return.
- Be seen. Place compelling print ads from the Toolkit that explain why you as a CPA are the best choice. You can choose from a variety of messages such as: "It’s my name on the door; people count on me. When it comes to taxes and finances, I need to find someone who cares as much about my business as I do. A CPA Spends Years Preparing for Moments Just Like These."
- Be clear now on services you offer after tax season. Incorporate the Preparing for Life’s Important Moments PowerPoint into an existing presentation or offer the related brochure at meetings. (Bonus tool: review the Event-in-a-Box checklist to help you with logistics.)
The Toolkit’s many resources will help you reach consumers in a variety of ways, educate your clients, streamline your work, and respond to opportunities to promote your expertise in the media and public. Check out the Toolkit today to grow your referrals and make this your most successful tax season yet.