Sigma Tax Pro Reminds Tax Professionals to Close Out Tax Season Correctly

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There are certain necessary steps involved in closing a tax office for the season, it’s not as easy as just locking the door.

Sigma Tax Pro

As tax season comes to a close this week many offices are in a mad dash to file extensions, while others have already gradually slowed to a stop. For those tax offices that stay open year round, the official end of tax season is nothing more than a date on a calendar, but for the seasonal offices that close their doors after April 17th, this date is a finish line.

For those seasonal offices it is not just as simple as locking the doors and waiting for next January. There are certain things that need to be done to ensure the office remains compliant throughout the off-season, as well as maintains a high level of service for their customers. Circular 230 requires all preparers keep a copy of clients records on file for a minimum of three years. Offices using bank products are required by the banks to keep records on file for five years. Individual states may have certain regulations as well which should be consulted on a case by case basis.

Another step to take for the seasonal offices using bank products is to inform the bank that the office will be closing. Each bank has a slightly different process, but basically what they will do is stop the flow of taxpayer checks to the preparers software, and instead print the checks at their headquarters and mail them out to the taxpayers directly. Since they will be using the taxpayers address on file from the return, it is a good idea for taxpayers to review the list of unfunded clients who have requested a check disbursement option, then reach out to them and verify their address. If it has changed, tax pros can be proactive and complete an Address Update Form, which they can then send to the bank with the appropriate supporting documentation. Ian Gardner, of Sigma Tax Pro reminds tax pros that "Any time you can anticipate a problem and be proactive, rather than reactive, means you’re providing great service for your clients, and they will see that and reward you with referrals and loyalty."

One final step is to make sure that the contact information for the tax office is checked regularly. This means if there is an office phone that would normally ring inside the office, then it should be forwarded to a personal cell phone, or answering service that is checked regularly. Update the outgoing message on the phone to ensure realistic expectations. For example, if messages are checked once a week on Tuesdays, make that clear so a client doesn’t call on a Wednesday and expect a callback right away. Also be sure to continue to check email, and have that forwarded accordingly.

Sigma Tax Pro provides a full range of essential services for tax pros. This includes industry leading software solutions as well as technical support, tax preparation support and client retention strategies. Sigma Tax Pro specializes in helping tax preparation firms expand their businesses, open new offices and increase their client base.

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Ian Gardner
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