Are tax preparers liable for mistakes?
Yes, the IRS penalizes tax preparers who make mistakes. If the tax preparer made mistakes and you paid fees or penalties, the IRS will help you by mitigating them.
Who qualifies as a preparer?
A CTEC registered tax preparer must: within the last 18 months, enrol in a 60-hour qualifying education course from a CTEC certified provider. Get a $5,000 tax preparer bond from a surety or insurance agent. Obtain an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
How many tax returns does a tax preparer do in a day?
Depending on your individual unique situation, a fair average of tax returns filed per day would be roughly ten.
If you're offering tax preparation services independently, you're likely looking for an efficient way to gather all the information you need from your prospective clients (and existing ones) while minimizing your time in the office. At the same time, you want to increase customer satisfaction and retention rates, which requires giving your clients a straightforward and seamless experience from the get go. This is where a tax preparer client questionnaire comes in.
With so many documents and information to gather, you may overlook some of the basic but important elements you must know in order to successfully prepare your client's income tax return. But with the help of a well-designed, standardized questionnaire you can collect and organize your client's data which will help you filter out prospects and keep vital information at hand.
Let's take a look at how this client questionnaire will help your business and what essential elements you should be covering when preparing your own form.
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Why You Need a Client Tax Questionnaire
Implementing a client questionnaire as part of your onboarding process will help you gather priceless information about the real needs of the prospect, allowing you to determine how you can best assist them. For instance, say a current client recommends you to a friend, who might believe you provide any type of tax preparation services. However, they might need services for a large corporation, while you specialize in small businesses.
A client questionnaire will make it simpler to evaluate leads and determine whether a potential customer is a suitable fit for your company. Additionally, this intake document allows clients to concentrate more readily on their primary objective for utilizing your services during tax season.
You can create your own client tax questionnaire in the form of a template, which will save you both time and money, as well as provide consistency in your client intake process. Use them either to obtain new client's information, or to request updated information from existing and recurring clients. Let's take a look at the most important elements you should include when creating your own questionnaire.
Essential Elements to Cover in Your Client Tax Questionnaire
The specific questions you ask on your tax preparation questionnaire might vary depending on your company and its offerings. Nonetheless, there are some basic aspects you must include in order to provide better services for your clients. Here's what your questionnaire should focus on.
Your tax preparation questionnaire should gather all of your potential client's personal information as well as their spouse and dependents. Make sure to ask for the client's and spouse's full name, Social Security Number, date of birth, occupation, employment status, email address, physical address and filing status (single, married filing jointly or separately, head of household or widow).
Additionally, get their dependents information such as full name, social security number, date of birth, relationship to the taxpayer and how long they have lived with them.
If your client is a business owner, you may need additional information before you get started. This may include the date when the business started, prior year's corporate tax return, partnership agreements, or EIN (Employer Identification Number). You can also include questions to find out more about their operations and business expenses you might be able to deduct on their tax return.
For example, you may ask if the prospective client makes use of their vehicle for business purposes, if they run their business from home (free home office worksheet), or if they have purchased any capital assets during the year.
Income and Expenses
It's important to gather some details about the client's income streams and expenses as well as charity contributions. Inquire about whether or not the client received any income from employment as employee or independent contractor, any unemployment compensations, social security benefits, interest income from a savings account or if there was any federal income tax withheld by their employer. You can also gather information regarding investments, gambling winnings/losses, and the sale or exchange of virtual currencies.
Additionally, gather basic information about the client's expenses for the current year. These may include medical expenses, insurance premiums, cash contributions, prescription medications, home mortgage, or unreimbursed business expenses.
Include questions to collect basic information about the client's and their spouse's retirement plan. It's important to know if they received distributions/payments from any retirement plan such as IRA or 401, as well as if they made any contributions to it. You should also find out if they took the 2020 COVID distribution and whether it was deferred over a 3-year period as well as if they have put any of that money back.
Last but not least, you can inquire about any education related expenses, loans and contributions. These include tuition, fees, or books that were required to attend university, college or vocational school, scholarships and grants, distributions from an Education Savings Plan (or other applicable plans) as well as any contributions made to such plans and payments for Student Loan Plans.
Create the Perfect Client Tax Questionnaire With Bonsai
With so much on your plate, you need a quick and easy way to create a professional client tax questionnaire. Bonsai's lightweight form builder is the answer! Our flexible forms allow you to customize fields to your liking, including as many questions as you need and easily selecting your preferred answer format (multiple choice, single choice or text). Once the form is ready to go, you can choose to either send a URL link to your clients, email it, or have it embedded to your business website for added convenience.
This is the easiest way to implement online questionnaires to your onboarding process, increase customer satisfaction and make a great first impression. Check out these and many more features Bonsai has to offer with your 14-day free trial!