This year, early filers might see a slight delay in their tax refund. According to the IRS, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act mandates the IRS hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC).

As a result, the IRS will start to release refunds on Feb. 15, 2017, which means the money won’t arrive in your bank account or on your debit card until the week of Feb. 27. Keep in mind that financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays. The delay might be inconvenient, but it gives the IRS more time to detect and prevent tax fraud.

Growing a tax office can necessitate a move. Your site selection is a critical decision process that can make the difference between success and failure. The target community must include enough taxpayers to provide the number of clients you need at a market share that you can reasonably attain in order to realize the required revenue for a successful office. Once you determine the market, the office location is the next crucial decision. A professional office building might be appropriate for an executive-level tax service, but, for a successful mass-market tax service, you may want to consider a retail storefront with high visibility. In this case, site selection involves many key considerations

Performance-based compensation is the ideal because it provides an incentive to employees based on the contributions they make to the company. However, preparers who simply crank out tax returns to generate fees while failing to satisfy the client and deliver true value are not making a contribution to the success of the business. To encourage friendly, competent client service, you could pay extra compensation for generating client referrals and improving client retention rates. Consider providing incentives for completing annual continuing professional education (CPE) requirements and attaining professional credentials such as the enrolled agent status. The tax office staff, including the receptionist and clerical employees, could share in an “Office Bonus Pool” equal to a percentage of the growth in office revenue over the prior year. Also consider providing incentives for the accuracy rate of tax returns prepared. The most significant measure of a productive tax preparer’s performance is client retention. Paying extra bonuses to tax preparers whose personal client retention rates exceed 75 to 80 percent could produce dramatic results in terms of growth. The pay plan should, ideally, reward tax professionals for production, while also encouraging teamwork and a commitment to providing quality client service and delivering true value.


As you add more employees, communication and management become more complex. Because of your time constraints, tax preparers and other office employees might not be able turn to you whenever they have a question about how a particular situation should be handled. Yet, if you’re a typical owner, you want things to be done your way. This situation calls for standardized answers to scores of questions such as how should the staff:

• Answer the telephone?

 • Resolve client problems?

• Price, prepare, check, process, and e-file tax returns?

• Meet IRS due diligence requirements?

• Handle payments and bank deposits?

 • Report daily results?


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