“Can you handle my tax return?”

“Can you handle my tax return?” This is the most frequent business question I receive year-round, and even more so in tax season. My response is usually the same:

Yes, I would love to, but we should consider a few things if I am only handling your tax return and not providing other normal advisory and support services.

1. COST: My client service system is structured for more than tax return preparation. I tell clients that I hope that the tax return preparation is the least valuable service I provide to them. I am pre-conditioned to focus on helping you to achieve your business and financial goals, minimize your risks, and review your progress over the year. I can’t easily strip all of that out to make myself look like a TurboTax or H&R Block tax preparer. What this means in practical terms is that my service has the disadvantage of being more expensive than other options. Prices are published online to make it easy to consider costs.

2. YEAR-ROUND: You will be offered the option to continue a client care plan after the tax return is filed. This is optional. You are not required to continue service.

3. SINGLE SERVICE: If there is no ongoing agreement, then service ends at acceptance of the tax filing. If a question comes up in the future, then we would need to agree to a new service plan at that time.

4. STRATEGY: We recognize than most people don’t need a senior level CPA to prepare their tax return. If you do opt for this choice, we suggest that you clarify your reason and that we discuss the reason for this decision. It would make more sense when your taxes are more complicated , when you want more personal attention, when there are active legal issues, or during a business change, a personal life change, or when taxes are combined with other work.

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