August 25, 2015

Why it Sucks to be a Tax Preparer

In this week's session, I’ll talk about what it is like to be a tax preparer and why it sucks so much. I say that in an endearing way as I am a tax preparer myself and have so many good friends and associates who are tax preparers as well. The good ones are very special types of persons. Someone that knows the tax law or at least some of it as no one knows all 71,000 pages of it. Someone that is great at customer service. Great at getting referrals. Great at drumming up new business through sales and marketing. Someone with patience. Someone that can be both a consultant and oftentimes a therapist. Let me take you through the journey of a tax preparer. Someone that likes numbers typically decides that they want to learn taxes. Whether it is at an early stage in life when figuring out their career or at a later stage when pivoting in life and seeing what they can do to make a living or earn extra income. They take some tax classes either at a local college or at a retail tax place. Interestingly enough, only 50% of people who take tax classes finish then and become tax preparers. Many drop out when they see all the boring tax law and complicated regulations. Those that finish eventually start doing some practice returns and learning the intricacies of tax software. Now,  here's when it gets interesting. Their first tax client. Up until that point, they are tax virgins. For those of you about to be there, please don’t tell your first client that they are your first. They may get up and run. Just be confident and please be prepared before you take them on. Now, the tax preparer has to greet their client, ask them to fill out a client information sheet, and then get started on entering their tax documents and client info into the tax software. In most cases, the client will be sitting across from you watching you do this and either making small talk or having an awkward silence. After everything is entered and structured and all diagnostics are clear from the software, you will go over the completed tax return with the client with most of them only concerned on what their refund or amount owed is. Then you’ll print their signature forms, get them signed and then have to electronically file the return.

For most tax preparers working for a retail chain or an independent tax firm, the hours are erratic and the pay is low. The typical pay for tax preparers is $9-$11 at a retail chain with a bonus of 1-5% of the revenue from the returns you prepare. That bonus is typically only paid if you stay with the chain until the end of the tax season and many times they lay off people after their busy time in February. To independents, the pay up front may be a little higher, typically at $10-15 per hour however the bonus structure isn’t always there. You may be thinking, wow, that’s not what I expected. Or if you’re already in the business, wow, I didn’t realize I’m doing all that for so little.

So, to reiterate, it really sucks to be a tax preparer but it doesn’t have to. Happy Tax franchisees are hybrids in multiple ways. First off, they own their own business and can do so with a very small investment that can be creatively structured. They get to keep the majority of the revenue coming in from their tax returns. All returns are sourced by the franchisees using our marketing and support, then after capturing the client's documents and information with our patent pending technology and processes, our licensed CPAs prepare the return so our franchisees can spend their time gaining more clients and more revenue. And the financials are much better as well. Franchisees earn between $140 and $350 per tax return and, in most cases, can complete their work with the client in 15 minutes or less.

Our base of franchisees across the country is growing quickly and I want you to join us. Contact us today and let's make it happen together.

Have a wonderful and productive rest of the week and take care.

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