If you have training in tax preparation, starting a small business providing tax planning and preparation services is relatively easy. If you have not gone through a tax preparation course, you can find them at your local adult education program or through H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt, where you can also gain experience as one of their employed tax preparers.
Things You'll Need
- Tax preparation training
- Tax preparation software
- Spreadsheet software
Describe your business model. What kind of services will you offer? What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities? What are the threats to your success?
Create a marketing plan. Who is your target market and how will you reach them? During tax season you will have little time for marketing but a well-planned marketing campaign that you pursue during the off-season will ensure you have plenty of customers for tax season.
Create your revenue model. Will you only prepare taxes, or will you provide a year-round bookkeeping and accounting service? Will you also provide other services such as notary and financial planning? It is always a good idea to have at least three different revenue streams, particularly in seasonal businesses.
Include a section on how you compare with your competition. Your location is important. Will you have walk-in business or will you travel to your clients? What do your most successful and least successful competitors do? How will your service differ?
Create your pro forma financials. How much will your business cost to start and what will be the monthly costs? Will there be a difference in costs during peak tax season?
Write a back-up plan. What are your benchmarks for success or failure? When will you know to tweak your plan? It is a good idea to envision specific problems that might arise and plan solutions.
Tips & Warnings
- Your local SCORE office will be able to help you plan your tax preparation business and, if you need a loan to get it started, you may qualify for an SBA loan. Remember that you are a business owner, even if you only operate your business during tax season. This means you should have business cards and a website, belong to the local Chamber of Commerce, and go to lots of business networking events. Hand out your business card at every opportunity and place a stack of your cards in local pizza restaurants and dry cleaners.
- Many people look for ways to sue service providers, so take out business errors-and-omissions insurance. You should also have a good relationship with an attorney in case you get sued or are required to appear in court in support of a client.
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