Once you accept an opportunity, the work request is transferred to your ‘Current Jobs’ section of the ‘Job Management’ dashboard. You will have full access to your client’s job details, documents, and history. Upon accepting an opportunity, Tax Pros are expected to review the engagement details (and/or documents if available) and begin communication with their client. Below are a few suggestions on how to conduct an engagement to ensure higher customer satisfaction.
From the onset, you must remain aware of the customer’s point of view, and how that will impact their expectations for the engagement. The customer is utilizing an on-demand app that promises to take the frustration and time out of tax preparation.
The customer will enter the engagement expecting to receive the same quality and experience as they would from any of the other on-demand applications that they may frequently utilize. They expect to save time with little to no work from their end, a quick solution for something they don’t want to do themselves. Your clients will appreciate the professionalism of quick and engaged responses they’ve come to expect from an on-demand solution. Professionalism is always expected given clients submit jobs with the expectation of a Tax Pro on the other end.
Your client will rate you and provide feedback on their experience after every engagement. Meaningful and frequent communication with your client will play a significant role as to how they perceive the service received. Make sure to take all of this into account, and govern your actions accordingly to temper these expectations.
To enhance the overall experience of both our customers and Tax Pros, jobs submitted via any workspace in the platform includes a Milestones and Tasks feature which aim to guide both the client and professional through the typical steps of an engagement. We’ve provided the following roadmap from “Introductions” to “Engagement Wrap-up” which generally sums up the series of events applicable to a project on Taxfyle. Note: jobs cannot be marked complete until all Milestones and Tasks have been marked.
After accepting a client, we recommend briefly introducing yourself before beginning your request for information. Always begin your conversation with a brief introduction and welcoming message (you can save a template intro that works for you to distribute to any new jobs acquired). Reassure your client a live professional is assisting them with their tax needs as soon as the opportunity is accepted. Don’t wait for the customer to message you first given that most customers close the app while waiting for their work request to be accepted. Taxfyle customers receive push notifications after every message, so they should respond soon after your message is sent.
Keep your introduction and welcome message concise. Stay away from lengthy introductions that include requests of information. First impressions are crucial in establishing positive customer perception. Sending requests of information before building rapport with your client may diminish their experience.
Most Taxfyle customers this season will be new to the Taxfyle platform. Consequently, most will be unfamiliar with how Taxfyle works and what to expect. Reassure your clients how the service works, what is required of them, and what to expect from you as their on-demand Tax Pro during tax season.
Once introductions are established, it’s recommended you review the engagement details and assess the information already provided within their documents and job history. Use this data to determine which questions take priority in your initial request for information.
When working with a new client on the platform it’s mandatory for Tax Pros to request a government-issued photo identification (i.e. Driver’s license, ID card, passport, etc.) before conducting any work. Client's photo identification will remain available within their documents for future Tax Pros accepting their work requests, however, the client will need to link the document into your project. Request for photo identification is not necessary when working with outsourcing firms as you will not be signing as a paid preparer, rather, just preparing the return and sharing a backup file with the submitting member of the firm.
Taxfyle takes information security and tax return fraud very seriously. While we have several technical and qualitative protocols in place to mitigate exposure, we also expect Tax Pros to ensure the identity of their clients and question any signs of fraud. Improvements to the Taxfyle platform are to be expected as we scale. Your input as a Tax Pro working within the platform is always welcome.
The following are some recommended methods to ensure you gather data in a timely manner without overwhelming your client:
- 1.Upon accepting an opportunity, review the engagement details to determine how the customer answered the onboarding questions. If you notice documents that are inconsistent with their in-app responses noted in the job details, make sure to reach out to the Taxfyle Pro Success team so adjustments may be made to the engagement.
- 2.Periodically, update the customer on your progress. Customers come to Taxfyle for an on-demand experience and occasionally communicating your progress reassures them that you’re diligently working on their tax return. We expect at least one message a day.
- 3.It’s important to never rush your client. Notify your clients of important deadlines and consequences for late filings. If the client is unresponsive and no work has commenced, you may notify the Taxfyle Success Team and they can transfer the job to another Tax Pro willing to standby for communication from the client or reach out to the client via alternative avenues of communication.
- 4.To the best of your ability, provide your client with a clear and concise response to any questions. It’s well received when Tax Pros provide clear answers to client questions along with feedback and practical advice.
- 5.If the client does not have all information available by the original due date of the return, let the client know that you will file the federal and state extensions necessary to avoid penalties.
We encourage our Tax Pros to stay attentive to their client’s needs. At times, your clients may require additional assistance outside the scope of the original engagement. The best practice is to determine what’s in the best interest of your client and to contact the Taxfyle Success Team to manage the supplemental services and modify fees and engagement scope, as needed. Additional services brought to our attention will be billed accordingly and fees may be modified at Taxfyle’s discretion. Please note that adjustments to engagement details only apply when the indicated deliverables aren’t simply ancillary to the job details that came along with the work request. As mentioned earlier, at times the Taxfyle Success Team may ask you to provide the client a quote.
Educating and advising your clients is not only encouraged but by the same token of perceived value, is expected. As a professional working within the Taxfyle platform, you will gain access to privileged information regarding your clients. It’s not uncommon that an individual finding themselves in a ‘payment due’ position is uncomfortable with the way their return was prepared. This does not always indicate improper calculation of the tax liability; rather, it usually indicates poor tax planning on the client.
As the credentialed tax professional, you’re responsible for the tax return filing for your client. You will have the greatest understanding of their tax positions and are best suited to offer tax-planning strategies to maximize their benefits. Whenever you find an additional deliverable needed for your client, contact the Taxfyle Pro Success team and we will handle any additional pricing and invoicing for the engagement. A non-exhaustive list of suggested advice/deliverables for your clients are as follows:
In the event your client has a liability due to insufficient withholdings made by their employer, inform them that there may be updates necessary to their form W-4 to accurately cover their liability in future years. Changes in life circumstances may cause discrepancies between the amount withheld and the amount that should have been withheld. You may share the following link for their convenience: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator.
Typical changes in withholding that must be reported to an employer within 10 days:
- Your divorce, if you have been claiming married status.
- Any event that decreases the number of withholding allowances you can claim.
- Generally, you can submit a new Form W–4 whenever you wish to change the number of your withholding allowances for any other reason.
- Changing your withholding for the current year: If events in the prior year will decrease the number of your withholding allowances for this year, you must give your employer a new Form W–4 by December 1 of the prior year. If the event occurs in December of the prior year, submit a new Form W–4 within 10 days.
Many clients new to the expanding gig economy (Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, etc.) are unaware of the implications of their independent contractor status. Thus, they fail to make the necessary quarterly filings, which cover the tax liability from their earnings. Individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, and S corporation shareholders, are required make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when their return is filed ($500 for c corporations). Please educate any client that requires estimated payments and inform them for an additional fee, you may assist with this service for the upcoming tax year. Clients may submit a job for quarterly estimates and request the same Pro when the time comes.
- If clients don’t pay enough tax through withholdings and estimated tax payments, they may be charged a penalty. They also may be charged a penalty if their estimated tax payments are late, even if they are due a refund when they file their tax return.
- Generally, most taxpayers will avoid this penalty if they owe less than $1,000 in tax after subtracting their withholdings and credits, or if they paid at least 90% of the tax for the current year, or 100% of the tax shown on the return for the prior year, whichever is smaller.
- If preparing their estimated vouchers, provide them with filing instructions and be sure to indicate the above safe harbor rule was followed so the client has comfort as to calculation.
Unless a taxpayer and members of their family qualify for exemption, they must maintain health insurance for each month of the year to avoid having to make an individual shared responsibility payment (penalty). If your client is subject to penalty because of not having health insurance, please educate them as to the health insurance marketplace. The health insurance marketplace is for uninsured Americans looking for private individual and family plans and those eligible for cost assistance. Many states have their own marketplace, but healthcare.gov is the official health insurance marketplace.
In the event your client is exposed to the penalty and questions its validity, you may share the following link:
All clients currently filing a schedule C should be asked if they would be interested in incorporating their business, assuming this could be a beneficial decision for them. If the client asks, you should provide suggestions for legal form as well as provide a summary of benefits and limitations for each. Please notify Taxfyle if the client is interested in incorporation services so they may be invoiced accordingly. Clients should be educated as to any additional filing requirements that may result from a change in legal status.
If the client has engaged you within the platform to prepare and file a particular year or state, and you notice they still need to file additional years or have obligations in states for which they have not yet filed, ask them if they would like you to begin on these outstanding filing requirements. If so, please inform the Taxfyle Pro Success team and they will contact the client to be invoiced as necessary.
When collecting business engagements, you may come across some clients with particularly disorganized financial records. The need for bookkeeping within the engagement should have been indicated with the job submission. If you feel the client would benefit from continued ongoing bookkeeping services, educate them as to the importance of maintaining ongoing and accurate financial records. Ongoing bookkeeping services are not currently provided within Taxfyle, but we have partnered with Bench to provide such services. You may refer clients to the following link if they wish to engage in ongoing bookkeeping services:
When clients are left with a large tax bill at the end of the engagement, be sure to inform them of the option to apply for installment payments. Clients may apply themselves using the following link:
If they would prefer, you may let them know that you can complete a Form 9465 and file it along with their return for an additional fee (reach out to Taxfyle regarding additional billing). Be sure to let them know that penalties and interest will continue to accrue until the full tax bill is paid. The late-payment penalty is cut in half for any month an installment agreement is in effect, however, they should still pay the liability as soon as possible.
The completion stage of an engagement is often when the client will perceive the quality of service they received and thus will dictate the Tax Pros rating. Before marking a job complete, we suggest that you ensure all deliverables and electronic acceptances have been uploaded to the client folder by following up to determine if there are any additional matters he/she would like to discuss (i.e. installment payments, estimated payments, business return). Clearly communicate that the engagement has come to an end and once you mark the engagement complete, your client will lose all communication with you going forward. If they had a pleasant experience, you may ask them to rate you and the app favorably.
It’s important that you take the necessary precautions to ensure you close an engagement on good terms with your client. The following are important steps you must take when closing an engagement to comfort them as to the status of their filing:
- 1.Make sure your client has signed their e-file authorization form and you have responded to any questions they have regarding their liability/refund.
- 2.After the tax return(s) have been filed, explicitly notify them the tax return has been filed, provide proof of e-file acceptance, and note that you’ll be closing out the job. Make sure that all pertinent documents are left available for the client.
- 3.Before closing out the job, it’s recommended to summarize their next steps, such as payment of their tax liability, if applicable. Then, let them know that they will no longer have direct access to you. However, if they need any assistance they can reach out to Taxfyle via the “Help” button. We will reconnect you with your clients in instances where a notice related to the filing is received. Only in cases where the notice is the result of client errors or omissions may additional fees apply to the client.
- 4.Don’t hesitate to ask the client to provide a rating at the end of your engagement. If you feel the client was appreciative of your service, you’re encouraged to direct them to rate the app within the App Store or Google Play Store.
Those Tax Pros who follow best practices are more likely to receive high ratings. Tax Pros with high reputation scores will benefit with an increase to their concurrent job limit and access to lucrative workspaces.
We understand jobs don’t always go as intended. Circumstances arise, whether it be with the customer or Tax Pro, which requires attention and priorities for said engagement to be put on hold. The Taxfyle Success Team is fully aware that some jobs will ultimately be transferred. Understanding the protocols in these situations is pertinent to ensure your reputation is unaffected by the process.
If a Pro is working with a client and sees that they are no longer able to complete the project, please notify the Taxfyle Success Team as soon as possible. They will then discuss the situation and take necessary action. Keep in mind that any Tax Pro that is reported for lack of communication will have their job transferred to another available pro if they fail to respond to the complaint. The original Tax Pros potential earnings for the engagement will be forfeited to the new Tax Pro willing to complete that job, regardless of whether you already started on the engagement.
After a job has been completed it is possible that a client may reach out to the Customer Success Team and ask to have their engagement with you reopened. This could be for a multitude of reasons varying from simply asking questions about their return post-filing to requiring insight due to receiving a notice from a state authority or the IRS. During such a case make sure to check the 'Events' section of your dashboard under 'Details' to see when/why the job was reopened and verify as such in the chat; for every case where a job is reopened an admin will use the chat feature to write a brief description as to the reasons why along with an email and chat message sent to Tax Pros directly to notify that the job was reopened.
(This is a sample of a job being reopened on a client's behalf due to receiving a notice from a tax authority)