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WEBSITE PRIVACY POLICY

Sigma Tax Pro, LLC and their affiliates and subsidiaries (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Sigma Tax,” “us,” “we,” “our,” or “Company”) has created this Privacy Policy to apply to all users of this website,www.sigmataxpro.com ,and all digital assets contained or offered therein(collectively , our “Services”). This Privacy Policy describes, among other things, the types of information we collect from users when you use our Services, how we use it, and how you can access your information.

This Privacy Policy is integrated into our Terms & Conditions of U se (“Terms & Conditions”).

By using the Services and providing us with your personal Information (defined below), you agree to the practices described in this Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions referenced below and to the updates to these policies posted here from time to time.

I. INFORMATION WE COLLECT ABOUT YOU

We may collect the following types of information about you which are described in more detail below: (A) information you provide to us, (B) information we may automatically collect, and (C) information we may receive from third parties. All of the information listed in (A)-(C) above, are detailed below, and hereinafter referred to as “Information.”

      A. Information You Provide to Us

In using our Services, you may provide us with Information, including, without limitation:

  • Individual identifiers such as name, contact information such as mailing address, phone number, and email address;
  • Payment and transactional information such as products purchased. Note that we use third party payment processors to facilitate your payments and do not store your payment information;
  • Communications with us, preferences, and other Information you provide to us such as any messages (including via online forms), opinions and feedback that you provide to us, your user preferences (such as in receiving updates or marketing information), and other Information that you share with us when you contact us directly (such as for customer support services); and
  • Additional Information as otherwise described to you at the point of collection or pursuant to your consent.
     B. Information We May Automatically Collect About You

Our Services may automatically collect the following categories of usage and technical Information about you. This Information is used by Sigma Tax for the operation of the Services, to maintain quality of the Services, and to provide general statistics regarding use of the Services. This Information may include:

  • IP address, which is the number associated with the service through which you access the Internet, like your ISP (Internet service provider);
  • Date and time of your visit or use of our Services;
  • Domain server from which you are using our Services;
  • Type of computer, web browsers, search engine used, operating system, or platform you use;
  • Data identifying the web pages you visited prior to and after visiting our website or use of our Services;
  • Your movement and activity within the website, which is aggregated with other information; and
  • Mobile device information, including the type of device you use, operating system version, and the device identifier (or “UDID”).
     C. Cookies & Technologies Used to Collect Information About You

We and/or certain service providers operating on our behalf may collect information about your activity, or activity on devices associated with you over time, on our sites and applications, and across non-affiliated websites or online applications.We may collect this Information by using certain technologies, such as cookies, web beacons,embedded scripts, pixels, software developer kits, third-party libraries, and other similar technologies. Third-party service providers, advertisers, and/or partners may also view, edit, or set their own cookies or place web beacons.

  • Cookies (or browser cookies). A cookie is a small file placed on the hard drive of your computer.  You may refuse to accept browser cookies by activating the appropriate setting on your browser.  However, if you select this setting,you may be unable to access certain parts of our Services.  Unless you have adjusted your browser setting so that it will refuse cookies, our system will issue cookies when you direct your browser to our website.
  • Web Beacons. Website pages may contain small electronic files known as web beacons (also referred to as clear gifs, pixel tags, and single-pixel gifs) that permit us, for example, to count users who have visited those pages and for other related statistics (for example, recording the popularity of certain content and verifying system and server integrity).  We also use these technical methods to analyze the traffic patterns, such as the frequency with which our users visit various parts of the Services.  These technical methods may involve the transmission of Information either directly to us or to a third party authorized by us to collect Information on our behalf.  Our Services use retargeting pixels from Google, Facebook, and other ad networks.  We also use web beacons in HTML emails that we send to determine whether the recipients have opened those emails and/or clicked on links in those emails.
  • Analytics. Analytics are tools we may use, such as Google Analytics, to help provide us with information about traffic to our website and use of our Services, which Google may share with other services and websites who use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.  You can view Google’s Privacy Practices here: Privacy Policy – Privacy & Terms – Google.
  • Mobile Application Technologies. If you access our website and Services through a mobile device, we may automatically collect Information about your device, your phone number, and your physical location.
     D. Information We May Receive from Third Parties

We may collect additional Information about you from third-party websites, social media platforms and/or sources providing publicly available information (e.g., from the U.S. postal service) to help us provide services to you, help prevent fraud, and for marketing and advertising purposes.

This Privacy Policy only applies to Information collected by our Services.  We are not responsible for the privacy and security practices of those other websites or Social Media Platforms or the Information they may collect (which may include IP address).  You should contact such third parties directly to determine their respective privacy policies.  Links to any other websites or content do not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by us of the linked website, Social Media Platform, and/or content.

II. HOW WE USE YOUR INFORMATION
     A. Use and Purpose of Processing Your Information

We use and process your Information for things that may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • To provide you with the Services and information you request;
  • To respond to your inquiries and questions and provide customer service;
  • For general or targeted marketing and advertising purposes, including sending you promotional material, or special offers on our behalf or on behalf of our marketing partners and/or their respective affiliates and subsidiaries and other third parties, provided that you have not already optedout of receiving such communications;
  • To fulfill contracts we have with you;
  • To manage, improve and foster relationships with third-party service providers, including vendors, suppliers, and parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and business partners;
  • Maintain, improve, customize, or administer the Services, perform business analyses, or other internal purposes to improve the quality of our business, the Services, resolve technical problems, or improve security or develop other products and services;
  • Comply with our Terms & Conditions;
  • Analytics for business purposes and business intelligence;
  • Comply with any applicable laws and regulations and respond to lawful requests; and/or
  • For any other purposes disclosed to you at the time we collect your Information and/or pursuant to your consent.

We may also use Information that has been de-identified and/or aggregated for purposes not otherwise listed above.

     B. Sharing Your Information

We may share your Information as set forth in the Privacy Policy and in the following circumstances:

  • Third-Party Service Providers.  We may share your Information with third-party service providers that perform certain functions or services on our behalf (such as to host the Services, manage databases, perform analyses, process credit card payments, provide customer service, or send communications for us). These third-party service providers are authorized to use your Information only as necessary to provide these services to us.  In some instances, we may aggregate Information we collect so third parties do not have access to your identifiable Information to identify you individually.
  • Disclosure of Information for Legal and Administrative Reasons.  We may disclose your Information without notice: (i) when required by law or to comply with a court order, subpoena, search warrant, or other legal process; (ii) to cooperate or undertake an internal or external investigation or audit; (iii) to comply with legal, regulatory or administrative requirements of governmental authorities (including, without limitation, requests from the governmental agency authorities to view your Information); (iv) to protect and defend the rights, property or safety of us, our subsidiaries and affiliates and any of their officers, directors, employees, attorneys, agents, contractors and partners, and the website Service users; (v) to enforce or apply our Terms & Conditions; and (vi) to verify the identity of the user of our Services.
  • Business Transfers. Your Information may be transferred, sold, or otherwise conveyed (“Conveyed”) to a third party where we: (i) merge with or are acquired by another business entity; (ii) sell all or substantially all of our assets; (iii) are adjudicated bankrupt; or (iv) are liquidated or otherwise reorganize.
  • De-Identified or Aggregated Data. We may share your Information on an aggregated basis for any purpose in which your specific personal Information is blinded, masked, or otherwise not identifiable.
  • With Your Consent. We may share Information consistent with this Privacy Policy with your consent.
III. LINKS TO OTHER WEBSITES

Our Services may contain links to other websites or services that are not owned or controlled by us, including links to Social Media Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram , Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube, or may redirect you off our website away from our Services.

This Privacy Policy only applies to Information collected by our Services.  We are not responsible for the privacy and security practices of those other websites or Social Media Platforms or the Information they may collect (which may include IP address).  You should contact such third parties directly to determine their respective privacy policies.  Links to any other websites or content do not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by us of the linked website, Social Media Platform, and/or content.

IV. INFORMATION SECURITY

We use commercially reasonable and appropriate administrative, physical, and technical security measures to provide our Services and safeguard your information.  However, no data transmitted over the Internet or stored or maintained by us or our third-party service providers can be 100% secure.  Therefore, we do not promise or guarantee, and you should not expect, that your Information or private communications will always remain private or secure.  We do not guarantee that your Information will not be misused by third parties.  We are not responsible for the circumvention of any privacy settings or security features.  You agree that we will not have any liability for misuse, access, acquisition, deletion, or disclosure of your Information.

If you believe that your Information has been accessed or acquired by an unauthorized person, you should promptly Contact Us so that necessary measures can quickly be taken.

V. DATA RETENTION

We will retain your Information for as long as needed to provide you Services, and as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our policies.  In accordance with our routine record keeping, we may delete certain records that contain Information you have submitted to us.  We are under no obligation to store such Information indefinitely and disclaim any liability arising out of, or related to, the destruction of such Information.

VI. YOUR CHOICES
  1. Marketing Communications. If you do not want to receive marketing and promotional emails from us, you may click on the “unsubscribe” link in the email to unsubscribe and optout of marketing email communications or see How to Contact Us below for more information.
  2. Opting Out of Direct Marketing by Third Parties. To exercise choices regarding the marketing information you receive, you may also review the following links:
  • You may optout of tracking and receiving tailored advertisements on your mobile device by some mobile advertising companies and other similar entities by downloading the App Choices app at aboutads.info/appchoices.
  • You may optout of receiving permissible targeted advertisements by using the NAI Opt-out tool available at http://optout.networkadvertising.org/?c=1 or visiting About Ads at http://optout.aboutads.info.
  • You can optout of having your activity on our Services made available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out add-on for your web browser by visiting: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout for your web browser.
VII. GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION OF DATA STORAGE AND PROCESSING

Our Services are targeted to individuals located in the United States.  As such, the Services collect Information and process and store that Information in databases located in the United States.  If you are visiting the Services from a country outside the United States, you should be aware that you may transfer personally identifiable Information about yourself to the United States, and that the data protection laws of the United States may not be as comprehensive as those in your own country.  By visiting the Services and submitting any personally identifiable Information you consent to the transfer of such personally identifiable Information to the United States.

VIII. ACCESSING, CORRECTING, OR DELETING YOUR INFORMATION

To the extent certain state laws provide users with data subject rights, such as the right to opt out, access, or delete their personal Information, those rights may be honored by the Company following proper authentication and verification.  Please see the How to Contact Us section below for more information.

IX. CHILDREN’S INFORMATION

The Services are intended only for users over the age of sixteen (16).  If we become aware that a user is under sixteen (16) (or a higher age threshold where applicable) and has provided us with Information, we will take steps to comply with any applicable legal requirement to remove such Information.  Contact us if you believe that we have mistakenly or unintentionally collected Information from a child under the age of sixteen (16).

X. DIFFICULTY ACCESSING OUR PRIVACY POLICY

Individuals with disabilities who are unable to usefully access our Privacy Policy online may contact us to inquire how they can obtain a copy of our policy in another, more easily readable format.

XI. “DO NOT TRACK” SIGNALS

We do not support “Do Not Track.”  Do Not Track is a preference you can set in your web browser to inform websites that you do not want to be tracked. You can enable or disable “Do Not Track” by visiting the “Preferences” or “Settings” page of your web browser. Do Not Track is different from Global Privacy Controls (“GPC”), which may notify websites of consumers’ privacy preferences regarding the sale or sharing of personal Information, or the use of sensitive personal Information.

XII. CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY POLICY

We reserve the right to change, modify or amend this Privacy Policy at any time to reflect changes in our products and service offerings, accommodate new technologies, regulatory requirements, or other purposes.  If we modify our Privacy Policy, we will update the “Effective Date” and such changes will be effective upon posting.  It is your obligation to check our current Privacy Policy for any changes.

XIII. HOW TO CONTACT US

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or the Information we have collected about you, please contact us at the following:

Email us:         [email protected]

Call us:            (866) 386-4769

Write us:          955 NW 17th Avenue #E

Delray Beach, FL 33445

Categories
Professional Tax Articles

Benefits of Offering Bank Products Through Tax Preparation Businesses

Benefits of Offering Bank Products Through Tax Preparation Businesses

 

Only a portion of clients have access to a bank, so offering bank products along with tax preparation services can be a great option. According to the FDIC, more than 6 percent of American households don’t use a bank, and an even larger percentage use financial products outside the banking system. Providing additional products for underbanked clients can be a win-win situation for tax preparation businesses and customers.

 

What is Considered a Tax Bank Product?

 

Tax bank products are any software that provides fee payments without needing a client to have a bank account and are specifically available through tax preparation businesses. Many of these products offer refunds in several ways, whether electronic refund deposits, prepaid debit cards, or electronic refund checks.

 

These financial products allow clients to use your tax preparation services without paying upfront fees. For example, the tax prep fees are automatically removed from the client’s refund, and the money is routed from the IRS to another tax bank. Software vendors often work with various tax banks, so it’s a good idea to do some research before deciding on a service.

 

How to Offer Tax Bank Products?

 

The first step in providing tax bank products is to apply to be an authorized e-file provider. Once approved, you can choose from different bank products for tax preparers. Tax preparation businesses can then finalize the process by setting up the software to offer clients financial products.

 

How Tax-Refund Bank Products Benefit Both You and Your Clients

 

Providing financial products is beneficial to both tax preparation businesses and your clients. By offering these bank products, tax professionals qualify for additional programs to help them grow their business. These programs include pre-season loans to get their business up and running in November/December, in-season prep fee advances to help the preparer get paid sooner, and to pay staff before funding starts, as well as taxpayer advances to help attract new customers to the tax preparer’s office and to be able to compete with the big chain preparation franchises. Additional advantages of providing tax bank products include the following:

 

Convenience: Clients can easily schedule tax preparation services, and they don’t have to worry about incurring any out-of-pocket fees.

 

Faster Process: Another benefit of tax bank products is that it’s a much quicker process for receiving a tax refund payment.

 

Variety of Payment Options: Many different options are available for clients to receive their tax refund payment, whether it’s a debit card, direct deposit, or check.

 

Here are the primary ways tax preparation services can benefit from bank products. 

 

Simple Payment Process: You will receive payment for your services much more quickly, and you don’t have to worry about tracking down payments.

 

Gain a Competitive Edge – Another benefit of using bank products for tax preparers is that offering these services often give you an edge over other tax preparation services that don’t offer these products.

 

Attract More Clients: You can also attract more clients that want to avoid paying for tax preparation services upfront.

 

Here are some of the bank products available from Sigma Tax Pro

 

PayDash

PayDash makes it easy to provide cash advances to help tax professionals grow their companies. A strong customer service team is also available if you ever need assistance.

 

Tax Products Group

Tax Products Group offers a variety of financial products to match your customers’ needs best. These financial products are great for tax preparation services and independent tax professionals.

 

EPS Financial

EPS Financial provides flexible electronic payment systems for tax preparation services. Keeping things simple while staying up to date with the latest regulations makes EPS Financial a popular choice for tax preparation businesses.

 

Refund Advantage

Refund Advantage allows you to customize your account in several ways while making managing your tax preparation services easy. Creating the best experience possible is always a priority.

 

Republic Bank Tax Refund Solutions

Republic Bank Tax Refund Solutions has over 25 years of experience in helping clients receive their refunds quicker. Using these services is a great way to keep things simple and convenient.

 

Refundo

Refundo is an online dashboard that makes it easy to view your bank products anytime. You can check out detailed customer information, application payments, and more.

 

Closing Thoughts

Expanding your offered services by providing tax bank products is an excellent choice for growing your business. These services offer many benefits, such as providing clients with a variety of payment options, as well as providing convenience. Offering these financial products is especially beneficial for the underbanked, as it gives access to their tax refund even if they don’t have bank access.

 

Now is the best time to begin applying for these tax bank products! 

Categories
Professional Tax Articles

Keeping Your Tax Preparation Firm Relevant with Automated Services

Keeping Your Tax Preparation Firm Relevant with Automated Services

Choosing to invest in automation services is a great option for tax professionals. Tax preparation automation offers a wide range of benefits, such as improving efficiency, reducing costs, and keeping mistakes to a minimum. Many distinctive features are also available with tax automation software. These automated services make it much easier to improve accuracy and develop the best tax strategy for tax preparation firms.

Automated Formats Are a Must for Tax Prep Firms

One of the biggest selling points of tax automation software is that it improves efficiency. Many tax professionals spend the vast majority of their time entering data, as tax automation is an excellent way to streamline this entire process. Tax preparation firms can spend more of their valuable time on finding ways to better serve their clients without spending hours entering manual data.

An additional benefit of using tax automation services is that it makes it easier for tax professionals to maintain compliance with all of today’s regulations. More time can be spent focused on developing the best tax strategy for each client, no matter if it’s identifying valuation issues, finding errors, or implementing more effective solutions. Tax professionals can focus more on high-value tasks, while automation software will handle basic tasks to save time and improve efficiency.

Cost-Effective Option

Looking at ways to reduce costs is always a priority for businesses. Using tax preparation automation software is one of the most effective ways to improve accuracy, which helps to keep expenses to a minimum. Tax automation software also helps to reduce the amount of time it takes to prepare taxes. Tax professionals can spend more of their time looking at ways to develop the best tax strategy for saving their clients’ money without having to get bogged down with tedious work.

Improve Accuracy with Tax Automation

Keeping everything working smoothly and minimizing mistakes is essential to optimizing the tax return workflow process. Tax automation allows tax preparers to access information instantly without having to spend hours searching for any particular set of information. Using tax automation helps to reduce mistakes, and it also decreases the chance of burnout by reducing repetitive work. Ultimately, using these services to automate tax work paper preparation is a win-win situation for both tax professionals and clients.

What Are the Available Software Features?

Automation software gives tax professionals access to a wide variety of features. These features are designed to improve accuracy and streamline the entire process. For example, features such as remote signature makes it possible for clients to sign from anywhere without the need for paper. Clients should also be able to communicate with the tax preparer in real time through the software, with conversations being recorded and safely secured.

Automated systems also allow you to reduce worry regarding how to keep up with countless pieces of paperwork, as these documents can be safely kept in the cloud. Using tax automation software makes it much easier to stay organized, and greatly reduces the chance of making worrisome errors. Tax software also integrates with banks to automatically handle fees and refunds, which eliminates the need for additional software to manage these tasks. Overall, using tax preparation automation software is an excellent way to gain access to many helpful features to make the tax prep process much more streamlined and efficient.

How to Evaluate Tax Software Providers?

Not all tax preparation automation services are equal, which is why it’s essential to do your research before making a decision about which to choose. Looking at past reviews from clients and learning how many years they have been in the business is always important. Understanding the onboarding process is also key in making sure all goes smoothly with minimal interruptions. Asking about their customer support is another critical part of determining if a tax preparation automation service is the right fit for your firm or if you should consider other options. The price of these services is also important, as you will need to consider upfront costs as well as ongoing maintenance.

Closing Thoughts

Learning all about the benefits of automated services is essential for tax professionals. Investing in tax automation helps to reduce costs, improve accuracy, and it makes it easier to develop a robust tax strategy. These automation services also provide a wide range of software features, such as bank product integrations, remote signatures, real-time communications, and secure file transfers. Now is an excellent time for tax professionals to check out these services and experience the many benefits of tax preparation automation.

Categories
Professional Tax Articles

Growing Your Tax Preparation Business Through Referrals

 

One way to grow your business is through customer referrals. A tax preparation business can greatly expand its outreach and reach many new customers through referral marketing. Implementing a referral incentive program is especially beneficial, and it’s a much more affordable choice as compared to traditional marketing options. Start by learning more about the benefits of a referral network – It’s an excellent way to help your tax preparation business grow throughout the entire year.

 

Implementing a Referral Incentive Program in 2023

A referral incentive program can help you gain and retain many new customers. You can implement a referral incentive program in a variety of ways, such as offering incentives for existing clients that refer you to new customers. For example, you might offer a gift card for clients that provide customer referrals, or you may decide to offer a discount on the client’s next tax-preparation service. You can also experiment with different rewards to see which are the most effective options for your business.

 

Should You Consider Limits on Your Referral Incentive Program?

Developing a terms and conditions document for your referral marketing program is always recommended, whether it be available for review on- or offline. Depending on your budget, you may want to consider limiting the number of compensated customer referrals per client, or maybe not since all new business is good business. It’s also important to precisely define what your clients are required to do to earn the incentive. Clearly defining all the rules of your referral incentive program is essential to ensure that all terms are easy to understand and to follow.

 

What is an Effective Way to Market Your Referral Program?

Understanding how to market your tax preparation referral program is key to maximizing your outreach. Fortunately, you can promote your referral incentive program using various marketing strategies, whether it’s through your website, social media pages, desk cards, or even with wall posters in your office. You can also grow your business by marketing your referral program using on-hold prompts/messages on your telephone system. The biggest key here is to market your referral program through several different avenues to reach as many people as possible.

 

Here are a few tips on how to create an effective referral network to grow your business.

 

Build Your Ideal Client Profile

One of the first steps to developing any referral network is to create your ideal client profile. You can also create numerous client profiles, such as businesses in specific industries, gig workers, or high net-worth clients. Developing a well-defined client profile is key in making it easier to focus on growing your referral incentive program. You can also update your client profile over time to better match the evolving needs of your business. Discussing your ideal client profile with your referral partners can help increase the success of your referral marketing program.

 

Keep Your Clients Happy

Attempting to grow your business through a referral network is next to impossible if you are unable to keep your clients happy with your tax preparation services. On the other hand, happy clients are one of the most effective marketing tools to help you gain new customers. You can keep your existing clients happy by meeting their needs, helping them solve their tax problems, and making sure they stay in compliance with various tax laws.

 

Taking a proactive approach by focusing on the unique needs of your clients can help you earn their trust and make it much more likely for them to recommend you to others. Keeping in touch with your clients throughout the year is also important to making sure your clients are well-satisfied with your tax preparation services. You can stay connected with customers in various ways. For example, send a handwritten note thanking each client for their business or send them each a (handwritten, computer generated, or online, etc.) monthly newsletter which provides a monthly opportunity for your business to stay top of mind.

Encouraging clients to leave online reviews about your tax preparation business is also a great way to reach more people – especially since so many of us rely on reading positive reviews before making a decision to switch preparers, and also because good news & great reviews travel real fast.

 

Closing Thoughts

Preparing for tax season can be stressful, especially if you are short on clients. Fortunately, a tax preparation business can reach more new clients by creating a referral incentive program. Growing your business through a referral network takes time, as it doesn’t happen overnight. Creating an ideal client profile, keeping your existing customers happy, and staying in touch with them are all key aspects of building a successful referral incentive program. Over time, you will begin to gain more clients through referral marketing, as all the hard work is well worth the effort in helping you grow your business all year long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Professional Tax Articles

Importance of a Quality Website for Tax Prep Firms

One of the best ways to showcase your expertise as a tax preparer is to invest in a quality website. Building a new website can help you reach many more potential clients and even give you an edge over competitors. Focusing on increasing your online presence helps to establish credibility, and it’s well worth the effort for a tax preparation service. Learning more about the many advantages of a responsive web design is always a good idea if you are still undecided.

 

Here are the main benefits of building a fast website for your tax preparation service:

 

Create a Strong First Impression

 

Making a solid first impression on potential clients is always essential for a tax preparer. A professional website with a modern design is one of the most effective ways to make a strong impression. Each visitor to your website can quickly learn more details about your company while understanding your tax preparation service better. You can choose from a wide range of tax prep website templates that will save you time in designing your site while creating a good user experience.

 

Modern Design with Fast Loading Pages

 

Creating a good user experience is necessary if you want to grow your business. A modern web design with a fast page loading speed makes it much easier for you to attract ideal clients. On the other hand, a slow site makes it nearly impossible for visitors to learn more about your company. Fortunately, you can increase web page loading speed in many ways, such as optimizing your images, decreasing your redirects, and enabling browser caching.

 

Test Both Mobile and Desktop Versions

 

A website for your tax preparation service needs to be optimized for mobile and desktop users. Both options for visitors create a seamless experience, whether using a mobile device or a desktop computer. Testing both possibilities is essential for creating a good user experience, as the goal is to develop a fast website for desktop and mobile users. A responsive web design will result in a speedy website that works on any version.

 

Maximize Your Outreach by Building a New Website

 

A tax preparer can only reach a certain number of local clients before they reach their limit. However, building a website with a modern design is an excellent way to extend your outreach by attracting clients across the nation. A website for your tax preparation service can potentially connect you with an almost unlimited supply of clients, which can play a crucial role in your company’s growth. All you need to do is focus on creating a well-designed site to maximize your outreach.

 

Build Stronger Relations with Clients

 

A website for a tax preparer is a great way to build stronger relations with your client base. For example, you can publish weekly blog posts, videos, or case studies to highlight your expertise while providing your audience with helpful content. Consistently publishing quality content is also a great marketing tool that can help you rank for different terms related to your industry. Over time, you will likely notice increased traffic to your site if you keep creating new content.

 

Gain a Competitive Edge

 

The accounting industry is highly competitive, as a website can play an essential role in separating your services from other businesses. You can use your website to establish your expertise and experience while discussing your available benefits. Showcasing reviews from past clients is also a great way to build trust and credibility. Providing free content is another key aspect to separating yourself from the competition, such as creating blog posts that answer common tax-related questions.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

A website is one of the top marketing tools for a tax preparer. A responsive web design is an excellent way to create the best user experience while extending your outreach to a global audience. You can even use your website to showcase your expertise by following a content marketing strategy that will help you rank higher in all the leading search engines. Optimizing and testing your site for desktop and mobile users is also vital in attracting a wide range of clients. You can choose from numerous tax prep website templates or work with a web design agency to create a modern design that best matches your needs.

 

As well as being the nation’s top tax-prep software provider, the professional team at Sigma Tax Pro also provides industry-specific website design and hosting for professionals looking to reach a specific target audience and provide them with the info for which they are searching. We will design/host your website so that it provides insight pertaining to industry specifications – We’ll either give your current website an industry-specific makeover or build your tax office an optimized site from start to finish.

 

To get started with client expansion via an industry-specific website and/or hosting services, please visit us online at Sigma Tax Pro.

Categories
Professional Tax Articles

Should Tax Preparers Discuss the Odds of Being Audited with their Clients?

One of the primary goals of many tax preparation services is to reduce the chance of their self-employed clients being audited by the IRS. Asking a few questions and gathering enough information is key to decreasing the odds of getting audited. Taking the time to perform these steps requires more effort, but it’s well worth it for a tax preparer. Understanding how to limit IRS audit red flags creates a much better experience for both the tax preparer and the client.

Who Gets Audited by the IRS the Most?

The odds of being audited are significantly increased for self-employed taxpayers if they continue to take a loss on their business each year. However, the client is most likely safe from auditing if they report a profit for at least three out of five years.

It’s also essential for a tax preparer to report any amount of income from a self-employed client. Many clients falsely believe that their income isn’t taxable if it is under $600 for the year. Ultimately, self-employed taxpayers have much more leniency while filing taxes, which is one of the main reasons that they are under greater scrutiny.

Discussing Your Client’s Chances of Getting Audited

The chance of getting audited by the IRS always increases if there are several or glaring red flags. Professional tax preparation services will look at avoiding these red flags while ensuring that all information is accurate. A few of the standard IRS audit red flags include the home office deduction, large deductions for meals and travel, an inflated income, or income loss each year.

Reaching out to your self-employed clients to discuss the chances of getting audited by the IRS is vital in preparing them for this ever-present possibility, especially if they show several red flags on their tax returns. Typically, only one percent of taxpayers making less than $200,000 can expect to be audited. Of course, this percentage can be significantly higher for taxpayers who include any “oversized” deductions on their return.

A taxpayer that earns more than $1 million each year has a 12% chance of getting audited, while those earning between $200,000 and less than $1 million have a 4% chance of getting audited by the IRS. An experienced tax preparer can ensure that information gathered remains accurate as to avoid red flags. Of course, it’s still possible to be audited even if you don’t have any errors or red flags present on your taxes.

What Can Clients Expect During the Audit Process?

Taxpayers often misunderstand that an IRS representative will meet them at their front door to discuss an upcoming audit. However, the vast majority of audits are conducted through the mail instead of an in-person meeting. An initial letter will usually be received to provide instructions for contacting the IRS, while requesting additional information regarding your income, expenses, or any deductions.

Professional tax preparation services can help clients throughout this process to ensure they have all the documentation needed to support their claims. Tax preparers can work with self-employed clients to help them obtain all the required information while making the audit process less stressful. Enrolling in an audit assistance program is also an excellent option for making this situation more manageable.

What is an Audit Assistance Program?

Sigma Tax Pro offers an audit assistance program to guide clients throughout the audit process. Audit assistance will help clients receive the refund due, while covering Schedule A and Schedule C, without additional costs. This program will also manage all correspondence between the IRS and your client at a set fee. Sigma Tax Pro’s audit assistance program costs less than $60 for tax preparers, with preparers typically charging their clients an additional $39 above cost for these services, which is much more affordable than working with outside audit companies.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to avoid an audit is often a top priority for tax preparation services. A tax preparer can help clients prevent audits by ensuring that reported information is accurate. However, it’s still possible for a self-employed taxpayer to eventually be audited by the IRS. Investing in an Audit Assistance Program from Sigma Tax Pro is the best way to simplify this process while helping your clients receive the refunds they deserve if they have been denied education credits, EIC, child credits, or similar.

Now is a great time to partner with a professional tax preparer at Sigma Tax Pro to learn more!

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Professional Tax Articles

Tax Preparation Firm Challenges in Tax Season 2022

Tax season 2022 is already here, as dealing with numerous challenges is a reality for any tax preparation firm. Some of these issues with taxes are relatively minor, while others are much more complex. The impact of the pandemic only further complicates many of these problems. Staying proactive by looking at ways to overcome these different challenges is key to making tax season 2022 as smooth as possible.

Here is an overview of the top challenges facing tax preparation firms:

Importance of Tax Preparation Software with Support

Using software to assist with tax preparation is a necessity for any firm. Tax prep software can expedite the entire process while saving your team a lot of hard work. Investing in professional tax preparation software is especially beneficial in today’s workplace, as many companies continue to struggle to find and retain talent. Tax preparation software makes everyone’s jobs easier while requiring fewer employees to perform basic tasks.

The Never-Ending Tax Season Due to Covid Relief

One of the biggest obstacles for a tax firm is staying up to date with the ever-evolving programs offering Covid-relief for individuals and businesses. These relief programs play a crucial role in providing additional financial support, but they can also complicate tax season. Getting all of the necessary documentation from your clients is vital in streamlining this process. Staying current with these complex tax rules involving Covid relief programs is also key for tax preparation firms.

Keeping Up with New Tax Law Changes

Another challenge facing those working in tax preparation is keeping up with the different tax law changes in 2022. For example, the monthly child tax credit payments in 2021 can either increase or decrease the tax refund for your clients. Individuals may also qualify to receive the Recovery Rebate Tax Credit if they haven’t received their third stimulus check. Tax law changes in 2022 also allow clients to deduct $300 worth of cash donations without itemizing these costs. Considering all of these scenarios and how it impacts each client is critical for a professional tax preparer.

Working with the IRS

Dealing with the IRS is often a major hassle for a professional tax preparer. The pandemic forced many of the employees at the IRS to work from home, which is much different compared to working inside of an office. Additionally, many of these employees left the IRS or took a leave of absence, which created even more backlogs and delays. These different issues will make it even more challenging for tax preparation firms to work with the IRS during tax season 2022.

Implementing Emerging Technology

The tax prep industry never stays the same, but it’s constantly evolving each year. Keeping up with these different trends is critical in meeting your clients’ needs. Data analytics and robotic process automation (RPA) technology will significantly impact tax preparation firms within the next few years. Learning how to use this state-of-the-art technology can help you separate your tax firm from the competition and give you a much-needed edge by providing your clients with additional insights.

Managing a Hybrid Work Environment

Many tax preparation firms let their employees work from home while periodically making trips to the office. Managing this hybrid work environment isn’t easy during tax season. Using cloud computing with professional tax preparation software is a great way to overcome many of these problems. Employees can work with each other in real-time from different locations. The ability to access these documents on the cloud saves a professional tax preparer a lot of time and dramatically reduces the amount of paperwork.

Preparing Your Workforce

Taking a proactive approach towards tax season is essential for any tax firm. One way to plan for this busy time of the year is to evaluate and prepare your team ahead of time. For example, you may consider adding a few temporary employees to handle such a large volume of work. Training these new employees ahead of time will make the learning process much quicker and less stressful for everyone. You may even want to consider upgrading or adding new technology to help you stay well-prepared for tax season 2022.

Closing Thoughts

Tax preparation firms will continue to face numerous challenges throughout tax season 2022. Some of these issues are related to the pandemic and the lack of available workers. New tax laws for the 2022 filing season also create additional obstacles. Using professional tax preparation software can help firms overcome many of these issues while saving yourself a lot of time and energy. Investing in this technology will help you avoid costly mistakes, and it will also provide the best tax preparation services for each of your clients.

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Professional Tax Articles

Tax Preparation in the Era of Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is becoming increasingly popular for many accountant firms. Choosing to migrate to the cloud offers numerous benefits, such as increasing data security and making it easy to access client data from nearly any location. However, following a cloud migration strategy isn’t easy for most accountants. Understanding how to safely transfer client data while keeping mistakes to a minimum, as many accountants choose to work with tech professionals to ensure a smooth cloud migration process, is essential.

A Growing Virtual Workforce and COVID Safety Measures

Going “paperless” and “virtual” can increase data safety of organization and client information. Paperless options save money (behind rent, paper and ink are the largest cost in a traditional tax office) and can add features, such as remote signatures and the ability to text your clients from within your software. These upgrades can help streamline your process while keeping data safe. Cloud-based computing is also more compatible with the growing trend of a remote workforce, and a clientele that prefers to interact via technology rather than face-to-face, for reasons typically pertaining to health and safety.

Benefits of Cloud Storage

Uploading all of your documents onto the cloud is a great option for accounts due to the almost unlimited amount of storage space. Accountant firms can easily purchase additional cloud storage space or scale back during a less busy time of the year. Adding extra storage space is much more cost-effective than buying expensive hardware or trying to maintain an in-house server for your business. The flexibility of cloud computing is just one of the many reasons it’s such a popular alternative compared to manually storing all of these records on your hard drive.

Increasing efficiency is another one of the many benefits of cloud storage. Employees can quickly access records with only a few clicks of a button without wasting time searching through countless files in an office. Improving efficiency creates a less stressful work environment for employees while also helping your firm to provide even better customer service. Ultimately, using cloud-based accounting software is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing offers numerous benefits for accountants. One of the advantages of using the cloud is that it helps to boost cybersecurity for your organization. Cloud data is always protected with encryption, and it’s much more secure than storing this information on your computers in an office. You also won’t have to worry about giving in to the expensive demands of a ransomware attack, as all of your data is safely uploaded to the cloud.

Another benefit of using cloud accounting services is that this data is always available, whether in the office or at your home. Multiple employees can also work together in real-time, whether in the same room or two different cities. The accessibility of cloud computing enables employees to remain productive from nearly any location without staying inside the office at all times.

Cloud Security

The benefits of cloud computing wouldn’t mean much if it wasn’t secure. Fortunately, the use of the cloud offers additional client data protection compared to storing this information in-house. You won’t have to worry about losing any client information due to a natural disaster impacting your office or if an employee accidentally overwrites a file. Cloud accounting software allows you to create real-time data backups, which is especially important due to the ever-growing number of cybersecurity concerns.

IRS: Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself

The IRS is pressing the point of data security. Data stored locally or on the cloud should be protected and IRS publication 4557 provides a data security checklist. Advantages of storing data with a reputable cloud data company is that a large, “tech savvy” company can implement stronger security measures than a typical Tax Preparation firm.

How to Choose the Best Cloud Accounting Software?

Choosing the best cloud-based accounting software to meet your accounting firm’s needs isn’t always easy due to the numerous options available. One of the best ways to learn how to use cloud accounting software is with hands-on experience. Luckily, many cloud computing software programs allow you to take advantage of a free trial to see if it’s an excellent fit for your organization.

Following online tutorials can help you determine if a cloud accounting software program is a good fit for your business or if you need to look at other options. Comparing online reviews of different cloud service providers can help you decide which best fits your accounting firm. Asking for recommendations from others can help you narrow your selection, which saves you a lot of time and energy. Working with your IT team is also helpful in fully taking advantage of the many benefits of cloud computing.

Closing Thoughts

Cloud migration offers numerous benefits for accounting firms, large and small. Understanding all of the different benefits of using the cloud is essential, such as accessing data in real-time from any location, improving cybersecurity, and boosting employees’ productivity levels. The scalability of the cloud also gives your accounting firm much-needed flexibility to best meet the ever-changing needs of your business.

Of course, developing a cloud migration strategy with your IT team is vital in keeping downtime to a minimum and making the process as painless as possible. Working with IT professionals will help guide you throughout each stage of the cloud migration process, and they are always available if you need extra assistance. Migrating to the cloud may seem like a daunting task, but it’s well worth it for increasing cybersecurity. Now is one of the best times to consider migrating to the cloud to fully take advantage of the many benefits of using cloud-based accounting software.

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Professional Tax Articles

Benefits of Bank Products with Professional Tax Software

Preparing taxes for a variety of businesses requires a lot of time and effort for accounting firms. Using professional tax software is a great way to streamline this entire process while keeping everything well-organized. Choosing to use professional tax preparation software with bank products is an excellent investment that offers numerous features. These bank products are an additional service that tax preparers can offer to each client. Offering bank products is a great way to stand out from the competition while also providing more value to your clients.

Sigma Tax Pro’s Bank Products

Sigma Tax Pro offers various banking products to accounting firms, CPAs, and professional tax preparers. These banking products provide numerous benefits, whether you need PayDash for providing cash advances or if you need to use EPS Financial for its flexible electronic payment system. Using Refundo is a great way to expedite the entire process while also giving you access to detailed information on the go. Other banking products include Tax Products Group, Refund Advantage, and Republic Bank & Trust. Ian W. Gardner, Business Development Manager at Sigma Tax Pro states “With the delayed taxpayer funding last year, cash advances and bank products became more important than ever. By offering these products, many tax professionals were able to grow their business, while providing their customers with the financial bridge they needed.”

Here are a few of the main benefits of using professional tax preparation software with bank products:

Saves Time

Time is often short for accounting firms. Meeting deadlines and keeping clients happy is always a top priority. Using banking products and professional tax preparation software is a great way to save yourself a lot of time. Refundo makes it easy to review detailed information regarding tax documents, bank applications, office performance, and more with its innovative software. You can even add multiple users to your team and change access levels with only a few clicks of a button.

Boost Productivity

Finding ways to maximize productivity isn’t always easy. Using the top tax preparation software for professionals with banking products is a great way to make the job tasks for each employee much more effortless. PayDash makes it possible for you to confidently run your office, whether you need refund disbursement options or cash advances for your clients. These different features are easily accessible with professional accounting software, which helps streamline workflow and increase productivity.

Access to Real-Time Information

Another advantage of using professional tax software with banking products is that it gives you access to information in real-time. Refundo makes it possible for you to log in at any time view office performance, whether it’s on your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone. All of this information within professional accounting software will help you make decisions that are in the best interests of your company while also allowing you to meet the needs of each client.

Customization Options

The needs for accounting firms and tax preparers are constantly evolving, and they vary from company to company. Using Refund Advantage is the perfect solution for helping you to customize your account in an almost countless number of ways. One of the primary focuses of this product is to provide the best refund banking experience available. The Independent ERO offers numerous options and solutions to create a much smoother tax experience for everyone.

Increase Client Satisfaction

Keeping your clients happy is essential to staying in business. Using the top tax preparation software for professionals allows you to serve each one of your clients better. Gaining access to banking products and professional tax software is also a great way to streamline taxes and make the jobs of accounting firms easier. These banking products offer a variety of features, and they provide a strong customer support team that’s always happy to answer any questions and provide guidance on how to best use each product.

Scalability

The needs for accounting firms are constantly changing, whether they are adding new clients or scaling back their services during less busy times of the year. These banking products in professional accounting software give you the scalability to easily add new users with a few clicks of a button. Using these software solutions also gives you plenty of space to meet the growing needs of your business. All of these scalability options provide accounting firms with much-needed flexibility in today’s ever-changing work environment.

Closing Thoughts

Using professional tax preparation software with bank products is an excellent investment for accounting firms and other businesses managing taxes. Access to the top tax preparation software for professionals offers many benefits, such as saving you time, boosting productivity, and scalability options. Other advantages include countless customization choices, access to real-time information, and improving client satisfaction. Choosing to use professional tax software is a great way to rise above your competitors while helping you provide the best available services to your clients.

Now is a great time to reach out to Sigma Tax Pro to learn more about using our professional tax software and banking products!

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Professional Tax Articles

Can You Run Your Accounting Firm Remotely?

Remote accounting jobs were already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic altered the workplace. Allowing employees to work from home offers immense benefits, and it will only continue to grow in the future. Cloud computing also makes it easy for remote accountants to perform various tasks from their computer or mobile device. While remote jobs offer plenty of benefits for accountants, it’s still important to keep a few things in mind to maximize your chance of success.

How Accountants Can Work from Their Home Office

One of the first steps in enabling accountants to work from home is to create a solid virtual infrastructure. Putting the right technology in place for work from home accounting jobs is essential in keeping this data safe. A data breach will always result in significant expenses, and it will also ruin your trust and relationship with your clients. An in-house IT team can help set up the necessary security protocols and monitoring services to maximize data security for anyone doing accounting work from home.

The next step is to implement a cloud solution for remote accounting jobs.  Using the cloud makes it possible to centralize your data management and give you access to updates in real-time for remote work. You can choose from various cloud service providers, as they will handle all of your IT maintenance to ensure everything is running as smoothly as possible. You also have the flexibility to scale up or down with the number of users and storage space to meet your accounting firm’s needs best.

Using a cloud service provider makes it much easier for accountants to work from home to log in and immediately go to work. In addition, access to data in real-time enables accountants to work with others despite being in different locations. Automatic software updates will also boost efficiency and provide remote accounting jobs with the latest security upgrades.

Here are a few things accounting firms need to keep in mind while working remotely:

Develop Information Security Policies

Implementing information security policies is essential for any remote job. Data protection is crucial for accounting firms, as these policies need to be easily accessible for each employee. These information security policies will provide detail on acceptable practices and the expectations for handling business operations. Keeping these policies up to date is also important due to the ever-evolving nature of technology.

Create a Cybersecurity Incident Plan

A cybersecurity-related incident can always happen at any time for remote accounting jobs. One way to prepare for these different scenarios is to create a cybersecurity incident response plan for remote jobs. These plans will provide a step-by-step procedure for handling a wide range of situations for working remotely. Ensuring each remote accountant understands these policies is critical in mitigating the damage of a data breach during remote work.

Use Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication

Another critical tip in improving security for work from home accounting jobs is to create a strong password policy. Accounting firms need to require employees to use passwords of at least eight characters or more while including numbers and symbols. Never using the same password for each account is also critical for data security. Enabling multi-factor authentication also provides an added step of protection for remote accounting jobs.

Always Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Cybercriminals are always finding ways to intercept data transmitted across unsecured networks. One way to avoid this problem is to require remote work jobs always to use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN provides the best security by encrypting all of the internet traffic for remote jobs, making it almost impossible for computer hackers to access this confidential data.

Establish a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Separating the lines between work and home isn’t always an easy task for remote jobs. Accounting firms need to encourage employees on how to set boundaries while working remotely to avoid burnout. Taking breaks throughout the day and getting some fresh air can make a big difference in reducing stress and helping a remote accountant maintain focus. Setting a schedule for each day and avoiding working hours past your normal times is also important in creating a healthy work-life balance for remote accounting jobs.

Closing Thoughts

Work from home jobs in the accounting industry will only continue to grow due to the widespread use of cloud computing. Understanding how to successfully manage remote accounting jobs is essential in avoiding mistakes and preventing employee burnout. Implementing the right technology in place will improve security for work from home jobs while also empowering accountants to be even more productive outside of an office environment. Implementing these simple steps can play a big role in helping your employees perform accounting work from home.