5 tips to make tax preparer jobs easier in 2022

No matter how long you have been in the tax industry, one thing is for sure: tax preparer jobs are never going to be simple or easy. 

Between now and April 15, most tax preparers are overwhelmed by the number of returns they need to file for their clients. They come up against piles of paper receipts, canceled checks, brokerage statements … it’s enough to make you break a sweat.

But things can be different this year. With the right planning, groundwork, and digital tools, your busiest work period can become significantly less hectic. 

Make tax season 2022 less stressful for yourself and your clients

  1. Use an eSignature solution to make tax preparer jobs virtual

Once a client’s tax forms have been filled out, you need to sign them yourself and send them to the client for signature. In the pre-COVID era, it was standard practice to print, scan, and courier these documents, or have people travel to your office to provide a signature. But today, eSignatures have emerged as a popular option for making tax return paperwork seamless, faster, and touch-free. 

In fact, to help taxpayers secure a faster refund, the IRS recommends electronic filing of tax returns.

If you’re a tax firm making the switch to eSignatures, it’s important to choose a provider that can keep your client’s confidential data secure – one in every 15 people fell victim to tax-related identity theft in 2017.

For greater peace of mind and protection of your clients’ data, your chosen eSignature solution should also be SOC2 Type 2 compliant. This certification is a guarantee by the SaaS solution vendor that they have undergone a standardized auditing procedure that ensures the processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of your data.

Apart from SOC2 certification, Signeasy also offers two-factor authentication for an added layer of security.

Some more things to consider when choosing an eSignature provider:

  • Does it offer a free trial?
  • Can it easily be used on multiple devices, i.e. does it have a mobile app?
  • Does it offer added security features like biometric sign-in?
  • Does it enable company branding in communication?
  • Does it comply with IRS regulations?
  1. Stay up-to-date with tax law changes

Have you heard about the latest changes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)? Seen the latest version of Form 2210

Staying plugged into all of these new rules and forms will ensure accuracy, reduce tax refund delays, and produce a better client experience overall. 

Publications and instructions on the IRS website are a good place to start. Be sure to check the portal every day for changes, technical corrections, or any other state or local changes. 

  1. Zero in on a high-performance tax preparation software

Depending on your clients’ tax filing needs, the size of your firm, and the types of tax filings you need to do, there are different tax preparation software options to choose from.

The right solution can save time, reduce human error, and cut down on manual inputs to accurately calculate business tax, estimated tax, etc.

Here are some of the key questions to ask when choosing a tax preparation software:

  1. Does it offer unlimited filing?
  2. Is it cloud-based or desktop software?
  3. Does it take care of federal and state tax returns?
  4. Does it help organize tax deductions?
  5. Is it paid or free?
  6. Does it offer effective customer support?
  1. Store tax forms, supporting documents, and returns on the cloud

Tax preparers are responsible for a huge amount of paperwork. Some of it is provided by clients, others are prepared in-office. Every sheet must be accounted for at all times and stored securely long-term, since the IRS can request an audit at any time. 

Storing physical copies of all these documents is neither a cost-effective nor a scalable option. Plus, there is the looming threat of information leaks or damage, and inadequate records can prevent your clients from capitalizing on certain deductions. This is why it’s best to store everything on a cloud-based solution.

  1. Specialize in a specific niche

Small and medium-sized tax preparer firms tend to have a mix of clients that belong to different industries. 

A good rule of thumb is to start by specializing in one industry. This will allow you to improve your understanding of the tax laws pertaining to that sector. The more you know, the easier it will be to serve those clients – especially during the busy season.

Eventually, once you are ready to scale, you may branch out into other industries.

Building trust with eSignatures

To a tax preparer, a client’s trust is everything.

You want your clients to feel like they can completely depend on you to ethically and securely deal with their tax filings.

This is especially important due to the recent proliferation of ghost tax preparers, who refuse to sign returns and cheat taxpayers of their money. 

If you want to reassure clients throughout the process and make things as easy as possible, complete the tax return signing process using a reliable eSignature solution like Signeasy.

By validating and securing your client’s documents with SSL encryption and a digital audit trail, Signeasy keeps your practice fraud-free and your credentials intact.

We also keep sensitive documents safe from accidental exposure thanks to our passcode and fingerprint-based authentication on iOS.

Which tax forms can you sign with eSignatures?

As you prepare, file, or assist with general tax forms, eSignatures can help you sail through the tax filing process.

Depending on its business structure, each small business will have different tax requirements and therefore different forms that need to be filed out.

Some of the most commonly used IRS forms that can be signed electronically are:

  • Form 8879 series: IRS e-file Signature Authorization
  • Form 1120-FSC: U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation;
  • Form 1120-RIC: U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies;
  • Form 1120-SF: U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds (Under Section 468B)
  • Form 1127: Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship
  • Form 1128: Application to Adopt, Change or Retain a Tax Year
  • Form 8453 series: U.S. Individual Income Tax Transmittal for an IRS e-file Return
  • Form 8878 series: IRS e-file Signature Authorization for Form 4868 or Form 2350
  • Form 1120-C: U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations

Here is a full list of forms that you may sign with an eSignature solution.

Signeasy for tax season 2022

Electronic signatures are seeing a significant spike in adoption within the tax community. Practitioners love how digitized processes reduce the administrative and logistical burden of the paperwork, while adding an extra layer of security and efficiency.

Whether your firm works with small business, sole proprietorships, or corporations, Signeasy’s eSignature solution can make tax preparer jobs so much simpler.

  • Deliver faster refunds: No need to go looking for printers, scanners, or courier services to finish up a file – and no more manual follow-ups for customers who haven’t handed in their signed documents. With Signeasy, tax preparers can import, fill, and sign forms electronically, then send them to ‌clients to countersign in a matter of minutes. 

This significantly shortens the filing workflow considerably, and if a signer is lagging behind, you can send a reminder with a single click. 

  • Improve audit capabilities: Since Signeasy integrates with all major email and cloud service providers (Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Outlook, etc.), it’s easy to access filed forms and upload documents as soon as they’re completed. Signeasy also leaves a digital trail that includes the signer’s email address, the time of signing, their IP address, and a “digital fingerprint” of the finalized document. This makes it easy for tax auditors to review your client’s paperwork whenever necessary. 
  • Enable offline signing and continuity: Filing taxes takes time, and lots of it. In today’s remote world, you should be able to pick up where you left off at any time, even when you are on the go or without an internet connection. Signeasy lets you fill, sign, and save tax forms when your device is offline, then send them on once you have access to the internet. It also lets you switch between devices (phone, tablet, desktop) to complete the paperwork. 
  • Keep tax documents secure: Tax forms contain sensitive and confidential information that can be secured using Signeasy’s Passcode and Touch ID features. With Touch ID authentication, you can ensure that only you can access the documents. You can also set a personal passcode that must be entered every time you use the app to sign a document.
  • Minimize errors: Since the physical filing workflow includes so much back-and-forth, it leaves more room for human error – and even the smallest of errors can lead to your client missing out on a deduction or triggering an IRS audit. Signeasy eliminates multiple manual touchpoints by digitizing the signing process, and the Document Fields feature allows tax preparers to point out exactly where clients need to input information. That way, they’ll never skip over a field by accident.

Final word

In 2018, the IRS received 13,628,000 paper tax returns. Imagine how much time, paper, and hassle could have been saved if those returns had been filed electronically!

Want to learn more about how eSignatures can deliver great ROI for your tax business? 

Request for a demo here, or get started right away with Signeasy’s free 14-day trial. 

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