This month I am bringing back the flat fee income tax planning service that I promoted a few years ago. I stopped marketing this service last year under criticism from other accountants that I was underselling the value of this type of expertise. I saw it as a great way to attract new clients that justified deliberately under-pricing the service.
My introductory tax planning service is meant to provide a two-way introduction between accountant and client and generate some valuable and timely information backed up by written reports for further action. The entire process is intended to be concluded within a few hours of direct contact time over a span of about two weeks. I favor this approach simply because it makes it easy to get started with a new client. I also feel that a “fast and dirty” tax planning service completed within about two weeks is welcome by many people, especially younger business owners, but is not otherwise available in the market.
The seven parts of my service are:
1. Read your prior tax return and other documents that you may choose to provide via a secure online document portal.
2. Enter your basic personal and financial information into a tax planning simulation computer program that enables evaluation of “what if” scenarios.
3. Prepare a short written report of some options available including the advantages and disadvantages of each.
4. Prepare a written simulation report that calculates federal income taxes under up to five “what if” scenarios.
5. Hold a scheduled telephone or video call with you to discuss the options described above.
6. Provide a secure private online document portal to allow us to exchange information safely and to upload a copy my written reports to the portal. (Note that this agreement does not provide for handling of paper documents which would increase the price and possible change the timeline).
7. Communicate with you directly in person, by telephone and email during the course of the engagement but not in excess of twelve total communications or one hour of total communication time, whichever is more.
A sample tax planning service engagement agreement is available here: 2016-flat-fee-tax-planning-service-engagement-letter. Actual details are customized for each client and will vary from the sample.