How to Partner With Lawyers, Financial Planners and Estate Planners
Tax providers can maximize their client services by partnering with other advisors, such as lawyers, financial planners and estate planners. Every tax preparer should maintain a list of at least three of these professionals whom they wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, says Laura Sweeney, a partner in the Dallas office of Southern Wealth Management.
Estate planners can be an asset to tax preparers, assisting them with issues such as gift taxes and investments. Likewise, qualified attorneys can assist with trusts and tax-related legal issues, while financial planners can help devise strategies to minimize tax exposure or plan for retirement.
“They must be someone you know you can trust,” says Sweeney. “They also should be the right fit for your client’s situation with fees in line with your client’s budget.”
To maintain flexibility, Sweeney recommends financial planners who provide fee-based services, as opposed to a commission or fee-plus commission basis.
Tax preparers can recommend a financial planner or estate planner once a client’s wealth holdings reach a level that complicates the tax filing process. Estate planners are valuable for many clients, even those who feel their estate isn’t substantial enough to warrant one. An estate planner can provide valuable assistance with wills, retirement planning, asset disbursement to children, investments and charitable donations, each of which can impact tax obligations.
“I’m a big proponent of charitable donation planning and I recommend that tax preparers be dialed in on their clients’ charitable donations,” says Sweeney. “That’s a great opportunity to help them.”
Tax preparers can work with clients to determine the charitable giving tax benefits they may need to plan for. “They should advise clients to establish a donor fund containing that required amount of money and distribute it to charitable organizations throughout the year,” says Sweeney.
The mid-year tax review is a valuable element to any client tax strategy because it serves as an opportunity to discuss these additional services. Situations are constantly in flux. Checking in with clients throughout the year can reveal changes that impact tax status, including increases or decreases in income, marriage or divorce. Tax preparers can advise clients on any needed strategy adjustments reflecting these changes that can minimize tax exposure.
According to a survey conducted by Intuit®, 58 percent of tax professionals are on the hunt for new ways to offer better service to their clients. Partnering with other professionals can make your tax business a comprehensive service provider. Implementing this strategy can boost client retention rates, attract new clients and improve your firm’s bottom line.
Here’s a Forbes article on how sales are adding up for tax professionals.