Tax planning can be a proactive, high-value, year-round service that complements tax preparation. According to the 2021 Tax Planning and Advisory Insights survey, 31% of advisors meet with tax planning clients twice a year and 24% meet quarterly, so more than half of firms are now meeting beyond the traditional end-of-year check-in.
On average, these tax planning firms say they do tax planning for about 35% of their clients. Tax advisors say business owners are ideal for tax advisory because there are many tax-saving strategies available, owners value planning, and clients are used to paying for expert services. Advisors say current business owner clients already trust their compliance advice, and almost always welcome proactive tax planning and advisory services.
Clients appreciate proactive advice and are willing to pay more for planning services than compliance services. In fact, 79% of taxpayers say they are willing to pay more for a tax professional's service if it will result in improved financial outcomes, such as reducing their tax liability. That is further supported by the average annual fee for tax planning and advisory services of $2,351, which is significantly higher than the average tax preparation fees. Communicating the tax savings associated with recommendations helps advisors increase the value they deliver—and they get paid for their expert advice.
A great place to start planning and advisory engagements is with client goals and interests. Here are some discovery questions to help identify topics to explore with clients:
- What are your business goals for this year?
- What are your business challenges this year?
- Would you like to discuss employer benefits?
- Are you interested in crypto assets?
- Would you like to discuss tax efficient investing?
- Would you like to discuss investing in rental real estate?
- Are you on track for your financial retirement goals?
- Would like to discuss tax efficient charitable giving?
Understanding client goals and interests can provide insights that help you align tax-saving strategies to support those goals. Here is a more detailed Tax Planning Checklist that can open up the conversation to explore more strategies. It’s designed for use as a checklist by tax professionals during client conversations. Make a copy of the checklist to personalize it. Checkmark areas that might require more discussion and planning. The second tab includes tax-saving strategies that may apply to your clients and help you quantify the value of your recommendations.
Many of the strategies in the Tax Planning Checklist are also included in Intuit Tax Advisor, which was designed around feedback from tax advisors to automate much of the tax planning and advisory process. About half of tax planners say they don’t provide a deliverable report to clients because traditional tax planner reports are not client-friendly. Intuit Tax Advisor solves that problem by creating a client-friendly report that automatically calculates the tax savings value of your strategy recommendations. And it reduces the average time to create a tax plan from 2.3 hours to around 20 minutes. That means higher productivity and more value for clients.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes new tax provisions, extensions, and expansions of tax benefits related to energy efficiency and healthcare, which opens up additional tax planning opportunities for clients. Careful planning can help individual and business owners maximize tax credits related to electric vehicle purchases.
To change your tax, you have to change your facts
Changing facts to qualify for tax-saving strategies requires planning engagements now to reduce tax liabilities for 2022. Fall is a good time to market tax planning services to clients and update your processes with Intuit Tax Advisor. For firms who need help getting started in advisory service, consider leveraging resources and articles developed by peers. Happy tax planning!