Your 2021 tax filing deadline is fast approaching, but you’re not sure your previous tax services provider is right for your business anymore. Maybe they have a track record of being unresponsive. Perhaps you’ve experienced tax filing errors that have cost you money. Or worse, you might suspect the provider isn’t as knowledgeable about tax laws as you thought.
Whatever the reason, if you’re considering switching tax advisors—but you’re worried it’s too late to make a change for the 2021 tax year—the following tips can ease your mind and help you make a smooth transition.
Valid Reasons to Switch Tax Services Providers Now
While tax season might seem like the worst time to contemplate replacing your current tax preparer or accounting provider, there are benefits to making the switch now. For example, if you believe you can leverage tax deductions and credits you weren’t taking advantage of before, or you can avoid errors or delays that would result in penalties and interest, then changing providers now will prove beneficial.
Before you make the switch, be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. To determine if it’s time for a new tax preparer or accounting provider, ask yourself these questions:
– Does our business typically end up with surprise charges for tax preparation services?
– Are we finding the cost of our tax preparation services is creeping up, and we believe we might be paying more than we should?
– Is our tax preparer slow to respond to questions and requests?
– Have we had errors on past returns, resulting in the need to file an amended return and pay penalties and interest?
– Have we experienced other situations that make us question the quality of the tax preparer’s work?
– Has our preparer ever filed our annual returns or other forms late, for no valid reason?
– Do we suspect we’re not fully capitalizing on all the tax deductions and credits we’re eligible to take?
– Does our tax services provider only offer routine tax preparation services, with no capability to provide tax consulting help or handle our day-to-day accounting?
If you can answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, it’s probably time to switch tax services providers—even if your tax filing deadline is coming up soon.
How to Change Tax Services Providers Smoothly
While tax season might not seem like the optimal time to switch tax preparers, if you’re not comfortable with your current provider then it’s better to make the change before risking another tax season fraught with problems. Best practices like these can help you make the switch smoothly.
- Do your due diligence. Make sure the new provider you choose has a solid reputation for quality work, is staffed with professionals experienced in handling business taxes, has strong credentials (including many CPAs on staff), and has the capacity to take on new work.
- Know what you’re contracting for. Some tax services providers can only prepare your returns and don’t offer tax advisory and consulting services—which means you could be missing out on opportunities to reduce your tax liability. Others quote a flat rate for tax preparation, then add on surprise charges later. Make sure you’re clear on what you’re paying for and what tax services you’ll have access to.
- Think beyond the short term. The immediate need to file your 2021 tax return may be your top priority, but when you evaluate new providers it’s best to think about your long-term needs, too. For example, if you plan to outsource your accounting to augment your in-house capabilities or gain expertise you don’t have on staff, consider choosing a provider that offers a comprehensive suite of accounting and finance services, not just routine tax filing help. You’ll enjoy a more streamlined, efficient approach that enables you and your team to spend more time focusing on the business.
- Be prepared to do your part. Whenever you work with a new accounting partner, there is a ramp-up period while they gather all the information and documents they need (such as past year tax returns, supporting forms/schedules, financial statements, and incorporation documents) and ask questions to get up to speed on your business. Organizing your files well is a great way to streamline this process! The more responsive you are during the transition period, the better equipped your partner will be to file your 2021 taxes accurately and in a timely way.
- Consider that filing an extension may be best. When you switch tax preparation providers during tax season, the best way to avoid penalties and interest may be to file an extension, which your new provider can do for you. Keep in mind that the extension only gains you more time to file; you must still pay your 2021 tax liability by the original filing date. (Your filing deadline will depend on how your business is structured, whether as an LLC, S corporation, or C corporation.)
- Determine if your previous tax preparer is open to questions. Sometimes it’s helpful for your new tax partner to understand your previous provider’s rationale for handling things in a certain way on past returns. If you end the relationship on good terms, putting the two providers in touch with each other may prove beneficial.
Taxes are one area of your business where you can’t afford mistakes or surprises. Even if you’re facing an upcoming tax deadline, it’s better to switch to a tax services partner you’re confident has the knowledge and expertise you need rather than risk delays or unnecessary costs.
Hundreds of businesses like yours trust their tax preparation—and more—to the accounting and finance experts at Scrubbed.
Our highly qualified team —which includes many CPAs, IRS annual filing season program participants, and an IRS enrolled agent—is well-versed in continually changing tax laws, experienced working with business in a range of industries, and especially knowledgeable about the unique tax obligations of healthcare, real estate, retail, biotech, consumer products, manufacturing and distribution, nonprofit, and financial institutions. They go beyond keeping you compliant with tax laws to help you take advantage of every opportunity to reduce your tax burden—so you can keep more of your profits to invest in new services, expand your product line, or hire more talent.
Scrubbed also offers the full complement of accounting and finance services that small and mid-sized businesses need, all under one roof, for the most streamlined service.
If you’re in search of a qualified, responsive tax services partner—or you need a provider that offers comprehensive accounting and finance services—contact Scrubbed to schedule a call!