Your expenses don’t just go away during the off season. But in most cases, the reality of life as a tax professional is that the vast majority of your income is probably derived from the work you do over the course of just 100 days of the year. How can you make it year round profit?
This puts many tax professionals in the same situation that every seasonal business encounters, experiencing problems such as:
- cash shortages during the off season
- difficulty finding and keeping qualified people
- inability to afford a good office space which is only used for a few months out of the year
- high cost of renting or buying office furniture and equipment that won’t be used for most of the year
- marketing problems related to seasonal work (cost of year round listings that are only profitable for part of the year, difficulty maintaining consumer awareness, etc.)
So, what can you do to lessen the blow of that loss of income during the off season? Let’s explore.
The first thing to remember is that tax preparation is no longer strictly seasonal. This is for a few reasons:
- People are late filing more frequently than ever. Maybe they had an unexpected family emergency right before taxes were due or maybe they didn’t file last year and Uncle Sam has come knocking. Either way, this could mean ongoing business for you, even after the tax season has ended.
- Back taxes are rarely limited to just one year. Often people need to file back taxes in groups of years, which can increase your fee and make it more worth your time to assist the client.
- Business owners need tax assistance year round. For the average employee, taxes are a once a year event. But for business owners, the obligations are year round. There are a million “tax related things” that business owners have to stay on top of and they need your help!
- People need help reducing debt. You can help people strategize how/where they direct their money in order to get their debt reduced as quickly and painlessly as possible.
- Inheritance/saving for the kids. Often people need help figuring out how to manage a large inheritance or creating a financial strategy to save for college for their children.
- Large donations or financial gifts. These types of donations are common toward the end of the year but could come up any time so being available to give advice and/or help with the process could be a huge income creator.
- Life changes. Getting married, divorced, or having children are just a few examples of huge life changes that might bring someone into your office for assistance.
We really have just begun to scratch the surface of the potential for year round income. Even if you only make yourself available via phone, email or other online mediums, you may be able to pick up enough off-season work to keep your financial security (and your sanity).