Remember the good old days when tax season ended April 15th? Or at the very least, near that date, depending on DC holidays?Anyone who works in the tax industry probably knows one thing all too well: there is widely varying timing in terms of when individuals and business owners choose to file their taxes in the modern era. On top of that, other major life or business events may affect their tax needs as well. With the seemingly never-ending tax reform plans, there has been a noticeable uptick in complexity and, in turn, an influx of late filers.As a tax professional in the digital age, you’ve probably been utilizing technology to keep up with your growing time requirements throughout the year. But have you also recognized the opportunity to market and grow your practice outside of just the “normal” lead-up to tax season?There is increasing demand for year-round guidance from tax professionals, and this represents a major opening to build new revenue streams across the board.The Various Tax SeasonsFirst thing’s first: while “tax season” will always mean generally the same thing to most professionals—aka the time leading up to the April 15th filing deadline—there are actually several different phases when tax pros have the potential to bring in a lot of business.Consider first the various peaks and different types of filers within the stereotypical tax season itself. There’s the initial peak around late January to early February when many early filers will attempt to take care of their taxes (and potentially receive their refunds) as soon as possible.After this comes a different type of peak, and one that independent tax practices should definitely capitalize on: the mid-season, complex filers. Many taxpayers filing from mid-February to early April “tend to have less straightforward tax profiles, and their interests/behaviors corroborate this.” This is a great opportunity to market your practice to taxpayers as a personalized, high-quality alternative to DIY e-filing options.Finally, there’s the last-minute filers (we all procrastinate in some ways, right?). As April begins and the deadline is approaching, some taxpayers may start searching frantically for help—perhaps after realizing their return will be more complicated than they originally expected (thanks, TCJA). In these cases, you’ll want to make sure you have optimized your Google My Business listing and have complete profiles on top marketplace sites like TaxBuzz (the #1 most-visited tax website in America) and CountingWorks so prospects can find you.Additionally, don’t forget the second key date relevant to the tax industry: October 15th. There are several other important deadlines on this date:
- Final extended deadline to file individual tax returns for the year 2018 (Form 1040)
- Last day the IRS will accept an electronically filed tax return for the year 2018. If you're filing after this date, you'll have to mail in your tax return for processing.
- Final deadline to fund a SEP-IRA or solo 401(k) for tax year 2018 if you requested an automatic extension of time to file.
After the April 15th deadline, it may be tempting to take a complete break from attempting to bring in new clients as you decompress from the busy spring season. However, while you should definitely take whatever R&R you may need to recover, this is also a prime time to market your practice 1) to prospects who may need help ahead of October 15th, and 2) to reach your audience while the competition may be sitting things out.Other Key Times for Tax MarketingBeyond the busy seasons leading up to important dates, there are also plenty of other opportunities to reach prospects throughout the year.For instance, keep in mind that major life events can happen for your clients (and potential clients) anytime. Whether it be a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a spouse, retirement, new job, going to college, or any number of other things, their tax situation is bound to change. In those moments, you have the opportunity to show your value as a tax professional—value only a human advisor could provide.Another opportunity to consider: IRS CP-2000 notices. These Automated Under Reporter (AUR) notices come out all year long and are quite common—but they also are bound to be panic-inducing for some taxpayers. Make sure you are keeping a consistent, strong online presence to ensure prospects can find you if they receive a notice and go looking for help.Here’s the great news: taxpayers and business owners are realistically searching for your services all year long. While this may sound overwhelming to you, think of it as a major opportunity to capture business your competition may not even be recognizing. By viewing the tax “season” as a year-round affair, you have the chance to drastically grow your practice.Not sure where to start? Our team is standing at the ready to help you automate your marketing and practice growth strategies year-round. Contact us today at 1-800-442-2477 x3 or set up some time to speak with one of our digital marketing experts.
See the main points of this article summarized in a Quick Hit video with CEO Lee Reams II: