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Pronto Tax Class Blog

Should a New Tax Preparer Ever Do Taxes for Free?

By Tim Frye

The question of whether a professional tax preparer should ever do taxes for free may seem absurd to some people. Of course you shouldn't, you didn't become a tax preparer for your health, you want to be paid for your work, this is only natural.

There are, however, times when doing a tax return for free can springboard your client base forward and give you a venerable reputation around your neighborhood. In this article, we will give you a few tips on doing a tax return for free as a beginning tax preparer.

Do Taxes for Free?

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Generally Speaking, Doing Tax Returns for Free Is a No Go

The old axiom you get what you pay for will usually ring true for people paying to get there taxes done—which means that many times people don't really want you to do their returns for free.

After all what result should be expected in return from you if you are not getting paid for your hard work? Subconsciously, the client will not perceive value in your service.

You don't want to undercut your value or show a lack of confidence in your work by frequently offering free tax return services.

For this reason, do not do tax returns for free, even as a beginner tax preparer. Yes this may seem like a dubious diagnosis from Dr. Obvious, but it's the truth: it's hard to get paid to do tax returns once you tell the world that you'll do the work for free.

Good Reason to Do Tax Return for Free: Help those in Need

Let's say you have a client who has had a really tough year. A subtle hint of this may be when you ask, "So how was your year?" and the client subsequently responds, "It was the worst year of my life."

The client lost a house to foreclosure, son got in a car accident, the dog got cancer, etc.

Although you may have been planning to charge the client the going rate for your tax prep services, you may want to double back and think about being empathetic. Show them that you consider your clients like family and feel for their current plight, and that this year it's on the house, there will be no charge for this tax return preparation.

You don't even realize how much a kind gesture like that can mean to someone who has had recent struggles.

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Offer a Free Review of Prior Year Returns

You have a first time client who heard about your business from a friend. Maybe the client had a tough time last year with her tax preparer, who overcharged and under produced.

As you go through the client's current years paperwork, be sure to note that you wouldn't mind giving a free review of the past three years in taxes. If you can find something the last guy missed, and in turn create a refund and payout from past year returns, your client will be ecstatic. This helpful attitude will leave the client that much more likely to show you a lifetime of loyalty for your generosity.

Offering a free review of prior year tax returns is a great way to give potential clients a "low impact" no commitment reason to do business with you as a new tax preparer.