As a tax professional have you ever allowed your assistant to use your Power of Attorney (POA) to go online to IRS’ e-services – in your name – and download information for you?
If you’re sitting in front of a laptop with a camera – don’t even mouth the word “yes!”
No one will admit it, but we know in the real world it happens all the time. For basic administrative and information gathering purposes it just makes sense – if it were not so absolutely verboten!
What Could Go Wrong?
Regardless of the ethical issues behind allowing someone to impersonate you on the IRS’ secure website, think about the following:
- Your business could have its access to the online service revoked
- The IRS Office of Professional Responsibility could disbar you
- Your State CPA society or Bar association could do the same
- By allowing your staff to break the law you’ve already created an internal culture where bending the rules is acceptable
- If you bend the rules, why can’t they?
- A bad apple could create another phony POA under your name, with your information and steal your various clients’ identities.
- Worse, they can make it look like YOU are the identity thief!
When you look at the downside, is it really worth it? After all, there’s a great solution to the problem that will not only help you today, but will pay dividends for your business long into the future?
The answer: Invest in your staff and help them become Enrolled Agents!
Consider paying for their course AFTER they have passed all three exams. It’s a nice reward.
Remove IRS and State Burdens from your shoulders
My assistant worked her way up from proofreading tax returns to preparing returns, to passing the EA Exam, to taking over all of my IRS correspondence and routine phone calls. She can fill out and understand practically all tax related forms. As an Enrolled Agent (EA) in her own right, she now handles the following:
- All payroll and sales tax issues
- Installation and configuration of all tax software
- All electronic filing and extensions
- Manages tax audit workpapers, specifically – gathering transcripts and information from IRS and state to handle multiple prior year tax returns that have not been filed for years. Or to get copies of the reports showing the taxes, penalties, and interest posted on a client’s account.
- Many other things too numerous to mention in a list like this!
As a result of her successful management of these and many other projects, I have now turned over many of my clients to her, as the foundation of her own practice. These days I devote my time to teaching people to pass the Enrolled Agent (EA) Exam as well as writing award-winning books, and tax columns on a variety of sites, doing radio interviews and teaching tax professionals. For instance my Dow Jones’ MarketWatch.com column had run for nearly 15 years. Off course, you can find me answering questions, every (week) day over on TaxMama.com®.
Having my assistant become an EA means that I am certain my clients are receiving the proper level of care and attention. And of course, I review everything we do – and think about ways to improve my clients’ circumstances. And…I’m always here as a safety net.
TaxMama’s® EA Exam Study Courses & Discounts
TaxMama’s® is the very first live, online course. No wasting precious time sitting in traffic and rushing to get to class. No need to find a live class somewhere near you. Via the magic of the Internet, TaxMama’s® students attend the live classes from all over the United States…and around the globe. We have had students in places as diverse as London, Italy, Australia, Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, and more. We have even had an instructor, teaching live from Portugal.
As one of the longest established live EA exam courses, TaxMama’s® study courses are built around the idea that actually learning tax law and procedure is the best way to prepare for the EA Exam – and life as a tax professional. Purely quizzing and memorizing is not enough, as the questions on the exam get ever more complex.Register Now
Designed with the real world in mind, TaxMama’s® courses are built around the schedules of people who work real jobs and who have families to manage too! Check out the testimonials from recent graduates.
If you’re considering investing in your team and making your business more efficient, TaxMama offers group discounts of up to 30% depending on how many people enroll.
TaxMama Family members always get a discount on registrations – generally 10% to 20% – and free CPE from the course.
Image Credit: Joe’s Dollar by Thomas Hawk on Flickr
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