Disclaimer: Opinions expressed by Ms. Sarkissian are solely her own and do not necessarily express the views or opinions of TaxAct Professional.
Truthfully, when I first heard the term “bank products” I had no clue what it meant. Why would I want to involve a bank in my business of filing tax returns? However, once I learned about what a bank product is and does, and I implemented it into my practice, I found it to be a very valuable add-on service that I can offer my clients. In simple terms, a bank product allows your client to opt out of paying your fee up-front and instead choose to have the fee be paid out of their tax refund. In addition to refund transfers, bank products also offer your clients cash advances, so they don’t need to wait for their refunds.
The enrollment process is very straightforward. It took me all of 5 minutes to apply for an account and start using the product. Not only did I receive premier customer service from the bank, but they also sent me a giant welcome box with posters, pamphlets, and literature for me to display in my office and share with my clients. I immediately felt the value added to my practice not only professionally, but I also felt my practice now stood apart from the others. I had more options to offer my clients.
I learned a very long time ago not to hit “file” until the invoice for my services was paid. Chasing down money is no one’s idea of a good time! And walking away from unpaid invoices after numerous attempts to collect is excruciating. We’ve all been there, right? You extend courtesy to a client you know happens to be in a tough situation financially so you file the returns with their promise that they will pay you as soon as they receive their refund. If you haven’t been stiffed by a client yet, consider yourself fortunate and one of very few tax preparers to not experience it.
Now, since using bank products, I have been confident knowing that I’m guaranteed to get paid. In the first year of me utilizing bank products , 20% of my clients jumped at the opportunity to pay me with their tax refund. In subsequent years, that percentage has increased. Now, nearly half of my clients take advantage of the option. And since I’ve been using bank products, I no longer need to chase down a client for payment of their invoice.
Most importantly, using bank products has opened my business up to a whole new group of tax filers. Those who know they need professional help filing their taxes, but also know they cannot afford to pay for the service. I vividly remember being on the phone with a referred client who started to cry when she realized she couldn’t afford to pay me to file her taxes. She was desperate to get her tax refund and had resigned to walking away from it just because she couldn’t afford to file. As soon as I told her she had the option of utilizing a refund transfer, she was ecstatic! I knew right then and there that I had opened my practice to an entire new category of taxpayer. Those who know they need to file, want to get their refunds, but don’t know how to do it themselves and cannot afford to have it done for them.
Listen, we are all aware of the plethora of free file services out there. We’ve all seen the 173- page tax return for a single, W2 taxpayer. We all know that most of those returns were not filed properly and/or are missing available tax credits. Now, using bank products, you can add an entire new group of taxpayers by being affordable to them!
The bottom line is that adding bank products to your practice is a no-brainer. You can now help ALL taxpayers. And it behooves your image as a real player in tax preparation by offering an additional service that helps people. It truly shows that you are a professional in the industry with connections and resources for them.
You can find more information about bank products1 on the TaxAct Professional website and download a copy of their Bank Product eBook.
1Refund Transfers and Cash Advances are fee-based products offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC, and Santa Barbara Tax Products Group, LLC (TPG).
Refund Transfers offered by Republic Bank are fee-based products offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC. A Refund Transfer Fee and all other authorized amounts will be deducted from the taxpayer’s tax refund.
Refund Transfers offered by TPG, a Green Dot company, are deposit products using Civista Bank, Member FDIC, that enable certain deductions from the account to be processed. Refund Transfers are not loans. Tax refund and e-filing are required in order to receive Refund Transfer. Fees apply. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.
2ERO must be enrolled for Republic Bank’s Refund Transfer Program to offer Easy Advance programs. Cost to ERO per approval Easy Advance, if any, will be deducted from ERO tax preparation fees and cannot be passed to the taxpayer. If a customer does not choose a Refund Transfer, disbursement options are direct deposit or prepaid card. Net Refund refers to the taxpayer’s expected refund amount after deduction of all fees.
ERO must be enrolled for TPG’s Refund Transfer Program to offer Fast Cash Advance Program. Cost to ERO per approval Fast Cash Advance, if any, will be deducted from ERO tax preparation fees cannot be passed to the taxpayer. If a customer does not choose a Refund Transfer, disbursement options are direct deposit or prepaid card. Net refund refers to the taxpayer’s expected refund amount after deduction of all fees.
TaxAct, Inc. gets fees from some third parties, including Republic Bank and Santa Barbara Tax Products Group, LLC (TPG), that provide offers to its customers. This compensation may affect what and how we communicate Republic Bank or Santa Barbara Tax Products Group offers to you. TaxAct is not a party to any transactions you may choose to enter into with Republic Bank or Santa Barbara Tax Products Group, does not itself offer legal, financial, or investment advice, and disclaims any liability arising out of such transactions. Please see Republic Bank and Santa Barbara Tax Products Group’s websites for full terms and conditions.