Alaska Tax Preparer Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Tax Preparer Insurance. A tax preparer is a person who prepares tax returns for small businesses and other individuals. They are used to make the job of filing taxes a lot easier for people who don't know how or don't have the time to do it. With the United States federal tax code growing at the rate it has been over the last couple of year this job of preparing tax returns has become more tedious.
Tax consultants are usually accounting operations that specialize in the review, audit, and preparation of tax statements and returns for their clients. The consultant may offer advice to clients to assist them in legally lowering their tax liability, such as researching allowable deductions. Services are provided to either the general public, a specific firm, or group of client firms. The tax consulting firm may or may not carry the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. The need for the CPA certification depends on the type of work the accountant will be providing and the purpose or type of financial statements to be prepared for the client.
If a CPA certification is required, the accountant must have knowledge and experience in working with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or statutory accounting principles (SAP), depending on the client. Due to the varied areas of knowledge or expertise needed by a tax consultant, the background, education, certification, experience, and professionalism are items to consider.
An accountant has to ensure that they get the taxes filed on time and help businesses to avoid being audited by the IRS. There are also lots of risks involved with the preparation of tasks and one simple slip up, and a tax preparer can find themselves in deep problems like being sued. Thats is why the smartest move a tax preparer can make is to ensure they are properly protected with an-adequate Alaska tax preparer insurance insurance policy.
Alaska tax preparer insurance protects your practice from lawsuits with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Understanding The Basics Of Alaska Tax Preparer Insurance
Protect your tax preparation business from unexpected events and accidents with business insurance policy, so that you can juggle with your business and have less to worry about. A number of insurance companies have developed special insurance programs aimed at addressing the insurance needs of tax preparers. Typically, the programs offer broad liability policy at low rates. They are available to smaller companies (with less than $5,000,000 in receipts). Bigger contracting companies are offered coverage under different terms.
The Risks Involved With AK Tax Preparation
A person who is a tax preparer often works for themselves or a small firm. Whether with a small company or working for themselves there are many risks involved. To ensure that risk of running this type of business is minimal one must be adequately insured. Being covered with Alaska tax preparer insurance is the best thing that one can do for themselves and their business.
What Types Of Tax Preparation Insurance Are Available?
When deciding on the kind of insurance you should get for your business, it's always a good idea to spend some time talking with an insurance professional. Doing this allows you to find the right coverage for you. If you're a small business and need comprehensive and affordable coverage, then a Business Owner's Policy might be the right thing for you. There are three types of coverage you get with this type of insurance:
- Property Coverage - if anything happens to the equipment or the building you're working in this kind of insurance will keep you covered.
- Liability Coverage - this coverage includes any injury to a third party due to anything you've done.
- Business interruption coverage - if a person has to close down their business because of a natural disaster or business damage this type of coverage helps to compensate for lost of income.
There are also other types of coverages that will contribute to protecting your office equipment like computers and such. Ensure that when you speak with an insurance professional that you ask them about this.
How To Ensure Your Office Equipment Is Covered If You Work From Home
As a AK tax preparer and small business owner, you may be working from your home. Now because of this fact you have to ensure that you are adequately covered when you are doing so. You may have a homeowners insurance policy, but you have to know the limits of that policy. A standard homeowner insurance policy will cover only up to certain limits with a typical $500-$1000 deductible.
Luckily there are a few strategies to ensure that you have the right coverage while you run your business from home:
- In-home business and office insurance. If you run your business from your home, then some insurance companies offer a unique insurance policy that will help you to stay covered. The basic in-home business policy provides up to $10,000 of business coverage. It also provides a liability coverage limit between $300,000 and $1 million.
- Business owners policy: This type of policy as said before is the type of insurance that fits perfectly with people that are running their business from home.
When it comes to keeping your small business protected as a small home business owner, one must ensure that they have the best insurance policy to keep them protected. Think about your business and what you want to achieve and when you've done that speak to an insurance agent and work to find the Alaska tax preparer insurance policy that it right for you.
AK Tax Consultant's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is often minimal since most client contact is done electronically or by mail. If clients visit the premises during the busy tax season, they must be confined to designated areas so that they cannot view or overhear conversations regarding other clients' confidential information.
To prevent slips, trips, or falls, all customer areas must be well lighted and free from obstacles. Floor covering must be in good condition. The number of exits must be sufficient, and be well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. If employees work off site, there must be a procedure manual to describe expectations in dealing with clients.
Professional liability exposure can be extensive due to the potential for fines should taxes be prepared incorrectly. Working with individual clients presents fewer professional exposures than working with corporate tax clients. The exposure increases if the firm fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employees' credentials and education, if training is not conducted to keep up with tax code changes, if clerical workers are allowed to do tasks that only professionals should handle, or if error checking procedures are ignored or are inadequate.
Clients should be informed of credentials of workers prior to consulting. Very serious losses may result from failure to document decisions and actions or to secure client approval.
Workers compensation exposure is generally limited to that of an office. Since work is done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations. There is also a high stress factor during tax season as employees must work under deadlines.
Companies should be responsive to employees' needs and encourage vacation time and lunch breaks. Some tax consultants have significant off-site work. Workers can be injured by slips and falls at clients' premises or in automobile accidents.
Property exposure is generally limited to that of an office, although there may be some incidental storage or an area for meetings. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems wear, and overheating of equipment. Computers and other electronic equipment may be targets for theft.
Crime exposure comes from employee dishonesty, which can be quite serious as tax consultants and their staff possess unique access to customers' personal financial information such as bank records. Potential for theft, directly or by means of identity theft, is great. Hazards increase without proper background checks, along with monitoring procedures and securing of all records to prevent unauthorized access.
All job duties, such as ordering, billing and disbursing should be separate and reconciled on a regular basis. Receipts should be issued for any cash payments received. Bank deposits should be made on a timely basis to limit the buildup of cash on premises. Audits should be performed at least annually.
Inland marine exposure is for accounts receivable if the consultant offers credit, computers, and valuable papers and records for customers' information, which may be originals that are difficult to recreate. Power failure and power surges are potentially severe hazards. A morale hazard may be indicated if the insured does not keep valuable papers and disks in fireproof file cabinets to protect them from smoke, water and fire. Duplicates should be kept off site to allow for re-creation in the event of a loss.
Business auto exposure is usually limited to hired and non-owned (HNOA). If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written procedures regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and records kept in a central location.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Professional Services Insurance
Get informed about small business professional services insurance, including Professional liability, aka errors and omissions (E&O insurance), that protects your business against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client financial loss.
- Answering Service
- Armored Car
- Attorney Lawyer
- Business Consulting
- Commodity Broker
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Debt Collection Agency
- Detective Agency
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Consultant
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Services
- Financial Planner
- HR Consultant
- Insurance Agents & Brokers Insurance
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Office Machine Repair & Maintenance
- Piano Tuners
- Project Management
- Temporary Staffing
- Tax Preparer
Let's face reality. People today are claims conscious, resulting in a significant share of malpractice lawsuits against professionals.
Liability resulting from the rendering of or the failure to render professional services is excluded in most liability coverage forms. This means that a policy covering a account's or lawyers' office will cover liability arising out of the maintenance or use of the premises, but specifically exclude liability arising out of the rendering of a professional service or the omission of such a service.
In addition to the professions in which actual physical or mental injury may be caused to clients, certain other professions are exposed to claims for malpractice.
Claims may be brought against lawyers, accountants, architects, and similar professional persons for errors or omissions in their professional capacity. Errors & Omissions insurance pays damages that might be awarded to a plaintiff alleging professional negligence.
Professional liability policies are made available to such risks, and these policies provide essentially the same protection as is afforded under the physicians, surgeons or dentists professional liability policy.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Money and Securities, Special Floater, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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