Tax Preparer Insurance Policy Information
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. That's is why the smartest move a tax preparer can make is to ensure they are properly protected with an-adequate tax preparer insurance insurance policy.
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.
Below are some answers to commonly asked tax preparation insurance questions:
- What Is Tax Preparer Insurance?
- How Much Does Tax Preparer Insurance Cost?
- Why Do Tax Preparers Need Insurance?
- What Type Of Insurance Do Tax Preparers Need?
- How Do You Insure A Home-Based Tax Preparation Business?
- What Are Tax Preparers Risks & Exposures?
- What Does Tax Preparer Insurance Cover & Pay For?
What Is Tax Preparer Insurance?
Tax preparer insurance is a type of professional liability insurance that is specifically designed for tax preparers. This insurance helps protect tax preparers from financial losses due to errors or omissions made in the course of preparing tax returns for their clients.
Tax preparer insurance may also provide coverage for legal defense costs in the event that a client files a lawsuit against the tax preparer for mistakes or inaccuracies on their tax return.
This type of insurance is typically required by state licensing boards and is an important part of a tax preparer's risk management strategy.
How Much Does Tax Preparer Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small tax preparation businesses ranges from $27 to $39 per month based on location, size, payroll, sales and experience.
Why Do Tax Preparers Need Insurance?
Tax preparers need insurance for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to protect the business in case of any errors or omissions made while preparing tax documents. If a tax preparer makes a mistake that results in a client incurring additional taxes or penalties, the insurance can cover any legal fees and potential compensation.
Additionally, insurance can also protect the business from any claims made by clients for loss of income or damages resulting from the tax preparation services. For example, if a client claims that they lost out on a business opportunity due to incorrect tax advice, the insurance can cover any compensation or damages.
Furthermore, having insurance can also provide peace of mind for the tax preparer, knowing that they are protected in case of any unexpected events. It allows them to focus on providing top-quality tax preparation services without the added stress of worrying about potential risks.
In summary, tax preparers need insurance to protect the business and its employees from potential errors and omissions, as well as to provide peace of mind and allow the team to focus on their work.
What Type Of Insurance Do Tax Preparers Need?
When deciding on the kind of tax preparer 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 tax preparation and need comprehensive and affordable coverage, then a Business Owner's Policy (BOP) might be the right thing for you. A Business Owner's Policy combines business property and business liability insurance into one business insurance policy.
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 Do You Insure A Home-Based Tax Preparation Business?
As a 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 tax preparer insurance policy that it right for you.
What Are Tax Preparers 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.
What Does Tax Preparer Insurance Cover & Pay For?
Tax preparers can be sued for various reasons, often relating to errors, negligence, or misrepresentation on tax returns. Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, can help protect tax preparers by covering legal expenses and potential settlements or judgments in such cases. Here are a few examples of reasons tax preparers might be sued and how insurance can help:
Errors and omissions: A tax preparer could be sued if they make a mistake on a client's tax return, resulting in additional taxes, penalties, or interest. Insurance can help cover the cost of defending the tax preparer against the claim and any resulting settlement or judgment.
Negligence: If a tax preparer fails to exercise reasonable care or follow professional standards, they could be sued for negligence. For example, missing a filing deadline could lead to penalties for the client. Insurance can help pay for the legal defense and any damages awarded to the client.
Fraud or misrepresentation: A tax preparer might be sued if they intentionally deceive a client or the government by providing false information on a tax return. Insurance can help cover the costs of defending against the lawsuit and any damages awarded, but it may not cover punitive damages if the preparer is found guilty of fraud.
Breach of contract: A client could sue a tax preparer if they believe the preparer breached a contract, such as by not delivering promised services or violating confidentiality agreements. Insurance can help cover the costs of defending the tax preparer against the claim and any resulting settlement or judgment.
Identity theft or data breach: If a tax preparer's systems are hacked, resulting in unauthorized access to a client's sensitive information, they may be sued for failing to properly secure client data. Insurance can help cover the costs of defending against the lawsuit, as well as expenses related to notifying affected clients and providing identity theft protection services.
In each of these scenarios, professional liability insurance can provide financial protection for tax preparers by covering legal expenses, settlements, or judgments. It's important for tax preparers to obtain adequate coverage to protect themselves and their businesses from potential lawsuits.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 7291 Tax Return Preparation Services, 8721 Accounting, Auditing, and Bookkeeping Services
- NAICS CODE: 541213 Tax Preparation Services
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 8810 Clerical Office Employees NOC, 8803 Auditor, Accountant, or Computer System Designer or Programmer - Traveling
Description for 7291: Tax Return Preparation Services,
Division I: Services | Major Group 72: Personal Services | Industry Group 729: Miscellaneous Personal Services
7291 Tax Return Preparation Services: Establishments primarily engaged in providing tax return preparation services without also providing accounting, auditing, or bookkeeping services. Establishments engaged in providing income tax return preparation services which also provide accounting, auditing, or bookkeeping services are classified in Industry 8721.
- Income tax return preparation services without accounting, auditing
- Tax return preparation services without accounting, auditing
Description for 8721: Accounting, Auditing, and Bookkeeping Services
Division I: Services | Major Group 87: Engineering, Accounting, Research, Management, And Related Services | Industry Group 872: Accounting, Auditing, And Bookkeeping Services
8721 Accounting, Auditing, and Bookkeeping Services: Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing accounting, bookkeeping, and related auditing services. These establishments may use data processing and tabulating techniques as part of providing their services. However, establishments primarily engaged in providing data processing and tabulating services are classified in Industry 7374. Establishments providing income tax return preparation service without also furnishing accounting, auditing, or bookkeeping services are classified in Industry 7291.
- Accounting service
- Auditing service, accounts
- Bookkeeping and billing service
- Certified public accountants (CPAs)
- Payroll accounting service
- Public accountants certified
Tax Preparer Insurance - The Bottom Line
Speak with a licensed and skilled insurance agent to find the best fit coverage for your tax preparation business.
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
- Background Music Services
- Business Consulting
- Chemical Engineers
- Civil Engineers
- Claims Adjuster
- Commercial Laundries
- Commodity Broker
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Credit Bureaus
- Debt Collection Agency
- Detective Agency
- Diaper Services
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Consultant
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Planner
- Financial Services
- Funeral Directors
- HR Consultant
- Inspection Bureaus
- Insurance Agents & Brokers Insurance
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Office Machine Repair & Maintenance
- Piano Tuners
- Project Management
- Safety Consultants
- Speakers Bureaus
- Tax Preparer
- Temporary Staffing
- Title Abstractors
- Valet Parking
- Specialty Consultants
- Specialty Service Business
The professional services industry, which includes occupations such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, and architects, often deals with sensitive and complex issues that carry a high risk of liability. These professionals are expected to provide their clients with expert advice and guidance, and any mistakes or oversights can result in significant financial consequences for both the client and the professional. This is where insurance comes into play.
Business insurance provides protection against the financial repercussions of potential mistakes or accidents that may occur while providing professional services. For example, a lawyer may make an error in their legal representation that leads to a financial loss for their client. Without insurance, the lawyer would be personally responsible for covering the cost of this loss. Insurance helps to protect professionals from these types of financial burdens and allows them to focus on providing high-quality services to their clients.
In addition to protecting against financial losses, commercial insurance can also provide legal defense for professionals facing legal action as a result of their work. This can be especially important for professionals in high-stress or high-risk fields, such as doctors or architects, who may be at a higher risk of being sued for professional negligence.
Overall, the professional services industry needs insurance to protect against financial losses and legal action, ensuring that professionals can continue to provide high-quality services to their clients without the added stress and burden of potential financial consequences.
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.