The Truth About Tax Advice
Updated: Nov 21
We know what you’re facing. Some of your clients expect you to include Tax Advice services as part of the fees they already pay you. But this is where your clients don’t fully understand the value, time, and cost of obtaining formal Tax Advice. So, we are going to help you solve this through the contents of this blog post. Where we will break down:
The meaning of Tax Advice
Including: the difference between Tax Advice, Tax Consultancy & Tax Compliance
The different stages of Tax Advice
Including: the importance of each stage, the costs involved, and top tips!
How you can relay this knowledge to your clients
And demonstrate the value of obtaining formal Tax Advice to your clients, effectively
What is Tax Advice?
We know Tax Advice can be seen as hard to understand and confusing.
At Diagnostax, we define Tax Advice as “specific work or planning to improve your client’s tax position to make a tax saving or get cash back into your client’s business.” Just so we are all on the same page, here’s what Tax Consultancy and Tax Compliance mean: Tax Compliance means ensuring your client pays the right amount of tax that is due, i.e., filing personal or corporate tax returns. Tax Consultancy is a stand-alone service involving reviewing your client’s overall affairs such as motives, goals, and their current situation; enabling you to highlight to them as to where they could benefit from Tax Advice for current or future savings, to meet their goals. 📍 Tip: these two processes are involved within the Tax Advice process! Want to find out more about the difference between Tax Advice & Tax Consultancy? Check out our blog post here.
Let’s talk about the benefits
Benefits to your clients through obtaining formal tax advice
Peace of mind and reassurance that they have decided the correct route for the business
The tax advice is contributing to achieving their end goals; for them, their business and employees
That their advisor, that’s you, has done due process
So why should you obtain formal Tax Advice for your clients?
You may not have the expertise or knowledge to offer this advice to your client’s
It saves you time and energy
Minimises your risk
And continues to build a portfolio of success for your clients
For our DTX members, the process of obtaining formal tax advice couldn’t be more straightforward. With your membership, you have access to a panel of qualified tax industry experts through the exclusive Tax Panel. The panel is made up of 10 experts who have 150+ years combined within the tax industry and can provide support on a range of tax areas. All you need to do is fill out an enquiry form and we will do the rest. Of course, there will be a little back and forth in terms of getting all the details but once we have those, we will then proceed with receiving the tax advice for your client. Have a client in mind? Reach out to us directly and we will pass over your details to our Tax Team.
The Stages of Tax Advice
Typically, Tax Advice can be split into three stages:
Stage 1 – Fact Finding
Stage 2 – Provision of Tax Advice
Stage 3 – Implementation
Let’s deep dive into each of these stages a bit further… Stage 1: Fact Finding The purpose of the fact finding is to obtain detailed information about your client to better understand their financial and non-financial motivators. This can range from their personal information to their goals. The information needed may differ depending on the area of tax. This covers all the information that is required from your client to provide a proposal. The cost of this stage can range from £0 - £1,250 plus VAT. Diagnostax perk: For our DTX’ers there is no charge, it is all included in their monthly subscription fee. Stage 2: Provision of Tax Advice This is where Tax Consultancy can come in. If your client is unsure what to do or the area of tax is too complex, then an amount of Tax Consultancy is needed to ensure your client is properly informed to decide on which route they should take; your client can understand the specifics against their exact scenario and provide certainty, enabling them to make an informed decision.
To determine if Tax Consultancy is needed, consider:
Have you done this with the client already? Or have they already obtained advice from another specialist such as a lawyer?
Is the client aware of all their options?
Has the client already decided what they want to do?
Once you and your client are happy to proceed, the Provision of Tax Advice begins. This stage is usually a report or document which outlines the client’s position and the recommendations of the tax adviser to improve your client’s position. This will be in a client friendly format so they can easily digest the information and not get bogged down in the technicals. If appropriate to the area of tax, calculation of savings and the tax position will be provided. Depending on the area of advice, fees can start from £1,250 plus VAT. From our experience, on average, a Tax Advice fee is £2,750 plus VAT. Keep in mind, the more complex the area, the higher the fee. 📍 Tip: Some tax advisers charge on a time-spent basis (sometimes with a capped fee). But this can be an issue for clients as they can’t plan for the expected costs of advice. We always recommend asking for a cap or maximum fee to manage this. Diagnostax perk: For our DTX’ers, we rarely quote on a time-spent basis as we know their clients need certainty on costs. If for some reason we have to do so, our DTX’ers will know the estimated number of hours and price per hour with a cap. Stage 3: Implementation If the client decides they want to put in place the tax advisers' recommendations, they will need implementation. This can range from Companies House updates, preparing legal documents, issuing paperwork to submitting forms to HMRC.
For this stage, fees start from £250 plus VAT.
We can assist with this stage via our Tax Panel. If you want to do this for your client or they have preferred legal adviser to do the implementation, please let us know.
Diagnostax perk: Our Tax Team at Diagnostax will support our DTX’ers throughout each stage of obtaining formal Tax Advice.
And that’s it. Those are the three stages of Tax Advice and, if it’s needed, where Tax Consultancy comes into the process.
📍 Tip: you need to be clear on what is and isn’t included in the Tax Advice for your clients. This is where an accurate scope of work comes in. This will provide clarity on how your clients' needs will be met, and the costs involved. Need guidance as to what to include within the scope of work? Check out this blog post.
How to better market your add-on services to your clients
At the beginning of this blog post we touched on your problem when it comes to Tax Advice:
‘Some of your clients expect you to include Tax Advice services as part of the fees they already pay you.’
The biggest hurdle you need to overcome is demonstrating the benefit of the advice to the client. Focus on their current position and how obtaining formal Tax Advice will bring them to their desired position.
Here’s how you can jump that hurdle…
You know your client best. Ask yourself these questions:
What do they value?
What kind of people are they?
What are their motives?
As well as what it is that they want. Do they want …
💰 Value for money
For example, you could represent this by saying ‘you (the client) pay £X and could save £X’ if you were to do this as an all-in-one service instead of little bits here and there or if we were to go with one provider instead of going to multiple providers.
🤝 Certainty and awareness
Say for example they want you to be super clear on the options available to them, the costs involved, benefits and considerations – this is where you can provide an accurate scope of work. We also suggest including the “what ifs” in terms of if they didn’t do something, what could happen?
💡 Ability to make informed decisions
Knowledge is power. Your clients can make sound business decisions based on the advice. Involve them in every step of the way, talk through their proposal, and answer any questions they may have. This will ensure that you are providing them with all the information they need to make the best decision for themselves and the business.
Obtaining formal Tax Advice ensures their tax affairs are up to date and correct so they can relax knowing that they can focus on what matters most, running their business. Once you know the answers to these questions you can talk to them on a personal level with key points that resonate more closely with them and ultimately, demonstrate the value of obtaining formal Tax Advice in a more relatable way.
Relaying info to clients
When it comes to relaying this information to your clients, it comes down to your conversations with your clients and your marketing. 📢 Your Marketing What channels are you using? Social Media? Email? Website? Events? Whatever the channel, make sure to create regular content on the value of Tax Advice and show that this add-on service isn’t part of their standard fees. If you don’t have marketing collateral ready, share this blog post! It covers all your clients need to know about the value and cost of receiving formal Tax Advice. 🗣️ Your Conversations If you read a lot of our content, you will know how much we swear by client conversations. We know it seems simple. And we know that you have regular catchups with your clients; it’s a part of your day-to-day!
But ask yourself, are you covering Tax Advice enough within the conversations you are having with clients? Do your clients know that Tax Advice is a service that you offer? Do they know the value they can get from Tax Advice? If you make sure to provide regular marketing content (let’s say once a month as a minimum) and include Tax Advice as a talking point within your catchups with clients, this is a strong starting point to get your clients engaged with Tax Advice.
Time Costs Money
Throughout this blog we have provided pointers on how to solve your problem: ‘How do I help my clients understand the value, time, and cost of obtaining formal Tax Advice?’ Tax Advice can help your clients achieve their business goals. That’s the ultimate benefit – or, should we say, the ultimate value. And this is how you can get your clients engaged with Tax Advice. Naturally, obtaining formal Tax Advice takes time. Your time, and/or your team's time, as well as the tax advisor's time. And time costs money.
Your client wouldn’t do a service for an hour and not get paid for it
Your client wouldn’t pay for employees to serve customers all day and not get paid for their products
And the same principle applies to your Tax Advice services; you’re a business too! How do you get your clients engaged with Tax Advice? Share them below 👇