Should You Send Some Tax Work to India?

By Ken Berry

Are you having trouble hiring enough staff to do all your tax returns? Consider outsourcing some of the overflow to India.

Shipping work overseas is hardly new. Manufacturers and businesses in other production-type industries have traditionally used this alternative to keep costs down. And troubleshooting and other technology issues relating to electronic devices are often farmed out to foreign resources. Now practitioners who provide professional services instead of goods are picking up on the trend.  
 
One CPA who has successfully transitioned to outsourcing tax work is Patricia Bell Harik, who heads up the tax department at Zdonek & Wolowicz in Torrance, California.  Harik relies heavily on an outfit with a secure website in Boston, Massachusetts. The Indian firm helps her prepare mostly individual income tax returns as well as some corporate and partnership returns. Naturally, the outside workload increases during tax return season.   
 
"It's fabulous," says Harik. "Five years ago, we were forced to do this because we couldn't find any staff members. So we started out of need."  She works with a liaison in India who helps coordinate tax return activities using electronic data. The workers are all chartered accountants who have been trained to comply with the US tax laws.  
 
Harik notes that the cost savings is the main advantage. By going the outsourcing route, she doesn't have to pay the usual benefits, insurance, and other overhead expenses associated with in-house staff members. "It's like employee leasing on a smaller level," says Harik.
 
This option could appeal to other CPA firms in the United States, but proposed legislation offering tax breaks to businesses who hire employees locally might have an impact on outsourcing to India. Notably, the so-called "Bring Jobs Home Act," cosponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), is aimed primarily at the manufacturing sector and bans deductions for costs of moving operations abroad. The bill was just defeated in the Senate by a 56-42 vote on July 19. As Election Day draws closer, we'll likely see renewed attempts to pass this or similar legislation. 
 
Related articles:
 

You may like these other stories...

In most cases, accountants have gaps in their resumes because they got fired and could not find another job they liked within a short amount of time. If you went back a decade such a gap could have been considered a death...
Did you ever feel as if you're preparing taxes in the Twilight Zone? You may be more right than you think. Each year, professional preparers all over the country have to work in a shadowy reflection of the normal tax...
The split over convergenceDavid M. Katz of CFO wrote an interesting article on Thursday about the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) backing away from their...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 21Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience’s communication style.
Oct 22This webinar will include discussions of important issues in AU-C 800, Audits of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with Special Purpose Frameworks.
Oct 23Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.
Oct 30Many Excel users have a love-hate relationship with workbook links.