But the IRS isn’t aiming for laughs anymore. It has produced several short clips on tax-related topics that may be accessed on YouTube in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. The IRS says the videos have already received nearly 6.5 million views.
The videos cover a multitude of issues intended mainly to help taxpayers prepare for the upcoming filing season, including tips on:
- Do-it-yourself free tax preparation
- When a tax return must be filed
- How to obtain 1040s and other forms
- Tax scams to be on the lookout for
- Recordkeeping requirements
- Changing your name after a divorce or marriage
- Advice on choosing a reputable tax return preparer
In addition, the IRS is turning to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to share more information about tax changes, new initiatives, products and services. But the IRS won’t answer any personal questions on those sites. It also advises taxpayers to protect their confidential information, like Social Security numbers, and not to provide those numbers in social media venues. Here's a listing of the social media sites the IRS is participating in and related resources.
All this free online information is good news for taxpayers, although it could discourage use of your services. Think about how you can go above and beyond the basics they can learn from a YouTube video. Give clients a good reason to continue to rely on your expertise and why prospects should come aboard this tax return season.
About Ken Berry
Ken Berry, Esq., is a nationally known writer and editor specializing in tax, financial, and legal matters. During his long career, he has served as managing editor of a publisher of content-based marketing tools and vice president of an online continuing education company. As a freelance writer, Ken has authored thousands of articles for a wide variety of newsletters, magazines, and other periodicals.