Probably the most frequently asked question from prospective clients is, “How much would you charge to prepare my tax return?”
If you meet our criteria for basic Individual tax returns, we offer Simply Done limited-service tax prep for $300, with the option to add-on a Schedule C for $125. We can offer this flat-fee service because we can reliably predict the resources required to prepare, review and deliver your tax return by restricting the tax situations included in this service tier.
But most of our prospects and clients have more complex tax returns, and they’re looking for something more out of the tax prep process.
Full disclosure – for 2020, we offered flat-rate tax prep for all our clients based on 3 tiers of complexity. It was a failed experiment that ultimately proved unfair to some of my clients, my team members, and me.
We should have known. As The Waitresses warned us circa 1982, “One size does NOT fit all.”
Other factors are affecting our rates for 2021 as well. Our costs for compliance, technology, labor, coworking space, insurance and other business expenses have gone up. The cost of my professional tax software alone has more than doubled.
In addition, pandemic recovery measures such as Economic Impact (stimulus) Payments, Advance Child Tax Credit payments, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, 401(k) withdrawals under special rules, PPP loans, and taxable and nontaxable grants add some level of complexity to almost every return.
On top of all that, the IRS is a hot mess. Phone lines are jammed for tax pros as well as taxpayers. ACTC letters went out with the wrong amounts. There are about 6 million pieces of mail left unopened and unprocessed, yet the IRS collections machine continues to hum, irrespective of any responses to prior Notices that may be waiting for attention under all those piles of mail.
So what do we charge for more complex returns?
We know it’s not the answer you want, but the most honest answer we can give is, “It depends.”
Generally, the fee you pay will increase with the complexity of your return. If we find something wacky or unusual that will increase your fee significantly, we will contact you to explain.
Below are listed the fees for the most commonly filed forms, along with a few of the situations that might increase your fees.
Our minimum fee for Form 1065 (Partnership), Form 1120 (Corporations) and Form 1120-S (S-corps) is $650. Additional fees may apply for more than 4 shareholders/partners, shareholder/partner basis calculations, multi-state revenues and income, investment income, and final returns.
These fees assume that the business bookkeeping is complete and correct. Additional fees apply for bookkeeping (write-up) services (see below).
Our minimum fee for any return is $375 and includes one state return for either VA or WV.
The list below includes only the most commonly used forms and schedules. Your particular return may require more.
|Form 1040 + VA or WV state return||$300|
|Schedules 1 – 3||No additional charge|
|Schedule A Itemized Deductions||$100 (+$5/donation for more than (4) noncash charitable contributions)|
Schedule B Interest & Dividends
(from Forms 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-B)
$10 (form) + $2 per item
|Schedule C Profit/Loss from Business||$100|
Schedule D/Form 8949
Capital Gains/Losses/Disposition of Assets
$5 per transaction
(Summary + attachment $25 per brokerage)
|Schedule E Rentals||$25 (form) + $75 per property|
Schedule E page 2
(K-1s from corporations, partnerships, trusts)
$15 per Federal K-1
Please note that these frequently require additional state returns
|Schedule F Farming||$150|
|Schedule H Household Employment Taxes||$65|
|Schedule R Credit for Elderly/Disable||No additional charge|
|ITEMS RELATED TO DEPENDENTS|
|Schedule 8812 (Child/Other Dependent Credit)||$20|
Form 8867 Paid Preparer Due Diligence
(Required for EIC, CTC/ODC, AOTC, HOH)
|Form 2441 Child and Dependent Care||$25|
|Education Tax Credits||$25|
|ITEMS RELATED TO SCHEDULES C & E|
(SELF-EMPLOYMENT AND RENTAL REAL ESTATE)
|Schedule SE Self-Employment Tax||$40|
|Form 4562 Depreciation||$25 (form) + $2 per item|
|Form 8994 Qualified Business Income Deduction||No additional charge|
|Schedule D/Form 4797||$25 (form) + $15 per transaction|
|Form 8829 Business Use of Home||$40|
|Form 7202 (Credit for COVID-related sick/family leave for self-employed)||$35|
|Additional States||$60 – 100 per state|
|Married Filing Separately||30% off the second return if split from MFJ return we started|
|Amended returns||Fees vary depending upon who prepared the original return and the nature of the amendments required.|
|Dependent return to claim refund||$25 – 40|
|Document scanning||By appointment only, starts at $25|
|Printed returns||Starts at $35 + delivery fees|
|Other forms, schedules||Billed hourly @ $125, no minimum|
Is it important for you to understand that it is your responsibility to deliver complete and accurate bookkeeping information to us to prepare your tax return.
If your bookkeeping has been done by a trained professional, it’s as easy as sending over an Income Statement (also called a P&L) and Balance Sheet. If we have not done your taxes before, you should provide both the prior year and the current year.
In addition, if you bought things during the tax year that will last more than one year, we will need to know the what-when-how much for each asset. Do not worry about whether they’re fully deductible or not, just tell us what you bought.
If you have no bookkeeping system, or your bookkeeping is incomplete, somebody is going to have to get that done before we can prepare your tax return. How that happens depends on your business and how many transactions you have. If you don’t have a lot of transactions, you may be able to fill out a spreadsheet that we provide.
The Approachable Accountant has systems, tools and staff to perform catch-up bookkeeping work, but it comes at a cost. During tax season, all such work is considered “RUSH” and bills at $125/hour rather than our normal rate. If that’s too rich for your blood, we can recommend a great bookkeeper (who doesn’t do taxes) to get you squared away. The absolute LAST day to submit your financial statements is March 31st if you hope to file on time.
If you’re feeling lucky, you can file an Extension and we will do the work at our normal rate after May 1st – just remember, an Extension gives you more time to file, not more time to pay. Penalties and interest may apply if your estimated payments do not cover your tax liability.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT SEND ANY PERSONAL OR TAX INFORMATION VIA EMAIL, VOICEMAIL, TEXT, ONLINE MESSENGER, MAIL, OR ANY MEANS OF TRANSMISSION OR DELIVERY OTHER THAN OUR SECURE ONLINE PORTAL.