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My two rules about tax preparation fees

My tax return preparation fees are bench-marked with published industry averages to ensure that I won’t be the least expensive and won’t be the most expensive. But my practice is based on adding substantial financial value through long term relationships, not competing on price with an average tax preparation service. Two specific rules that I follow about tax return preparation fees:

1. If I sense that the first or primary concern is the price of service then I will decline interest in preparing your tax return.

This is just something that I have learned from experience. Certainly this operating policy is based on my presumption or prejudice that may well be inaccurate. Admittedly, I likely decline some fantastic people who would be really great clients as a result of this policy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking this question about price; it is a perfectly logical and appropriate question. But asking this as a leading or first question simply indicates to me that there is a probability that our personalities would not be a good match. A question leading with price indicates a transaction approach to a commodity service. I’m a relationship-based person. We are probably just not a good match. From my perspective, price of your tax return preparation is among the least important issues that we should be discussing at this point. It simply makes more sense for you to find another accountant who is more transnational focused. I will be pleased to make a referral at your request.

2. The fee and terms of service will always be agreed in writing in advance. 

We can arrange and customize our work plan any way you want. That’s the advantage of working with your own independent CPA. Every  But the objective is always to remove the guesswork and uncertainty. I will preview the work at no cost or obligation and offer a written engagement agreement and fee quotation after I’ve looked at your documents and estimated the work required. There is no obligation until we reach an agreement. A sample tax services engagement agreement is available online.


If you are interested in more information including an estimate of tax preparation fees without a more detailed examination of your specific situation, then those figures are already available online. Please see this page for more information on the tax preparation services that I provide.

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