Self-employedTaxes

Tax services fees in 2019 (for 2018 tax returns)

Tax filers should know in advance what to expect to pay for professional tax services. Each year I publish a guide but this year the task is tougher than usual due to the new federal tax laws. The chart below is meant for simplicity but does not consider every filing situation. Fees vary with individual circumstances. CPA tax preparation is usually more expensive than non-professional services but I am normally able to offset this higher fee with my lower overhead costs and more efficient use of technology compared to other firms. The actual fee and other important details are clearly stated in the engagement agreement that must be executed (usually via email) before we start work. 

Regular individual federal tax return without schedules $225

State or local tax return (after preparing a federal return) $35

Business return (Schedule C) $125 to $275 (see note 4 below)

Section 199A flow-through income exclusion, uncomplicated  $25  

Due diligence checklist for tax credits $45

Schedule A itemized deductions $50 to $175 (regardless of whether filed or an election is made to not file)

E-filing state and federal $25

File an extension $40 ($25 credited to return fee later)

Paper filing (certified mail) $95 per return

Financial and tax planning: priceless

NOTES:

  1. Effective March 2019, the overall minimum client fee is $315 for all services combined unless otherwise discounted on the invoice. In most cases this is the amount listed on the invoice at the time of engagement. If a lower price was quoted in writing without an expiration date then it will be honored.
  2. Other possible fees related to late payment, document handling, overnight shipping, cash or paper checks, tax advice  and other add on services are listed in the engagement agreement.
  3. Rushed returns in the last three weeks before a filing deadline are 50% higher. (It may make sense to file an extension to save money and relieve stress).
  4. The majority of the work that business clients request at tax filing time is accounting and bookkeeping, not tax return preparation. This work must be handled under a separate engagement agreement.
  5. This list does not include all tax schedules and services. Tax schedules that require preparer attestation and completion of preparer checklists (like child and education tax credits) may trigger a larger fee.
  6. Fees for partnerships, nonprofit organizations and corporate returns are not listed on this page.
  7. This web page is a guide not a quote. See the engagement agreement for more detailed information and the actual advance invoice that overrides the information on this web page.
  8. For comparison, a national average of fees is published annually by the National Association of Accountants. That fee study includes the fees for all tax preparers, including the 60% who are not credentialed. Also, the summary results include all geogrpraphical areas, most of whic are lower priced than the mid-Atlantic region,
  9. For more information see http://www.tonynovak.com/taxes/

4 thoughts on “Tax services fees in 2019 (for 2018 tax returns)

  1. My CPA is doing some work over a three year filing to amended my returns, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He said he could charge a percentage of the returns to me, 5, 10 percent whatever we agree on. Is this correct?

    1. Yes Don, pay based on performance is OK under this circumstance. It’s always a good idea to have a clear written engagement agreement to document this arrangement.

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