Tax Preparation Rates/Fees

It’s always difficult to give an accurate fee estimate for income tax preparation without knowing the details of your particular tax situation. That said, here’s how it often works out:

(Note: for additional work beyond standard income tax preparation, my billing rate is $120/hr, billed in 10-minute increments.)

  • A very straightforward tax return (federal and state) generally costs between $160-$200, depending mostly on the amount of data entry required. Nothing complicated, no significant tax-planning considerations. A return with not much more than simple W-2 income would be on the $160 side of that scale, while any return with basic itemized deductions (home mortgage interest and property taxes, for example) or simple investment income would more likely be on the $200 side of that scale.
  • A slightly more complicated tax return will generally fall in the $220-$260 range. This would include returns with small-scale self-employment or rental income, more complicated itemized deductions, more significant investment income, income from another state, estimated tax considerations, IRA over-contribution issues, etc. If more than one of those apply, that can put things in the $260-$300 range.
  • If you’re married-filing-separately (for student loan purposes, for example) the minimum fee would be $300 for the two sets of returns.
  • If there’s significant self-employment income (more than $50k in gross revenue) or multiple rental properties, if you’ve bought or sold a rental property, if you’ve had many securities transactions, if there are AMT-related complications, or if there are significant tax-planning considerations, the total fee becomes more difficult to estimate in advance – generally in the $300-$400 range, unless more than one of these situations apply.
  • Above that range, it’s simply a matter of billing my hourly rate ($120) for any tax returns that end up taking more than 3 full hours of work/research/communications/etc. I try not to take on too many of these types of returns; maybe 10-15% of the returns I prepare fall into this category.

Amended tax returns usually fall in the $200-$300 range, depending on the level of complexity and whether an amended state return is also required.

Tax returns for business entities (partnerships, multi-member LLC’s, and S-corporations) vary widely in cost. Most straightforward S-Corporation returns end up in the $300-$400 range, assuming your bookkeeping records are in decent shape. (A very simple single-owner S-Corp tax return might add only $200 to your overall tax bill, if prepared in conjunction with your personal tax return.)


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