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.)