What do you pay your tax preparer to complete and file your tax return?
The national average to prepare an itemized Form 1040 with a Schedule A and a state tax return is $246.
If you have a simple tax situation, $246 probably sounds like a lot more than you want to spend to get your taxes done. That's cool. You have lots of tax preparation and filing options, so find the one that works best for you.
But, says the NSA, if a professional tax preparer can catch even one more deduction or credit that you may have missed, the savings could cover the tax pro's fee.
"I think most people would say this is worth the money, especially when you think about how long it will take you to do the return," said NSA Executive Vice President John Ams in a statement announcing the organization's biennial survey of tax preparers.
The NSA collected the tax prep fee data primarily from owners, principals and partners of "Main Street" companies with an average of more than 26 years of experience.
Other forms, rates: If you have simpler filing needs, you'll save, on average, around $100, according to the NSA survey.
The average cost to prepare a Form 1040 and state return without itemized deductions is $143.
As for other forms, the NSA found the following fees:
- $205 for a Form 1040 Schedule C (business)
- $556 for a Form 1065 (partnership)
- $759 for a Form 1120 (corporation)
- $717 for a Form 1120S (S corporation)
- $468 for a Form 1041 (fiduciary)
- $628 for a Form 990 (tax exempt)
- $59 for a Form 940 (federal unemployment)
- $134 for Schedule D (capital gains and losses)
- $155 for Schedule E (rental income)
- $185 for Schedule F (farm income)
Regional cost differences: And as with the price of all professional services, fees tend to vary by region, firm size, population, and economic strength of an area.
The NSA broke out the average tax preparation fee for an itemized Form 1040 with a Schedule A and a state tax return in each U.S. census district:
- New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont = $237
- Middle Atlantic: New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania = $258
- South Atlantic: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia = $253
- East South Central: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee = $279
- West South Central: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas = $226
- East North Central: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin = $225
- West North Central: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota = $196
- Mountain: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming = $233
- Pacific: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington = $288
The NSA also notes that nearly 90 percent of accounting firms offer prospective clients a free consultation. Such meetings, says the accounting organization, can be worth well over $100 based on the hourly fees of most tax preparers.
Do you use a tax professional? Do the NSA numbers match up with your payment experience?
How about you, tax preparers? Are your fees in line with the NSA findings?
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