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Tax Preparation Prices and Fees
Tax professionals use a variety of methods for setting prices for tax preparation services. As a result, finding out what’s a fair price to pay often proves difficult. The only general conclusion I’ve come to is that the price for tax preparation services increases depending upon the complexity of the tax return.
Fee structures are decided by each firm. So if you are comparing different tax professionals, you’ll want to ask how they determine their prices, and what they estimate your tax preparation service might cost. But because of per-item, per-form, or per-hourly rates, it might be impractical for an accountant to provide you with an accurate price quote. Accordingly, you’ll want to ask accountants for a likely price range for your tax return.
How to Negotiate a Fair Price
You are entitled to ask your accountant for a price quote or an estimate in writing, before the tax preparation begins. You can also ask your accountant to let you know, in advance, before the fee exceeds your budgeted amount.
If you are searching for the lowest price, the best thing to do is call various tax preparation firms and get a feel for their price ranges. The business might not be able to give you an exact price quote, but they should be able to quote you either an average price or a price range for your tax situation.
Some firms will charge higher prices during their busiest days. The weeks just after W-2 forms are mailed out, and the weeks just before the April 15th deadline are busiest. You may be able to obtain a lower price quote during a less busy part of the season.
Additionally, it’s easier to negotiate prices up front before work has begun on the tax return than after all the work as been completed. If you’re on a budget, you may want to negotiate a flat fee for your tax preparation. Be sure to discuss your budget upfront with your accountant to see what they are able to do.