You pay what for tax preparation?

We see it all the time. A new client took a chance and called the accounting office for tax preparation. They have trepidation in their voice when they ask about our fees. They come to their appointment and are presented with an invoice at the end and the look in their eye shifts to….. DISBELIEF.

See, they’ve been going to a big box tax service for years to “save money.” It is such a common misconception that an office dedicated to year-round tax and accounting must charge more for their services than the average American taxpayer can afford. They are only partly wrong. I’ve seen invoices from Big 4 firms that I can only imagine billing a client. I’ve also seen invoices so low that I know it came from a “tax mill.”

According to CBS news the average payment for a simple 1040 is $176. If you have deductions you can expect to pay $273. Self-employed? That will be $457. Receive a letter from the IRS? That will cost you, on average, $128 to reply.

Additionally, many firms charge you for your questions throughout the year. Accountants typically charge $150 to $400 per hour, billed in increments of 15 minutes. That’s $37.50 for a quick answer to a tax question.

So, that look of disbelief is something that I understand. You thought you were saving money. You thought a big box tax office offered a competitive rate because of the volume of returns. You thought all of us small-business accountants billed more because there were fewer returns across which to spread our overhead. Suddenly, in one moment, you realize you were mistaken, misled, misinformed.

We do have fewer returns. We generally also have fewer staff, lower overhead, and faster turnover rates. We don’t work on credit and we can’t give you an instant refund, but we can offer you affordable rates and professional service. We can offer you timely responses and concentrated efforts to keep your liabilities as low as possible. We can’t offer you the world and we can’t prepare your taxes for free, but we will offer you a cup of coffee, a fair price, and a service to value.

I don’t just say that we specialize in individual tax preparation and small business accounting because it sounds good. We specialize because we are individuals. We are a small business. I hope your business grows and thrives. I hope your personal income tax situation is (1) compliant with laws and regulation and (2) minimally obtrusive to your personal budget.

Realistically, taxes are not one size fits all. Neither are the fees associated with the preparation of tax returns. Every return should be assessed based on number of forms, time required, and risk. It’s been my mission since acquiring my firm to keep our fees low. By not simply billing by the form or by the hour, I am able to do just that. Our individual returns start at $125. Dependent tax returns are often done for as low as $50.

I hope you reach out to me with your questions. You aren’t my client for a day; you are my client for a year. I’ll be an email away from answering your questions and keeping you compliant and helping you avoid a blindside next spring. And I’ll be that email away FOR FREE. I’ve learned that the best way to keep my job enjoyable is to keep your taxes stress free and there is no reason to charge you to do so. It’s my job to know the answers….it is, in fact, what you pay me for.

Too good to be true? If you are a client, you know we put our money where our blogs are 😉

If you aren’t a client and don’t believe it yet, now is your chance to try us risk free. Show up on February 13th starting at 9 am with your documents and your last years’ tax preparation invoice and I will prepare your taxes for 50% that invoice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *