Taxpayers looking to hire a professional to complete their 2013 tax return can expect to pay an average of $261 for an itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A, according to a new report from the National Society of Accountants.
“The IRS says it takes an average of four hours just to complete and submit a Form 1040,” said John Ams, executive vice president of NSA, in a release. “You have to ask, ‘How much is your time worth?’”
Fee information was collected in a survey of tax preparers conducted by the NSA. The tax and accounting firms surveyed are largely owners, principals and partners of local “main street” companies who have an average of more than 26 years experience.
Other average fees include:
• $218 for a Form 1040 Schedule C (business)
• $590 for a Form 1065 (partnership)
• $806 for a Form 1120 (corporation)
• $761 for a Form 1120S (S corporation)
• $497 for a form 1041 (fiduciary)
• $667 for a Form 990 (tax exempt)
• $63 for a Form 940 (federal unemployment)
• $142 for a Schedule D (gains and losses)
• $165 for Schedule E (rental)
• $196 for Schedule F (farm)
The cost to prepare a Form 1040 with Schedule A varies by region, typically costing $270 in the south Atlantic region, which includes Florida and eight other states and territories. The most expensive was in the Pacific region — states like Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington — at $303, while the cheapest was in the east north central region — Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin — at $238.
Of those surveyed, nearly 90 percent of accounting firms offer prospective clients a free consultation, which could be worth well more than $100. Also, 60 percent of firms do not require payment until returns are completed. Others may require a portion of the fee upfront, or payments throughout the tax return process.
All the fees, of course, assume the taxpayer has gathered and organized all necessary information. Extensions could cost an average of $44, while expediting a return could cost around $78.
For more information on how to find tax preparers through the NSA, visit www.NSAcct.org, or call (800) 966-6679.