The cost of preparing the average tax return rose just 2 percent in the past two years, according to a newly released survey.
A biennial survey of 8,000 tax preparers by the National Society of Accountants found that the average fee for preparing an itemized Form 1040 with a Schedule A and a state tax return rose from $201 to $205.
The average cost of preparing a 1040 and state return without itemized deductions was $115, up just five bucks from $110 two years ago.
Business and nonprofit returns, as expected, cost more. The NSA found average fees of $518 for a Form 1065 partnership return, $685 for a Form 1120 C corporation return, $656 for a Form 1120S S corporation return, $1,729 for a Form 706 estate tax return and $521 for a Form 990 tax-exempt entity return.
Hourly fees for tax services average $122.12 nationally, with variations in different parts of the country. Sixty-two percent of accounting firms do not require a client to pay until the tax prep work is finished and the client is satisfied. Eighty-five percent of accountants offer electronic filing services, and 80 percent of clients eligible for electronic filing choose this option, an 18.4 percent increase over the previous survey.
Seventy-seven percent of accountants do not charge an additional fee for electronic filing. If a fee is charged, the average amount is $23.15.