Tax preparers charge a nationwide average of $114 to prepare a Form 1040 with no schedules, with the price increasing according to their credentials, according to a recent nationwide survey of tax professionals.

CPAs charge an average of $169.30 to prepare a 1040 with no schedules, according to the “Earn What You’re Worth: 2016 Fee Study” from the National Association of Tax Professionals.. Attorneys charge an average of $161.25, CFPs an average of $134.72, Enrolled Agents an average of $122.84, non-credentialed individuals an average of $99.51 and AFSPs an average of $95.74.

More than two out of five preparers surveyed (44 percent) saw an increase in the number of returns they prepared over the last two years. Almost half (46 percent) said the amount was the same, while 10 percent saw a decrease.

Respondents who prepared fewer returns cited the availability of tax software to the public, the IRS Free File program and competition from other preparers as the biggest reasons for any decrease.

Among other findings from the study, which was compiled using survey data from the NATP member base:

  • Almost half (44 percent) of respondents derive almost all their revenue from prep. Seventy percent do tax prep full time throughout the year.
  • More than half (57 percent) demand payment when returns are completed but before e-filing or mailing. A quarter ask for payment when the return is completed and e-filed or mailed.
  • Almost all respondents accept checks and cash for payment. Slightly more than half (58 percent) accept credit or debit cards, 15 percent accept installment plans and 7 percent accept bartered goods or services.
  • For state returns, slightly more than a third of respondents (36 percent) have a set fee for each form and schedule. Slightly fewer than a third (31 percent) charge a minimum fee plus costs based on the complexity of the return. 

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