Professional preparation of a non-itemized Form 1040 will cost a taxpayer about $110, while an itemized 1040 with Schedule A will run about $201, according to a survey from the National Society of Accountants.
The society's survey of 1,371 accountants across the nation did reveal cost differences based on location. For example, accountants in the Midwest charged a mean of $96 (non-itemized) and $163 (itemized Form 1040), while those working in the Northeast, South and West charged between $111 and $116 for a non-itemized return and between $205 and $226 for an itemized return.
"Independent accountants who belong to NSA provide an important service to millions of taxpayers each year, and this survey helps consumers understand the typical rates for tax preparation services," said society president Wanda Samek, a principal in the Denton, Texas, accounting firm of Custom Business Service Inc., in a statement.
The society found the mean cost for preparing other types of tax returns were:
- $165 for a Form 1040 Schedule E (Rental)
- $207 for a Form 1040 Schedule F (Farm)
- $477 for a Form 1065 (Partnership)
- $640 for a Form 1120 (Corporation)
- $624 for a Form 1120S (S Corporation)
- $386 for a Form 1041 (Fiduciary)
- $1,732 for a Form 706 (Estates)
- $449 for a Form 990 (Tax Exempt)
The survey also found that taxpayers are increasingly choosing to file returns electronically, a service that most accountants offer. More than 70 percent of all returns that can be filed electronically are submitted that way -- up more than 20 percent over the last three years. The average fee for the service is $23.Hourly fees for accountants to provide tax services averaged $109, while hourly fees for estate and financial planning averaged $123. The societies also reported that surveyed accountants had raised their tax preparation fees 6.5 percent in 2005, and expect fees to rise 6.8 percent in 2006.
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