How Much Should I Pay My Tax Preparer?

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You're probably wondering what amount you should pay to have your taxes done. The answer is, it depends. While there is no set formula, you can keep these factors in mind the next time you are ready to send off your tax return.

How much is a tax return? |

How much should I pay a bookkeeper?

Hopefully, you're not using an unlicensed person to complete your tax returns. You probably didn't know — almost anyone can apply for a PTIN to prepare a federal tax return on behalf of someone else (it's the identification number the tax preparer places next to his/her name on a tax return). Plus, the application process is free. 

It means that a preparer need not go to school, take an exam, or get a license. The person can fill out tax forms, take your money, and hope for the best. The IRS tried changing the rules to require minimum education standards and exams, but the court struck it down, and Congress has yet to enact a law.

TIP: In most states, a nail technician, hair stylist and massage therapist must maintain a license — but not someone who prepares a federal tax return (the financial report you send to the government).

How much should I pay an accountant?

The price you pay depends on the person's experience and notoriety. If the tax accountant just opened their office, you'll see lower fees; if the tax return preparer has decades of experience, the price is higher. And if the person is a published or well-known accountant, then expect to shell out the most money.

Avoid the temptation to compare the fees at a chain tax store — an accountant didn't go to school to compete with an unlicensed preparer who has no formal education which is what you may find at the chain store. So, you'd be comparing apples to oranges. Once Congress levels the playing field by making everyone have a similar skill set, then you are in a better position to compare pricing.

TIP: If you want peace of mind, choose a licensed, insured and experienced professional. You're handing over confidential and sensitive information, and you want it reported correctly.

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DISCLAIMER: Please consult with your accountant, attorney and financial advisor before implementing any information displayed on this website. DIY research does not replace the advice of a licensed professional who has thoroughly reviewed your file.