The most recent fee study conducted by the National Society of Accountants (“the other NSA”) reports that the average cost of hiring a tax professional to prepare your Form 1040 with a Schedule A and state tax return is $273. Rates for non-itemized returns are also low, as the average cost to prepare a Form 1040 and state return without itemized deductions being only $176.
The NSA surveyed were largely owners, principals and partners of local “Main Street” companies with an average of more than 26 years of experience.
The survey also reported the average fees for preparing other tax forms:
$184 for a Form 1040 Schedule C (sole proprietor)
$656 for a Form 1065 (partnership)
$826 for a Form 1120 (corporation)
$809 for a Form 1120S (S corporation)
$482 for a Form 1041 (estate or trust)
$733 for a Form 990 (tax exempt)
$69 for a Form 940 (federal unemployment)
$124 for Schedule D (capital gains and losses)
$135 for Schedule E (rental income)
$180 for Schedule F (farm)
As one would expect, fees vary by region, firm size, population and economic strength of an area. The average fee for a Form 1040 with Schedule A and a state tax return in the various sections of the U.S. are:
$333 in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont)
$290 in the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania)
$268 in the South Atlantic (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia)
$210 in the East South Central (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee)
$271 in the West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas)
$249 in the East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin)
$214 in the West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota)
$263 in the Mountain area (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming)
$329 in the Pacific area (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington)
These fees assume a taxpayer has gathered and organized all necessary information. The less organized the client, the greater the fee.
According to other studies over the years CPAs and PAs (Public Accountants) typically charge the highest minimum fees for tax preparation. One study found that the minimum fee charged for preparation by an Enrolled Agent (EA) was a little less than 2/3 of that charged by a CPA or PA, and the minimum fee of an “unenrolled” practitioner was only slightly more than half of the CPA/PA charge.