Author's note: This information is reported for reference and comparison purposes only. I do not follow this fee schedule when preparing income tax returns.
The most recent annual survey by the National Association of Accountants reports that tax preparation fees will be about 5% higher than a year ago. Although the survey did not cite a reason for the increase, it coincides with a period of economic growth following the recession when fees grew at a slower pace. The fees listed below are national average fees charged by both CPA and non-CPA accountant. Fees in the northeast region of the United States (PA and NJ) are about 5% higher than national averages.
Form 1040 with standard deductions and state return $151
Form 1040 with Schedule A and a state tax return $261
Schedule C (business) $218
Form 1065 (partnership) $590
Form 1120 (corporation) $806
Form 1120S (S corporation) $761
Form 1041 (fiduciary) $497
Form 990 (tax exempt) $667
Form 940 (Federal unemployment) $63
Schedule D (gains and losses) $142
Schedule E (rental) $165
Schedule F (farm) $196.
The surveyed rates include the fees for both the federal and state tax return preparation.
Keep in mind that tax preparers generally charge less for returning customers and a bit more for new customers, however the pricing difference typically does not fully make up for the difference in work required for a first time client. Also, consider that the best way to reduce tax preparation fees is to have good electronic records of the year's transactions that can be imported into tax preparation software. The accountant can then focus on the more important job of making sure the return is properly presented for the lowest legitimate tax due.