One of the many benefits of membership in the National Association of Tax Professionals is their periodic studies of tax preparation fees, the most recent being the “2010 Tax Professional Study: Fee, Compensation, and Practice Management”,
According to the introduction -
“This study doesn’t just give you the bottom line on what people are charging in your area, it gets even more specific about why other tax professionals charge what they do. These are the details that every successful business person needs to know, but for a sole proprietor or a small business owner it is virtually impossible to accomplish on your own.”
NATP members can download this study free or order a printed copy for a small fee.
The study results confirm what I have been saying for years – the fees for preparing individual federal income tax returns (1040 and 1040A) charged by CPAs are higher than those charged by other categories of preparers.
The average “minimum fee charged” for tax preparation by a CPA, or PA, is more than twice the fee charged by a “previously unenrolled” preparer ($154 vs $75). The average minimum fee charged by EAs is only about 30.667% more than that of the previously unenrolled ($98 vs $75).
And, obviously, fees in general are greater in urban areas and in the Northeast (where I live and work – though you couldn’t tell it from my fee schedule) and the West.
If you are not already a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals you should be. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “NATP Membership” in the “subject line”, and I will send you membership information.