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How much do you pay for tax preparation and filing?

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  • #16
    I pay a CPA $1100. My return is a bit complex with 3 K-1s, a tree farm business with a bunch of equipment I depreciate, a schedule C for my wife's business, farm land rental income, along with all the usual stuff.

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    • #17
      Where are you guys finding these CPAs to charge you $500 to $1,000 for tax preparation and occasional tax advice? I'm primarily a W-2 employee with a qualified joint venture with my wife and my employees. I'd love to outsource my taxes to someone else, but everyone I talked to offers me bundled services for like $5,000 a year, covering lots of things I don't need like setting up an employer retirement plans and managing payroll.

      Can I just go to h&r block or something? I seriously haven't been able to find anybody to even talk to me for less than 2k.

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      • #18
        Our CPA of 15 years has been charging us $1500. Now both retired, the task has simplified and I will ask for a discount. His "value added" has included advising on which arcane rules can be ignored, year round advice, and letter to the state to describe the state's error.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by pysibal View Post
          Where are you guys finding these CPAs to charge you $500 to $1,000 for tax preparation and occasional tax advice? I'm primarily a W-2 employee with a qualified joint venture with my wife and my employees. I'd love to outsource my taxes to someone else, but everyone I talked to offers me bundled services for like $5,000 a year, covering lots of things I don't need like setting up an employer retirement plans and managing payroll.

          Can I just go to h&r block or something? I seriously haven't been able to find anybody to even talk to me for less than 2k.
          Ok, I think $5000 a year is ridiculous for personal taxes, and $2k is in the high end. Might be in the ballpark if services are provided such as bookkeeping for the business, etc. but for personal taxes straight up, I don’t see it. I live in a major metro area and $1000 sounds about right. Maybe $1500 for more complex returns and on going advice. You ask about a simple service like H&R Block. Sure that works, especially if your return is not complicated, but you will still pay several hundred dollars.

          As an exercise, ask yourself what you really get by outsourcing your personal return. You still have to do all the hard work, which I define as gathering and organizing all the data (W-2s, 1099s, rental expenses, business expenses, etc). After that, it is just data entry. The tax software (TT, TaxAct, etc.) checks the same deductions your CPA will check. Worse, your CPA has you fill out their questionnaire that seems to me to take as long as it would take to run through my TaxAct Q&A. So really not much time saved. After I gather material, I probably only spend a couple hours running through both my federal and state tax returns.

          Now if your goal is to validate accuracy etc more than saving time then outsourcing might make sense. What I do though is every few years (it actually has been every 10 years in practice) I hire a CPA off-season to review my taxes. Cost is $500. The review is worth it for peace of mind, but has never turned up a missed deduction.

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          • #20
            I think $65, TT, one state
            Last edited by uksho; 03-05-2022, 09:27 AM. Reason: Used CPA before 250ish, he retired and I learnt to do it

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            • #21
              I'm definitely at the upper end paying CPA about $2k. Tax return includes K1 income, brokerage accounts with active trading and multiple investment properties and 2020 taxes were ~100 pages. I'm able to deduct cost of preparation as a business expense.

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              • #22
                1k. Preps my wife's quarterly. She has a K-1. Does our RE depreciation stuff for our 4 rentals.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
                  It is all so ridiculous. We should be able to do it on an index card!
                  Taxes are ridiculous. 90% percent of the people should just be able to click "agree" with whatever information the IRS has already collected on you and go about the rest of their lives. One of the reasons that we cannot is because tax preparers have lobbied against such a system:
                  https://www.propublica.org/article/i...taxes-for-free
                  It's a huge waste of everybody's time and money to file these complicated tax returns.

                  I've paid everyone to do my taxes:
                  -paid for in-person tax preparation at tax preparation firms who have non-accountants do your taxes. Basically just paying someone for data entry with no actual knowledge of taxes
                  -paid for an accountant. I used to have an accountant that charged me $1,100. I used him for 2 years, figuring that the second year would be cheaper. It was exactly the same amount despite the fact that I have a very simple tax situation, (2 w-2's, one taxable account, and household nanny who I pay a service another thousand to file taxes for)
                  -currently paying for online turbo tax. It took me until this year to realize that turbo tax purposes charges more for their online version vs the version you download/software you purchase. That used to drive me crazy, I couldn't figure out why everyone ended up paying less to turbo tax then I did. I decided to stay with the online version though because I liked how it keeps on the data from the previous years on their servers which I assume are semi-secure.

                  If you just have w-2's and a few 1099 forms, you really shouldn't have too much trouble using one of the online tax preparers.

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                  • #24
                    New accountant this year anticipating $750-900 which was the previous range. I perceive mine to be more complicated than I can handle with multiple W2s, private practice, 1099R, rental properties. I’m looking forward to when I have sold my last rental and may try it myself.

                    I inquired with a well known source from here several years ago and they quoted ~$1,500.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by StateOfMyHead View Post
                      New accountant this year anticipating $750-900 which was the previous range. I perceive mine to be more complicated than I can handle with multiple W2s, private practice, 1099R, rental properties. I’m looking forward to when I have sold my last rental and may try it myself.

                      I inquired with a well known source from here several years ago and they quoted ~$1,500.
                      You have me curious on one point: Do you have to use the accountant’s bookkeeping software for your practice, or is there a well known doctor’s accounting program most use that exports a file, or quickbooks, etc.?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Larry Ragman View Post

                        You have me curious on one point: Do you have to use the accountant’s bookkeeping software for your practice, or is there a well known doctor’s accounting program most use that exports a file, or quickbooks, etc.?
                        Small solo practice so I use quickbooks.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Larry Ragman View Post


                          As an exercise, ask yourself what you really get by outsourcing your personal return. You still have to do all the hard work, which I define as gathering and organizing all the data (W-2s, 1099s, rental expenses, business expenses, etc). After that, it is just data entry. The tax software (TT, TaxAct, etc.) checks the same deductions your CPA will check. Worse, your CPA has you fill out their questionnaire that seems to me to take as long as it would take to run through my TaxAct Q&A. So really not much time saved. After I gather material, I probably only spend a couple hours running through both my federal and state tax returns.

                          Now if your goal is to validate accuracy etc more than saving time then outsourcing might make sense. What I do though is every few years (it actually has been every 10 years in practice) I hire a CPA off-season to review my taxes. Cost is $500. The review is worth it for peace of mind, but has never turned up a missed deduction.
                          Yeah, agree with this 100%.

                          My taxes are uncomplicated enough that a CPA can review them in under an hour (so less that $500). I stopped doing that since the guy I used for that isn't around any more. So now I just use Turbo Tax alone, but if I want someone to review it, it probably isn't that hard.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by AR View Post

                            Yeah, agree with this 100%.

                            My taxes are uncomplicated enough that a CPA can review them in under an hour (so less that $500). I stopped doing that since the guy I used for that isn't around any more. So now I just use Turbo Tax alone, but if I want someone to review it, it probably isn't that hard.
                            Exactly. For those who believe it maybe too hard, try it out. Run TT side-by-side to your CPAs preparation this year. TT handles W2+1099s+Rentals+normal depreciation/carry overs quite easily.

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                            • #29
                              I'm getting quotes for $1500-$2000 and we are both W2 employees. We do have a rental, we receive trust income and we have various investments and inherited investments. It seems like a lot of money so I've kept doing it myself even though it's pretty painful.

                              I always get an extension and last year finally filled and received one five figure refund in October, having procrastinated as long as I could.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by pysibal View Post
                                Where are you guys finding these CPAs to charge you $500 to $1,000 for tax preparation and occasional tax advice? I'm primarily a W-2 employee with a qualified joint venture with my wife and my employees. I'd love to outsource my taxes to someone else, but everyone I talked to offers me bundled services for like $5,000 a year, covering lots of things I don't need like setting up an employer retirement plans and managing payroll.

                                Can I just go to h&r block or something? I seriously haven't been able to find anybody to even talk to me for less than 2k.
                                Before I knew anything I went to H&R and I was very unimpressed. The person did not understand what she was doing at all and just plugged everything into their computer system. I quickly realized if she could do it that I could do it. This was about the time I found WCI and took over my finances and it just made sense to go it myself.

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