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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Taxes & Financial Planning > Tax Returns

Tax Returns Cost


How Much Do Tax Returns Cost?

 
low costLow: Free, $20-$90average costMedium: $90-$130+high costHigh: $200-$400+
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  Typical costs:
  • If your income is less than $50,000, you may qualify for Free File[1] , a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, which should let you e-file your taxes for free.
  • Software, such as Intuit's TurboTax, typically costs between $20-$90, depending on the complexity of your returns and whether you need to complete a state return. During the past two years, retail discounts during February and March have been common. An online version, Web TurboTax, is also available.
  • Tax preparation fees at retail outlets such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt can run $90-$130, but Refund Anticipation Loan fees, electronic filing fees, and check cashing fees can triple the amount. In March, 2006, the New York Attorney General sued H&R Block for its business practices.
  • A part-time tax-preparer who operates out of a home may charge around $100 for a relatively simple return.
  • A professional CPA operating out of an office might charge $200-$400 for a relatively straightforward return, depending on the complexity of the return, the local cost of living, and the size of the office. More complicated returns - with significant stock transactions, real estate, and other deductions and earnings - may cost over $500.
  • A relatively straightforward return might include typical job-related deductions, interests and donations, mortgage deductions, and a few straightforward stock transactions.
Related articles: Financial Planner, Stock Broker, IRA, Mutual Fund

What should be included:
  • No matter which you choose, you should receive a copy of your tax return with clear instructions of where to send them to, how much you need to pay (or how much you will be refunded), and how to complete the forms. You should also receive a copy of your tax forms for your personal records, as well as more detailed worksheets, if applicable.
  • Some higher-end accountants will provide you with addressed, stamped envelopes; others will give you only instructions.
Additional costs:
  • At a CPA, more complicated returns with unique situations requiring hours of additional work, or close work by a partner (versus an associate) can make a return costly.
Discounts:
  • Generally, you can find better retail bargains or have an easier time negotiating with an accountant if you start early - in January or early February.
Shopping for tax returns:
  • TurboTax for the Web[2] is available online.
  • You can find local branch offices for H&R Block[3] and Jackson Hewitt online.
  • If you're looking for a tax prepare or CPA, referrals are a great place to start; ask friends and co-workers.
post Post   Comments (48)
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

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Smart phone TAX apps / Simple
Amount: $39.99
Posted by: Tina / Iphone HRB Tax APP in California City, CA.Posted: January 5th, 2018 02:01AM
Type of Firm: HRB / OnlineComplexity of Return: Short form / Dependents
I never filed my taxes myself before, but having done so last year, was the easiest, least expensive and convenient way I had ever done my taxes in the last 2 decades. I logged in, and entered simple questions, step by step, included all required info. All the forms and mathematical formulas pretty much calculated itself and the w2’s were uploaded online electronically through a irs portal which made everything all the more convenient. I was able to file my own taxes, using my iPhone device, in the comfort of my own home, in bed, and didn’t need an appointment, or have to leave my house, or pay an exsadurated amount of money. Upon completing all the steps and submitting the required information, the site processes a complete verification of the info I submitted and then let me know if it’s done correctly, or if I accidently entered a number wrong on socials or income amounts etc. Then my refund amount was granted, I click ok, submit, and entered my bank info. 2wks latr I got refund.
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tax return
Amount: $950.00
Posted by: Mollie in Falmouth, MA.Posted: June 20th, 2017 09:06AM
Type of Firm: cpa/ wealth managementComplexity of Return: semi complex
I paid 950.00 for the state and federal filing and then had to do an amendment, on 1 interest income acct that I found, and that cost me another 900.00. I will never go to a wealth management firm again. He also wanted to become my financial advisor, I don't think so! I would never go with this guy. Watch out for these types of firms.
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Insane prices for tax prep!!!
Amount: $1,400.00
Posted by: werdnaf in Staten Island, NY.Posted: June 15th, 2016 12:06PM
Type of Firm: Home based CPA in NYCComplexity of Return: Moderate
This is the price my sister was charged from my brothers..."Friend". My family had complained for years that she had charged my dad 3000.00 one year and he's a retired civil servant with a pension and some investments. My sister was charged 1400 bucks. She is also a Civil Servant and had 3 K forms but this CPA works from home and told my sister that it took her "almost all day" which I find hard to believe. She then charged 400.00 bucks for my mom's simple return as my mom lives in a nursing home and is on medicaid, medicare and has ZERO income other than S.S. I've always advised against dropping off your taxes because I prefer to sit there and watch them so I can learn and so I can see how long it takes. So, I told my sister that I'd never use ""A family Friend"" like that woman again especially since she works from home. I live in Nevada with no state tax but I had 8 K forms, investments and 2 W2's/1099's. H&R charged me 614.00 bucks and it took 2 hours and 14 minutes.
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Insane prices for tax prep!!!
Amount: $1,400.00
Posted by: werdnaf in Staten Island, NY.Posted: June 14th, 2016 10:06AM
Type of Firm: Home based CPA in NYCComplexity of Return: Moderate
This is the price my sister was charged from my brothers..."Friend". My family had complained for years that she had charged my dad 3000.00 one year and he's a retired civil servant with a pension and some investments. My sister was charged 1400 bucks. She is also a Civil Servant and had 3 K forms but this CPA works from home and told my sister that it took her "almost all day" which I find hard to believe. She then charged 400.00 bucks for my mom's simple return as my mom lives in a nursing home and is on medicaid, medicare and has ZERO income other than S.S. I've always advised against dropping off your taxes because I prefer to sit there and watch them so I can learn and so I can see how long it takes. So, I told my sister that I'd never use ""A family Friend"" like that woman again especially since she works from home. I live in Nevada with no state tax but I had 8 K forms, investments and 2 W2's/1099's. H&R charged me 614.00 bucks and it took 2 hours and 14 minutes.
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tax return with various states
Amount: $650.00
Posted by: chrisy in van nuys, CA.Posted: May 9th, 2016 07:05AM
Type of Firm: Complexity of Return: 0ver 30 states n 2 countrys
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Complex expat return
Amount: $2,850.00
Posted by: Willis in WASHINGTON, DC.Posted: April 7th, 2016 09:04PM
Type of Firm: Big 4 CPA firmComplexity of Return: Very complex.
Client was world renowned musician. He had expat status and earned his performance fees on 5 continents during the year. Almost all of his investment income was from royalties. The fee he was charged was high because of the professional hourly rate and the amount of time required to prepare his returns correctly.
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Fees
Amount: $800.00
Posted by: Sultana Good in GULFPORT, MS.Posted: April 4th, 2016 11:04PM
Type of Firm: PrivateComplexity of Return: Simple
Was told the fee was $350.00 when I got the print out it was refund $3992 fee $764.99 leaves me with 3139 smh
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Killed me....
Amount: $630.00
Posted by: Wont fall again! in Orlando, FL.Posted: March 17th, 2016 08:03AM
Type of Firm: Edmond ConsultingComplexity of Return: Self-employed, 2 kids...
They filled on an old 2014 copy still waiting on my 2015 copy, they filed mines in less than 20 minutes.... last yr was charged 400 this year when I got my ck boom.... ripped off!
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Tax prep cost
Amount: $374.00
Posted by: c lucas in cincinnati, OH.Posted: February 21st, 2016 07:02PM
Type of Firm: Liberty TaxComplexity of Return: simply one form
I can not believe the cost to file a simple W2 form. I have never paid more than 100 to file my taxes and when I asked how much are the fees going to be, I did not find out till the return was submitted and they printed out the copy of the returned that was filed. It was then that the fee of $374 was pointed out to me with no explanation of the break down of the fees and at no point was I asked if I wanted to proceed with filing my return. I feel like I was reeled in and then hooked with no way of backing out of the filing process and avoiding those costly fees. I was truly disappointed and feel like this was highway robbery.
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Ripped off by Jackson Hewitt
Amount: $407.00
Posted by: Shantell in Shoshoni, WY.Posted: January 30th, 2016 09:01PM
Type of Firm: JacksonHewitt taxesComplexity of Return: 1 W-2 child expense form
I make under $12,000 am young, she started doing taxes came to the fee, I said it was too high, she didn't give me a consultation estimate. No state tax form, only a federal 1040.
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Tax preparatin costs
Amount: $75.00
Posted by: sus in inglewood, CA.Posted: January 25th, 2016 06:01PM
Type of Firm: smallComplexity of Return: simple
my tax lady was greet and she charge vary little comparing to librity and others charge $800. she charge me only $95 including e-file. i think she is their to help people not rip people off. if you gather friends and family she will come to your place to do them all at once. that is greet ....
this is her address if you want to visit or make an appointment 157 w Manchester blvd , Inglewood ca 90301 or call 424-351-8286
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Tax prep cost
Amount: $472.00
Posted by: Csmc in Sedalia, MO.Posted: January 21st, 2016 03:01AM
Type of Firm: Jackson HewittComplexity of Return: $7200 in self-employment, 2dep, h-of- hs
They list that they filed 7 forms/schedules but all I c is a1040 form, no state, and took all of 20 mins, and !!!$472.00!!! Even worse was given no other option than to refund to a !Damn! American express card, which never works as/where it should! 4 yes ago they lured me away from h&r with fees of $160; and its now as high as tho other was charging! F*** loyalty!
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Tax prep cost
Amount: $472.00
Posted by: Csmc in Sedalia, MO.Posted: January 21st, 2016 03:01AM
Type of Firm: Jackson HewittComplexity of Return: $7200 in self-employment, 2dep, h-of- hs
They list that they filed 7 forms/schedules but all I c is a1040 form, no state, and took all of 20 mins, and !!!$472.00!!! Even worse was given no other option than to refund to a !Damn! American express card, which never works as/where it should! 4 yes ago they lured me away from h&r with fees of $160; and its now as high as tho other was charging! F*** loyalty!
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Cost of Tax prep
Amount: $275.00
Posted by: CLFrangis in Bellefontaine, OH.Posted: March 30th, 2015 01:03PM
Type of Firm: H & R BlockComplexity of Return: three W2's two adults w/2 dependents
Had been to H&R about 5 years ago. Don't remember the fees being so high. I about choked when my husband told me the fees. I have been doing our taxes and others in my family for several years, but because my identity was hacked and someone fraudulently filed my Federal and State taxes earlier this year, my husband thought it be best if we went to H&R. BIG MISTAKE. We were going to owe IRS the first time she figured it, and then I asked if she added in our Child Care expenses, and she had not, so she re-figured it, now the IRS owes us, but then she forgot our Charitable deductions...I think this is why we didn't go back before. I will be doing our own from now on...
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over $400 and did not breathe a word until it was completed
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: KC12345 in new york, NY.Posted: March 30th, 2015 06:03AM
Type of Firm: H&R BlockComplexity of Return: Moderate
Huge rip-off! Thought this would be a great option, but over $400 and an hour later, what happened??
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Tax Prep
Amount: $658.00
Posted by: Bummed out:( in NORTH ANDOVER, MA.Posted: March 17th, 2015 06:03AM
Type of Firm: H & R BlockComplexity of Return: homeowner /out of state worker
Ripped off
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Most commercial tax firms are very expensive
Amount: $1.00
Posted by: AIS Tax and Financial,LLC. in Port Charlotte, FL.Posted: March 13th, 2015 01:03PM
Type of Firm: IndependentComplexity of Return: comples
Most commercial firms (HR, Liberty, Jackson) are charging around $350. We prepare for about 1/2 of their charges. S-Corps, Partnerships, C-Corps are around $350 where others want around $800. 1040 with Rental, sole-proprietor are around $220-260, others want over $400. Those are the fees we are seeing when we take in new clients.
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Simple return
Amount: $60.00
Posted by: Tax preparer in IL in Small town central, IL.Posted: February 4th, 2015 07:02AM
Type of Firm: CPAComplexity of Return: 1040EZ or 1040A + IL
Granted, I work in a small rural community. However, we charge around $55-70 for a very basic return. If you don't have to file extra forms, you should be able to pay some to prepare and file your taxes for well under $100. A 1040 and IL starts at $85 and go up from there based on how many forms are needed.
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H & R Block
Amount: $700.00
Posted by: Cherryl in Southampton, NY.Posted: January 28th, 2015 05:01AM
Type of Firm: Complexity of Return: sole proprietor small business
I had no idea I was being ripped off!!!
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Tax preparation costs
Amount: $525.00
Posted by: Pismo Beach in santa maria, CA.Posted: October 13th, 2014 09:10AM
Type of Firm: H & R BlockComplexity of Return: homeowner,
H & R Block was going to charge me 625 for my return. I have been going there for about 5 years so they discounted to 525. Usually I pay 400, which I thought was too expensive. I bought a house last year, have a child in college and an extra part time job. I don't have rental properties or stocks. I think I will go somewhere else next year. I originally went there thinking it would be cheaper..I don't think my tax preparer is a CPA. She does have a lot of experience, but I think that is too much to pay.
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K-1s
Amount: $200.00
Posted by: DianeB in Jackson, MI.Posted: April 10th, 2013 09:04AM
Type of Firm: RTRPComplexity of Return: Very
I am a self-employed tax practitioner, in business for over 20 years. I just finished a return with two K-1's, one with a complex publicly traded partnership, including a sale of a partnership interest. I prepare an Excel spreadshet of his partnership interests to keep track of suspended losses and basis in his investment. This client also has numerous other investments and a rental property. I have always charged him less than $200, but I have about 12 hours into his return this year. I know he is going to freak out when he sees my bill is $200 this year, which includes a Michigan return. As he is a friend of a friend, I am uncomfortable charging him anything more, but I am surely not making much compared to being able to do about 10 $100 returns in the same number of hours. He brings his stuff to me still in the envelopes and his rental information scrawled on a piece of paper.
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Overcharged & Audited
Amount: $407.00
Posted by: Marty S. in Shrewsbury, MA.Posted: April 9th, 2013 12:04PM
Type of Firm: HR BlockComplexity of Return: Simple, P/T single income
This place is a complete scam. Overpriced and has led to a Audit.
So after doing taxes for 23 years and never having an issue... I was charged 400 to get a BS audit.
I assure you that HR Block in Shrewsbury Mass is a complete scam. This is more then 23% of my total refund,
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Damn K-1 form!
Amount: $598.00
Posted by: Megs in Columbus, OH.Posted: March 22nd, 2013 03:03AM
Type of Firm: CPA-H&R BlockComplexity of Return: Moderate
I file self-employed so I go to accountant for deductions, plus I have a k-1 to file. I've gone to same accountant for 3 years and usually paid $350.00, however this year I paid close to $600!!! I told her I would not be returning. I'm a poor social worker for god's sake lucky enough to make $30000 a year. I feel so guilty now for not filing my own taxes. I was told H&R block is affordable, but not this accountant! A tough lesson learned here: always do it yourself for free!
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Wide range of prices, from free to $$$$
Amount: $225.00
Posted by: Frank Hagan in Ventura, CA.Posted: February 1st, 2013 03:02PM
Type of Firm: IndependentComplexity of Return: Moderate
Prices range from the IRS free file option to $800 or more for complex returns. Before I started doing tax returns, I paid around $225 for mine; I found independent preparers were better than HRBlock or Liberty for me. Now that I prepare taxes for my business clients at http://acumentaxservice.com I understand why prices will vary so much.
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My CPA keeps raising her fees every year from $250 3yrs. ago to $400
Amount: $400.00
Posted by: Maldeets in San Jose, CA.Posted: January 31st, 2013 10:01AM
Type of Firm: CPAComplexity of Return: moderate
Is $400 a reasonable amount to pay a CPA? My husband has a Business and a separate (CPA), so when we file it's our Household w/ children/Property/K1.
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Juast finished beginner training
Amount: $350.00
Posted by: Cindy Nelson in DALLAS, TX.Posted: January 5th, 2013 01:01PM
Type of Firm: LibertyComplexity of Return: moderate
I only paid a cpa ONCE and that was because of a death in the family lots of bank and stock and property accounts to cloae etc. I would NOT recommend Liberty -- they bill a basic married filing jointly, each has a single w-2 no investments nothing else, that would be $160.00 Sorry, INSANE. NO. NO. NO,
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3 hours of tax consultant fee
Amount: $350.00
Posted by: a user in dallas, TX.Posted: December 6th, 2012 07:12PM
Type of Firm: 2 person tax consultantComplexity of Return: corp LLC
Is 3 to 4 hour of tax consulting worth $350.
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CPA Gross Overcharge in Carson City, Nevada
Amount: $9,715.00
Posted by: Conrad R. Eierman in Carson City, NV.Posted: August 8th, 2012 10:08AM
Type of Firm: CPAComplexity of Return: Semi-Complex
1040 for 2009 including election to carryback NOL, Sched. C Business Income & Expense, Form 8829-Home Office & Schedule A = $1,300.00
Prep of form 1040X for 2008 & 2009 = $2,810.00
Prep of form 1045 for 2005 &2006 = $1,250.00
Total of $5,360.00. Please comment on this CPA's Charges. He had also done our 1065 for
26 days in 2008 and year 2009 and charged $3,700.00 + $655.00 for 2 calls to the IRS a grand total of $9,715.00
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Location Location Location
Amount: $95.00
Posted by: Jared E in Hillsboro, OR.Posted: April 4th, 2012 12:04PM
Type of Firm: EA PartnershipComplexity of Return: varying
People seem to forget that different states require different fees, and different stock accounts require different amounts of time. Oregon, for example, has one of the most complicated state income tax regulations, and requires special state licensing, as well as testing and continuing education, for anyone who assists in the preparation of taxes (even the receptionist if they scan papers), while Texas has no individual income tax liability at all. Clearly the state which requires significantly more expenses for tax prepares is going to cost more.rnrnAlso, some stock accounts allow direct import, which drastically reduces the time and effort on the tax prep side, but others do not, and each individual stock sale must be reported individually. If you buy 100 shares of a stock and sell them off one at a time, there are 100 separate entries! rnrnAnd finally a CPA and a Tax Preparer, are not the same thing. That's like comparing a meter maid to a public notary, totally different worlds.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free
  2.  turbotax.intuit.com/
  3.  www.hrblock.com/universal/office_locator.html?WT.svl=4
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