How Much Should You Pay for Tax Preparation?

by Christian Mullen

How much you pay for your tax preparation can vary depending on the place or person you choose. There are chains as well as private CPA's whose main focus is the preparation of taxes. If you look around, you may even find a good deal on the procedure. Also, the level of service may vary dependent on which route you choose to take.

Chain Stores

Go to a local chain tax preparation service to get your taxes done quickly and efficiently. In a strip mall near you, you can find an H&R; Block or Liberty tax professional to help you with your taxes. These services can range in price for about $100 for a simple 1040EZ to in the neighborhood of $250 for those who have complicated returns. H&R; Block is a well-respected name in tax preparation. Their tax professionals are efficient and they offer services such as Second Look, where they look at your taxes from years past and try to find more money for you. They also back their software products and tax professionals and will help you in case or problems with the IRS. Liberty Tax is also available and can can be found in many cities across the nation. They, like H&R; Block, will check past returns for errors and will accompany you into any auditing procedures if you use their service. Their fees are slightly less than H&R; Block and they are a newer company.

Certified Public Accountants

If you are looking for more personalized service, you could hire one of the many CPA's in your area to help with your returns. Although higher in price, these professionals have certifications and schooling in tax preparation. The schooling and experience these individuals have far exceeds the larger companies. They are more expensive with a simple return in the $150 range and more complicated filings upwards of $400. By paying a bit more, you get a professional tax preparer with all of the expertise needed to complete complicated forms.

Software and Internet Preparation

Another simple, yet effective way to have your taxes prepared is to use software. There are many levels of sophistication of software available from H&R; Block, TurboTax and TaxAct. These programs start as low as $15 up to $75 for full featured programs that include state filings. There are also Internet-based services that use your browser to enter information and you can then e-file on your own. These range in price from free at to more than $100 for business filings at other websites such as H&R; Block's TaxCut website.