Professional tax preparation costs $100 to $500 per return on average, with most individuals spending about $220. While your geographical location may impact the fees, the biggest factors affecting the cost of your tax preparation are the complexity of your tax return and the type of professional you hire. Certified public accountants (CPAs) and tax attorneys typically charge more than Enrolled Agents or non-credentialed seasonal tax professionals.
Paying a CPA or tax preparer to do your taxes may be worth it if you have a complex return or have new items or calculations on your taxes that you are not familiar with. If you run a business, buy a house, manage multiple properties, or do anything requiring more than a simple tax return, professional tax preparation can save you time, ensure the return is done correctly, and protect you in the event of an audit or issue.
A tax preparer is a professional who prepares and files income tax returns for individuals or businesses. While all tax preparers have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN), they have varying levels of education and credentials. The list below includes professionals who can prepare your taxes and represent you in front of the IRS if needed for audits, appeals, or anything related to your return.
Non-credentialed tax preparers include seasonal tax service employees and the IRS's voluntary Annual Filing Season Program participants. These professionals have a PTIN but may not have formal education or certifications and may not be able to represent you in front of the IRS.
When searching for a tax preparation service near you, be sure to:
Asking the right questions can help you choose the best tax preparation service for your needs:
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