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View Full Version : How much do you pay a tax preparer?


Lisa_M
01-18-2008, 09:51 PM
Last year, we used Turbo Tax and it was fine. We have a low income and only had education, student loan interest and charitable contribution deductions. This year, we just have student loan interest and donations to deduct. I bought TaxCut, but I am thinking about going to an accountant instead. I did some contract work that I had to fill out a 1099 for and I have no idea what kind of tax implications that work is going to have (I didn't make much). Plus our income is low. I have no idea how we paid the bills we did and no we are not on any assistance.

Long story short, how expensive is it to get help with this sort of thing and does anyone know anything about this 1099 stuff (do I get any sort of form back from the "employer?" I am a tax dummy. Also, how do you find a good, honest and trustworthy accountant? We don't know anyone here so we can't get recommendations.

FoundMyPrince
01-18-2008, 09:59 PM
Our accountant charges $110 each year. I don't know if this is high/low, but he's trustworthy. We have some unique tax challenges and I don't/can't do our taxes by ourselves any longer.

Colinsmom
01-18-2008, 10:06 PM
I've had it done by a few different accountants, but only in years that are a little more complicated (got married, etc.). I've never paid less than $300, and once was charged $700 (but complained loudly to get it back down to the $300 that they originally quoted me).

ReneeQ
01-18-2008, 10:14 PM
We paid $190 last year. We've used the same accountant for about 8 years, and I think the price has increased about $5 each year. I don't think our taxes are too complicated. DH does work in South Carolina, and we live in Georgia, and I know that requires some extra paperwork. I'm just thrilled to not have to deal with it. Everyone says I could do it with TurboTax, but I look at the accountant as the gift I give myself each year.

staceyfe
01-18-2008, 10:21 PM
Your best bet is word of mouth. Talk to everyone you know to see who does their taxes. I found a great tax preparer (NOT an accountant, but a bookkeeper w/ 20 years experience) and I feel very confident she knows her stuff. Heck, I knew my stuff until my DH opened his own business, then I didn't feel comfortable doing our taxes anymore. We paid her $130 last year to do federal and state taxes, which included our small business stuff. That's about as cheap as it gets, I believe!

kctwinmommy
01-18-2008, 10:28 PM
We pay I think $60 for ours. And the year that DH spent activated in Florida for the military, she did it for free. She also does a lot of the village workers for the town she lives in, so I'm pretty sure she's doing things right! LOL!

Lisa_M
01-18-2008, 10:32 PM
Wow, I definitely could not afford what most of you pay for it. I'm just afraid to do it wrong and end getting us audited, but I certaintly can't afford hundreds of dollars to have my taxes done. Heck, I think I only made about 5k last year. Oh dilemnas, dilemnas....

IDoDis
01-18-2008, 11:07 PM
Wow, I definitely could not afford what most of you pay for it. I'm just afraid to do it wrong and end getting us audited, but I certaintly can't afford hundreds of dollars to have my taxes done. Heck, I think I only made about 5k last year. Oh dilemnas, dilemnas....

Then just stick with Turbo Tax. Tax Cut is horrible! I tried them once and had to pay $300 more than usual. I was thinking WTH? I figured it was an off year, but then heard from other friends who said they didn't do as well with Tax Cut, either. Turbo Tax wll guide you through the process and will ask you questions to determine what you need to claim. I would stay away from Tax Cut though.

Green Tea
01-19-2008, 06:44 AM
You situation doesn't sound like you need an accountant. The tax software like TT or TaxCut can handle most returns.

comicguy
01-19-2008, 06:59 AM
I use to use a national tax preparation service until about 4 years ago when they charged me 175 dollars to do our taxes(nothing special 2 W-2's, student loan and mortgage interest, and charity deduction) They were done with my taxes in about 10 mins. Did I throw a fit, they dropped it to 150, I paid it told them that I would never return to them as a customer, and I have been using Turbo Tax since and have loved it. So for 25.00 a year I can do my own taxes, efile, and get a direct deposit. Gotta love that:goodvibes

TT asks you the questions and you just type the info and your done.

Lisa_M
01-19-2008, 07:22 AM
maybe I'll go back to Turbo Tax. I bought Tax Cut this year since I got a good deal, but if TT is better, I should probably go back to that. It worked flawlessly (or so I think) for us last year.

heartsy77
01-19-2008, 07:28 AM
I just paid ours 450! I cringe every year but since I am self employed ( scheduled c, 8829, etc. and DH has a W-2 , 3 lousy weeks of unemployment and retirement credit and they charge by the form, so we are stuck! I just can't bring myself to use a program at home; I make myself feel better by reminding myself that at least I can write a portion of my tax prep off as a business deduction!

ctinct
01-19-2008, 07:43 AM
OP, you sound like you have a fairly simple tax return. Do you qualify for free e-file through the IRS site? I have done mine this way for several years, and like you I have charitable deductions, student loans, and a lower income, but I also have home mortgage/interest, a child to claim every other year, and alimony. I never have had a problem. In fact, I like to do my taxes myself on paper first, and one year the program I used alerted me to another deduction I was entitled to. You can also run your numbers through several of the free programs up to the point of submitting your taxes to see if they all come up with the same figures--that might help set your mind at ease.

LSchrow
01-19-2008, 09:24 AM
wow! $300 & $400+?!
we pay our accountant about $150 for our rtns (fed & state). he's been doing them for the almost 25 years we've been married (25 years on may 1st :lovestruc ~ btw, he was the one who introduced DH to me :thumbsup2 ).
we can do so much ourselves around the house without hiring outside help (DH does much of the home improvements & maint, i do the household accting, PC repairs/upgrades, etc ~ plus we both work full time), tax prep is one job i would rather leave to a professional tho (& it gives us the excuse to meet with an old, dear friend once a year:) )

starwood
01-19-2008, 09:25 AM
I'm lucky - I don't pay anything. DH works for H&R Block during tax season so he can file ours for free.

bdcp
01-19-2008, 09:54 AM
Most people who work at tax preparation services are seasonal and do not have any more tax knowledge than anyone else. They basically input numbers the way you would do with turbo tax or any other tax software. If you have a really complicated issue, then I would find a tax accountant who is up on the latest tax law. Also, anyon working for themselves should be doing quarterly taxes. Our incomes are pretty high and we have two mortgages (first + equity line), three incomes (DH is a reservist and we end up getting all of our SS back that he pays for that), investments, one in college and charitable giving. We do it all on Turbo tax and it's very easy as it just walks you through. You answer questions and it directs you to what else you need to do.

bigbabyblues
01-19-2008, 10:18 AM
We pay $75 for ours. It's a friend though, he's a CPA and does personal returns on the side.

cbrfan
01-19-2008, 10:57 AM
We use a CPA and he charges us $165.

abeyst
01-19-2008, 11:14 AM
I pay nothing as I do it myself online though irs.gov's efile. If your income is low enough or you're in the military you can file for free. It's the same or similar tax prep software you can buy at the store.

1099 forms are nothing to worry about needing a tax preparer for. It's just additional untaxed income you'll have to declare on your 1040. The tax software will ask you if you have any 1099s and walk you through the entry.

disneynewbee
01-19-2008, 11:27 AM
We pay about $300 but we get a huge refund and can call our accountant any time of the year for financial advice for no extra charge.

Disneyoverload42
01-19-2008, 11:43 AM
I would use a CPA (not H&R block etc) for your taxes if you had 1099 work - especially since it sounds like you didn't pay quarterlies etc. That means no one withheld taxes on that money... :scared1: Since H&R block gets around $120 an hour (figure that $60 fee they charge for filing and it only takes them about 1/2 an hour of work) I would think a CPA charging that much would be a deal since they can advise you on other areas too. Might as well get the most for your money.

edited to add: if you didn't pay quarterlies, you could be looking at paying penalties... you can call the IRS directly to find out if penalties would apply ;)

Adi12982
01-19-2008, 12:07 PM
maybe I'll go back to Turbo Tax. I bought Tax Cut this year since I got a good deal, but if TT is better, I should probably go back to that. It worked flawlessly (or so I think) for us last year.

Do you have a costco membership?? If you do, if you order online by tomorrow, it is $15 off with free shipping - cost me $23 with tax to ship to me.

powellrj
01-19-2008, 12:15 PM
you might ask around. I know if you are low income in our area, the local library has people come in and do taxes and answer questions for free.

lowie
01-19-2008, 12:16 PM
i used turbo tax for the first time 2 years ago after my cousin (who was a cpa and did our taxes) passed away. it was very easy and walked you through each step. i used it again last year and because of that, the program has access to the previous years return and it got the info from that to get me an additional $700 in my refund, something that i certainly would have forgotten to deduct.

so my vote is to use turbo tax if you do not have a complicated return.

Green Tea
01-19-2008, 12:23 PM
Do you have a costco membership?? If you do, if you order online by tomorrow, it is $15 off with free shipping - cost me $23 with tax to ship to me.

How did you get free shipping?? I paid $5 to ship but the program was just $20. I returned the copy I'd paid $40 for at WM

Lisa_M
01-19-2008, 12:43 PM
edited to add: if you didn't pay quarterlies, you could be looking at paying penalties... you can call the IRS directly to find out if penalties would apply ;)

I didn't pay quarterly, but my 1099 work consisted of 1 check in December, so I'm pretty sure I'm not late on that, or at least barely, but I will call.

Thank you all for your suggestions and help. I really should have thought about this before.

lovepurple
01-19-2008, 01:17 PM
I didn't pay quarterly, but my 1099 work consisted of 1 check in December, so I'm pretty sure I'm not late on that, or at least barely, but I will call.

Thank you all for your suggestions and help. I really should have thought about this before.

Did you make more than $600 for your contract work? If you make more than $600/year for contract work an employer will send you a 1099 and also report it to the IRS. If you did not make more than that, they will not and it is up to you to declare the income yourself. I believe TurboTax can handle that for you as well.

Sethsmom
01-19-2008, 01:44 PM
We pay $100 for ours. Just your usual with some investment income and interest income, mortgage property taxes etc.

It is through a bookkeeper friend of ours that has been doing taxes for years.

I know here in Alabama, free tax return help is offered. You might check around.

Lisa_M
01-19-2008, 02:10 PM
Did you make more than $600 for your contract work? If you make more than $600/year for contract work an employer will send you a 1099 and also report it to the IRS. If you did not make more than that, they will not and it is up to you to declare the income yourself. I believe TurboTax can handle that for you as well.


It was $1500 from a school district. I filled out the 1099 form for them, but haven't got anything back from them. Should I be expecting something from them (like a regular employer sends out w-2's)?

I decided to take Tax Cut back and stick with Turbo Tax. I don't want to rock the boat too much. Next year, we'll have other circumstances (new baby, daycare, new job, much higher income), so we'll probably go to an accountant to make sure everything is taken care of properly. The plus side is we'll actually be able to afford the accountant...

T. Lynn
01-19-2008, 03:19 PM
I've used turbo tax for years but was a little leary when we started our own side-job business. Nothing big, just to make a little extra money when needed.

When we started our self-employment business the first year I paid an accountant. I was afraid to use turbo tax and mess something up. He charged me $500 and I was ticked...especially when I found input (numerical amount) mistakes. I later found out he uses turbo tax.

The next year I contacted my grandmothers accountant and he charged much less, under $100. I told him my situation and he said I should be fine doing it myself since I used turbo tax. It was the same program he used.

It then came to me that I didn't need someone else when they were using the same program. It guides you through everything. I've been doing it for over 8 years now and even with 2 self-employment jobs, it's a breeze.

If I ever need help, a coworker use to be an auditer. He said people fear them so bad but they are much more leanient than you think. I keep receipts for everything so it doesn't matter to me. Other coworkers say they are lucky to have 1/2 of their receipts. Using quicken is also helpful. I just print out my business reports and it lists my expenses and categoriess for me.

I actually love tax time!!!

Kitzka
01-19-2008, 04:34 PM
we hvae a tax attorny do our taxes. we use to use turbo tax and was only getting aboput $1500 back. our tax attorney was able to find us more deductions based on our work and travel that we do and the first year he did our taxes he got us back about $5000. he charges $450 but it is worth it to us as he is a tax attorney, is up with the tax laws and also helps with our finacial planning through out the year.

Adi12982
01-19-2008, 04:48 PM
How did you get free shipping?? I paid $5 to ship but the program was just $20. I returned the copy I'd paid $40 for at WM

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11244628&whse=BC&topnav=&browse=&lang=en-US&s=1

Green Tea
01-19-2008, 05:57 PM
That's what I ordered. Weird. I sent an email to check about them adding the shipping. It hasn't even arrived yet.

lovepurple
01-19-2008, 06:02 PM
They have to get a 1099 in the mail to you by January 31, same deadline as W-2's.

sarahkaiserdse
01-19-2008, 07:10 PM
Just to let you know as a sub contractor or self employed person you do not have to pay quarterly taxes these are an estamate based on the previous years income. You just have to pay uncle sam by the april deadline, for most people breaking up the tax payment is easier in 4 payments rather then one large one. We however pay just the one time I prefer to keep my money in the bank earning interest rather then with the government.

uratoon
01-20-2008, 12:40 AM
We pay $70 a year for having our taxes done. We have used the same lady since 1993 and only pay $10 more now than when we first started using her.

We are low income also with NO assistance and our taxes are very simple.
One W-2, and thats it.