How Much Does It Cost to Get Taxes Done?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

Every year during tax time, many people worry about whether they are preparing the tax return correctly.  In order to stop your confusion, you may want to have a company such as H & R Block do it for you.

How much are income tax preparation fees?

The cost of tax preparation fees can vary based on how much you make, whether or not you have to itemize, and the company you choose.  It can also vary according to how many people you have living in your household and what city you live in.  As you can see, there are a lot of factors involved.  The cost to prepare the basic tax forms can cost as little as $25-$50.  Tax returns with multiple deductions can cost $50-$100 while tax returns with itemization can cost $100-$350.

In 2015, the National Society of Accountants surveyed stated that the average return was around $229.  A Schedule C, which is used for profit and losses from a business added an additional $212.  A schedule E, which is for rental real estate and supplemental income added an additional $190 and a Form 7061 which is used for federal estate tax can cost upwards of $2,000.  See our chart below for more additional charges.

For example, a user located in New York City had a professional complete their taxes for $350.  This included both the federal and state returns.  For another user located in Portland, Oregon, the cost ranged from $170 to $250.

A professional company, such as H&R Block, will charge anywhere from $29 to $120 to complete the entire tax forms for an individual.  This price will greatly depend on the geographical location.  A city, such as New York City, is going to cost a lot more than a place in the middle of Iowa.

The average 1040 that has a schedule A should be around $200 to $350.  The average 1040 with a state return could cost $100 to $225.

Professional CompanyType of ReturnCost
H&R BlockState and Federal$0 to $130
Jackson HewittState and Federal$0 to $150
Liberty TaxState and Federal$0 to $400
Private PartyState and Federal$0 to $200

Note:  These fees were conducted by calling the offices.  $0 can happen only if you meet certain income requirements.  All prices aren’t exact.  Please call directly for a quote in regards to your personal circumstances.

Online Preperation SoftwareVersionFederal Price (Simple 1040)State Price
At Home (TM) H&R BlockFree$0$28
efile.comFree Federal$0$20
Liberty Tax (eSmart)Basic$0$20
Tax Hawk's FreeTaxUSAFree$0$10
Jackson HewittBasic$0$30
Tax ACTFree$0$15
TaxSlayerFree$0$14
TurboTaxFree$0$29

Note:  Prices above are as accurate of 2016.  Some free software packages are limited to those who meet certain income requirements.

What is going to be included in the estimates?

The tax consultant will go through all of your paperwork and fill out your 1040 and any other additional forms correctly.  They will then figure what you will be getting back from both state and federal.  A good tax consultant will provide you with clear instructions on what they did, what you need to do and if there’s anything you can do to recieve a larger refund.  Once your taxes are done, you should receive a copy of your tax forms.

Most tax consultants also send in your tax return for you or file it online.

What are the extra costs?

Some companies charge a fee as discussed above,but only have it apply to either state or federal.  They will then charge another fee to file the other.

Adding on other items, such as a child, home and business, can all make the taxes complicated.

Some accountants may charge an additional fee for those who have an additional side business.  If you own a business, this return can be completely separate from the personal return.

If any problems happen with the IRS, such as an audit, the accountant may charge additional fees for representation.

Since most schedules and forms can be extra, here’s a chart to give you a good idea how much an accountant may charge:

Type of Schedule / FormAverage Additional Cost
Schedule 1040A$70 to $100
Schedule 1040$100 to $200
Schedule C$100 to $200
Schedule D$5 to $10 per transaction
Schedule E$60 to $200 per rental
Schedule F$100 to $200 each
Schedule M$10 to $20
Schedule SE$10 to $20
Form 706$200 to $400
Form 990$400 to $700
Form 1116$10 to $20
Form 1120(s)$450 to $800
Form 1065$400 to $800
Form 2106$10 to $20
Form 2441$10 to $20
Form 2555$20 to $35
Form 3903$10 to $20
Form 4562$20 to $35
Form 4684$10 to $20
Form 4797$20 to $35
Form 4952$10 to $20
Form 5405$20 to $45
Form 6198$10 to $20
Form 6251$10 to $20
Form 6252$40 to $75
Form 8253$10 to $20
Form 8824$40 to $80

Tips to know

Remember, if you live in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington or Wyoming, you won’t have to pay any state taxes.

When choosing an accountant, look at the preparer’s professional designations.  A CPA, attorney and Enrolled Agent are all a big plus.

Always make sure your preparer has a Preparer Tax Identification Number, also known as a PTIN.  All paid tax preparers are required to have this number.

Look at the reviews online to see what other people are saying about your preparer.  Are there any reviews?  If so, what are people saying?

See if your accountant does this part-time or full-time.  If they only do it part-time, you may have a hard time getting ahold of them in the offseason.

If you were to get audited, see what your accountant will do to help you out.  Some may charge extra, while others will help you at no charge.  It also doesn’t hurt to ask them about their audit experience.

How can I save money?

You can file a free return online through the IRS or through services such as Turbo Tax.  If you have a fairly easy return, this is a good option.  However, if your return is complex, you may be better off to pay a professional.  For those who have a simple return that only requires a 1040-EZ, it may be ideal to completely bypass the professional as filling out a tax return for this type of form is rather easy to do.

Even if your taxes seem complicated, TurboTax and H&R Block make the process a lot easier with their downloadable software.  For less than $200, you will simply answer the questions as you fill out your return.

If your AGI (adjustable gross income) falls under a particular threshold, you may qualify for a free return.  Calculate your AGI to see if your return would qualify.


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Average Reported Cost: $158

100 %
0 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Tati (Boston,  MA) paid $0 and said:

    me and my husband went to H&R block to prepare and file jointly. we r both self-employed and work for cash. so the accountant charged us 650$. it is insane! we asked him why so expensive. he said because we’re self employed and did a lot of deductions. is it true?

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. casey (avondale,  arizona) paid $316 and said:

    i went to h r and they charged me 316$!!! n my sister did too we have about everything the same but she was only charged 192$ i think they should tell u how much its gonna be its like the preparer decided what he can get out of you!!!!

    Was it worth it? Yes

  3. Pat Jennings (Pittsburgh PA,  Pennsylvania) paid $ and said:

    We paid $400. We are retired, file jointly. Still using the tax man we’ve used for years. We have no idea if he’s overcharging us. Perhaps he’s basing his charge on the amount of our assets with little regard for how different our finances are in our retirement years.

    I am a musician, retired high-level professional. I know how many hours, over many weeks, I would have to practice to make $400.

    The tax man had our info for two days, e-filed, and sent us the bill. Seems excessive.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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