Experience the TaxExtras result:          Extra Quality !   . . .   Extra Service !   . . .   Extra Savings !          
Over 35 years of
tax experience!

    Tax software has been around for decades and while it has evolved over
    that time, it’s still no substitute for a seasoned tax preparer; one that can
    eliminate an alternative in a few seconds rather than wasting an hour
    going down a software chosen path completing bogus fields that lead to
    no tax benefit. Tax software won’t suggest various ways of handling a
    given situation, or suggest strategies for reducing future tax burdens.
    Tax software is generally not programmed for these and other factors.

    One of the most popular packages, TurboTax®, is offered to professional preparers as a
    product called ProSeries®. This writer has used the ProSeries® product for many years
    and still encounters situations where the software has produced the wrong answer because
    some box was not checked or some other field was not entered. If a CPA has to hunt for the
    proper entry to get the return to compute what they know is the right answer, how often are
    common taxpayer’s producing tax returns with wrong answers that they don’t know are
    wrong? Most people have heard of the adage, "Garbage in, garbage out." Are you taking
    the same deduction in more than one place because you've entered the figure in more than
    one location? Is a number that shouldn't be taxable showing up as taxable because you've
    failed to check the box that exempts it from being taxable? Many times, the software won't
    tell you that you've entered it wrong because the way you entered it is O.K. in certain
    situations; but not your situation. Just because your return gets processed by the IRS this
    year or the last few years and doesn’t generate a tax notice, doesn’t mean you are doing
    the return properly. The odds are with you. Only 1% of average personal returns are
    audited; thus you could be preparing your return wrong the same way for 99 years before
    they tell you that it’s prepared wrong. That’s not 1 return prepared wrong; that’s 99 wrong
    returns (fortunately they’ll usually only get money from you for the last 3 years). As a
    taxpayer, you are ultimately responsible for your filed tax return, regardless of whom or
    what prepared it for you.

    Nationally Advertised Firms

    Therefore, if tax software is not the answer, should you try Block,
    Jackson or Liberty?  Most of the returns produced by these firms are
    prepared by people who have a few hours of training (60 hours is still a
    few) and are not accountants at all. The majority of their preparers have
    other jobs and tax preparation is just another part-time job to occupy
    winter hours.  They do have some "tax professionals" (a point they
    profusely advertise) that work in their divisional or regional offices where the more complex
    returns end up getting prepared.  However, the normal taxpayer never has their return
    prepared by these people. These companies primarily rely upon the software they use to
    prepare the return, thus we’re back to the limitations of tax software previously discussed.  
    In addition, many people who have had their returns prepared by these firms don’t even
    know what they were charged, because most of these firms refer to the taxpayer’s refund
    net of the preparation charges when discussing the results. We’ve seen poor taxpayers
    charged $300+ in preparation fees, rapid anticipation loan fees, electronic filing fees, peace
    of mind guarantees, etc., etc. for returns that would be around $100 with us.  In general, the
    faster you want or need your tax refund, the more you’ll be paying these firms to prepare
    your return. We strongly suggest you wait the normal 2 week period for receiving your
    refund from the IRS.  The “I want it now mentality” generally proves very costly when it
    comes to tax preparation.

    Local or Regional CPA or Tax Preparation Firms

    So if software and national tax chains are not the answer, how
    about your local accounting or CPA office?  You will definitely
    get personalized service and usually a properly prepared return,
    but unfortunately, it almost always comes at a significant cost.  
    Most professional tax preparation (and these people really are
    the professionals) is charged by the hour, and with charges ranging from $100 to $600 per
    hour, it doesn’t take much time before your tax preparation fee is greater than any refund
    you might receive.  The old adage, “you get what you pay for” is many times not true,
    especially if your preparer has not kept up with the forever changing tax laws.  Spending
    tons of money on tax preparation is often worn as a badge of prestige but, depending upon
    your situation, it could be a sign of imprudence. You are probably getting your money’s
    worth at the lower end of the range, but after about $250 per hour, you’re usually paying
    more for ego than for ability.  A couple with only itemized deductions and some investment
    income who is paying $400 for tax preparation is most likely paying for a smile and a
    handshake that is making a rich man richer.  At that price, you should be treated like a VIP,
    "Very Important Provider."

TaxExtras combines the best of tax software and seasoned tax
professionals without making you do all the work.  Find out why
TaxExtras can prepare your return more accurately and
economically than these other alternatives:
What will it cost me?
Our pricing is computer
generated and varies for
each taxpayer by form, item
and time, thus it is difficult
to give exact quotes. We
have, however, prepared the
following chart that shows
what different types of
taxpayers paid for their tax
preparation last year. We
think you'll agree, we are
usually under the national
franchise firms.

















All prices include state returns,  
electronic filing and are net of
any applicable discount. Also,
we prepare quite a few complex
returns which biases our average
fees to the upside. If your return
is not complex, your fee should
be less than the average.
◄Average 1040EZ $55
Average Itemized 1040
◄$142 (All AGI levels)
◄Average self-employed
return $360 (All AGI levels)
◄Average Business only
return(i.e.1065, 1120 etc.)  
Pricing by Adjusted Gross
Income (AGI) classification
regardless of forms or
schedules needed:

($63,503 was the average
AGI per prepared return)
AGI Under $12,500
$12,501 to 40,000
$40,001 to $67,500
$67,501 to $125,000
Over $125,000
◄Average $92
◄Average $261
◄Average with self-
employment $292
◄Average (no SE) $162
◄Average (no SE) $246
◄Average $396
◄Average with self-
employment $442
Overall average 1040
◄$242 (All income types)