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accounting fees
Old 06-25-2018, 05:24 PM   #1
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accounting fees

My CPA has been charging us about 900/year for a pass-through income LLC return (simple return) and another 2500/year for personal return.

Recently they charged us 1200 to revise 2 years at their direction because they recharacterized some income. It saved us a lot in taxes so I was happy.

I hate to complain but we are out 4500 plus already this year in CPA fees.

Does this seem rather high?
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:38 PM   #2
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My CPA has been charging us about 900/year for a pass-through income LLC return (simple return) and another 2500/year for personal return.

Recently they charged us 1200 to revise 2 years at their direction because they recharacterized some income. It saved us a lot in taxes so I was happy.

I hate to complain but we are out 4500 plus already this year in CPA fees.

Does this seem rather high?
What's his hourly rate?
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:39 PM   #3
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What's his hourly rate?
They've never stated an hourly rate.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:40 PM   #4
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$2500 for your personal return seems outrageous to me.

Until a few years ago, we had our personal tax return professionally prepared for $600. I wasnít happy paying that, but it was safer than trying on our own and getting it incorrect. We have a rental real estate, other business income, and pass-through income from an LLC. Our return has it all: Schedules A,B,C,D, and E.

After two years of following along (I would do our taxes with Turbo Tax before going to the accountant, then compare answers) I felt confident enough to do it myself. You could try following along for 2019. It might be simpler, now that the standard deduction has about doubled.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:45 PM   #5
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You could also probably still get TT for 2017, and compare the results with your accountants, and judge for yourself how much work it is. Don't cheat and use anything from the prepared return.
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Old 06-25-2018, 06:22 PM   #6
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My CPA has been charging us about 900/year for a pass-through income LLC return (simple return) and another 2500/year for personal return.

Recently they charged us 1200 to revise 2 years at their direction because they recharacterized some income. It saved us a lot in taxes so I was happy.

I hate to complain but we are out 4500 plus already this year in CPA fees.

Does this seem rather high?
I do my own but those rates seem high to me, particularly the personal return... I assume that you must have a complex return if they are charging you $2,500. Assuming $100/hour (and that is a bit high for tax prep only) that's 25 hours... but it really dependon the complexity of the return and how much chasing of information that they have do.

I don't understand the recharacterization of income '"at their direction"... they mischaracterized it to your detriment to begin with and are then charging you to recharacterize it to your benefit? Smells rotton.
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Old 06-25-2018, 06:31 PM   #7
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CPAs are expensive. I paid 3 grand one year but that was for 6 returns the year my Pops died;

2 for him
2 for me and
2 for the Trust
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Old 06-25-2018, 08:35 PM   #8
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I had a CPA do part of my taxes on a real estate partnership liquidation. They told me that if the IRS questions the Schedule K-1, they were going to have to charge extra for their time to investigate the info. Heck, the CPA was our partner in the real estate venture. You would think his tax into was right.

I prefer to keep my business simple enough to where professionals are not needed. They often make things just a little complicated.
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Old 06-25-2018, 08:57 PM   #9
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You could also probably still get TT for 2017, and compare the results with your accountants, and judge for yourself how much work it is. Don't cheat and use anything from the prepared return.
+1

IMO the largest cost of using a CPA is that you do not learn the connections between your income and its taxation and consequently you are likely to be invested in a suboptimal manner for the purposes of tax reduction.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:45 PM   #10
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About 10 years ago I had a falling out with a long time CPA that dis our business & personal returns. I don't remember the cost there. I switched to a suburban office CPA. Pretty good size firm. First year was like $2500 for business and I think $1500-2000 for the personal. I was a bit shocked but figured they had to input a lot of data from old returns. Next year? Same price. That is when i got pissed and started looking around. Found a CPA one State over. $800 for business and $600-800 for the personal. It's great. I like her a lot. She is pretty good size and kind of specializes in small business. The kicker from the old firm? The new CPA wanted the returns in digital format. So I asked. They charged me the same amount as if they had done the full returns. $2500.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:50 PM   #11
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........The new CPA wanted the returns in digital format. So I asked. They charged me the same amount as if they had done the full returns. $2500.
Wow, would have been cheaper to have someone input the data from the old forms.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:53 PM   #12
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Wow, would have been cheaper to have someone input the data from the old forms.
Yep. If I see them again I'm going to walk right up and kick him in the twig & berries
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:59 PM   #13
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Yep. If I see them again I'm going to walk right up and kick him in the twig & berries
Why wait?
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Old 06-25-2018, 10:00 PM   #14
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OP - Are your personal taxes that complex ??

I agree with posters, you should get the TT software (or taxcut) and do your own personal taxes for last year, and see how close you are to the professional return.

Sure it's a little work, but you learn a lot and can become a smarter investor as you will know the tax implications of various actions.
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Old 06-25-2018, 10:44 PM   #15
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There is no way to answer the question from the info provided. Depends on complexity of return, hourly rate of preparer and staff and their perception of your fee sensitivity.

I do my own but in a prior life I did tax work for a big CPA firm and even back then we saw plenty of 10k+ returns.
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:40 AM   #16
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Why wait?
Too funny!!!

OP I'm in California, pay $1200 for my personal return (not too complicated). Also pay about $3000 to the same accountant for handling the bookkeeping and returns for my S corporation.
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:43 AM   #17
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S-Corp: I pay my CPA about $700 to prepare and file yearly tax returns. Returns are simple as it’s a simple “part-time” one person business, and I’m a meticulous bookkeeper. In addition, I pay a payroll service $50 per month for everything payroll related.

C-Corp: Same as above except about $900.

Personal: CPA about $120. I believe he pads the above to to keep the personal fee low (a fairly common gray area practice).

This is in a very HCOLA area.
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:08 AM   #18
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Our personal tax return, plus an appointment once/year to do tax planning, costs us around $850. Our taxes arenít that complex, but we do have carry forward losses on investment property as well as stocks. I like the idea of trying to do it myself in TT. We might keep the CPA anyway though. We were audited once for 2 years, and the IRS got nothing. I think having the CPA correspond with them helped.
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:07 AM   #19
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$300/yr for us.
W2, 1099 small biz, SS, pension, TradIRA withdrawal, HSAs.
Same tax prep firm since 1981.
No advice.
Never audited.
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:19 AM   #20
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Guy with LLC and personal taxes to be done walks into local accounting emporium.
"How much would it cost to do my personal and business taxes?"
"How much do you have?", asks the CPA.
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