What is the average cost of an accountant?

  • You may decide to hire an accountant to file tax returns or provide other services.
  • Accountants’ fees may depend on their hourly rates and the work they need to get done.
  • Choosing the right accountant may depend on your preferred experience.

If you need an accountant to prepare your tax return or help with business management, we’ve gathered information on the average cost of accounting services and tips on what to look for in an accountant.

Keep in mind that accounting fees can vary based on many factors, including the state where you live and the level of experience required for the complexity of your situation.

Average cost of accountants

According to Anjali Jariwala, a CFP® professional and former CPA at Fit Advisors, accounting fees can depend on the work that needs to be done.

“For someone with an ultra-basic return — like W2 income, maybe just the standard deduction — maybe only around $100,” Jariwala said. “Once you start getting more complicated — if you have


Income, you own a home, maybe you have some unique investments — that’s when fees start going up, so it really makes a difference. “

The National Institute of Accountants conducts an annual survey asking members to provide information on average costs and fees for tax filing and additional accounting services.

Below, you’ll find the average cost of different services compiled based on data from a recent NSA investigation.

Average cost of tax return documents

Typically, accounting firms charge an average fee of $69.75 for filing a Form W-2 and an average fee of $67.72 for a Form 1099.

You can also use this chart to get a rough estimate of the average cost of an additional federal tax return:

Accounting firms typically charge the following average fees for federal tax returns:

Average cost of additional customer service

Accounting firms typically charge the following fees for accounting client service:

Hire a CPA and tax preparer

If you’re looking to hire a professional to prepare your tax return, Jariwala says it’s important to know your priorities so you can determine the amount of expertise your situation requires.

Registered agents and certified public accountants must take the exam and meet certain designation requirements to receive their respective designations. Meanwhile, tax preparers may only be responsible for preparing tax returns because they do not have the educational experience or credentials to provide additional accounting services.

“If you’re a small business, you might be better off using a CPA because they’ll have accounting experience, which is very helpful in addition to tax experience,” Jariwala said.

Tips for Choosing an Accountant

Lisa Greene-Lewis, CPA and tax expert at TurboTax, warns that you shouldn’t pay accountants based on the results of their work.

“If someone tells you, ‘I’ll give you a certain amount of tax back, so the charge is that amount.’ That’s a red flag. You should never pay for it,” Greene-Lewis advises.

When choosing an accountant, it can be helpful to understand how an accountant charges, Jariwala said.

“Some people charge a flat fee based on the type of return. These are easier to understand because you know what you’re paying for. Others charge a fee and time. The fee and time depend on how much time the different team is taking,” explains Jariwala road.

You may also want to consider whether you would prefer to work with an individual or an accounting firm. Jariwala points out that if your needs are simple, a one-person store may be ideal, as the same person will be able to meet your needs.

“However, you might decide, ‘I need someone who can do my taxes, but I also need someone who can review my books and answer questions about planning.’ In this case, you Might want to choose a company rather than a one-man store, as the company should have multiple disciplines within the same office that can really meet all your needs,” adds Jariwala.

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