The average fee for a professional to prepare and submit a 1040 and state return with no itemized deductions is $176, the average fee for an itemized 1040 with Schedule A and a state tax return is $273, and the average fee for an itemized 1040 with Schedule C and a state tax return is $457, according to a biennial survey from the National Society of Accountants.

A 1040 and state return alone cost an average of $17 less two years ago, or $159, when the NSA last conducted this survey, but a 1040 with a Schedule A and a state return cost the same -- $273. (See “Average tax prep fee inches up to $273.”)

The tax and accounting professionals surveyed are owners, principals, and partners of local tax and accounting practices with an average 28 years of experience.

The survey covered the average fees charge for a number of other forms, including:

  • $184 for a 1040 Schedule C;
  • $124 for Schedule D;
  • $135 for Schedule E;
  • $656 for a 1065;
  • $826 for an 1120;
  • $733 for a 990;
  • $282 for a 3115;
  • $59 for an 8962;
  • $53 for an 8965;
  • $58 for a 1095‐A; and,
  • $57 for a shared responsibility payment valculation.

Fees vary by region, firm size, population, and economic strength of an area.

The average tax preparation fee for an itemized 1040 with Schedule A and a state return range from highs of $333 in New England and $329 in the Pacific states to a low of $210 in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.

All fees assume a taxpayer has gathered and organized all necessary information: Near three out of four (71 percent) of preparers charge an average fee of $117 for dealing with disorganized or incomplete files.

Most tax and accounting firms also report they have seen no increase in the number of IRS audits during the past two years. The average fee for an IRS audit response letter is $128 and the average hourly fee for an in-person IRS audit is $150.

“Most tax and accounting firms offer prospective clients a free consultation, which is worth about $150 based on the average hourly fees of tax preparers,” added NSA executive vice president John Ams, in a statement.

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson is a veteran freelance journalist who previously served as editor of The Practical Accountant.