Tax and accounting firms plans to raise their fees for accounting services by 6.1 percent in 2017, and tax prep fees by an average of 6.4 percent, according to a recent study by the National Society of Accountants.

That’s up from an actual increase of 5.3 percent for accounting in 2016, and 6 percent for tax prep, according to the NSA’s 2016-17 Income and Fees of Accountants and Tax Preparers in Public Practice Survey Report.

The reports is based on a biennial survey conducted last summer among the NSA’s more than 30,000 members, whose firms average 3.5 employees, and whose primary source of gross income is tax prep (57.3 percent). The next largest source of income was write-up work, at 15.4 percent.

Respondents also reported on their billing practices: For accounting services, they are roughly evenly split between fixed fees (35.3 percent), hourly billing (31.2 percent) or a mix of the two (31.8 percent).

For tax prep, the primary form of billing was by form (39.5 percent). As part of the same survey, the society gathered information on preparation fees for individual forms. (See “Fee for a 1040 averages $176.”)

Among the other practice management information in the report:

  • Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of firms charge extra for disorganized or incomplete tax prep files;
  • One-third charge an extra fee for filing extensions;
  • The vast majority (89 percent) offer free consultations; and,
  • Just over two-fifths (41.5 percent) accept credit card payments.

The full report can be purchased on the NSA Web site.

Daniel Hood

Daniel Hood is editor-in-chief of Accounting Today and Tax Pro Today, and has covered the tax and accounting field for over 20 years.