Deadline days away, don't forget tax prep fees - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

ConsumerWatch

Deadline days away, don't forget tax prep fees

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Time is ticking away for tax season, and while many people worry about how much they owe the IRS, it's important not to forget about tax prep fees.

Many firms won't give you price quote, but experts say it's certainly worth a try.

Your cost of course depends on how complex the return is.

According to the National Society of Accountants solo tax preparers charged on average around $217 for the usual itemized federal form 1040 and state income tax form.

For larger firms with three or more full time staffers, the cost was closer to $245.

Then there are the national tax prep chains.

"We do advertise that our EZ which is a very simple form, it's no dependents basically W2, income, if you use the EZ, you can get that done for $69 both the federal and the state together," says Ralph Egenmair of H&R Block.

Research shows in 2009, the average fee per client at H&R Block was just over $180.

Experts say the good news is, national chains are less likely than independent storefront tax preparers to charge additional fees like application and document prep charges.

If you're doing your own taxes, check out free file at irs.gov to see if you're eligible.

Agencies like the AARP and VITA also offer free help to area residents.

A few online services like Tax Act and Turbo Tax Online Free Edition also offer basic help for no charge.

Experts say if you plan to have someone else prepare your return, one way to get a good estimate is to take last year's return with you.

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly