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The Cost of Using a Paid Tax Preparer

Editor's Note: This article is part of our 2013 Tax Tips series. Robert Flach is an expert with almost 40 years of experience as a tax professional and also blogs as The Wandering Tax Pro.

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — What will it cost to have your 2013 income tax returns prepared by a professional? More than last year.

According to the annual fee survey conducted by the National Society of Accountants (aka the "other" NSA), the average cost of hiring a tax professional to prepare your Form 1040 with Schedule A and state tax return will be $261, a 6% increase from the $246 average fee from last year's survey. The average fee for preparing a non-itemized Form 1040 and state return will be $152, up from $143.

Paying a tax professional is worth the cost. If a tax pro can catch even one deduction or credit you would otherwise have missed, it can easily pay for the tax preparation fee.

The survey also reported the average fees for preparing other tax forms:

  • $218 for a Form 1040 Schedule C (sole proprietor)
  • $590 for a Form 1065 (partnership)
  • $806 for a Form 1120 (corporation)
  • $761 for a Form 1120S (S corporation)
  • $497 for a Form 1041 (estate or trust)
  • $667 for a Form 990 (tax exempt)
  • $63 for a Form 940 (federal unemployment)
  • $142 for Schedule D (capital gains and losses)
  • $165 for Schedule E (rental income)
  • $196 for Schedule F (farm)

As one would expect, fees vary by region, firm size, population and economic strength of an area. The average fee for a Form 1040 with Schedule A and a state tax return in the various sections of the U.S. are:

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