How Much Does a CPA Cost to Hire for My Taxes?

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Few people enjoy crunching numbers and trying to figure out their taxes. You likely prefer doing just about anything but going over your tax forms. Fortunately, there are talented individuals out there who understand the intricacies of taxes and how to calculate them for you. These fine souls are CPAs ( Certified Public Accountants ). If you can’t bear the thought of trying to figure out your taxes, you should seriously consider hiring a CPA. But how much does a CPA cost to hire for your taxes? We’ve got you covered. We tasked some of our team with researching various accountant services and the fees they charge to do your taxes. With this information in mind, you will be able to budget getting your taxes done by a professional to ensure that they are accurate and correct (without breaking the bank).

The Average Cost of Getting Your Taxes Done

There are many factors that can affect the total amount that you’ll spend to have a CPA do your taxes. But on average, you can expect to pay in the ballpark of $175. That fee is going to include a standard 1040, as well as your state return. With the average cost in mind, let’s dig a little deeper to better assess the total cost of having your taxes completed by a professional accountant.

Qualifications Matter

Here’s the thing about hiring someone to do your taxes: If you don’t have a lot of deductions to worry about and your taxes are pretty straightforward, you might not necessarily need to hire the most qualified CPA. You should also keep in mind that this is the IRS we’re talking about here. If your taxes are generally sticky and convoluted, you can’t afford any margin for error. As such, you should be prepared to find an accomplished CPA whom you can trust to complete your taxes without issue. Like anyone else, you want to save as much money as possible. While it may hurt you to even think about paying hundreds of dollars to have your taxes done by a professional, opting for an unqualified tax advisor could come back to bite you. It may benefit you substantially to hire an experienced CPA who isn’t likely to miss anything and will do all that they can to get you the most back. Keep in mind that the above figures are just averages. You could end up paying more or less to have your taxes done by a CPA, especially depending on where you’re located.

Do Your Part to Pay Less

Here’s a helpful tip: keep your tax forms, paperwork, and records as neat and concise as possible. The more organized your records are, the less work your CPA will have to do on your taxes. And, the less work that they have to do, usually the less that you have to pay them. It’s a simple but effective rule that will go a long way in ensuring that you pay as little as possible for the work that needs to be done in completing your taxes.

Location Matters

Did you know that where you live affects the average cost you’ll pay to have a CPA do your taxes? It’s true. People who live in the southern and central parts of the United States can expect to pay less to have their taxes done professionally, while those who live near the west coast can expect to pay considerably more. Let’s take a moment to go over each region and the amounts you can expect to pay if you live there.

  • West North Central States (IA, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, SD) - $214
  • South Atlantic States (DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV) - $268
  • Mountain States (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY) - $263
  • New England States (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT) - $333
  • East North Central States (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI) - $249
  • West South Central States (AR, LA, OK, TX) - $271
  • East South Central States (AL, KY, MS, TN) - $210
  • Middle Atlantic States (NJ, NY, PA) - $290
  • Pacific States (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA) - $329

The first thing you’ll notice is that the above averages are higher than the $175 average mentioned earlier. That’s because most people who hire a CPA to do their taxes require more than a simple 1040. The more complicated the work is, the higher the cost of the CPA. And since these individuals factor into the national average, you’re going to see that reflected in the average cost. If your taxes are generally more complicated, you can expect to pay closer to the prices listed above. Depending on who you hire, where you live, and the complexity of your taxes, the total that you end up paying could be different than what you see here. So keep that in mind going forward.

The Complexity of Your Taxes

As the adage goes, “time is money.” The longer it takes the CPA to complete your taxes, the more you can expect to pay for their services. If you own a small business , for example, you’ll need to file a Schedule C on top of your 1040 form. With itemized deductions added to the mix, you can expect to pay even more to have your taxes completed professionally. With all of this in mind, you’re more likely to pay the CPA an average of $450.

How CPAs Charge for Their Services

Certified Public Accountants typically adhere to a specific method when filing your taxes. Knowing ahead of time which method they use will give you a clear understanding of what you will be charged for their services in the end. Below, you will find the five most common methods used by CPAs when charging for their services.

Set Fee Per Form

Possibly the easiest method of them all, a set fee lets you know exactly what you’ll be paying before your taxes are ever completed. So depending on how many total forms you have, you could potentially pay a hefty fee to a CPA to do your taxes.

Matched Fee From Last Year’s Taxes

One of the benefits of using the same CPA year after year is that you can generally expect to pay the same amount every time they do your taxes. While this certainly has its advantages, you could wind up paying more if your tax situation has changed and the work has become more complicated. It’s possible that your CPA will feel that you should be charged more for their services if your taxes take longer than what they normally do. On the other hand, if you’ve developed a good working relationship with your accountant, they could very well continue to charge you the original fee.

Fee Based on Complexity

Make no bones about it; if your taxes cause the CPA to work hard and spend a lot of time completing them and tracking down information you didn’t keep good track of, there is a very good chance that you’ll be charged a lot . If your CPA’s fee is based on the complexity of your taxes, make sure that you get a figure beforehand so that there aren’t any surprises in the end.

Fee Based on Value

There are plenty of CPAs who charge you based on what they feel their work was worth doing your taxes. If you aren’t used to dealing with CPAs who charge like this, you could be in for a dispute over the final fee. As much as their fee might shock you, it’s important to remember that any CPA worth their salt knows the value of their performance and is used to charging the prices they quote for the work completed. If the price seems high to you, it likely means that a lot of work went into doing your taxes, and you may want to ask your CPA how you can make the process easier for them (i.e. save some dollars) for next year.

Hourly Rate

If you hire a CPA who charges by the hour, make doubly sure ahead of time that you know exactly how much their hourly rate is. It isn’t uncommon for CPAs to charge upwards of $100 to even $400 an hour to do taxes for their clients. The good news is that if they do have a high hourly rate, they are probably very good at what they do. As such, there’s a good chance that they will get your taxes completed in record time, thereby lowering the number of hours you’ll pay for in the end.


When considering hiring a CPA to do your taxes, it’s important to have the right mindset. Hiring a CPA is the same as hiring any other professional. For the most part, the more you pay, the better your service will be. If you’re having a major surgery performed, you’re going to want the best doctor for the job. The same goes for your taxes. Sure, you might spend a little more in the end. But you’re almost guaranteed to receive some of the best customer service available. Sources

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