How Much Did You Pay to Prepare Your Taxes?

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average tax refundJulie Vlahon of Techbargains sent me a survey they did about a month ago asking their visitors how much they spent preparing their tax returns. For the folks who already filed, they asked how much they paid. For those who hadn’t, they simply asked them how much they expected to pay. According to their results, procrastinators (those who would file in April) expected to pay $160.56 versus $106.20 for those who filed them earlier.

If you expect to pay $160.56 then you probably aren’t using tax prep software. Turbotax’s most expensive package is the Home & Business at $99.99. If you add one state, that’s $39.99, for a total of $139.98. I’d be curious to know if procrastinators had side businesses or something like that. Prices really increase when you start adding in different states and crazy schedules.

That said, another result they had was that 9 out of the 10 early filers expected a return – that is not surprising. The average tax refund is always around three thousand dollars. If someone owed me three grand, I’d get it as soon as possible!

I’m not surprised procrastinators pay more. It’s not that they pay fees or penalties because they are preparing in April, it’s that their tax situations are more complicated. They take longer to prepare, chances are they owe a little bit of tax, so there’s no benefit to filing early. If you’re still waiting to do your taxes, these tax tips for procrastinators might be helpful – it’s written by my friend Linsey from Wise Bread with tips from my favorite tax expert, Kay Bell of Don’t Mess with Taxes and Bankrate.

How much did you pay to do your taxes this year? Did you file early or late? Why?

(Photo: doncav)

{ 18 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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18 Responses to “How Much Did You Pay to Prepare Your Taxes?”

  1. My CPA wanted $750, after I did 99% of the work!!!

    I said “forget it” and went with TurboTax. I got the audit defense protection, though. I’m self-employed, so it makes sense.

  2. I did my taxes myself online through a tax software company that gave me a free copy so I didn’t pay a penny. If I didn’t get that I would have likely had to pay around $75 I think.

  3. Traciatim says:

    In Canada we have studoo tax. It’s free, so no cost here.

  4. Glenn Lasher says:

    $130 for a return from three W-2’s, plus the usual household write-offs and two sources of self-employment income.

    A couple of years ago, I did some shopping around on this. The company that provided this price for me is a small, local shop. The majors (Liberty, H&R, etc) either wanted 2-4 times as much or refused to give me a quote.

  5. elloo says:

    $495 and worth every penny. My tax returns are a bit complicated. I tried TurboTax last year to see if I could save some money doing it myself. The result…I would have owed the Feds $1700, but my tax preparer found me a $2200 refund. So, that’s why I use him.

  6. Scott says:

    I paid $21.89 to use the TurboTax online software for filing. I have a simple return, filed early, received around $200 back, and didn’t have to file a state income tax return.

    I was excited to use the tools for importing W-2 and financial information into the return, but it wasn’t as smooth as I wanted it to be. I had to manually enter some transactions. Perhaps they will work out the kinks for next year’s filing.

    BTW, $20 is the most I’d pay. If it were more expensive, I’d be doing them with either the free online tax software, or by hand.

  7. Eric says:

    I received TurboTax Deluxe free through Fidelity.

  8. Melissa says:

    My CPA charges $200. It’s a bargin for my husband and I. We have two W-2′s, 1 self-employment income, then mortgage and college deductions, and the cost basis from stocks (What a pain!) My single friend goes to the same CPA and pays less due to less paperwork; but she use to pay over $400 at HR block!

  9. freeby50 says:

    We pay a CPA about $500 but its pretty complicated. We seem to have every schedule now A,B,C,D,E, plus various other forms and worksheets.

  10. Professor Longhair says:

    Paid 14.95 for individual taxes to TaxAct and 275.00 to do business taxes to my CPA

  11. Jennifer says:

    I didn’t pay anything this year because I just had typical deductions and one w-2. I was able to do it all online for free. Next year though will be a different story. I have new self employment income and will either need to research what is allowed for my deductions a bit more or seek out someone to do them for me.

  12. I save a lot of money by using TurboTax. I would recommend using a tax preparer though if your taxes are complex.

  13. govenar says:

    $0 since H&R Block sent me a free CD.
    Though, TurboTax seems to have better support for importing from brokerages, so it might be worth paying a little bit for.

  14. Shirley says:

    I paid a total of $27 which included the TaxACT software and efiling both federal and state. I efiled both in mid February, had an email acceptance the next morning and the refunds were in our checking account five days later.

  15. Allison says:

    I pay nothing except postage. In MN if you file electronically it cost $17. I just did paper which is free. I file federal for free electronically using the software from the IRS–freefillableforms.

    I spent 3 weekends doing taxes though. Roughly 5 hours total. That includes reconcilation. Then I did an audit with a tax savy friend. I have 2 W2s, self employment income, deduction, Lifetime Learning credit, charity deducition, and 1099s. So my taxes are complicated. But I manage by being really organize during the year and keeping an excel sheet of all tax deductible expenses. I also keep an excel sheet of deductible milage.

    I read the tax code for guidance and also visited my local IRS office for clarification regarding a credit. It’s worth it to me because I spent time setting up my excel sheet and it auto update as expenses gather throughout the year.

  16. Frugal says:

    Like govenar above, I also received free copy of H&R Block which was good for efiling fed + 1 state. I did my second state online. Total financial cost – zero. My family members included for free.

  17. Frugal says:

    I can’t seem to “reply” to anyone, so here is a question for “eric” above.

    How did you receive free turbotax from Fidelity? Did you had to ask for one or they randomly selected you or everyone with an account received a free copy?

    This year, I was lucky to get a free copy from H&R Block. Next year, I don’t know and its always good to have options.

  18. skylog says:

    i purchased a copy of H&R Block for 24.99, with a free blu-ray movie (up to $20.00 value)from best buy. after use, i sold the tax software for $20.00. i guess that would be $4.99 for the software, $0.00 to file and a good 2 hours watching a movie!

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