FEES

Tax return preparation, general consultation and accounting work are $285 per hour for work done by Rob Walker, CPA, PhD, and $180 per hour when done by Liz Laurence, CPA; work done by staff ranges from $65 to $150 per hour.  Specialty consulting, tax and accounting work such as technical research and business and tax planning are $385 per hour if done by Rob Walker.  Expert witness work is higher.  Phone and office consultations with Rob Walker are $370 for the first hour, with a minimum charge of one hour; additional time is $285 per hour.

Billing is in increments of 5 minutes (1/12 of an hour) with a 5-minute minimum, rounded out.  Rounded out means that, for example, if you call at 9:23 am, billing starts at 9:20, and, if the call ends at 9:57 am, billing ends at 10:00.

Expenses generally include:

  • Copies at 10¢ each whether for you or for our files,
  • Tax preparation software for individuals at $67.00 per Federal return and $54.00 per state return including e-filing,
  • Tax preparation software for entities at $107.00 per Federal return and $65.00 per state return including e-filing,
  • Tax preparation software for individuals at $11.00 per FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR) report, up to $33.00 maximum (for multiple years).  No charge with Federal return.
  • Tax preparation software for estate returns at $83 each,
  • Tax preparation software for gift tax returns at $72 each,
  • Payroll reporting form software $55,
  • 1099 reporting form software $42,
  • Sub-contractors at actual cost,
  • Postage and express delivery at actual cost,
  • Faxes at 50¢ per page,
  • International phone calls at no charge unless to an expensive location,
  • Travel fares and related expenses at actual cost, and
  • Car mileage at 85¢ per mile. (This approximates the true average cost of operating a car per the American Automobile Association.)

BILLING

Payment for services is due prior to sending you the draft copy of your tax return or other service, unless prior arrangements have been made.  If you are a new client, we ask you to sign an engagement agreement and pay an advance fee deposit (any unused portion will be refunded).  We will retain your advance fee deposit until you cease to be a client at which time it will be refunded, unless another arrangement has been made.

Our billing protocol for an initial contact by a prospective client is as follows.  If our conversation is less than 15 minutes and you do not continue as a client, there is no charge.  If it goes beyond that, all the time becomes billable at our standard hourly rates prorated by fractions of an hour.  If you become a client by signing our engagement agreement and paying the $1,000.00 advance fee deposit ($2,000 for entities and for multiple-year individual returns), all the time we spend with you on the initial contact will be charged against the fee deposit.  If you decide not to become a client but our conversation lasts more than 15 minutes, we will bill you for the time.  We do not bill for personal visiting about non-professional matters.  Any unused portion of the advance fee deposit will be refunded to you once your engagement is completed.

FEE ESTIMATES

If you are a prospective client, we cannot give you a specific estimate of how much we would charge for preparing your tax return. It’s a bit like estimating oil reserves, not knowing how much is there till the drilling is done. Nonetheless we can you give a range of fees we have charged clients in situations similar to yours.  If you would prefer an initial phone or office consultation, we charge $360 for the first hour, with a minimum charge of one hour of consultation time.

ENGAGEMENT AGREEMENT

For other than very simple tax return preparation engagements, we will ask you to sign an engagement agreement and pay a $1,000.00 advance fee deposit ($2,000 for entities and for multiple-year individual returns).  If not all of the advance fee deposit is spent, we will refund the unused portion, or, if you prefer, we will carry it over and apply it to future work for you. For a PDF sample of our engagement agreement, please click here.