“You hate doing taxes, right? We’ll do them for you!”
So goes the proposition at the core of every tax preparation service out there. Even online tax prep tools like TurboTax and H&R Block offer operate under a similar assumption.
The trouble with selecting the right tax prep company for you is that there are so many to choose from. They range in services, guarantees, trustworthiness—and of course—price.
If you’re trying to choose the right tax preparation service for your situation, price is certainly one of the biggest considerations you’re going to make. And not every tax prep service is going to fit within your budget.
Fortunately, it’s actually pretty easy to reliably guess the price range for any tax preparation company (and the services they offer) at a glance. Let’s walk through the price points one by one.
“Taxes suck. How much are you willing to pay make them suck less?”
Of course, we don’t view the tax preparation process quite so pessimistically. We may love doing taxes, but we understand that not everyone does—so we take our passion and put it to work for you.
However, we understand that we aren’t the best solution for every single taxpayer out there. No tax prep service is! Each price tier carries its own set of services.
Oh, and a quick note: To be extra clear, we’re here to discuss “Do It For You” service, not tax prep software that helps you file your tax return. Alright, carry on!
Low cost tax prep companies are some of the most popular and well-known, companies like H&R Block and the like. They have thousands of locations and national marketing campaigns. They also include independent companies, sometimes in low-income areas.
Ideal Customer: Low cost tax prep companies specialize in simple tax returns. Customers without much complexity in their tax returns or who may not be looking for extremely personalized service may find these companies to be the right fit.
Benefits: Price, plain and simple.
Drawbacks: The savings come at the expense of the quality of service. If you run a small business or you have an otherwise complex tax return, you’re probably not even going to be saving all that much. Cheap tax services typically offer a number of a la carte add-ons, which can add up quickly to the tune of $100-$200. A cheaper tax prep company will often offer less personalized service and may not always be willing to back you up in the case of an audit.
The middle of the tax prep price range is actually pretty diverse, because the services are more personalized but also more specialized. In this tier of tax prep pricing, you’ll also begin seeing more CPAs and small outfits.
Ideal Customer: More specialization means more personalization and an increased focus on business. If you have multiple income streams, you own income-producing properties, you run a small business, or if you have an otherwise complex return, you might find the added cost more than worth it.
Benefits: A combination of personalized service and price. These companies bring a lot more to the table and can maximize and navigate those tricky tax situations that come with complex tax returns.
Drawbacks: Not everyone can afford this price range, but beyond that, there really aren’t any blanket statements to be made here. You just need to perform your due diligence to make sure that your tax company is actually providing the kinds of services that justify the money you’re paying them. (Here are some red flags to look out for!)
Trust us, if you aren’t wealthy, you’re not likely to accidentally ring up a high cost tax preparer. This tier is made up of financial advisors, CPAs, and other similar outfits that don’t advertise all too widely.
Ideal Customer: Luxury tax firms cater to the ultra-wealthy. In many cases, these firms or CPAs are hired on retainer and held year-round, not just during tax season.
Benefits: Personalized service and additional financial/wealth management services.
Drawbacks: For the clientele who utilize these services, the increased price—which can range into the thousands and tens of thousands or more—is more than worth it. The potential drawbacks are really dependent on how trustworthy the tax preparer in question actually is.
Even if you’re not that confident (or interested) in preparing your own tax return, you probably know which type of tax prep company is right for your price point. It’s really all about assessing your tax situation so you can find the appropriate team to serve your needs.
If you have any questions about which type of tax prep service is right for you, get in touch. We’ll walk you through our process, ask questions, and you can make the right determination for you. It’s a lot easier than it looks, we promise.