How Much Does a CPA Cost? (Business Taxes Charge Breakdown)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: June 19, 2024
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Tax preparation fees vary based on the company and the type of tax preparation services offered.

As a reputable financial consultant, I've spent countless hours researching this topic to provide you with accurate and reliable information.

I've consulted with experienced CPAs, examined industry standards, and analyzed various factors influencing the cost of CPA services.

In this article, I’ll outline the cost of hiring a CPA, the structure of payment, and the various components that contribute to the overall cost.

Quick Summary

  • The cost of hiring a CPA can vary widely, typically ranging from $300 to $500 per hour, influenced by factors such as location and the complexity of required services.
  • CPAs provide a broad range of valuable services, including tax compliance, financial guidance, preparation of financial statements, audit assistance, and regulatory compliance.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021, accountants working in bookkeeping, tax preparation, and payroll services sectors had a median annual wage of $77,080.
  • I frequently remind my clients that engaging a CPA offers significant advantages such as expert financial advice, assistance with tax planning and compliance, and support during audits.

How Much Does a CPA Cost?

A hand using a calculator in an office

A Certified Public Accountant costs between $300 to $500 per hour, although rates may vary based on location and complexity of services required.

Based on our experience, the fees charged by a CPA are influenced by various components, including tax preparation, financial statements, audits, and consultation.

It is important to note that these rates are approximate and can differ based on individual circumstances and the CPA's expertise.

When engaging a CPA, we advise discussing the scope of work, services needed, and any potential additional charges. Hiring a CPA can provide valuable expertise and guidance in navigating the complexities of business taxes.

Is It Worth Hiring a CPA?

Worker searching how much does a cpa cost

It is worth hiring a CPA. In our experience, they provided valuable expertise and assistance with financial matters.

A CPA's professional knowledge and experience can aid in ensuring accurate and compliant financial records, efficient tax planning, and timely filing.

Filing your LLC business taxes isn't as easy as it seems, especially as a small business owner.

Even if you're a good accountant and know what you're doing, the tax code has grown so complex over the years that even tax professionals have trouble deciphering it all.

“In the symphony of finance, CPAs are the conductors of financial harmony.”

– Melissa Davis, CPA & Partner at KapilaMukamal, LLP 

Here are some of the benefits we experienced using a CPA:

  • Expertise in tax compliance: A CPA has extensive knowledge of tax laws and regulations, ensuring accurate and timely filing of LLC tax returns.
  • Financial guidance: CPAs can provide valuable insights and financial advice to help LLCs make informed decisions and optimize their financial strategies. They can also provide you with tax advice.
  • Financial statement preparation: CPAs can prepare professional financial statements that comply with accounting standards, providing credibility and transparency to stakeholders.
  • Audit assistance: CPAs can assist with audits, ensuring that LLCs are well-prepared and can navigate the audit process smoothly during tax season.
  • Compliance with regulations: CPAs stay updated with changing regulations, helping LLCs maintain compliance with legal and financial requirements.

The only real downsides to hiring tax professionals include the following:

  • Cost: Hiring a CPA for LLCs can be expensive, especially for small businesses with limited financial resources. CPA services often come with a hefty price tag, including fees for tax preparation, financial statements, and ongoing consultations.
  • Dependency: Relying on a CPA for LLCs means the business depends on an external financial management and compliance professional. This reliance can limit the business owner's autonomy and flexibility in making financial decisions.
  • Limited Scope: While CPAs possess expertise in accounting and tax matters, they focus primarily on compliance and reporting. They may not provide comprehensive business advice or strategic guidance beyond financial aspects, potentially unaddressed other critical areas of the LLC's operations.

How Do Tax Preparers Set Their Prices?

A report about how tax preparers set their prices

Tax preparers determine their prices based on various factors, such as the complexity of the tax situation, the types of forms to be filed, and the level of expertise required.

Some may charge a flat fee, while others use an hourly rate.

Drawing from our experience, the average cost for individual federal returns is about $200, while state returns are typically less.

Fees will also depend on how much work will be involved in completing your tax return. Factors like the number of income sources, deductions, and investments may also influence the pricing structure.

If two married taxpayers file jointly, the tax preparation fees are usually higher than if one person files alone.

This is because when it comes to itemized deductions, there are more tax forms to fill out and more research to do.

Selecting a tax preparer with whom you are comfortable is important, but it's equally important to do your homework. You can find more information about finding a reputable tax professional through this Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website [1].

Average Hourly Rates for CPAs

CPAs charge between $150 and $400 per hour for their services. However, it's important to note that these rates are just averages, and the actual hourly rate charged by a CPA can be higher or lower.

Situations Where Flat Fees Are Common

While CPAs commonly use hourly rates, there are situations where flat fees are more commonly employed.

Flat fees are often used for specific services or engagements with well-defined scopes of work. Some situations where flat fees are commonly charged include:

Tax Preparation and Filing

In 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants specializing in bookkeeping, tax preparation, and payroll services earned a median annual wage of $77,080.

Many CPAs charge a flat fee for tax preparation and filing services. This fee typically includes preparing tax forms, calculations, reviewing documentation, and filing the tax return.

The complexity of the tax situation, the number of tax forms involved, and the required assistance level can affect the flat fee.

Routine Accounting Services

For routine accounting services such as bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, and payroll processing, CPAs may offer flat fee packages based on the size and complexity of the client's business.

These packages often include predetermined services and can be customized to suit the client's needs.

Specific Projects

CPAs may offer flat fees for specific projects such as financial statement audits, business valuations, or forensic accounting investigations.

These engagements usually have well-defined scopes of work, allowing the CPA to determine a flat fee based on the anticipated time and resources required.

What Does A CPA Do?

A CPA is a trusted financial and tax advisor who helps individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan and reach their bank account goals.

Accounting is the foundation of every organization, and we recommend finding the best accounting service for your small business.

CPAs collect data, report on the financial standing of an organization, and provide recommendations to improve performance.

A CPA assists with tax planning and tax preparation when tax season rolls around. A CPA's primary goal is to help you make smart financial decisions that will benefit your business now and in the future.

CPAs leverage their deep understanding of tax laws and financial planning to assist in future planning, risk management, and accurate record-keeping, offering dependable advice that supports the success of both individuals and organizations.

How Do I Find a Reputable Tax Consultant?

As a small business owner, you can find a reputable tax consultant by seeking recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, colleagues, or professional networks.

You can also verify credentials and qualifications, ensuring the consultant is a certified tax professional with relevant experience.

In our case, we checked for affiliations with reputable organizations like the IRS and professional tax associations.

Furthermore, you can read online reviews and testimonials to gauge the consultant's track record and client satisfaction.

Finally, schedule an initial consultation to discuss your needs and assess the consultant's expertise and communication skills.

CPA firms, including 1800accountant, provide specialized financial services to support small businesses, with information accessible through their websites.

To find local CPA firms, a Google search can help identify potential services.

We advise inquiring about their rates, services, and any discounts to optimize accounting expenses.

We also recommend, seeking advice from tax professionals or certified financial planners during tax season for financial planning and compliance.

Related Articles:


What Is a Preparer Tax Identification Number in CPA?

A Preparer Tax Identification Number in CPAs is a 9-digit number the IRS assigns to paid tax return preparers. A valid PTIN must be obtained before you can begin accepting and preparing tax returns for compensation.

This identification number aids in maintaining accurate records, facilitating efficient tax filing processes, and ensuring tax compliance.

How Much Does a CPA Cost for a Small Business?

A CPA costs an average fee of between $75 and $400 for a small business, depending on your location, what type of service they provide, and your financial situation.

Some CPAs charge for the time, while others charge based on a monthly or annual fee.

How Important Is CPA?

A CPA is important as it plays a crucial role in today's financial landscape. With their extensive knowledge and expertise in accounting, taxation, and financial regulations, CPAs provide valuable assistance to individuals, businesses, and organizations during tax season.



About The Author

Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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4 thoughts on “How Much Does a CPA Cost? (Business Taxes Charge Breakdown)

  1. Thanks for pointing out that a small business CPA can also help a lot in preparing all the deductions that could be filed during tax season. I’d like to find a good one soon because I plan to open a family restaurant near where I live. Being able to have a CPA for that would be a good idea in the long run.

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