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Individual Tax Return Preparation

Individual Tax Return Preparation

Posted Saturday, May 15, 2021

For individual tax returns, we competitively offer a simple fee range of $600 to $800. Think of our fee range as easy, medium and hard (we’re from Colorado, so we think in green circles, blue squares and black diamonds). Having said that, we try to maintain historical fees for returning clients… but that is not synonymous with fees never increasing (sorry). Our amazing staff of accounting professionals is impacted by the increased cost of living just like anyone else.

Your tax preparation fee is not dependent on the number of forms used to prepare your tax returns. That’s old school. Rather your fee will depend on the amount of time required to accurately and comprehensively prepare your tax returns. Let’s not forget basic disorganization, advanced disorganization, disguised disorganization and misrepresented organization which can all increase your tax preparation fee.

We only have time on this earth to sell, and we cannot inventory it nor is it refundable. Therefore, our fees are an attempt to coincide with expected time spent. You can help by being organized and using our simple, customized PDF forms. Unlike other tax accounting firms, we are comfortable giving solid price quotes and guaranteeing our work. We’ve been doing this for a while, and we know what it takes.

You might also benefit from our Tax Patrol Service which is tax preparation + planning and periodic chats throughout the year. Check it out!

Taxable events that might increase preparation time include-

  • Multiple state tax returns
  • Rental properties, sales, AirBNB, VRBO
  • 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges
  • Small Business, Home Office
  • Sale of primary residence
  • Stock and other asset sales
  • Day trading, mark to market
  • K-1 income, K-1 dispositions (sales)
  • Debt cancellation
  • Foreign earned income exclusions
  • Non-U.S. citizens
  • Extensive tax treaty research

As mentioned, not using our simple, customized fillable PDF organizers and worksheets to summarize your receipts, transactions, notes, etc. might significantly increase preparation time and subsequent preparation fee. We sound like your mother, but you truly are the most intimate with your financial and tax worlds- we only peer into your life for a limited amount of time in an attempt to know everything. So, please help us help you!

However, we don’t mind organizing your stuff too if asked- that’s what we do so you don’t have to. Sipping on some coffee in our PJs watching re-runs of Law and Order, wondering if Jack is going to win the big case, all while tallying up receipts is no problem at all.

Small Business Owners and Rental Properties

Most rental property or small business owners can expect to pay between $600 to $800 for tax preparation. If you are both a landlord and a business owner, you can expect our fee to be on the higher end of our range (with a referral for a psych eval – just kidding). A lot of small business owners and rental property owners miss out on tax deductions for not knowing how to position themselves correctly. For example, deducting travel expenses to and from your rental. Or the optimized way to deduct cell phones, mileage and home offices. Please click on the buttons below for more information on rental property tax preparation and small business tax preparation… also check out our Tax Patrol services which includes tax planning!

Example Time!

Here are some examples of various individual (Form 1040) tax return preparation fees…

  • One state, two rentals. Higher side of $600 to $800.
  • Two states, no rentals. Higher side of $600 to $800 (multiple states can be a pain since they don’t play nice… not naming names on some particularly difficult ones, but one rhymes with dork and the other had a lot of gold at one point).
  • One state, five rentals. $800 to $1,000.
  • One state, some investment K-1s. Higher  side of $600 to $800.
  • A bunch of investment K-1s. $800 to $1,000 depending on states (again, darn states).
  • One state, two rentals that were sold. $800 to $1,000.

Each state beyond one usually adds $100 to $150 to the tax preparation fee depending on the apportionment rules and time spent sorting it all out.

Each rental beyond 2-3 usually adds $75 to $100 to the tax preparation fee.

Investment K-1s (such as a publicly traded partnership) can be quite complex especially if held in a brokerage account since the activities are reported twice (1099-B and K-1), and several adjustments are needed. Yuck!

Unsure? Let’s review last year’s tax return, discuss the differences for this year, and develop a plan that make sense to everyone.

Expats and Ex-patriates

Most expats can expect to pay between $600 to $800, and this includes your physical presence or bona fide residency tests to compute your foreign earned income exclusion. We also determine your foreign housing allowance or exclusion, and help with Social Security and retirement planning issues. Please click on the button below for more expat tax preparation information including additional fees for FBAR, Form 5471 and Form 5472-

Non-resident aliens or anyone who has a United States tax fling requirement or obligation who are not citizens, our tax preparation fee range increases slightly to $700 to $800. This usually involves extensive tax treaty research, overnight mailings, Power of Attorney documentation and a slew of special handling to ensure your tax consequence is correctly handled.

Tax Planning

WCG offers a lot more than just a tax return. Tax returns are boring. Most CPAs are boring and are not forward-thinkers.

The uneasiness of not knowing your tax obligations is avoidable! Got a big fat raise (booyeah!)? Just sold a rental? Your spouse is going back to work? Let’s do some tax planning and see if you should spring for the new car, or stick with the lightly used one. Tax planning is a valuable service that most tax professionals don’t readily offer… but WCG does! It is included in our Tax Patrol Services. Click the buttons below for more information. Riveting!

Lots of Moving Parts

Most of our clients fit into the buckets above. Then again we have several clients with a ton going on. We have a handful of clients than have over 30 rentals each. We have day-traders with Schedule D entries that rack up 15 pages. We have investors who flip 10-12 homes per year… nuts! These clients are the minority, not just to WCG (formerly Watson CPA Group) but to the general taxpaying public. But if this is you, we can offer a competitive fee range based on your previous tax returns to give you peace of mind of your tax preparation fee. We are not out for the quick money grab and maintain a long-term vision with our clients.

Our fees always include a joint tax return with a state tax return, and of course eFiling (who the heck charges for that anymore?). We can also do a married filing separate analysis to determine the tax benefit if any, and also determine how each taxpayer contributed to the tax consequence (for example, for divorcing couples).

Individual Tax Return Preparation

Leverage Your Tax Returns

WCG (formerly Watson CPA Group) is not just a bunch of tax preparers who shuffle some numbers and plop them into a 100-page PDF. We want to help you understand the nuts and bolts of the numbers so together we can leverage more out of your tax returns. How are you affected by AMT? What can be done? What does allowing your child to claim themselves and take education credits do for the “family unit?” What are the rules for making a rental property a primary residence and saving some capital gains tax upon subsequent sale? What about cost segregation for your rental properties to accelerate depreciation? Do we call grandma’s house a rental or a second home? IRA versus Roth, and the effects of each.

Reviewing what-if scenarios and tax planning is critical to maximizing your wealth.

Tax Return Review

Every client is different. So, we default to not reviewing tax returns with clients unless a) you request it or b) we feel there are material items in your tax returns that require some highlighting and reviewing with you. You are the most intimate with your financial world so your review is essential to the tax return preparation process. Also, we want you to be comfortable with your tax liability; we are not asking you to be happy, but at least comfortable knowing the the numbers are accurate.

As such, we welcome an opportunity to review your tax returns with you, answer any questions you might have, and ensure a comprehensive and accurate tax return is being submitted to the IRS. We never want to stray away from this level of access and customer service. We live in a virtual world, and we use technology as a tool in the tool box, but WCG (formerly Watson CPA Group) never wants to lose focus on our clients’ traditional needs.

Value Proposition

WCG (formerly Watson CPA Group) are tax and business consultants, not just number crunchers. Anyone can balance a checkbook. Anyone can put the right number in the right blanks. But we take a consultative approach to tax preparation. You can always find someone to do it for less- of course. However consider the solid back-end support which you will get with WCG (formerly Watson CPA Group) that other tax preparation companies might not provide. Read more about our Value Proposition here.

We are Colorado Springs CPAs but over 80% of our clients are outside Colorado. We can provide excellent service through modern technology and our client portal. If you live somewhere really cool like Seattle or Madison, our team is more than willing to travel. Even LA has its moments.