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F in the Chat For All the Clients Losing Their CPAs to Higher Fees This Year

happy and sad figures

An incredible phenomenon is underway, one that many tax pros have been begging their compadres to get on board with for years: CPAs are increasing their fees. In some cases so high that clients are pushing back, going their own way (rather, threatening to…they’ll be back), or shopping around for someone new. Surely they won’t have any problem finding someone who will do it cheaper!

This guy graduated #1 in accounting so he should have no problems DIYing.

This guy generated quite the buzz:

Advice column:

My Tax Preparer Just Raised Her Fees — What Should I do? Oblivious Investor

  • My tax guy just told me he’s going to be charging about 40% more this year for our return, relative to what he charged for the last several years. What should I do?
  • My tax preparer told me her price is increasing to [whatever dollar amount]. Is that reasonable for [a particular level of return complexity]?
  • My CPA’s hourly rate just increased to $250. That seems insane. Do CPAs really make $10,000 per week during tax season?*

Double L for this person on Reddit:

Tax Prep Fee
byu/Terrible-Chip-3049 intax
byu/Terrible-Chip-3049 from discussion

Some random forum:

Just wondering if my CPA fees were reasonable? I’ve experience fee creep over the last few years and the creep seems to be on a much higher level than inflation itself would suggest. My CPA is actually an EA, not a CPA and he prepares a joint personal tax return for myself and wife, and a corporate tax return for my small business S-corp. He does the federal and CA filings. He also includes the tax return for three children (two of whom are adults but earn no income other than investments). Fee is $4000

I have no problem with the accountant and feels he knows what he’s doing. However, recently he contacted his clients to let them know he is moving to a lawyer type fee structure ie: additional hourly charges for any issues that you may want him to answer.

I felt that $4000 was enough and am now thinking of abandoning ship before I figure out how much is really enough for him. Previous accountants have always had a fee structure where you paid them per return but could call them anytime throughout the year and ask questions. I don’t like this new arrangement and was wondering if it was common and what kind of rates others were paying.

“You can take the tax preparation class yourself for under $200”

And now for a little encouragement. Read and internalize this message.

byu/fupapatrol29 from discussion

Remember, clients are having a harder time finding a professional than you are finding clients. You’re the hot girl on Tinder, they’re the guy holding up a dead fish who didn’t even fill out his profile.

Bonus late addition:



One thought on “F in the Chat For All the Clients Losing Their CPAs to Higher Fees This Year

  1. Loved the TNT_CPA letter! Laughed at the student graduating #1 in their class thinking they knew it all – any of us that have prepared taxes for decades know that he will be in trouble!

    People don’t get how much time Congress and the IRS have added to tax prep with their constant additions – like the years we became health insurance compliance police for the government.

    I found that multiple times if I raised my rates 25%, I averaged less than a 10% loss of clients, and they were typically ones that I wanted to lose.

    I once fired a client the end of March, and he came back begging for me to take him back on April 10th – I doubled his fee and collected it up front! A couple years later I fired him again as he wanted a big discount, I gave him a 100% discount and told him I was done. Ten months later he was back begging for us to take him on as no one was as good as us. He paid the back fee I had discounted, agreed to a half dozen changes we demanded, including switching from QB Desktop to QBO. A couple years later he started giving lip over a female employee. I told him she was my best employee and was the expert in our office on the software he was complaining about, and that he could either treat her with total respect or show himself the door. Two years later he treats her with respect, and now he gets us all his information timely and we don’t need to be preparing his taxes in September and October, they’re all submitted early! When I got tough with him, he learned to comply, and has now become a great client. I also told my female employee that she is authorized to be tough if he gets out of line, and she can fire him if he is out of compliance with the way he treats her.


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