Breaking Down the Cost of Tax Advice for Small Businesses

Discover how much for tax advice small business costs, factors influencing fees, and tips to choose the right advisor. Optimize your finances today!


When running a small business, understanding how much for tax advice small business can save you is crucial. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Average Cost: $175 – $820 for business income tax preparation.
  • Factors: Business complexity, bookkeeping quality, CPA’s expertise, and hourly vs. fixed fees.

Tax advice is essential for navigating complex regulations and maximizing your savings. Professional guidance can help you avoid costly IRS penalties and make the most of available deductions.

Get the facts you need to make informed decisions.

Tax Advice Cost Breakdown

The Importance of Professional Tax Advice for Small Businesses

Complexity of Taxes

Taxes for small businesses aren’t just about filling out forms. They involve understanding various tax codes, regulations, and deadlines. For instance, different business structures require different forms: sole proprietorships use Form 1040 with Schedule C, while S corporations file Form 1120-S.

tax forms - how much for tax advice small business

A small mistake can lead to big problems. According to the National Society of Accountants, the average cost for a Form 1120 (corporation) was $826 in 2017. This isn’t just about the money spent but also about ensuring accuracy. An error in this form could lead to audits or penalties.

IRS Penalties

The IRS doesn’t take mistakes lightly. Even a simple error can result in penalties. For example, failing to file a tax return can result in a penalty of 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month the return is late, up to 25%.

Imagine this:
A small business owner, thinking they could handle their taxes, missed a crucial deadline. They ended up paying hundreds in penalties, far more than the cost of hiring a professional.

Audit Risks

Audits are time-consuming and stressful. The IRS selects returns for audits based on various factors, including discrepancies and unusual deductions. Having a professional handle your taxes reduces the risk of errors that could trigger an audit.

Case Study:
One small business, after years of self-filing, faced an audit due to inconsistencies. They spent weeks gathering documents and clarifying transactions. Had they hired a professional, these inconsistencies might have been caught early, avoiding the audit altogether.

Professional tax advice helps you navigate these complexities, avoid penalties, and reduce audit risks. It’s an investment that can save you time, money, and stress.

Let’s dive into the costs involved in getting this essential advice.

How Much Does Tax Advice Cost for Small Businesses?

When it comes to small business tax advice, costs can vary widely. Let’s break down the main types of fees and the factors that affect them.

Hourly Rates

Many tax professionals charge by the hour. This rate can range from $150 to $450 per hour, depending on their experience, location, and specialization. For instance, a CPA with experience in your industry might charge on the higher end of this range.

Fixed Fees

Some tax advisors offer fixed fees for specific services. This can be beneficial if you want to know upfront how much you’ll be spending. For example, preparing a business income tax return might cost between $175 and $820. The exact fee depends on the complexity of your return and the advisor’s pricing structure.

Average Costs

On average, small business owners can expect to spend between $1,000 and $1,500 annually on tax preparation and advisory services. However, this can vary significantly based on several factors:

  • Complexity of Your Returns: If your business operates in multiple states or has multiple entities, the cost will be higher.
  • Quality of Bookkeeping: Well-organized and accurate records can reduce the time a CPA needs to spend, thus lowering your bill.
  • Time Needed to File: The more time-consuming your tax situation, the higher the cost. This includes fixing any errors in your records.
  • CPA Expertise: More experienced CPAs or those with specialized knowledge often charge more.

Factors Affecting Cost

Let’s look at some specific factors that can influence how much you’ll pay for tax advice:

Complexity of Returns: Businesses with simple tax situations (e.g., a sole proprietorship with straightforward income and expenses) will pay less than those with complex financial structures.

Bookkeeping Quality: If your financial records are well-organized and error-free, your CPA will spend less time sorting through them, reducing your costs.

Time Needed: Many CPAs charge an hourly rate in addition to a flat fee. The more time they need to spend on your taxes, the higher your bill.

CPA Expertise: CPAs with more experience or specialized skills in your industry might charge more, but they can also provide more valuable advice.

Example: A small business owner in the retail sector hired a CPA for both bookkeeping and tax preparation. Initially, the cost was high due to disorganized records. However, after implementing a better bookkeeping system, their annual tax preparation costs dropped by 30%.

By understanding these costs and factors, you can make informed decisions about hiring a tax advisor and managing your expenses.

Next, we’ll explore how to choose the right tax advisor for your small business.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Tax Advice

When it comes to how much for tax advice small business should expect to pay, several key factors come into play. Let’s break down these factors to help you understand what influences the cost.

Complexity of Returns

The more complex your tax returns, the higher the cost. If your business operates across multiple states, rents real estate, or involves multiple business entities, expect to pay more. According to DeMercurio Advisors, these complexities require specialized knowledge and more time, driving up the cost.

Example: A small business with operations in three states and multiple revenue streams will likely pay more for tax advice than a single-state operation with straightforward income.

Bookkeeping Quality

The state of your financial records significantly impacts the cost of tax advice. If your books are well-organized, comprehensive, and error-free, your CPA will spend less time sorting through them. This can lower your costs. On the flip side, disorganized records can lead to higher fees as the CPA will need to clean up your books before even starting on your taxes.

Fact: According to a SCORE report, 40% of small business owners find bookkeeping and taxes to be the worst part of owning a business, often due to the time and complexity involved.

Time Needed

The amount of time a CPA needs to spend on your tax returns is another major cost factor. Most CPAs charge by the hour, so the more time-consuming your tax situation, the higher the bill. This is closely tied to the complexity of your returns and the quality of your bookkeeping.

Statistic: Most small business owners spend over 41 hours on tax preparation each year, with 40% spending more than 80 hours, according to SCORE.

CPA Expertise

The level of expertise your CPA brings to the table can also influence costs. CPAs with specialized knowledge in your industry or complex tax issues may charge higher rates. However, their expertise can also lead to greater tax savings and a higher quality of service.

Quote: “You get what you pay for. Low cost often equals low service/quality,” notes a small business owner on Reddit.

Understanding these factors can help you budget more accurately for tax advice and make informed decisions about hiring a tax advisor. Next, we’ll explore how to choose the right tax advisor for your small business.

How to Choose the Right Tax Advisor for Your Small Business

Choosing the right tax advisor can make a big difference for your small business. Here are some key factors to consider:


How long have they been practicing? Experience matters. A seasoned tax advisor has likely encountered situations similar to yours. They can navigate complex tax issues with ease. For example, an experienced advisor can help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure compliance with ever-changing tax laws.


Do they specialize in small business taxes? If you’re a small business owner, you need someone who understands your unique needs. A tax advisor with a specialization in small business taxes can offer tailored advice and strategies. They are familiar with the deductions and credits that can save you money.


What do their clients say? Reputation is crucial. Look for reviews and testimonials from other small business owners. A tax advisor with a good reputation is more likely to provide quality service. For instance, a business owner on Reddit mentioned paying a bit more for a reputable advisor but found it worth the investment due to the service quality.

Personalized Service

How often will you communicate? You need a tax advisor who is available throughout the year, not just during tax season. Regular communication ensures that you stay on top of any tax-related issues and can make informed decisions. Ask about their preferred mode of communication—some may prefer emails, while others are more responsive to phone calls.

By considering these factors—experience, specialization, reputation, and personalized service—you can find a tax advisor who meets your needs and helps you achieve your financial goals.

Next, we’ll discuss ways to minimize tax advisory costs.

Ways to Minimize Tax Advisory Costs

Keeping tax advisory costs low is crucial for small businesses. Here are four effective strategies to help you save:

Organized Records

Keeping your financial records organized and error-free can significantly lower the cost of tax advice. When your CPA can easily understand your bookkeeping and access supporting documentation, they spend less time sorting through disorganized files. This reduces the hours billed for their services.

Tip: Use simple accounting software to keep your records up-to-date. The time you invest in maintaining accurate records can save you money in the long run.

In-House Bookkeeping

Having an in-house bookkeeper can also cut down on costs. While hiring a bookkeeper might seem like an additional expense, it can save you money on CPA fees. A bookkeeper can handle routine tasks like tracking expenses, managing invoices, and preparing financial statements, leaving the more complex tasks to your CPA.

Example: According to SCORE, 40% of small business owners feel that bookkeeping and taxes are the worst part of owning a business. An in-house bookkeeper can take this burden off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

Strategic Planning

Paying your CPA to create a tax strategy for your business can lead to long-term savings. A well-thought-out tax strategy can help you identify potential deductions and credits, reducing your overall tax liability.

Quote: “A CPA with expertise in your industry will likely have some suggestions for how you can save money with the IRS,” notes a SmartAsset article. Investing in a tax strategy can save you more than it costs, especially if it helps you avoid costly IRS penalties.

NR Tax and Consulting

At NR Tax and Consulting, we specialize in helping small businesses like yours minimize tax advisory costs. Our team offers personalized services tailored to your unique needs. We focus on:

  • Organizing your financial records to ensure they are thorough and error-free.
  • Providing in-house bookkeeping solutions to manage routine financial tasks efficiently.
  • Developing strategic tax plans to help you save money and avoid penalties.

By partnering with us, you can streamline your tax processes, reduce costs, and focus on what you do best—running your business.

Next, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about tax advice for small businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tax Advice for Small Businesses

How much should I budget for small business tax advice?

Budgeting for tax advice can be tricky since costs vary based on several factors. According to the National Society of Accountants, the average cost for tax preparation in 2017 was:

  • $457 for an itemized Form 1040 with a Schedule C and a state tax return.
  • $826 for a Form 1120 (corporation).
  • $809 for a Form 1120S (S corporation).

For simpler tasks, like a Form 1040 with a Schedule A, the cost averaged $273. That these prices can fluctuate based on your business’s complexity, the region you’re in, and the CPA’s experience.

Is it worth hiring a tax advisor for my small business?

Absolutely. Even if you have a good grasp of your finances, a tax advisor can provide several benefits:

  • Time-saving: SCORE found that 40% of small business owners spend over 80 hours a year on bookkeeping. A tax advisor can take this burden off your shoulders.
  • Error reduction: Tax advisors are trained to catch mistakes that could lead to costly IRS penalties.
  • Expert advice: They can help you navigate complex tax laws and find deductions you might miss on your own.

How can I ensure I’m getting value from my tax advisor?

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your tax advisor, consider these tips:

  • Keep organized records: The more organized your books, the less time your tax advisor will spend sorting through them, which can reduce costs.
  • Ask for a tax strategy: A good tax advisor will help you plan ahead to maximize deductions and minimize liabilities.
  • Check their experience and specialization: Make sure they have experience with businesses similar to yours.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your investment in a tax advisor pays off in the long run.


Investing in expert tax advice can make a significant difference for your small business. The complexities of tax laws and the potential for costly errors make it crucial to have a knowledgeable advisor on your side.

Professional tax advisors can help you navigate the intricate tax landscape, ensuring you comply with regulations and take advantage of all available deductions. This not only minimizes your tax liabilities but also helps you avoid penalties from the IRS.

NR Tax and Consulting specializes in providing personalized tax advice tailored to the unique needs of small businesses. Our team of experts stays updated on the latest tax laws and strategies, helping you maximize your savings and minimize your stress.

By partnering with us, you’re not just hiring a tax advisor; you’re gaining a long-term ally dedicated to your business’s financial health and growth.

Ready to take control of your business taxes? Contact NR Tax and Consulting today to learn how we can help you achieve your financial goals.

Invest in expert advice, stay compliant, and focus on what you do best—running your business.

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