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Author: irasmilo Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 120800  
Subject: Re: efile - suggestions/advice? Date: 7/21/2006 11:23 AM
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Do most people get an estimate of the bill beforehand?

My new clients do. I'll review their prior year returns and generate an estimated bill. I tell them that I reserve the right to increase the bill if there are significant differences in the fact patterns between the prior year and current year (eg., a new rental property, a Schedule D where none filed in previous year, etc.). However, most often if the return prices out to more than the estimate, I generate the full invoice and discount the fee back to the estimate I provided. When I give them their return and invoice I tell them that they should expect subsequent year's returns to price out closer to the full invoice amount. If the return prices out at less than the estimate, they are billed the lower amount.

Returning clients know that their returns should price out within 10% of the previous year's fee provided there are no significant fact pattern changes or tax law changes which affect the return. If a client wants a formal fee estimate, I'll provide it, but it's rarely asked for.

As to the comment that started this thread -- about charging for errors -- I never charge to amend a return that contains an error that I made. On the other hand, if a client provides new data after a return is filed, that client is charged for the amended return.

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