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In my earlier note I deliberately fudged on the question of charging by forms vs. charging by time spent. You can do it either way.

I said it would depend on the "complexity of the return", and I certainly stand by that.

We generally charge by the time spent, adjusting for a variety of factors. I don't know what kind of a number we'd use for Schedule B. You can have 1-2 interest and dividend items, or a list longer than my weekly grocery list. (A good argument for keeping all your stocks in a brokerage account - you only get 1 1099-DIV.) But whether you define it as charging by the hour, or charging by the number of entries, you're essentially doing the same thing.

Schedule D - same thing. Very simple, perhaps, or a nightmare in the case of an obsessive-compulsive day trader. And in the case of someone who sells a business interest, the number of entries doesn't begin to reflect the work that went into it.

Schedule E - you can probably use a standard rate for a rental property, but in the case of partnerships, S-Corporation, and trusts (in which most of our clients are involved to some degree), the work we do for our clients involves a lot of time spent not reflected in the number of entries on the form.

In summary, I stick with my earlier advice. When you ask around, ask about fees.

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