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Almost CPA in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

55 months ago

A Latina with a dream in Ontario, California said: Hello Everyone,

Does anyone have any advice on software? Or have used software and can give me som recommendations?

Thanks!

I worked in a public firm for almost two years and I used Pro Series which was very effective and user friendly. I am also wanting to start my own tax preparation on the side at home. How is yours going? Any starter tips would be so appreciated.

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Chuck McCabe in Richmond, Virginia

55 months ago

ProSeries is good, but pricy. We use TaxWise and we have used Drake; both are excellent options. Other options I'm familiar with and can recommend include OLTpro and TaxSlayer.

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pbergmann in Rowley, Iowa

55 months ago

I'm using TaxACT. Very inexpensive, good training, like the product.

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pbergmann in Rowley, Iowa

55 months ago

Chris Tax in Los Angeles, California said: Liberty Corporate tax stores try to average $250 per return. They are totally nuts on this. You want to be about 70.00 for 1040 easy. Increase fees for additional W2, schedule A, Child credit etc. Average around 125.00 per return. Keep your expenses down. You want to focus on Advertising.

Chris

I worked for Liberty last year and was embarassed to ask people to pay those huge fees. Most did because they were after a quick refund.

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Chris Tax in Los Angeles, California

55 months ago

Question: Estimate billable time and number of booking clients needed

How do you estimate billable time?
You have billable time and actual time, plus free time.

How much weekly time do you bill your average client? I will bill flat rate. I want to average bill 4 hours a week at $50.00 per client and have 10 clients. Is my thinking right?

I think you are pushing it with 5 new clients a month. You will have to take some flaky clients in beginning.. New Mom and Pops that 80 per cent will fail for example. It depends on your networking

My background is:
Education
Masters in Public Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Associate Science in Business Information Systems
Accounting classes - Accounting 1A, Accounting 1B, Intermediate Accounting (Upper Division Accounting), and Quickbooks

Work Experience
Eight plus years of increasing responsibilities in Accounting
I am also a 3 yr. registered tax preparer

Chris

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Professional Tax Preparer in Winter Haven, Florida

55 months ago

I use software to track ALL my time and my other employee. I track everything including billable time, CPE time, marketing, admin work, etc. I only have a few clients that get billed by the hour, but I need to track our productivity and also our effective hourly billing rate. Tax preparation, tax planning, and write-up help make the rate higher. Payroll, bookkeeping, and QuickBooks work make it lower because there's only so much you can charge for that.

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Chris Tax in Los Angeles, California

55 months ago

I think you missed my questions or I misstated them
Question: Estimate billable time and number of booking clients needed.

First Question:
Bookkeeping clients want a flat rate. I bill a job for 200.00 per week - that is four hours of billable time at $50.00 per hour. It may take me only 3 hours of actual time. I do realize that extra hour has to account for free services for client. When you talk to a client how do quote a dollar amount?

Second question:
How much weekly time do you bill your average client? I will bill flat rate. I want to average bill 4 hours a week at $50.00 per client and have 10 clients. Is my thinking right?

I think you are pushing it with 5 new clients a month. You will have to take some flaky clients in beginning.. New Mom and Pops that 80 per cent will fail for example. It depends on your networking

Chris

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Professional Tax Preparer in Winter Haven, Florida

55 months ago

Question 1- I quote flat monthly rates to everyone than wants monthly services. The amount depends on the situation and can be anywhere from $100 to $400. I also have them sign an engagement letter stating that thew few can be reviewed once a year. I have 2 that I do work for every week. One of those pays by the hour, because they want to, and the other pays a flat monthly fee of $1,000, with the stipulation that actual hours will be tracked and if the exceed xxx more than 3 times the fee will be adjusted up.

Question 2- Four hours a week is a lot for the average write-up client. Most write-up work should not take more than 2 hours a month for small businesses. The only times you will do 4+ hours per week is if you are providing some sort of outsourced bookkeeping where you do everything for them (live payroll, A/P, A/R, etc). By the way, $50 per client per weeek for 4 hours is only $12.50 an hour. Seems low to me. Also, trust me- it will take you some time (or a lot of marketing) to get 10 write-up or bookkeeping clients. It's not as easy as people think.

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Chris Tax in Los Angeles, California

55 months ago

Follow up

I meant 50.00 per hour as billable.

Question1:
How much time would an solid average mechanic or solid Restaurant take per month?

Question 2
I am in the mind set of working for a large corp would you do alot of daily transactions. I have never done straight bookkeeping. I have taken thru Intermediate Accounting (Upper division). Please explain what services you usually provide to a client. What is a write up client?

Chris

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Professional Tax Preparer in Wesley Chapel, Florida

55 months ago

Question 1- it really depends on what you are doing for them. 90% of the business clients I have don't really want someone to provide services that an in house bookkeeper would provide, such as live payroll, daily A/P and A/R, transactions, etc. And this is true of the CPA I worked for as well. Most of them pay their own bills and keep track of how much money is in the bank throughout the month. Then when the month is over, they send me credit card and bank statements, check stubs, etc and I record everything, reconcile accounts, make journal entries, and give them financial statements. This is known as write-up.

You need to have a solid understanding of accounting to do write-up, because you are also expected to record depreciation and amortization, make adjusting journal entries, produce financial statements with footnotes, sometimes analyze financial statements, etc. It depends on the client.

Like I said, most write-up work takes 2 hours per month or less if you are good at it and after you have set up the client in your accounting system.

The problem with trying to provide true weekly/daily bookkeeping is that most business owners are smart enough to recognize they can get someone to do it in house for $13-15 an hour so they are not going to pay you $50 an hour to do the same thing. They will however pay $50 an hour for an accountant to do the higher level work, ie write-up.

I also provide payroll services, from live payroll to after the fact payroll, and can process all payroll tax forms for federal and state.

Getting into "bookkeeping" is not very lucrative. You need to market yourself as a qualified accountant (if your state allows you to) and demonstrate the value added services you can provide that an everyday bookkeeper cannot do.

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Chris Tax in Los Angeles, California

55 months ago

I can market myself as a Masters degree in Administration. I have a Masters in Public Administration. I have taken Intermediate Accounting (Upper Division) I understand what you called the write up process.

Question:
2 hours a month at $50.00 to $75.00 per hour just doesn't seem worth the business? I would think you want with more billable hours per client?

Question 2
Example:
I will pick my mechanic as an example. Very successful, he turns down clients he does not want. He just had a baby and now is closed on Saturday. He has only one employee. He is to busy working on cars to do any bookkeeping business.
He has only one employee. How many hours a month would he require?

chris

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Professional Tax Preparer in Wesley Chapel, Florida

55 months ago

You don't get it. First of all, I do not charge $50 an hour for write-up. I average $125 an hour for write-up. Second, write-up doesn't take that long. You can't create work that isn't there. The only write-up clients that will take more than that write several hundred checks a month and/or use their credit/debit cards A LOT.

For your mechanic, maybe 2-3 hours a week if you are efficient. You will not be doing any A/R because most mechanics collect payment when the car is picked up. Payroll for one employee biweekly should take 10 minutes per payroll or less if you have good software. So you will spend maybe 2 hours a month at the most entering bills and transactions. Then another hour when the month is over to reconcile the accounts and make entries.

It all depends on how efficient you are. And if you are not efficient clients will notice and they will fire you.

As I stated before, you cannot charge $50 to merely perform bookkeeping tasks that an employee would do for $14 an hour. If that is your plan, good luck.

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Professional Tax Preparer in Wesley Chapel, Florida

55 months ago

Sorry meant 2 hours a week entering bills and transactions.

And you clearly do not know what write-up is or you would not have asked.

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Chris Tax in Los Angeles, California

55 months ago

Professional Tax Preparer in Wesley Chapel, Florida said: Sorry meant 2 hours a week entering bills and transactions.

And you clearly do not know what write-up is or you would not have asked.

Thanks for your help.

Chris

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Lola in Zephyrhills, Florida

55 months ago

I think we as tax preparers work hard understanding the IRS new rules and attending seminars to keep the knowledge fresh. I think that $105 for a regular 1040 is fair, $85 for 1040A and $65 for 1040EZ, then charge separarate feed for additional schedules or forms, for example $5 if qualify for EIC, 10$ for Efile $5 for additional tax credit, $20 for itemized deductions. I think this fees are pretty fair. The more complicated the more expensive. What you think? Agree with me?

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Mccoy in Memphis, Tennessee

54 months ago

A Latina with a dream in Ontario, California said: Hello Everyone,

Does anyone have any advice on software? Or have used software and can give me som recommendations?

Thanks!

I use TaxSlayer Pro, Its the best i have tried many diffrent products, and Have staid with TaxSlayer for over 6 years now.. If you have any questions please feel free to email me: lmdmccoy06@yahoo.com

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Mccoy in Memphis, Tennessee

54 months ago

Lola in Zephyrhills, Florida said: I think we as tax preparers work hard understanding the IRS new rules and attending seminars to keep the knowledge fresh. I think that $105 for a regular 1040 is fair, $85 for 1040A and $65 for 1040EZ, then charge separarate feed for additional schedules or forms, for example $5 if qualify for EIC, 10$ for Efile $5 for additional tax credit, $20 for itemized deductions. I think this fees are pretty fair. The more complicated the more expensive. What you think? Agree with me?

COMPLETLY ! my fees are almost alike ! :)

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pbergmann in Manchester, Iowa

54 months ago

I use TaxAct Preparer Edition. Very low cost, has all the bells and whistles and great support and training.

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pbergmann in Manchester, Iowa

54 months ago

Mccoy in Memphis, Tennessee said: I use TaxSlayer Pro, Its the best i have tried many diffrent products, and Have staid with TaxSlayer for over 6 years now.. If you have any questions please feel free to email me: lmdmccoy06@yahoo.com

I use TaxAct, very inexpensive, good support.

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mbailey in Saint Louis, Missouri

54 months ago

When applying for a efin number, does the irs conduct a credit check and background check?

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Chuck McCabe in Richmond, Virginia

54 months ago

To become an Electronic Return Originator (ERO) the IRS requires that you submit your fingerprints taken at your locak police department and they conduct a background check.

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mbailey in Saint Louis, Missouri

54 months ago

Chuck McCabe in Richmond, Virginia said: To become an Electronic Return Originator (ERO) the IRS requires that you submit your fingerprints taken at your locak police department and they conduct a background check.

I was just asking because I thought i mentioned in the irs manual that a credit check would be conducted. I'm aware of the background and fingerprint, but I was thrown off by the credit check?

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A Latina with a dream in Ontario, California

54 months ago

I have a question regarding fees. I have a client that has 10-W2's, 2-1099's and about $15,000 that was paid in personal checks but was not 1099. Since I have not had a client with this type of issue, I am not sure how much to charge her...Any ideas? It took about 3 hours just to go over her paper work and organize,calculate all the checks amounts and enter it. Thanks!

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priscilla udave in Riverside, California

53 months ago

hello, can someone help me with 1099-c (loan modification) I have never dealt with this before so i am in need of some help on how to file this on proseries tax software. If there is anyone out there to be so kind and teach me how to handle, much appreciated. Also if you are in my area (fontana)I will be willing to meet with you and treat you to lunch/dinner while you help me with this or if not you can call me and teach me over the phone, i am willing to pay for the help. thank you Warm regards, Priscilla Udave. my email is priscillaudave@gmail.com

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TaxGuy in Alexandria, Louisiana

53 months ago

I'm a CPA that has a moonlight (because I work an 8-5 day job) sole practitioner tax practice. I use TaxAct Preparer's 1040 Edition software. I really think it is a great software package for the price. I didn't sign up for the RAL's because none of my clients are really interested in that option, although TaxAct offers the option to sign up for this service with three different banks. To answer the question about background or fingerprint checks when applying for a EFIN no., if you are a CPA or an attorney the background/fingerprint check is waived. As for my fee structure, I charge $60/hour (with a minimum of an hour) plus $15 for electronic filing services. Most of my returns take from one to three hours, but I have done some with a schedule C or a schedule F that took over 20 hours to complete.

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CMcCabe in Glen Allen, Virginia

53 months ago

Bookkeeping clients are not that easy to recruit in my experience. Getting 5 per month would be a big accomplishment, but is possible if you have the time to network and call on small business owners. I recommend specializing in certain types of small businesses; i.e., become known as "The Expert" for home businesses or restuarants or nonprofits or medical practices, etc. Our minimum fees for bookkeeping and business tax preparation combined are about $150 per month. It is easier for most small businesses to budget to pay the same amount each month rather than separate year-end and tax preparation fees

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kjm in Clermont, Florida

53 months ago

pbergmann in Rowley, Iowa said: It was great to see a fee schedule that appeared reasonable compared to what I want to charge in my new tax business. I worked at Liberty Tax last year and was blown away by what they charge to do simple returns. I also really like your website.

Do you have a fee schedule from Liberty Tax, by any chance?

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pbergmann in Manchester, Iowa

53 months ago

I don't have a fee schedule from Liberty; I just know I used to discount the heck out of the charges. I did a tax return for a couple from my small town this year; retirement income, W-2 wages and a very small schedule C. H & R block charged them $350 last year. I charged them $55, giving a $15 discount for first year. In this area, $70-$80 dollars is reasonable.

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pbergmann in Manchester, Iowa

53 months ago

Appreciate the comments; I discounted this first year to bring in clients. You have to remember I live in small town Iowa. Average 1040 fees excluding H&R, ect are probably $80 for a 1040 at a tax preparer business. I work out of my home and have little overhead and this is a part time job. I have a full time job that pays me nicely. I just enjoy doing tax work!

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Chuck McCabe in Richmond, Virginia

53 months ago

You should make it clear to your clients that you are giving them a "Special New Client Introductory Discount" so they will not expect the same extremely low price next year. I would give each client an invoice or receipt showing the price you would normally cheage and the amount of the New Client Discount to arrive at thediscounted price. It's easy to reduce prices, but hart to increase them.

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pbergmann in Manchester, Iowa

53 months ago

Yes, I did that. THANKS!

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kjm

53 months ago

I would love to get hold of any of the fee schedules from H&RB, Liberty, or Jackson Hewitt, just to see where they are coming from. As for many of you, if you have the background and keep up with the laws, I think you are under charging. There is a lot of knowledge and education that goes into keeping up with all the tax laws. I agree with Chris, I think the client who paid $350 would have been happy with $150 to $170! ;-)

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Chuck McCabe in Richmond, Virginia

53 months ago

NATP publishes an annual survey of tax preparers' fees

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CA Taxgirl

53 months ago

Hi everyone. Hope tax season has been busy and rewarding for all of you.
I need some advice: what are you guys/girls charging for Schedule E? I just got a client that has 2 rental properties on two different states... Thanx!

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chris tax in Bell, California

53 months ago

How do you deal with a rental property in a different state on state level?
Do you file a state return for out of state rental ?
Please help

Thanks,

Chris

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chris tax in Culver City, California

53 months ago

I would charge 180 to 200 for that return

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chris tax in Culver City, California

53 months ago

you have two types of liberty stores - corporate (because Franchise failed) and franchisee stores. Both have the same fees but Franchise has discounting flexibility to discount. The set fees are high so it is hard to say what a franchise may charge

How do you deal with a rental property in a different state on state level? Do you file a state return for out of state rental ?
Please help

Chris

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pbergmann in Manchester, Iowa

53 months ago

If you have income in another state you would have to file in that state as a non-resident. I would check that state's tax website. What was done last year if they had the property then?

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chris tax in Culver City, California

53 months ago

It was a rental house. No one previously had filed an out of state return. Should i have filed an out of state return for it? Also back yrs returns should have been done ? Most rentals have a loss
trying to learn the correct way to do this

Chris

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angieaang in Farmington, Michigan

53 months ago

For any CPAs and Enrolled Agents, how much do you typically charge for IRS representation services?

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Professional Tax Preparer in Tampa, Florida

53 months ago

It depends on what needs to be done. If I just need to make some phone calls I charge $100 an hour. For amended returns I charge my normal rate for amended returns plus $100 an hour for any phone calls, research, etc related to the notices the client received. For installment agreements for large amounts (over $25k) I charge $300. For audit representation and/or support I charge $150-200 an hour and request a retainer of $500 and I progress bill. I have only done one OIC, and charged $800 for it and collected 50% up front, but it was a simple one and was approved.

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Sheri in Virginia in Newport News, Virginia

53 months ago

I am looking for a little input on E-file fees. I have been preparing taxes for 15 years in a firm with a CPA (I have my BSBA in Bus. Admin. w/conentration in Acct.) My boss and I disagree over prices yearly.

This year it seems to be what to charge for e-filing next year. We currently do not offer e-filing, but will next season. I feel we should increase our tax return prep fees slightly next year and keep the e-file fee to around $15. HE wants to keep tax prep fees about the same but charge at least $20 for e-file. This seems unreasonable to me since most big box stores offer e-file for free. And, I anticipate that if we charge too much to e-file, many of our clients will opt out to avoid having to pay more for an optional service, especially since we have never offered it in the past and that was fine with them.

E-filing will save me a lot of time and money and I want to have as many clients as possible switch over to e-file but don't want to scare them away with high fees.

Any suggestions on average/typical e-filing fees for CPA firms?

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Chuck McCabe in Richmond, Virginia

53 months ago

Regarding fees for e-file, we have not charged extra since about 1989. Now almost all tax firms provide e-file free. It is best to e-file all returns that qualify rather than have two different options. E-file is more efficient and will save the tax preparer money.

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Professional Tax Preparer in Tampa, Florida

53 months ago

I do not charge for e-filing. I almost would be more tempted to charge for clients that insist on paper filing, but thankfully none of them have.

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chris tax in Los Angeles, California

51 months ago

Johnny Man in Phoenix, Arizona said: Here is how much I was charging, jmaccounting.weebly.com/index.html ... yes, for e-file and house calls it seems a bit low, I was charging much lower but will boost it up about $20 dollars on average. It is only to win over some customers.

Jim where are you located?
I am in southern calif. I have paid my dues on taxes - 4 years with Liberty Tax service

My issue is how low do I go for a 1040 EZ? 49.00 59.00 or 69.00?
I have no clients yet. Turbo tax is 60.00. I have done alot of returns plus have taxed 200 hours of tax education. I know what I am doing on a tax return and if I do not know I know to look it up. Client needs to pay for my knowledge. price will never be an issue I will be very easy on prices. I want them as a client plus their r friends and family

Members please provide input

chris

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Chris Tax in Corona, California

51 months ago

Johnny Man in Phoenix, Arizona said: That is a good price, I just need a few more customers and I will be charging a bit higher.
For this tax season, I think I will be switching to a home office to cut costs. H&R Block is my greatest competition too, that is the main reason for my low low rates. I have to steal some customers! :D

johnny

How was your tax season.

Your prices are veryyyy low. You can still be cheap and raise your fees. Basic Turbo tax costs $60.00 plus sales tax. I have worked for Liberty Tax Services corporate and Liberty franchise for 4 years. Block fees will be high. $250.00 - $350.00 return is not uncommon. Block is easy to beat their prices. I just did my prices for next year. I am charging $69.00 for 1040EZ $130.00 for EIC (excluding $25.00 for doing a dependents return) My fees other than 1040 EZ with be between 100.00 and 220.00. My Fees are 50 per cent lower than Block or Liberty. You can increase your prices and still be cheap compared to Block.

Sounds like you need a marketing plan. I learned from my time at Liberty what works and doesn't work on marketing. You have to understand if you put out 500 door hangers for example you should get 2 clients.

I already have a flyer for next year, a marketing calender for the various waves of business, etc. I plan to personally go door to door and pass out flyers in parking lots. I can sell myself. I know the tax game. I am the owner I can quote a price.

Block alienates alot of people with their policies. It is easy to compete with them.

At a Liberty Tax Service Franchise, I have watched the owner argue over an hour with a client over $50.00 difference.

You want the client leaving your store as your friend. He can refer others.

Chris

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April in Puyallup, Washington

50 months ago

Hi. I am the Director of Branch Operations for Noble. We offer a complete tax program for free. We provide tax preparation software, marketing materials, training, support, dial-in assist services, EFIN/PTIN application assistance, and are open all year. Why start your tax season in the hole by purchasing tax software and/or paying for a "package" to include support throughout the year? We register you with our bank which offers the RAL/IRAL/Bank Bonus Deposit/Direct Deposit/Electronic Mailed Check and paper tax returns as well. I would love to give anyone, who desires to add tax preparation services to their business, more information. I can send a demo to show you just how efficient our software is. Contact me at amiller@nobletax.com.

You would be surprised how many well known companies use our software.

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AZ Tax Dude in Phoenix, Arizona

49 months ago

Here are some crazy prices.
jmaccounting.weebly.com/index.html

;X

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Chris Tax in Los Angeles, California

49 months ago

Hi

Do u work for Jim accounting?

What is your client base?

Are u getting those prices ?

I have been in tax business as employee for 4 yrs.
I know tax prices having worked for corporate and franchise Liberty Tax

I work out of my house and when I see a client I want at least $140.00 I start out at 1040X for 69.00 for 1 W2

I bill by the forms

Chris

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Chris Tax in Los Angeles, California

49 months ago

I thought about the Web page

I was very confused about your pricing. I was not sure if they were serious prices or it was trying to be clever. I love marketing in my opinion it was not very effective.

Chris

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