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About Fees

Charges for services are loosely based at hourly rates from $225 to $350 (plus my out of pocket costs). Services such as estate planning / and tax returns, and formation of business entities can be handled for a flat fee. These rates are determined by the complexity of work, the time pressures involved, and the dollar values of the related assets or transactions. This type of fee arrangement in the industry is referred to as “Value Pricing” – wherein dealing with higher dollar values means I incur higher risk at various levels, for which it is only fair that I am compensated. When a client’s needs are such that there is regular and ongoing work is required, it typically makes sense to use a flat monthly retainer. Retainers are collected at the first of the month for services provided during the ensuing month.

After a prospective client has been "pre-qualified" via a telephone conversation, the initial "let's get acquainted meeting" is scheduled; the first hour is on me. This is when the needs of the prospective client are presented and we learn if there exists a basis for a professional relationship. Tax or financial planning advice is not provided to non-clients; thus tax planning and business advice is not provided during the initial telephone consultation. At the end of the first meeting, I may ask the prospect to sign my engagement letter. This letter outlines both of our responsibilities for working together. The engagement letter will also state payment terms, and my privacy policy. In some cases I will require a retainer fee before the commencement of work.

During the free initial consultation we can determine which type of fee structure is best suited to your situation and (in some cases) estimate the total costs for services. Typically it is a combination of the two (I will charge a flat fee for forming a corporation, and filing related forms, then go to an hourly rate for future accounting and other tax / planning related services, and then determine if “Value Pricing” would be applicable.

Because mine is a small firm, I do not have as large an overhead often encountered by other firms. It is not my intention to be function as a low cost leader, but I do seek to be competitive. Hourly rates are subject to change without notice to non-clients. In general, fees including incorporation and start-up expenses are tax deductible expenses for a business or sole proprietor.

"Quick questions" policy. Unlike at most professional firms, at my discretion there may be occasions when I will not charge for infrequent and short telephone conversations or brief emailed questions. Not all "quick" questions are quick at all and cannot be addressed without additional research or calculations. There may be many unique or "gray areas" in each individual set of circumstances that require research and analysis to arrive at an opinion, solution, or a set of options. If a call goes longer than 15-minutes or it takes me that long to reply to an e-mail, my timer is engaged.

There are generally no per-page charges for photo copying or neither faxing, nor additional charges for U.S. Mail postage. If comparing hourly rates or flat fees with other CPAs it is a good idea to inquire what services and costs the hourly rate quoted covers, and what will be billed additionally. For example, the flat-fee costs for LLC formation and incorporation packages do not include many services required and offered at additional costs (e.g., EIN number, S corporation election, employer payroll tax and business license setup assistance).