How much would an accountant charge to do 10 years of back taxes for a small business?

A family member of mine owns a small business in which he repairs windshields. He has not filed taxes for 10 years and has asked me to help. If we were to take all the paperwork to an accountant, how much would something like that cost?

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6 Responses to “How much would an accountant charge to do 10 years of back taxes for a small business?”

  1. becky said:

    Depends on the accountant: how much he/she usually charges, if he/she would be willing/able to give your family member a “bulk discount”, things like that. My best guess… a lot.

    Keep in mind, if your family member would have received a refund for any year earlier than 2006, it’s too late to get it – the IRS will only pay back refunds for three years (at this point, 2006-2008; 2006 only until April 15). And if he/she owes for any of those past years, the IRS will likely add interest and/or penalties on top of the tax bill. Not trying to discourage anyone – getting caught up on past-due returns is good – but just to give forewarning.

  2. Max Hoopla said:

    Right now, most accountants are not going to want to talk to you. Come back a few weeks after April 15 has passed.

    You would probably be charged regular rates plus a premium for extra time spent if records had to be reconstructed. There is no set rate but costs will be lower if records are in good order.

    One of the penalties of a self-employed person not filing a timely income tax return is that their income does not credited for social security benefits unless it is filed within three years of the original due date. In the case you mention, the return for 2006 will have to be filed by April 15 or the statute of limitations for getting credit will expire

  3. Wayne Z said:

    It depends.

    Corporation? Sole Proprietorship?

    A few thousand dollars at least.

  4. tro said:

    depends on how much bookwork you have to do
    if he furnishes you very good information that you merely are transferring to the tax returns, however much you usually charge plus extra for being late
    if you have to do the bookwork, that is another story, however much your time is by the hour and what you would charge for the tax prep
    I did this and the major part of my fees was for bookkeeping that I had to straighten out for him, the tax returns were quite simple

  5. mrreliable3599 said:

    It will be expensive, and good luck finding anyone who would do the returns before April 15.

    Accountants have done this before. They know someone who fails to file for 10 years is not going to bring them a nice, neat, balanced set of books. They know the client will probably bring them a paper bag full of incoherent information. Chronic non-filers are notorious. If it’s just a year or two back, that’s one thing. But most accountants know if they start work on something like this, they’ll still have the paperwork cluttering up their office five years from now.

    I’m just saying this to warn of the resistance you’ll get. Expect to pay an up-front retainer. The accountant probably won’t give you a set price because they have no idea what shape the books will be in, but they’ll expect the worst.

  6. Judy said:

    Depends on how complex the business is, but figure a couple thousand dollars at least, possibly a lot more.


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