Monday, April 14, 2008


I spend a lot time thinking about what my work product is worth to my customers. What is the value I provide to them.

1040 clients especially like to complain about the bill.

I have one new 1040 client that has been, frankly, just a pain in the side. I don't think it is intentional on his part. His wife died suddenly last fall, and she took care of the finances. She had also just retired, so there wasn't as much withholding. When I told him he owed money on the return he basically freaked.

Turns out this gentleman had always gone to H & R Block in the past. I looked at the 2006 return - beyond aggressive bordering on tax evasion was the approach taken on Schedule C and possibly on Form 2106. They also missed a $150 credit on the Michigan return; I'll file an amended return for him after April 15 for that.

Let's get back on track: what am I worth to my customers. H & R Block charged him $409. And it was wrong. Another return I saw that was prepared by Jackson Hewitt charged about the same amount for a very simple return.

I am rapidly moving away from billing based on hours. I don't believe in it. If I were to do that for return described above, I would be billing this guy at least $1,500. Unbelievable number of phone calls. But $1,500 isn't a fair value on the return.

Shouldn't I get a good deal more though than H & R Block. My CPA certificate is dated 1986.

I'm raising ALL of my 1040 prices next year. I'm worth more than H & R Block.

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