How much do accountants charge for tax returns?

Sep 12, 2023 | Business

Whether you’re an individual wrestling with multiple income streams or a business owner managing your company’s expenses, it’s often worth recruiting a professional to handle your tax returns for you. But how much do accountants charge for tax returns services?

In this blog, we’ll break down what you can expect to pay for different tax return services, exploring average price ranges, common billing structures, and factors that can influence accountants’ prices.

By understanding these aspects, you can make an informed decision and find the right accounting services that fit your budget and needs. Let’s get started.


Average fees for professional tax returns

Tax return service fees can vary wildly based on the size of your business, the complexity of your finances and the level of expertise required to complete your returns.


Self-assessment tax returns

Self-assessment customers can usually expect to pay the following accountancy fees:

  • £150 to £350 for a standard one-off self-assessment submission service
  • £200 to £500 for itemised returns with a wide range of deductions
  • £600 to £2,000+ for those with more complex tax affairs (e.g. company directors or high-net-worth individuals).

If you’re in a business partnership, you’ll also need to consider partnership tax return fees, which will also vary depending on your business.


Corporation tax returns

As corporation tax returns and statutory accounts preparation are often more complicated, limited companies usually face higher tax return fees compared to individuals and partnerships:

  • Smaller companies: £300 to £1,000
  • Medium-sized companies: £800 to £6,000
  • Major corporations: £10,000+

However, these are only rough figures. You’ll generally pay less for a stripped-down tax return service, or more if you also want your accountant to create and implement an in-depth tax strategy. This also applies to accountancy fees for services such as quarterly VAT returns submission.


How do accountants bill for tax returns?

Many accountants quote flat rates, especially for more straightforward services such as self-assessment tax returns.

Other common billing approaches include:

  • Hourly billing: Some accountants charge for returns based on their standard hourly rate. In this case, your total bill will depend on how long your accountant needs to spend on your return.
  • Monthly retainer: Many businesses choose to pay their accountant a recurring monthly fee for a set number of hours. This may make it easier for you to budget accordingly, and can be particularly helpful if you need to file quarterly VAT returns or access additional services.
  • Project fee: One fixed total fee for the complete tax return project.


What impacts accountant fees?


Tax return fees are typically straightforward if you’re a freelancer or self-employed individual with one or two revenue streams and simple deductions. But as your business finances or personal wealth grows, the complexity of your returns increases. As a result, the following factors will usually affect how much your accountant charges:

  • Multiple income streams: The more income streams you have, the more complicated your tax return will be. In some cases, you may even need to submit multiple returns.
  • Foreign income: Money earned abroad often comes with additional tax implications. This could require your accountant to spend extra time ensuring compliance with international tax laws, which usually means extra cost.
  • Investments: If you invest in stocks, bonds or even cryptocurrency, this can add another layer of complexity to your tax return.
  • Company directors: Directors often pay themselves a combination of salary and dividends. Depending on your circumstances, this can save you a lot of money on your tax bill — but it can also make your tax returns more complicated.



Need an accountant with a particular set of skills? Well, just like anything else, expertise costs money.

  • Investment advice: If you’ve got a hefty investment portfolio, you’ll likely need an accountant who understands the tax system inside and out.
  • Business tax planning: Want save money on your corporate tax return? An expert accountant will know how to make the most of your allowable expenses and industry-specific tax breaks to cut your bill down to size.
  • International trading: Tax returns for large multinational businesses often require an interdisciplinary team of experts. You’ll need specialist support if you want to navigate the international tax landscape with ease.


Additional services

Many accountancy firms may also provide other services for an additional fee, such as:

  • financial planning
  • business structuring
  • auditing
  • budgeting and forecasting
  • payroll management


Get a good return on your investment

As a good rule of thumb, tax return preparation fees will scale up depending on how in-depth you need them to be. However, if you want to certain of the cost, you should speak to an accountant.

Meeting with a professional to discuss their fees and the tax return services they can provide can help you make a well-informed financial decision. It’s important to weigh up all your options carefully — that way, you can ensure you get a good return on your investment.

So how much do accountants charge for tax return services? Contact us today for a free consultation.

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