Here is a comment from a cross border tax specialist
Petros, $250-$300 for a cross border US tax return an accountant that does not understand cross border tax. A good tax accountant would not even prepare a Canadian return for that fee. Check what H&R Block is charging for Canadian tax returns and remember they are essentially uneducated form fillers.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the complexities involved in filing a US tax return while living, working and investing in a foreign country?
There are considerable differences in a number of income items – the calculation of capital gains for example. How about Form 3520 which is commonly applicable to “average” Canadians? Form 5471? Again not an uncommon form for a Canadian. How about PFIC issues – do you know about those? Should you claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion? There’s a very good reason not to claim it. And don’t forget to add in Form 8938 this year. How about the time it takes to explain to the clients the issues on their returns because they want to understand what’s happening their tax returns and explain the differences between the Canadian and US tax return.
As a cross border tax specialist I’m tired of the comments that people are being gouged on fees. Most have no idea of the complexities involved their tax returns not to mention the education and knowledge required to be a cross border specialist.
How much does a plumber charge per hour? Looked at the shop rate for getting your car fixed lately? Ask Moody’s what the hourly rates are for their staff or what their quote was for the 2011 OVDI program. $700 for 3 Canadian simple, salaried employee returns = $233 per return. And you think that a US tax return should be $250 – $300?! You clearly have no idea what is required to be a tax professional and it would seem not a clear understanding of what is required to complete a US tax return for someone living, working and investing outside the US.
Ok enough ranting back to work.