Fees for Tax Returns for Individuals and Sole Traders
Delays, chasing up missing information, correcting your data and having to re-prepare your return with new information takes more of our time and may increase our fees.
To help keep our fees to a minimum and obtain you the best value from our services:
We provide online questionnaires so you can give us the correct and complete information upfront.
- We provide worksheets and Excel templates to help you present your data in an appropriate and workable format.
We’re available for questions by phone or email to help you get your records in order.
We ask you to send us all the information a week or so before a meeting, to give us the opportunity to check for missing information; to make our meeting more productive.
- We can help sort out your accounting system first – see here.
Tax Returns for Companies, Trusts and Partnerships
Small business partnership, trust and company tax returns with preparation of an annual set of accounts can cost from around $1000 to over $4000 as they have more detailed reporting requirements and vary in complexity. Simpler partnership tax returns usually cost from around $500 to $1000.
If externally prepared accounting records require substantial revision the cost can be increased. To save on accounting fees most clients ask their qualified bookkeeper to check balances and reconcile before we start the annual accounts. Additional time-based fees are charged for ASIC company secretarial, payroll reporting, PAYG and Fringe Benefits lodgments.
Fee estimates can be discussed in a consultation and engagement terms agreed upon once we have reviewed all your information. A review fee may be charged.
Activity Statements BAS IAS PAYG
The preparation fees vary, from $150 plus GST for a contractor with a tidy cash journal to $500 plus GST or more for a company with many transactions to review. It depends on how much work is involved and whether or not the accounting records are already prepared and in good order. We may refer you to external bookkeeping and business management services providers to help you keep on top of your growing business and/or contain your annual costs.
Annual GST Returns and BAS’s with GST refunds often attract ATO scrutiny and necessitate a particularly high standard of preparation. For this reason, we may charge more for the work involved.
We recommending using Xero, MYOB or Quickbooks/Reckon online accounting software. These products are available by subscription. Amongst many other benefits, they automatically import business banking data for coding. This saves time otherwise spent on manual data entry. With some committed self-training, and some training meetings with us, you can learn to do a lot of the basic accounts keeping work yourself to properly understand your own business finances and save on bookkeeping and accounting fees each year. Ask us which product would be most suitable for your business activity.
Business Services Solutions
Those with larger operations – typically with annual revenues of $200,000 to $5 million, will benefit most from our Business Services solutions. We can look after all your accounting and compliance necessities such as Xero/MYOB reconciliations, BAS, IAS and annual returns for a fixed monthly fee.
Business Service solutions incorporate cloud accounting and bank-streaming technologies – using Xero, MYOB Account Right Live, MYOB Essentials, QuickBooks/Reckon or Saasu – to minimise annual accounting and bookkeeping costs, and provide up to date management information. Our service packages can also include regular one-on-one support to assist you with software training, financial management, analysis and business advice.
If you operate a larger or growing organisation, please do book in for a free presentation so we can discuss your requirements and tailor a Business Services solution to suit you.
Hourly Charge Rates
Hourly rates are calculated in 6 minute blocks. Consultation and professional services provided by the principal are charged at $350 per hour plus GST. The hourly charge rates are less for any support work performed by other staff members: from $70 to $250 plus GST.
Quite often, a standard tax return fee is charged based on the typical amount of time and expertise for that type of job, and only substantial variations from time-billing records and charges for additional services are likely to affect the final invoice.
Quotes and Estimated Fees
Just as it’s impossible to quote a studio construction without looking at the plans, or value artwork over the phone, it’s impossible to know how long your accounting work might take. To provide a realistic quote, we require complete access to your financial and tax records and time to review it.
The cost will often depend on how the records are presented to us. Follow our Online Questionnaire and ask if there is a more efficient way of presenting your books to us. You can work with us to try to minimise the time, and therefore the cost. Make sure everything is included – should the accountant pick up and put down your work waiting for missing information, the more it will cost and the longer it will take.
For this reason we only quote for complex jobs. For typically simple jobs, such as personal tax returns for employees, sole-traders and BAS’s, the indicative fees published on this website are as accurate as we can give. If your fees look like they will exceed these published rates, we will let you know.
We prepare Engagement Estimates for our business clients. An Engagement Estimate is like a quote. In most cases the final bill is the same as the Estimate, however there are sometimes situations where events or transactions arise during a job that we were not aware of at the time of preparing the Estimate. For example, if we must spend extra time correcting your figures and chasing up additional information to be legally compliant or to save you a significant amount of tax.
If a business is GST registered it may be necessary to review and reconcile with externally prepared BAS’s and this may increase the fee, especially if the BAS’s and/or accounting records require substantial revision.
All attempts will be made to keep our fees to a minimum.
Bookkeeping or Accounts Preparation
Complete and reconciled accounting records usually need to be provided for the preparation of business returns, however we can prepare your records in Excel or accounting software for $70 to $100 plus GST per hour. Having your records prepared efficiently and correctly under expert supervision can end up saving you much valuable time and expense in the long run.
The most time-saving and cost-effective bookkeeping solutions we recommend to our small traders are Xero and MYOB Essentials, which use bank feeds and transaction coding memorisations to minimise manual data entry work. We can train you to use the software too, to minimise the time we spend on your accounts in future.
As a prospective new client with an established business structure, you may wish to meet with us to discuss your requirements and our services, so that we can both establish if there is a good fit. The first 15-30 minutes speaking with us are complimentary provided that you brief us (we send you a short questionnaire before the meeting is confirmed) AND we agree beforehand. A time-based fee will be payable at the end of the consultation if professional advice is provided after the initial chat. If you decide to engage our services going forward, we follow up with written engagement terms and a fees estimate.
Please note: For individuals, start-ups, overdue tax returns, and general business or tax advice consultations, an upfront fee of $200 to $400 plus GST is charged and relevant information is requested from you prior to the meeting.
If you want to confirm whether there will be a fee charged, please email us your questions before booking a meeting for professional advice.
Business Advice and Tax Consultations
Most business and tax advice meetings that run up to an hour usually cost around $300, payable on the day. Tax preparation fees are usually charged upon completion of the tax return. If we invoice you for a preliminary meeting before it’s possible to complete your tax return, the final fee will be based on the time it takes to complete your work. Payment of a time based work-in-progress fee may be required before additional services are provided to complete a job.
Payment Methods and Terms
Standard terms of are either immediate payment for a consultation or within 7 days after completion of your tax return (longer terms for businesses). If you ask us to revise your tax return with new information after we complete it, our invoice is still payable within 7 days.
Documents are lodged when payment has been received in full. We accept direct bank deposit, EFTPOS, Mastercard or Visa.
Invoices are emailed with a weblink to conveniently pay us online. We prefer to be paid this way.
FEE FROM REFUND – A credit facility to pay our fee from your tax refund (conditions apply).
We do not keep cash at the office and do not accept payment in cash.
FEES FUNDING / LOAN – We can also accept payment for invoices above $1,000 by fees funding – e.g. FeeLink. The provider charges an establishment fee and interest over a 6. 12 or 24 month loan term.
Standard Engagement Terms
When you request Electra Frost Accounting (Luehmannii Pty Ltd as trustee for Frost Discovery Trust) to provide you or your business with accounting and taxation services (“services”), we ask you to agree to the terms and conditions on which we will provide our services. Due to increased reporting requirements for Tax Agents we require all clients to agree to our terms, either electronically or by signed letter, prior to providing tax preparation and advisory services. We also require all returns to be signed prior to lodgment.
Provisions in the Taxation Administration Act 1953 can provide you with “safe harbours” from penalties for incorrect or late lodgment of returns if, amongst other things, you give us “all relevant taxation information” in a timely manner. This means that it is to your advantage to give us all information necessary for us to properly do the work and promptly advise us of anything that occurs subsequently to render information already provided misleading or incomplete.
These standards terms will be effective for future years unless we publish or advise you of any changes. If there is anything you do not understand, you should not accept our terms until we have clarified matters. Above all, if there is anything you are concerned about we urge you to discuss the matter with us and, if necessary, request a change to the terms set out above.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We value your business and look forward to being of continued service to you.
GENERAL TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR ALL CLIENTS:
WORK TO BE DONE: The services shall be as agreed from time to time, but may include:
- The preparation and lodgment of annual income tax returns;
- The preparation and lodgment of BAS, PAYG Withholding and other statements if required;
- The provision of accounting services involving preparation of journals, financial statements and the recording of your business’ financial transactions in accounting software when requested;
- Advice relating to the maintenance of your accounting and record keeping systems;
- Providing general taxation advice and taxation based structuring advice, including business tax advice and any other advice that we are qualified to provide, as requested by you; and
- Acting as your contact with the Australian Tax Office and dealing with correspondence and matters relating to your income tax affairs.
Please note that as we perform these services:
- No audit or review will be performed and, accordingly, no assurance will be expressed;
- Our engagement cannot be relied upon to disclose irregularities including fraud, other illegal acts and errors that may exist. However, we will inform you of any such matters that come to our attention;
- Unless you authorise and instruct us to act as your tax agent for activity statement purposes, we do not deal with your Tax Office matters relating to your BAS, GST or PAYG instalments;
- We hold an independant limited financial advice licence, and may offer you financial planning, superannuation advice and general class of product advice (conditions apply) but we cannot recommend specific financial products;
- We are not responsible for your prior year tax returns or any other documents prepared and lodged by you or other accountants. However, if required, you may request and we may agree to amend the returns or documents for you.
At the time specific services for a particular project are required, we will discuss with you the nature of the services required prior to beginning the work and, if you wish, we will provide you with an estimate of our fees for those services. To be fair to each of our clients, work which you deliver to us will, when received, be attended to on a first in/first out basis. The entities for which we are providing services will be placed on our “Tax Agent Lodgment List”. Please contact our office to inquire about your last date for tax lodgment. If requested, we will also register as your agent with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (“ASIC”). PROFESSIONAL FEES AND PAYMENTS: All professional fees for the services provided are charged to you based on the time and degree of skill and acumen required to complete the tasks, including out of pocket expenses and statutory charges, unless otherwise agreed between the parties. General information about our fees for a variety of services is available on our website and we are happy to provide a written estimate of costs when requested. Standard fixed fees are charged for some individual tax returns. We provide an estimate of costs when requesting payment of a deposit towards a large undertaking of work which will be charged on a time-based billing basis. It should be noted at the outset that as a general proposition we rely upon our clients to provide us with accurate and timely information to enable us to properly perform our engagement obligations. Consequently, any rectifying work performed by us on the basis of incorrect or late information will be work which is outside the scope of our engagement and will be charged as additional services. You will appreciate it is very difficult for us to be able to provide to you before we commence the service, an estimate of the time it will take in completing the work. This is because our fees allow for:
- The nature and timeliness of the information you provide;
- Whether the information has been provided to us in a format which facilitates entry into our processing software, including any relevant usernames and password for any accounting package software files;
- Your availability to respond to any questions we may have on the information you have provided;
- The complexity of the issues involved.
If the costs to you are likely to be significantly higher than any estimate provided or an amount that you were previously charged for the same type of service, we will inform you of this and the reasons for the likely increase. Generally our fee rates will change effective 1 July each year. The new rates will take into account the costs we incur in ensuring that suitably qualified staff is available to provide the services and other general cost pressures in the market place. We may from time to time amend the rates referred to on our website or provided to you in writing, by providing you with a further written notice. EXPENSES: We do not charge for reasonable levels of internal office expenses such as photocopying, printing, local telephone calls and faxes. If significant costs are incurred, we reserve the right to request a reasonable contribution towards these costs. We will pass on to you the following charges (at cost) for external expenses incurred by us:
- External photocopying or printing required;
- Courier and postage costs;
- Travel costs; and
- Other external expenses as agreed with you
- If it becomes necessary or advisable in providing our services to obtain the assistance of third parties, such as solicitors, barristers, consultants, or experts, we will not contract anyone without your prior permission. We will pass on to you the actual costs of any such third parties.
OUR INVOICES: The invoice will provide a brief description of the work done. Please let us know if you require any more details. For the majority of work that we invoice at an hourly rate, our hourly rate for our members of staff consists of the following:
- Principal Accountant / Consultant $350 plus GST
- Graduate Accountants / Consultants $120 plus GST
- Administration, Bookkeeping Data Entry $70-100 plus GST
Where possible we utilise the assistant accountants or administration staff to complete the labour intensive tasks. Unless other arrangements are made before we start the work, we require payment within 7 days of the date of the invoice. If you are late paying our invoices we may require you to agree to pay all our fees upfront prior to our firm agreeing to continue providing services under this engagement. KEEPING OF YOUR DOCUMENTS: Generally, we only accept electronic copies of your records and we do not accept or retain your original documentation. On completion of the work, we will return your files to you and you should retain those files for 5 years after completion of the work for individuals and 7 years for other entities. Copies of taxation returns, ASIC and other relevant materials must be retained by us for the statutory period of time, currently 5 years. We shall retain all working papers as they have been created by us for our use while providing those services to you. These working papers represent part of our permanent records and do not belong to you. TERMINATION: We will not continue to act for you if you do not pay our invoices, fail to give us adequate instructions or advise us that we have lost your confidence. Otherwise, either you or we may terminate this agreement at any time. Before we terminate this agreement, we will give you 7 days notice setting out the reasons. If the agreement is terminated, you will be required to pay for all work done and expenses incurred up to the date of termination within 7 days from the termination date. If you terminate this agreement and appoint another accountant to provide the services, we will not provide any information, records or registers whatsoever to your new accountant unless and until all fees rendered by our firm have been paid in full. OTHER OBLIGATIONS UNDER OUR STANDARD ENGAGEMENT TERMS:
- We will act in your best interests but we must comply with the law even where that may be contrary to your interests. For example, we must comply with certain statutory notices from the Australian Tax Office, which may require payment to it of money we are holding on your behalf, or the production of documents or information;
- Subject to the law, we must not disclose any information relating to your affairs to a third party without your consent. To the extent necessary to carry out our work for you, you agree that your confidential information may be disclosed to entities related to you unless you instruct us otherwise in writing;
- If during the engagement you become aware of any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest or there is a change in circumstances which may result in a conflict, you must advise us.
Tax Return Terms of Engagement
When we send you an online tax return questionnaire, we require you to read and electronically accept these terms before you can submit your instructions to us to provide a tax agent service:
What we will do:
- We will prepare your Annual Accounts and Income Tax Return based on the information you provide to us.
- We will lodge your Income Tax Return with the Australian Taxation Office in time to satisfy regulatory requirements provided you give us your information in sufficient time.
- We will liaise and communicate with the Australian Taxation Office as necessary on your behalf as your Tax Agent.
What we will NOT do:
- We will not audit your accounts and therefore will not be able to form any opinion of their accuracy.
- We will not be looking for irregularities or errors, including fraud and illegal acts. However we will notify you if we suspect something might not be quite right.
Period of engagement:
- The engagement will start as soon as you accept these terms of engagement.
- The engagement will end as soon as we have been paid in full.
- You are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of all the information you give us.
- You agree to disclose all relevant information to us and arrange reasonable and timely access to relevant individuals and documents to allow us to do our job quickly and efficiently.
- You are ultimately responsible for the resulting Annual Accounts and Income Tax Return we prepare on your behalf under this engagement.
- You are responsible for paying our fees within the terms of credit.
- We are responsible for keeping any information we get from you confidential.
- Unless we have your consent, we will not disclose this information to any other party unless required by law. However our files may be subjected to quality control review by the professional accountancy body of which we are a member. If this occurs we will notify you in advance.
- We are responsible for doing your work in accordance with the professional and ethical standards issued by the Accounting and Ethics Standards Board (APESB).
Limitation of Liability:
- Our liability under this engagement is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Further details are available on request.
Use of ‘Cloud computing’ data:
- We use cloud computing with offsite data storage systems hosted by an external IT provider that stores data on servers located within Australia (Nimbus client portal).
- We apply settings to restrict access to the data in our client portal to the employees of ‘Electra Frost Accounting’ only.
- In the interests of ensuring your information remains confidential, we DO NOT sub-contract any of your work to third parties.
- Indicative fees are shown on our website. Our fees are calculated on the basis of time spent on your work by members of our staff.
- The rate used is based on the degree of skill and responsibility involved.
- We will charge you separately with any direct expenses we incur on your behalf.
- We may issue invoices for work in progress or consultations before the work is completed.
- We will issue a final invoice when we finish your work.
Ownership of Documents:
- All original documents remain your property. However we will make and retain copies for our records.
- We will produce an Income Tax Return as a result of this engagement.
- If requested or required, we will also produce the Annual Set of Accounts as a result of this engagement.
- These documents belong to us until you have paid our fees in full, then they will belong to you. All other documents we produce belong to us.
Please contact us if you have any questions, before accepting these terms.