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 or MYOB cloud 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, Get 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 $80 to $150 plus GST. Where possible, the more data intensive work is performed by staff with lower charge rates.
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.
Once we’ve become familiar with your business affairs we may offer a fixed annual fee for a selection of services, paid monthly.
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 Tax 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 the bigger complex jobs and advice consultations. For typical tax jobs, such as personal tax returns for employees and sole-traders, or BAS’s, the indicative fees published on this website are as accurate as we can give. If your fees look like they will greatly exceed these indicative rates, we will let you know.
We usually 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, preparing other statutory documents or 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 $80 to $120 plus GST per hour, depending on the skill level of the employee required for the job.
Having your records prepared efficiently and correctly under expert supervision can end up saving you much valuable time and expense in the long run. It also means Electra Frost can focus on formulating valuable advice for you instead of checking your numbers are in the right place.
The most time-saving and cost-effective bookkeeping solutions we recommend to our small traders are Xero and MYOB, 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. See our solutions here.
As a prospective new client with an established business, you may wish to meet with us to discuss your requirements and our services before you change accountants, 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 you request professional advice. 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 beforehand so that Electra can be well prepared for your meeting. You can rest assured that Electra Frost is highly experienced, knowledgeable and qualified to provide everyday advice of this nature, and a free initial meeting is unlikely to be necessary.
If you wish to confirm whether there will be a fee charged, please email us your questions and meeting agenda before booking a time. Electra may just give you a quick call back if she’s available to chat.
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
The following is a copy of the Standard Engagement Letter that we ask our new business clients to agree to. We may adjust it depending on your company’s requirements. It’s rather long – please click on More if you’d like to read it before approaching us.
Thank you for requesting Electra Frost Accounting to provide your business with accounting and taxation services (“services”).
This letter confirms our understanding of the terms of our engagement and the nature and limitations of the services we provide. Please read it carefully and, if you accept our terms, return a signed copy to our office.
WORK TO BE DONE
The services shall be as agreed from time to time, but will include:
- The preparation and lodgment of annual income tax returns and annual set of accounts;
- The preparation and lodgment of BAS, PAYG Withholding and other statements as required;
- The provision of accounting services involving the recording of your business’ financial information, preparation of financial reports and advice relating to the maintenance of your accounting systems;
- Provision of limited financial advice restricted to class of product advice, as allowed by our AFS Licence, when such advice is related to your business and tax planning matters.
- Providing general taxation advice and taxation based structuring advice, including business tax advice and any other advice that we are qualified to provide; and
- Acting as your contact with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) by liaising with the ATO and accessing the Tax Agent Portal for matters relating to your income tax affairs.
This engagement letter only includes the services listed above. These services will be conducted in accordance with the relevant professional and ethical standards issued by the Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board Limited (APESB) and with the relevant current tax legislation. The extent of our procedures and services will be limited exclusively for this purpose only. As a result:
- 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 separately appoint us to act as your ASIC Agent for ASIC company secretarial purposes, we do not deal with your ASIC correspondence for matters relating to your ASIC company registrations;
- We cannot give you financial planning advice in relation to specific financial products.
- We are not responsible for your prior year returns or other documents prepared and lodged by you or other accountants. However, if required, you may request and we may agree to amend the returns.
At the time specific services for a 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 you request, we will also register as your agent with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (“ASIC”).
Information acquired by us in the course of the engagement, including any information relating to your affairs whether it belongs to you or not or is provided by you or not, is subject to strict confidentiality requirements. That information will not be disclosed by us to other parties except as required or allowed for by law, or with your express consent.
We wish to draw your attention to our firm’s system of quality control which has been established and maintained in accordance with the relevant APESB standard. As a result, our files may be subject to review as part of the quality control review program of The Institute of Public Accountants which monitors compliance with professional standards by its members. We advise you that by accepting our engagement you acknowledge that, if requested, our files relating to this engagement will be made available under this program.
We may collect Personal Information about you, your representatives, your clients and others when we provide services to you. If we do, you agree to work with us to ensure that we both meet the obligations that we each may have under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (as amended). The obligations may include notifying the relevant person to whom the personal information relates who we are and how we propose to use their personal information. Where you have collected personal information, you confirm that you have collected the personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act, that you are entitled to provide this personal information to us and that we may use and disclose the personal information for the purpose/s we provide our services to you. We will handle personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act.
You are responsible for the reliability, accuracy and completeness of the accounting records, particulars and information provided and disclosure of all material and relevant information. You are required to arrange for reasonable access by us to relevant individuals and documents, and shall be responsible for both the completeness and accuracy of the information supplied to us. Any advice given to you is only an opinion based on our knowledge of your particular circumstances. You or your staff are responsible for maintaining and regularly balancing all books of accounts, and the maintenance of an adequate accounting and internal control system.
As a taxpayer, you have obligations under self-assessment to keep full and proper records in order to facilitate the preparation of accurate returns. It is your responsibility to keep those records for five (5) years. Whilst the Commissioner of Taxation will accept claims made by a taxpayer in an income tax return and issue a notice of assessment, usually without adjustment, the return may be subject to later review. Under the taxation law such a review may take place within a period of up to four (4) years after tax becomes due and payable under the assessment. Furthermore, where there is fraud or evasion there is no time limit on amending the assessment. Accordingly, you should check the return before it is signed to ensure that the information in the return is accurate.
Where the application of a taxation law to your particular circumstances is uncertain you also have the right to request a private ruling which will set out the Commissioner’s opinion about the way a taxation law applies, or would apply, to you in those circumstances. You must provide a description of all of the facts (with supporting documentation) that are relevant to your scheme or circumstances in your private ruling application. If there is any material difference between the facts set out in the ruling and what you actually do the private ruling is ineffective.
If you rely on a private ruling you have received, the Commissioner must administer the law in the way set out in the ruling, unless it is found to be incorrect and applying the law correctly would lead to a better outcome for you. Where you disagree with the decision in the private ruling you can lodge an objection against the ruling if it relates to income tax, fuel tax credit or fringe benefits tax. Your time limits in lodging an objection will depend on whether you are issued an assessment for the matter (or period) covered by the private ruling.
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.
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 quote 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 indicative fees referred to on our website or provided to you in writing, by providing you with a further written notice.
We do not charge for reasonable levels of internal office expenses that are paperless in nature. If paper and postage 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:
- Photocopying, printing or substantial scanning of paperwork;
- Courier or 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, valuers, 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.
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, we invoice at an hourly rate for our staff members as follows:
- Principal Accountant $350 plus GST
- Other Accountants $120-150 plus GST
- Administrative and Bookkeeping Assistants $70-90 plus GST
Where possible we utilise the less costly 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 ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS
We only store electronic copies of the documents you provide us. On completion of the work, we provide you with electronic files and you should retain those files for 5 years after completion of the work for individuals and 7 years for other entities. Copies of tax returns, ASIC lodgments 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.
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 THIS ENGAGEMENT:
- 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.
We urge you to read this letter carefully. This letter will be effective for future years unless we advise you of any change. If there is anything you do not understand, you should not accept the terms set out in this letter 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.
You may accept these terms by signing and returning to us a copy of this letter. Please initial each page and sign below. Return this signed letter to our office and keep a copy for your records.
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.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation
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:
Please click on More if you’d like to read these terms before booking your first tax return consultation with us.
TAX RETURN TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
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.