Ballpark figure on one-time tax accountant fees


I've registered an LLC in the US as a foreigner. Registration was no problem, but I find the specific tax laws and regulations difficult, especially because it's hard to find clear information on what rules apply to foreign owners.

From many answers on this same website, I've read the best bet is to 'consult an accountant'. I agree, and I have been formulating my main questions. They are:

  • As an LLC with only foreign owners, how should we be declaring our taxes in the US?
  • We expect a combination of clients from the US, Europe, and the rest of the world who pay for our services. Perhaps some clients from the same state we incorporated in (who knows?). How should we go about invoicing our clients (VAT-wise)?
  • We will be hiring foreign contractors. Is any specific paperwork required to properly file these business expenses? Any tax-related issues we should be aware of?

Please note, I'm not looking for the answers here (having somebody here who can properly answer them all would be awesome, but I figure I need to have somebody who I can trust, and unfortunately I can not trust the internet).

So anyway, these are my main three questions. Each question comes with a more detailed description of our situation to provide the necessary background to answer the question. My doubts are:

  • Is it feasible to contact a tax accountant and have him answer these questions by e-mail.
  • What would be a reasonable amount to pay for this information?
  • Any other things to take into consideration?

We expect our company to generate ca. $1,000 per month in the first year or so, so it's not easy to pay top-dollar for this kind of information for us.

LLC Foreign Tax Accountants

asked Aug 17 '12 at 10:10
192 points
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1 Answer


Is it feasible to contact a tax accountant and have him answer these
questions by e-mail.

Generally, yes.

What would be a reasonable amount to pay for this information?

Charges vary significantly, and obviously the more experienced and knowledgeable providers charge more. You can expect somewhere between $100 and $500 hourly rate (yes, the variance is huge), or negotiate a retainer fee for long term relationship.

Any other things to take into consideration?

Know who you hire. You can talk to a CPA, EA or an attorney, make sure you're talking to a licensed professional. Un-enrolled professional (none of the three above) can help you with tax preparation, but not with tax planning.

Also, not any CPA is familiar with taxation, and of those who are - not any is familiar with international taxation. Its a difficult topic which most tax professionals in the US don't need to deal with. So look for the professional who specializes on international taxation. You might even find one in your own home country (which will help you with both the US and local taxes then).

If you don't need an accountant necessarily (i.e.: no need in services that aren't tax-related), EA's are regulated and licensed by the IRS directly and required to take continued education in tax only (CPA's don't have to take any tax CE and are regulated by states).

If you need complicated and multi-national tax planning, attorney would be the way to go.

answered Aug 17 '12 at 10:18
5,090 points
  • Thanks. Re pricing: I really like to get an idea of the actual cost. So in other words, how many hours would answering these questions reasonably take? And can I negotiate a price for the information (providing the questions upfront), or is it always an 'per-hour' fee with an unknown number of hours to be spent on writing up the answers? – User 12 years ago
  • I really can't tell you that because I don't know how much research and what kind of resources it requires to answer your questions. But you definitely should ask for an estimate before the actual service provided, and most EA's/CPA's/lawyers provide a free initial consultation at which they'd be able to estimate the actual costs of the full service you need. – Littleadv 12 years ago
  • Thanks! In case there's anybody out there who can give a ballpark on the hours/cost of this, it would be highly appreciated (I'll leave this open for a few days and accept your answer if there is no response). – User 12 years ago

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LLC Foreign Tax Accountants