CPA Fees for Estimated Payments and Annual Tax Filing

I've searched the archives and find related information, but not exactly what I'm looking for.

I've been working with the same CPA for literally decades. He's transitioning into retirement. My financial life has changed significantly, becoming more complex. I don't think he's raised his fees accordingly, but in searching for another CPA, I'm shocked by just how much more their fee estimates are. The work includes preparing estimates for quarterly payments and the annual tax filing. Income is complicated by spousal support, investment income, and stock sales, but no tricky real estate, business, self-employment, etc. issues. I'm getting estimates in the $5-7k range. Yikes! Is this what the current market is like?

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It's bad... 

I paid close to 4k in preparation fees for 2021 tax year (one W-2, bought a house, some short term stock sales, split living in 2 states so filed non-resident tax in one state), and my CPA firm did it wrong! They estimated incorrectly and I ended up owning interest and penalties, only found out when I filed the next year. Totally frustrating to owe after paying all that upfront to supposed professionals.

For 2022 tax year, I decided that $4k (or more thanks to inflation) is too much for my financial situation and I should just do it all myself. I calculated that any mistakes in filing that I make would be less than tax preparation fees. I studied the 2021 tax return documents in detail to understand what was done, and then used a tax program and just filled out the same IRS forms and updated the numbers. It took me about 2 weeks of evening after dinner time to do it. If your CPA is transitioning but not 100% riding off into the sunset, I would suggest you ask him if he's still willing to do part-time for the next couple of years and you pay him something... For example if anything new happened financially, ask him if there are new forms that you might need and what program he uses for estimating quarterly payments (you can also do it using IRS's own forms to calculate this). Or if he's willing to review your return before you file it.  

As many baby boomer professionals retire, we are met with "sticker shock" as the next generation of professionals pay high rents, have high overheads, and high prices. As a seasonal tax pro myself (at a national outfit) I am quite familiar with the various pricing scenarios, as some of clients come from CPAs. In your scenario, $5-$7 is very high for quarterlies and annual tax filing. Perhaps it is reasonable for year-round bookkeeping, but that is not what you want. In fact, the estimated payment coupons for the upcoming year are generated at the time of the annual tax filing, so your taxes should be a once a year occasion.