Most of us hate tax season, but it’s the lifeblood for companies that make the bulk of their annual revenue from tax business.
It’s a mammoth and lucrative market for tax-preparation services, with more Americans than ever scrambling to get help. We spend 7.6 billion hours filing our taxes and hire over 1 million accountants to help us make the mid-April deadline.
And, of course, we all could use help deciphering the U.S. tax code, which has more words than the Gettysburg Address, Declaration of Independence and the Holy Bible combined, or nearly 8 million words. Some folks file online through the IRS website or use a tax program such as TurboTax to save time and money, especially for simple returns.
If you would rather a professional do it for you, expect to pay at least $75. However, more complex returns with a large number of itemized deductions and a Schedule E or C will cost around $400.
These big tax-services companies—like Uncle Sam—are more than happy to take your money; here’s an update on how their businesses and their stocks are faring: