Mel Snow is the manager of a firm, Taxation Matters, which specializes in the preparation of income tax returns. The firm offers two basic products: the preparation of income tax returns for wage and salary earners and the preparation of income tax returns for small businesses. Any clients requiring more complex services are referred to Mel’s brother Roger, who is a partner in a large firm of chartered accountants.
The processing of wage and salary tax returns is quite straightforward, and the firm uses a software package to process data and print the return. A software package is also used to prepare returns for small businesses, although more information is required, particularly about business expenses.
Mel has only recently joined Taxation Matters and he is concerned about the firm’s pricing policy, which sets a flat fee of $60 per return for wage and salary clients and $300 for small businesses. He decides to use activity-based costing to estimate the costs of providing each of these services.
At the end of the year, Mel reviewed the company’s total costs and activities, resulting in the following list:
In identifying the activities required for each type of return, Mel noted the following:
(a) Clients are interviewed only once per return.
(b) All follow-up calls to obtain missing data relate to business returns; on average, each business tax return requires four follow-up calls.
(c) Processing a wage and salary tax return requires 20 data entries, whereas a business return requires 120 data entries.
(d) On average, it takes 22.5 minutes to verify a wage and salary tax return, whereas it takes one and a half hours to verify a business return.
(e) All errors relate to business returns; on average, there are 3 errors per business return.
1. Use activity-based costing to estimate the cost of preparing
(a) A wage and salary tax return
(b) A business tax return.
2. In the light of your answers to requirement 1, evaluate the firm’s pricing policy?