Mel Snow is the manager of a firm, Taxation Matters, which specialises in the preparation of incometax returns. The firm offers two basic products: the preparation of income tax returns for wage andsalary earners, and the preparation of income tax returns for small businesses. Any clients requiringmore complex services are referred to Snow’s brother Roger, who is a partner in a large firm ofchartered accountants.The processing of wage and salary tax returns is quite straightforward, and the firm uses a softwarepackage to process data and print the return. A software package is also used to prepare returns forsmall businesses, although more information is required, particularly about business expenses.Snow has only recently joined Taxation Matters and he is concerned about the firm’s pricing policy,which sets flat fees of $60 per return for wage and salary clients and $300 for small businesses. Hedecides to use activity-based costing to estimate the costs of providing each of these services.At the end of the year, Snow reviewed the firm’s total costs and activities, resulting in the followinglist:ActivityActivity costActivity driverQuantity of activity driverInterview salaried client$ 60,000No. of salaried clients8,000Interview business client75,000No. of business clients2,000Obtain missing data600,000No. of follow-up calls8,000Input data120,000No. of data entries400,000Print return90,000No. of returns10,000Verify return with client180,000No. of hours6,000Rectify errors90,000No. of errors6,000Submit return30,000No. of returns10,000Total costs$1 245,000In identifying the activities required for each type of return, Snow noted the following:Clients are interviewed only once per return.All follow-up calls to obtain missing data relate to business returns; on average, each business taxreturn requires four follow-up calls.Processing a wage and salary tax return requires 20 data entries, whereas a business returnrequires 120 data entries.On average, it takes 22.5 minutes to verify a wage and salary tax return, whereas it takes one anda half hours to verify a business return.All errors relate to business returns; on average, there are 3 errors per business return.
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