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(Marketwatch)   Consumers tell H&R Block that purchasing a TurboTax® program is more appealing than sitting face to face with their seasonal employees   (marketwatch.com) divider line 55
    More: Fail, H&R Block, TurboTax, block post, quarterly  
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2938 clicks; posted to Business » on 06 Sep 2012 at 6:08 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-06 06:19:02 PM
The first year after I bought my house I had H&R block do my taxes, particularly because I have a home office and wanted to make sure that all the deductions were correct. I spent $250 for the pleasure of sitting there for 2 hours thinking "this is it?" I've done it myself since.
 
2012-09-06 06:20:51 PM
It's pretty hilarious that people still don't use turbotax by default. had a roommate who had to file 1040ez (titled ez for a freaking reason) because he didnt want to mess it up and its confusing. he was perfectly content paying 40 something dollars for the privilige too. l. o. l.
 
2012-09-06 06:34:35 PM
Not only is it more appealing to do it at home, it's cheaper, too.

For most people, filing taxes is just copying numbers from one form to another. If your taxes are more complicated than that (running a business, rental income, figuring out cost basis for investments, ect.), you're better off going to a CPA.

Places like H&R Block are for the lazy and/or ignorant.
.
/Been using TaxAct for years now.
 
2012-09-06 06:43:37 PM
But only at a tax preparer's office can you get a refund anticipation loan at the low low interest rate of 40% APR!

Can you wait the 2 weeks to get your electronic refund? Of course not!
 
2012-09-06 06:44:39 PM

dustman81: For most people, filing taxes is just copying numbers from one form to another. If your taxes are more complicated than that (running a business, rental income, figuring out cost basis for investments, ect.), you're better off going to a CPA.


Even running a small business a CPA adds little value. Data is just copied from quickbooks to turbotax. Of course - some people suck at numbers or keeping basic records.
 
2012-09-06 06:44:49 PM
But unnecessary paperwork is so exciting!
 
2012-09-06 06:46:11 PM

Tax Boy: Can you wait the 2 weeks to get your electronic refund? Of course not!


Last year my federal refund arrived in four days.

/filed the first week in february
//hate giving the government a temporary loan but income is sometimes unpredictable
 
2012-09-06 06:49:58 PM

Tax Boy: But only at a tax preparer's office can you get a refund anticipation loan at the low low interest rate of 40% APR!

Can you wait the 2 weeks to get your electronic refund? Of course not!


Not any more you can't. The IRS did away with that a year ago, for exactly the reason you gave.
 
2012-09-06 06:50:38 PM

ClavellBCMI: Tax Boy: But only at a tax preparer's office can you get a refund anticipation loan at the low low interest rate of 40% APR!

Can you wait the 2 weeks to get your electronic refund? Of course not!

Not any more you can't. The IRS did away with that a year ago, for exactly the reason you gave.


i.e. the whole insane APR deal.
 
2012-09-06 06:53:29 PM
Even if you eventually pay someone to do your taxes (you shouldn't), try to do them yourself. TaxAct is free. At the very least you should learn how taxes are calculated. Read the forms, even the parts that don't apply to you. See what effect changing various fields has on your taxes. You might learn something.

Most people's taxes really aren't complicated at all.
 
2012-09-06 06:53:44 PM
I went to an H&R Block 15-20 years back based on some glowing recommendations from a guy about all these deductions she "found". LOL, she was an idiot. Beyond that, I had to pay extra because my taxes had dividends. I paid about $6 for $8 in dividends. I've used an online program ever since, but I still feel stupid.
 
2012-09-06 06:56:15 PM
img.photobucket.com
 
2012-09-06 06:58:49 PM
Sounds like a Rick Romero headline....Tax preparation company doesn't make money when it's not the tax filing season.


//As a former seasonal Block employee getting a kick out of these replies.
 
2012-09-06 07:02:00 PM
I've been going to a CPA for a couple of years now. The first year we had sold a bunch of stock, bought and sold a house, and moved to a new state partway through the year. The next year nothing much happened but it was still nice to have a professional.

This year I'm just going to go through the CPA's work from last year and duplicate it.
 
2012-09-06 07:11:07 PM

Stile4aly: The first year after I bought my house I had H&R block do my taxes, particularly because I have a home office and wanted to make sure that all the deductions were correct. I spent $250 for the pleasure of sitting there for 2 hours thinking "this is it?" I've done it myself since.


I had the same experience except that the woman who "helped" me had about half her teeth and looked like she was homeless. I sat there the entire time thinking, all this woman is doing is answering questions on a computer. Why the hell am I paying her to do this? Just give me the farking program and I'll do it myself.

Haven't paid anyone to do my taxes since, and I even "won" when I got audited recently.
 
2012-09-06 07:16:08 PM
Stile4aly: The first year after I bought my house I had H&R block do my taxes, particularly because I have a home office and wanted to make sure that all the deductions were correct. I spent $250 for the pleasure of sitting there for 2 hours thinking "this is it?" I've done it myself since.

The best is when you spot errors that their data entry people (most are not tax professionals of any sort) make. At which point, you start thinking to yourself "Wait, I'm paying YOU for this? I could do a better job ... wait a minute!"
 
2012-09-06 07:16:58 PM
The past few years, turbotax has had some serious bugs where RSUs are concerned. It makes it almost impossible to fill out the form correctly, or to be confident that you've done so. Thus, I pay an accountant. It's worth it to me to avoid spending five hours screaming at my web browser.
 
2012-09-06 07:44:21 PM
Watch out: turbo tax transmitted the wrong number to the federal government on my parent's tax returns while keeping the running totals correct on their prinout
 
2012-09-06 07:47:37 PM
The only time i've owed money in taxes was the year I went to H&R.
 
2012-09-06 07:56:10 PM

the_vicious_fez: The past few years, turbotax has had some serious bugs where RSUs are concerned. It makes it almost impossible to fill out the form correctly, or to be confident that you've done so. Thus, I pay an accountant. It's worth it to me to avoid spending five hours screaming at my web browser.


you are exactly the kind of person h&r lives on.
 
2012-09-06 08:58:09 PM
You mean to tell me that people would rather enter the answers to sometimes sensitive financial questions themselves, in their own home, where all their records are, that go to some fishbowl in a mall and tell the same information to some random person sitting behind a desk, reading those same questions? Shocking!
 
2012-09-06 09:19:28 PM
I went there once. It was literally like watching a person input my info into turbotax. I expected some questions to expose magical deductions, but got none. So I paid $200 to watch someone input my information into turbotax. I was so angry at myself for believing their commercials.
 
2012-09-06 09:21:54 PM

Dr. Goldshnoz: you are exactly the kind of person h&r lives on.


Did he say he went to H&R? No? He went to a real accountant. And when you have companies changing the rules around stock grants on a year to year basis that is the smart thing to do.
 
2012-09-06 09:41:31 PM
I tried h&r once. The "professional" didn't know how to handle an HSA account. I walked out and have been doing my own taxes since.
 
2012-09-06 09:53:40 PM
I pay my uncle who does taxes for a living $50 to do my taxes. The best part is, if he screws up, I know where he lives and can tell my grandmother to go biatch him out.
 
2012-09-06 09:54:11 PM
My accountant counts to potato for a living. I trust him.
 
2012-09-06 09:55:45 PM

Dr. Goldshnoz: the_vicious_fez: The past few years, turbotax has had some serious bugs where RSUs are concerned. It makes it almost impossible to fill out the form correctly, or to be confident that you've done so. Thus, I pay an accountant. It's worth it to me to avoid spending five hours screaming at my web browser.

you are exactly the kind of person h&r lives on.


Actually he is right, Turbo Tax has had some serious software errors that miscalculated some items and sent the wrong data, but Tax Cut (HR Block at home) screwed up the Education Credit and thousands of people were contacted after the tax season to come into offices to get it fixed for free.
 
2012-09-06 09:59:01 PM
If you don't want to do it yourself but are still willing to let someone who may or may not know what they're doing then look up your local VITA program. It's a program set up by the IRS to allow accounting students to get experience doing tax returns. They can handle simple to moderate returns with a fairly high degree of reliability. Our local VITA program has two or three certified CPA's on site so if there is ever an issue the student doesn't know they wave the professors over.

/Oh and did I mention it's free. Hard to beat free.
 
2012-09-06 10:22:28 PM
I've had just-complicated-enough returns the last few years that the free fill-in-the-blanks sites were having problems (changing HSAs in the middle of the year, needing an addendum on charitable donations, seller-financed house interest, etc). But, not so complicated that they were beyond me or weren't still kinda fun (okay, I'm sick). Thank goodness for the 'Free File Fillable Forms' site that lets you enter in what you want to enter and add the forms you want. It will warn you if you do anything too egregious, but it generally will let you.
 
2012-09-06 10:27:41 PM
What they spend the money on ... Hookers and blow?
 
2012-09-06 10:36:31 PM

underwhere: If you don't want to do it yourself but are still willing to let someone who may or may not know what they're doing then look up your local VITA program. It's a program set up by the IRS to allow accounting students to get experience doing tax returns. They can handle simple to moderate returns with a fairly high degree of reliability. Our local VITA program has two or three certified CPA's on site so if there is ever an issue the student doesn't know they wave the professors over.

/Oh and did I mention it's free. Hard to beat free.


but from my understanding you have to be poor enough/disadvantaged enough to qualify:

"The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify.

VITA
The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $50,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns."
 
2012-09-06 10:40:08 PM

Hyjamon: underwhere: If you don't want to do it yourself but are still willing to let someone who may or may not know what they're doing then look up your local VITA program. It's a program set up by the IRS to allow accounting students to get experience doing tax returns. They can handle simple to moderate returns with a fairly high degree of reliability. Our local VITA program has two or three certified CPA's on site so if there is ever an issue the student doesn't know they wave the professors over.

/Oh and did I mention it's free. Hard to beat free.

but from my understanding you have to be poor enough/disadvantaged enough to qualify:

"The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify.

VITA
The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $50,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns."


Ooooh everybody look at this guy. I bet he can afford both kinds of bacon on his pizza
 
2012-09-06 10:50:40 PM
I've been using TurboTax online for years now. Now that both my wifes and my employer have decided to get with the century, it just goes out and downloads our W2s. Just type in the rest of the stuff, go through the flow chart, and its dead simple. Can't imagine that the goons at Walmart are doing much more than that.

Bonus is that all my tax returns are sitting in my turbotax accound and I can go and reprint them if I ever need to, which I have.
 
2012-09-06 10:52:45 PM

Hyjamon: underwhere: If you don't want to do it yourself but are still willing to let someone who may or may not know what they're doing then look up your local VITA program. It's a program set up by the IRS to allow accounting students to get experience doing tax returns. They can handle simple to moderate returns with a fairly high degree of reliability. Our local VITA program has two or three certified CPA's on site so if there is ever an issue the student doesn't know they wave the professors over.

/Oh and did I mention it's free. Hard to beat free.

but from my understanding you have to be poor enough/disadvantaged enough to qualify:

"The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify.

VITA
The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $50,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns."


While that is technically true I've never seen anyone turned away because they made too much money. I've seen people turned away who think they can come with and have us do their small business taxes and try to figure out whatever ridiculous depreciation schedule the H&R Block person tried to implement the year before.

One guy came in with over $300,000 in capital loss carryovers from years before. How is it that someone with that much money can be so stupid.
 
2012-09-06 11:06:00 PM

wingnut396: Now that both my wifes


?
 
2012-09-06 11:12:06 PM

thurstonxhowell: wingnut396: Now that both my wifes

?


Morman.
 
2012-09-07 01:25:22 AM
 
2012-09-07 04:15:27 AM

stuhayes2010: I went there once. It was literally like watching a person input my info into turbotax. I expected some questions to expose magical deductions, but got none. So I paid $200 to watch someone input my information into turbotax. I was so angry at myself for believing their commercials.


My mom has used some guy for decades. I went with her one day (she needed a ride) and I asked if he had Turbo Tax running. He got really annoyed at me, literally huffed and said that their software was "a lot more powerful". His quick attitude change was so sudden, I suspect it really was Turbo Tax.
 
2012-09-07 05:05:59 AM
I use H&R Block's online service. Cheap, easy, and painless. Plus if I get audited, they are on the hook to defend me in front of the IRS.
 
2012-09-07 06:24:11 AM

MmmmBacon: I use H&R Block's online service. Cheap, easy, and painless. Plus if I get audited, they are on the hook to defend me in front of the IRS.


Yea...if you pay the extra $35 for Peace of Mind.
 
2012-09-07 07:27:24 AM

iron_city_ap: thurstonxhowell: wingnut396: Now that both my wifes

?

Morman.


Masochist
 
2012-09-07 08:19:55 AM
Use to work at H&R Block. We had a program where you could come in and check your taxes that you prepared yourself to see if you were doing them correctly. I found that more often than not, people did them incorrectly. Of course H&R's selling point was that we find on average $X more on the returns. I found the opposite was true. Most times people would give themselves credits they weren't entitled to. Trusting someone (yourself) who has absolutely no clue how to do taxes with your tax return is silly. Now, I'm not recommending you use H&R Block or their rivals, because, as many said above, many of the employees did not know what the heck they were doing. On the other hand, some of us were more than qualified. Find yourself a CPA or an EA, and you'll be set. It'll be worth the $100-$200 in the long run.
 
2012-09-07 08:23:14 AM
My mom worked for them years ago. They were supposed to have 2 people there at all times, but if the other person called out sick you'd be there by yourself. If someone insisted on trying to cheat then it started getting a bit intimidating.

Supposedly all of the work done by the peons is checked by someone who does know what they are doing.

We use the Tax Cut Business program because it prints out the 1099s for my wife's business.
 
2012-09-07 08:43:03 AM
Looking for the Fark Knowledge Base on this one: For the first time ever (and probably last for the foreseeable future) I sold some stock to finance an addition to our house.

I have always done my own taxes either the hard way or with TurboTax - but I have no idea how you figure out how to calculate the capital gains on stock that I've owned for (some for 20 years) but that was bought $50 at a time (paycheck deduction) over that period. Do you literally have to do it share by share or is there some sort of approximation formula that the IRS will accept?
 
2012-09-07 09:32:51 AM

dustman81: Not only is it more appealing to do it at home, it's cheaper, too.

For most people, filing taxes is just copying numbers from one form to another. If your taxes are more complicated than that (running a business, rental income, figuring out cost basis for investments, ect.), you're better off going to a CPA.

Places like H&R Block are for the lazy and/or ignorant.
.
/Been using TaxAct for years now.


It really isn't that hard to calculate cost basis. Plus, it's fun to watch TurboTax go from telling me I owe a couple of thousand to showing a refund of a couple thousand with one mouse click.
 
2012-09-07 10:02:59 AM
Wait till they get an elderly woman in there and file all her earnings for two years in the same tax return instead of just one year. They did a wonderful job doing that to my mother in law and then watch her freak out when a massive tax bill came in.
 
2012-09-07 10:35:51 AM
When we sold our old houe a few years ago, the numbnuts at H&R insisted we had to pay something like 40% of the sale price in taxes. would have been about $200,000.

No thanks. Walked out and never came back to H&R.
 
2012-09-07 11:54:33 AM

gingerjet: dustman81: For most people, filing taxes is just copying numbers from one form to another. If your taxes are more complicated than that (running a business, rental income, figuring out cost basis for investments, ect.), you're better off going to a CPA.

Even running a small business a CPA adds little value. Data is just copied from quickbooks to turbotax. Of course - some people suck at numbers or keeping basic records.


My accounting professor said he clicked a button on PeachTree to close the books on his customer's accounts, wait 3 hours while watching TV, glance at the summary report, and bill a ridiculous fee.

The reason for the ridiculous fee was that he was professionally liable if something was screwed up. Anyone know what the liability for unlicensed people at these tax prep companies is?
 
2012-09-07 12:16:16 PM
I worked with someone a couple of years ago who moonlighted as a seasonal H&R tax preparer. I asked if the software she used was the same as what H&R sells in the stores. She said "Yes, it is".

I paid a CPA to do my taxes the first year I was married to learn how to do it (pre-internet, boys and girls), and saw how easy it was. Fast forward a few years, especially with the growth of TurboTax, and I haven't looked back.

After a couple of cycles and knowing to just put certain paperwork in a file folder, last year's taxes took 1 hour to tally everything up, and about an hour to breeze through TurboTax.

/Kids, home, medical bills, etc. Still not difficult to do on your own.
//Don't have rental properties or an independent business--results might vary for those. Not sure.
 
2012-09-07 12:23:04 PM

roc6783: gingerjet: dustman81: For most people, filing taxes is just copying numbers from one form to another. If your taxes are more complicated than that (running a business, rental income, figuring out cost basis for investments, ect.), you're better off going to a CPA.

Even running a small business a CPA adds little value. Data is just copied from quickbooks to turbotax. Of course - some people suck at numbers or keeping basic records.

My accounting professor said he clicked a button on PeachTree to close the books on his customer's accounts, wait 3 hours while watching TV, glance at the summary report, and bill a ridiculous fee.

The reason for the ridiculous fee was that he was professionally liable if something was screwed up. Anyone know what the liability for unlicensed people at these tax prep companies is?


I'm comiing from a different profession, but in my experience unlicensed people can do work requiring a licence if they are overseen by someone with the necessary qualifications.
 
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