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(Time)   TurboTax and H&R Block have managed to turn their respective tax programs into bitter class warfare   (business.time.com) divider line 116
    More: Asinine, H&R Block, class warfare, TurboTax, r block, dirty jobs, the collective, Intuit, Zumba  
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15355 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Feb 2013 at 3:21 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-09 11:48:41 PM  
Taxes?  A class war? I NEVER!
 
2013-02-09 11:57:26 PM  
Was that a cheap shot by Intuit? Sure, it was a dick move and they probably shouldn't have done it. That being said it'll probably work and more importantly H&R Block spends more than enough time trying to fleece their customers that it's hard to feel sorry for them.
 
2013-02-09 11:58:32 PM  
Turbo Tax is awesome.
 
2013-02-10 12:04:56 AM  
You wouldn't want your doctor doing your job.  So don't do his. That's what TV commercials are for.
 
2013-02-10 12:06:53 AM  

Popcorn Johnny: Turbo Tax is awesome.


/Smashes steel chair over Popcorn Johnny's head
//rips off shirt to reveal H&R Block shirt
///Crotch thrust
 
2013-02-10 12:07:32 AM  

Mentat: Popcorn Johnny: Turbo Tax is awesome.

/Smashes steel chair over Popcorn Johnny's head
//rips off shirt to reveal H&R Block shirt
///Crotch thrust


Not cool man, the bell hadn't even rung.
 
2013-02-10 12:15:15 AM  
But...I use H&R Block tax software. (It's no different than using Turbo Tax software.)
 
2013-02-10 12:19:37 AM  
Or for only a few buck more you could have an actual accountant, and pretend you are above all this shiat.
 
2013-02-10 12:30:36 AM  
This is a delicate subject, especially in the service industry.

I did taxes at night when I was teaching. We had people who wanted to cheat, people who wanted to claim their little brother on the EIC, and strippers.

Strippers were actually our best clients. I'd counsel them straight up: "Look you made $21,000 in tips last year without a tip from the bar. You're going to have to pay your Social Security and Medicare, but with EIC, you're going to get back $4,000."

I don't know what the numbers are right now, but it's still actually to your advantage to claim all the money you made, unless you're a millionaire.
 
2013-02-10 12:56:45 AM  
How about neither?  There's a local CPA that would love your business and will find you deductions that HR Block and Turbo Tax will not and will not install malware like Turbo Tax.
 
2013-02-10 01:00:40 AM  
As a 1%er which tax program should I use?
 
2013-02-10 01:12:16 AM  
I went to an H&R Block once.  Poor fool had no idea what he was doing.  He would just click on the computer screen, it would tell him what to enter, and he'd go on to the next one.  Basically, the same thing Turbo Tax Online and all the other do, only paying a premium so some stranger can do it for you.

I had several 1099's that year, moved between states, and needed to do itemized dedications and he couldn't figure out how to do it.

Ended up paying a CPA to do it for me.
 
2013-02-10 01:18:21 AM  
Since my ex-wife is one of those seasonal workers at HR Block, I'm using Turbo Tax.

/She's not good with money, especially when she didn't make it.
//But she is good at cheating, if you like that sort of thing.
 
2013-02-10 01:43:07 AM  

azmoviez: How about neither?  There's a local CPA that would love your business and will find you deductions that HR Block and Turbo Tax will not and will not install malware like Turbo Tax.


Those places, (and I say this out of experience) use DOS-based (still, OMG!) software that gets updated ONCE per year, not every day. What this means is... the tax laws on January 1 will be your tax laws. If it means that you only got a $4000 refund, this year, that's OK. But you WILL be out $2000 next year. Remember, YOU sign your tax forms. Your preparer only has a number. He doesn't even have to show up in court for you.
 
2013-02-10 01:54:17 AM  

Tarkus: But...I use H&R Block tax software. (It's no different than using Turbo Tax software.)


Well DUH!

Both are written by the IRS and designed to SCREW EWE, dipshiat.

upload.wikimedia.org
My name is Ben, and I approve of this message.
 
2013-02-10 01:56:52 AM  
ecmoRandomNumbers:Those places, (and I say this out of experience) use DOS-based (still, OMG!) software that gets updated ONCE per year, not every day. What this means is... the tax laws on January 1 will be your tax laws. If it means that you only got a $4000 refund, this year, that's OK. But you WILL be out $2000 next year. Remember, YOU sign your tax forms. Your preparer only has a number. He doesn't even have to show up in court for you.What backwater CPA are you using? If you go into their office and you notice they are running Quickbooks then yes, you really shouldd run.
Most decent CPA's are using some software that is updated via the Internet and guaranteed to be up to date. Who would you rather have as a backup during an audit: your local tax person or Turbo Tax LLC (yes Intuit)?
 
2013-02-10 01:58:50 AM  
Damnit new Fark interface.  All running together stuff is the new, "I forgot to close the bold tag".
 
2013-02-10 02:11:37 AM  

azmoviez: How about neither?  There's a local CPA that would love your business and will find you deductions that HR Block and Turbo Tax will not and will not install malware like Turbo Tax.


Bullshiat, Turbo Tax cost me $79 and doesn't install any malware or other software.  It also finds any deduction any honest preparer will find.
 
2013-02-10 02:53:11 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: Those places, (and I say this out of experience) use DOS-based (still, OMG!) software that gets updated ONCE per year, not every day.


They are not 'DOS-based.' They run on the Sharia law of Dear Leader and his master, Soros, the Eternal Jew. They will take all of your money. It will be rubbed upon the usurper's Kenyan flesh and across the crevices and jowls of the Jew, as they commit crimes against nature and insult the Lord Our God.

But my treasures are of gold, gold, not paper! They cannot be taken away, for I have secreted them in a church, where no liberal or unclean peoples may travel, lest their flesh burn and expose their perversion.

And should my fellow churchmen turn their back on the commandments and attempt to take what I have gained through my own hard work, I possess the weapon of THE LORD OUR GOD: An AR-15 Bushmaster that fires bullets of solid gold.

You have sown the negro, and you shall reap the socialism.
 
2013-02-10 03:32:17 AM  
They don't need a crappy ad campaign.  I used H&R block for a couple of years.  They farked up pretty badly.  I've never had a problem with Turbo Tax, they have a better interface and they are easier to communicate with.
 
2013-02-10 03:34:54 AM  

Moonfisher: They don't need a crappy ad campaign.  I used H&R block for a couple of years.  They farked up pretty badly.  I've never had a problem with Turbo Tax, they have a better interface and they are easier to communicate with.


Got a call a week ago from H&R block asking me if I could drop off a copy of my W2 form. They apparently "lost" it.
 
2013-02-10 03:41:01 AM  

omnibus_necanda_sunt: ecmoRandomNumbers: Those places, (and I say this out of experience) use DOS-based (still, OMG!) software that gets updated ONCE per year, not every day.

They are not 'DOS-based.' They run on the Sharia law of Dear Leader and his master, Soros, the Eternal Jew. They will take all of your money. It will be rubbed upon the usurper's Kenyan flesh and across the crevices and jowls of the Jew, as they commit crimes against nature and insult the Lord Our God.

But my treasures are of gold, gold, not paper! They cannot be taken away, for I have secreted them in a church, where no liberal or unclean peoples may travel, lest their flesh burn and expose their perversion.

And should my fellow churchmen turn their back on the commandments and attempt to take what I have gained through my own hard work, I possess the weapon of THE LORD OUR GOD: An AR-15 Bushmaster that fires bullets of solid gold.

You have sown the negro, and you shall reap the socialism.


The worst thing is that is not the worst thing I've heard. And that was a serious statement not a satirical one.
 
2013-02-10 03:42:03 AM  
This story is very difficult to understand for a non-USian, I guess. Both TFA and the reactions here do not provide many clues; are you supposed to file your income tax with some amateur who uses a piece of software? Why?
 
2013-02-10 03:49:31 AM  
I used to use Turbo Tax, but I lost my previous year's forms in a move and my computer with the pdf version died. I tried Turbo Tax's online service first, then H&R block. H&R Block offered me the IRS phone number to get my previous AGI that enabled me to not have to print and mail my returns, it was a nice touch. I don't pay for state preparation, I just use California's own free site.
 
2013-02-10 03:52:55 AM  
My tax guy was one of the many many many tax people working for W during his administration. Has a nice picture of him W and Laura up on the wall in his waiting room, right next to a copy of his degrees from Universities that have real buildings and addresses and everything.


That said, he doesn't get me any more money back than I find being careful and attentive with turbo tax.

So why do I go to him? Lots of reasons.

-he can answer my questions about tax shiat, all year round, with just a phone call. and he spends all year round learning more and more ins and outs (not a crash course), so his answers are always informed and correct.

-I have a buffer of deniability and responsibility between me and any audit-gone-bad

-my tax guy's business relies on his reputation. The guy at HR block? He isn't impacted in nearly the same magnitude if he screws up vs my guy.

-hot secretaries (that HR Block crew is kinda homely lookin),

-good coffee

I'd say if you want to do your taxes yourself, go for it.

If you want to take them to an "expert"... spend the few extra dollars to go to an actual expert, not an "expert".
 
2013-02-10 03:53:39 AM  
Well, the commercials are pretty accurate. If you go to H&R Block and you do not have a long-term relationship with a career tax professional, you will get a McDonalds counter level employee doing your taxes, and they will probably know less than you do about taxes and be worse at math than you are if you are at all competent (which is admittedly not their target audience).

On the other hand, Turbo Tax software will not be any better than H&R Block software, other than that Turbo Tax had a years long campaign to fark you via DRM if you bought their software.
 
2013-02-10 03:55:07 AM  

omnibus_necanda_sunt: ecmoRandomNumbers: Those places, (and I say this out of experience) use DOS-based (still, OMG!) software that gets updated ONCE per year, not every day.

They are not 'DOS-based.' They run on the Sharia law of Dear Leader and his master, Soros, the Eternal Jew. They will take all of your money. It will be rubbed upon the usurper's Kenyan flesh and across the crevices and jowls of the Jew, as they commit crimes against nature and insult the Lord Our God.

But my treasures are of gold, gold, not paper! They cannot be taken away, for I have secreted them in a church, where no liberal or unclean peoples may travel, lest their flesh burn and expose their perversion.

And should my fellow churchmen turn their back on the commandments and attempt to take what I have gained through my own hard work, I possess the weapon of THE LORD OUR GOD: An AR-15 Bushmaster that fires bullets of solid gold.

You have sown the negro, and you shall reap the socialism.


10/10, would read again.
 
2013-02-10 04:00:21 AM  

Coming on a Bicycle: This story is very difficult to understand for a non-USian, I guess. Both TFA and the reactions here do not provide many clues; are you supposed to file your income tax with some amateur who uses a piece of software? Why?


Go to your local library.  The desk clerk will point you to the right direction..
 
2013-02-10 04:01:34 AM  
I didn't see those commercials as an attack on social classes or people working multiple jobs.

I saw it as Innuit making fun of H&R's hiring of seasonal people.

Maybe I'm dumb.
 
2013-02-10 04:05:34 AM  

ShawnDoc: I went to an H&R Block once.  Poor fool had no idea what he was doing.  He would just click on the computer screen, it would tell him what to enter, and he'd go on to the next one.  Basically, the same thing Turbo Tax Online and all the other do, only paying a premium so some stranger can do it for you.


Electricity and renting a computer ain't cheap, yaknow.
 
2013-02-10 04:06:38 AM  

Coming on a Bicycle: This story is very difficult to understand for a non-USian, I guess. Both TFA and the reactions here do not provide many clues; are you supposed to file your income tax with some amateur who uses a piece of software? Why?


We can file our own taxes, but our government has made the forms so complicated that it takes someone with an advanced degree to fill them out properly.  Unless you are a single person with no family, who earns very little money.  Then, you just enter how much you made in one box, deduct a standard arbitrary number from that, and find out how much money the government owes you back.
 
2013-02-10 04:14:35 AM  
I use a CPA, even though I earn most of my income doing financial stuff for others, for several reasons.  He carries 'errors and omissions' insurance, which will kick in if ever needed.  It's been a great relationship for over 15 years, he answers questions year round, he takes all the courses to stay current, and his office can handle any other software I have to adapt to, like QuickBooks, Peachtree, Great Plains, etc.

But, mostly, standard accounting principles say to have a minimum of two sets of eyes examining all financial documents, preferably three, with one being an impartial third party.
 
2013-02-10 04:14:44 AM  
I've been using the H&R Block online tax prep and filing for several years now and haven't had a problem.  It's usually free for a basic 1040EZ but this year I had to pay a little extra because I had to start adding Etsy sales.  I usually calculate everything by hand and paper then double check with the software and it always comes out fine.  Granted, once I buy a house or my finances get more complex I might want some professional help but I don't think (perhaps unjustifiably) it should be that hard for for me to prepare my own taxes.
 
2013-02-10 04:15:43 AM  
Did anybody follow the link to Mike Rowe's 20 minute speech? It was worth a listen.
 
2013-02-10 04:18:47 AM  
Weird, there were 4 turbotax ads on the main page at once earlier then this story pops up. I'm starting to wonder how much of the crap we see on this site anymore is sponsored garbage.
 
2013-02-10 04:24:32 AM  
It's not class warfare, it's the truth. I grew up in a lower middle class family. I'm now on the cusp of upper middle class. I don't look down on plumbers or people who work retail. I do, however, have a problem with tax services that charge a an arm and part of a leg to do what anyone with access to a computer can do. The people sitting across from you, who are the only defense against you and an audit, should have more than a couple days training on how to fill in boxes. They're not experts for the most part and they shouldn't call themselves that. Also, those people have access to every piece of information needed to steal an identity: complete with income!
 
2013-02-10 04:25:20 AM  

Popcorn Johnny: azmoviez: How about neither?  There's a local CPA that would love your business and will find you deductions that HR Block and Turbo Tax will not and will not install malware like Turbo Tax.

Bullshiat, Turbo Tax cost me $79 and doesn't install any malware or other software.  It also finds any deduction any honest preparer will find.


I remember a year when the TurboTax installation wrote in the MBR and wiped out bootloaders.  If you repaired your bootloader, TurboTax wouldn't run.  Searching...searching...searching...Yep.  2003.

I still love me some TurboTax, tho.
 
2013-02-10 04:27:05 AM  

Coming on a Bicycle: This story is very difficult to understand for a non-USian, I guess. Both TFA and the reactions here do not provide many clues; are you supposed to file your income tax with some amateur who uses a piece of software? Why?


HotWingAgenda: We can file our own taxes, but our government has made the forms so complicated that it takes someone with an advanced degree to fill them out properly.  Unless you are a single person with no family, who earns very little money.  Then, you just enter how much you made in one box, deduct a standard arbitrary number from that, and find out how much money the government owes you back.


The "amateur" with the software charges a pittance and is fast at typing in the numbers by virtue of doing it all day. This, and the various warranties the tax-prep companies offer in case there's a mistake and the IRS demands penalties, are the value-added.

However.

Opinions will vary on the rest. The law is complicated, but the forms are simple. I'd say it's not much of a challenge to follow the directions, no matter how many schedules and forms your particular income stream requires, millionaires excepted. Sometimes it's not entirely clear if certain rules apply to you in the first place (does my home office qualify as a home office?) but those are the kinds of questions that the tax-prep places won't really be able to help with either. (Well, they can, but then you're not getting the $15 quickie, but the $150/hr deluxe package.)
 
2013-02-10 04:47:33 AM  
I don't understand the basis for H&R Block's suit to stop the commercials. From the article, at least, it appears that the commercials:

1. Don't specifically refer to Block
2. Accurately state that some tax services use seasonal "non tax professionals"

Since when is "It's true but might make us look bad" a legitimate reason to sue to have a competitor's commercials yanked?
 
2013-02-10 04:47:42 AM  
I'm one of the lucky people who live outside of the USA and get to pay USA taxes as well as local taxes.  I was talking to the head of the Aussie Tax Office department who run their international tax compliance division.  He made the comment that no one in his department knows all the rules since the US agreement covers something like 80,000 pages.  I asked him who did know and he said Rupert Murdoch's lawyers since they wrote the rules.
 
2013-02-10 04:47:46 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: Those places, (and I say this out of experience) use DOS-based (still, OMG!) software that gets updated ONCE per year, not every day.


Ummm DOS is still a perfectly good operating system, it's used in a lot more places than you think and is in fact more stable than Windows as it does not have the unnecessary services and background programs running interfering with the primary software that you want to use.  The actual tax software is updated as the laws & IRS rules change, if they don't change after Jan 1st, there's no reason to update the software, so unbunch your panties the world's not going to end.
 
2013-02-10 04:51:39 AM  
They funny thing about this class question that nobody else has pointed out, is that neither Intuit nor H&R Blocks programmers are tax specialists either.  The people building their software are more than likely Chinese or Indian subcontractors to boot, writing the code to some accountants that they will never meet specs, but not themselves having any clue about our tax system.
 
2013-02-10 04:54:41 AM  

semiotix: Coming on a Bicycle: This story is very difficult to understand for a non-USian, I guess. Both TFA and the reactions here do not provide many clues; are you supposed to file your income tax with some amateur who uses a piece of software? Why?

HotWingAgenda: We can file our own taxes, but our government has made the forms so complicated that it takes someone with an advanced degree to fill them out properly.  Unless you are a single person with no family, who earns very little money.  Then, you just enter how much you made in one box, deduct a standard arbitrary number from that, and find out how much money the government owes you back.

The "amateur" with the software charges a pittance and is fast at typing in the numbers by virtue of doing it all day. This, and the various warranties the tax-prep companies offer in case there's a mistake and the IRS demands penalties, are the value-added.

However.

Opinions will vary on the rest. The law is complicated, but the forms are simple. I'd say it's not much of a challenge to follow the directions, no matter how many schedules and forms your particular income stream requires, millionaires excepted. Sometimes it's not entirely clear if certain rules apply to you in the first place (does my home office qualify as a home office?) but those are the kinds of questions that the tax-prep places won't really be able to help with either. (Well, they can, but then you're not getting the $15 quickie, but the $150/hr deluxe package.)


Man, a $15 quickie? All the prostitutes I see charge at least $100 for that! Lucky bastard.
 
2013-02-10 04:56:46 AM  
Must not be a very good plumber if he is having to moonlight as a tax preparer.
 
2013-02-10 05:11:11 AM  

Farkenhostile: Weird, there were 4 turbotax ads on the main page at once earlier then this story pops up. I'm starting to wonder how much of the crap we see on this site anymore is sponsored garbage.


I don't see any ads.

//loves adblock.
 
2013-02-10 05:12:13 AM  

psychicdeath99: I don't understand the basis for H&R Block's suit to stop the commercials. From the article, at least, it appears that the commercials:

1. Don't specifically refer to Block
2. Accurately state that some tax services use seasonal "non tax professionals"

Since when is "It's true but might make us look bad" a legitimate reason to sue to have a competitor's commercials yanked?


Since shut your piehole, you filthy maggot, that's when.

Seriously though, I'm guessing that the suit will be dismissed because the Supreme Court has previously said that people can lie on TV and have it covered by free speech, so why would they not be able to tell the truth on TV and have it covered by free speech?
 
2013-02-10 05:27:27 AM  
Tax laws/rules change rather frequently, as do forms, almost up and sometimes through the cutoff date. This isn't just IRS but state by state. Even more so this year with the Fiscal Cliff fiasco; the IRS pushed acceptance to the end of January to get their forms ready and states had to wait until after that before they could update their own forms and laws/rules because states have to match the IRS in certain specific areas. If you haven't filed your taxes already do a once over and update your forms as chances are there have been some changes.

Nonetheless.... the next time an H&R Block commercial comes on and it is one of the talking head ones? Mute it and watch. You're either watching a serial killer, a molester, or a crazy person talk. It's scary how much the expressions on the people's faces match one of those three.
 
2013-02-10 05:31:06 AM  
As a True American I choose my tax service based on the company that has the most people dressed as patriotic characters in front of their offices waving at traffic.
 
Ral
2013-02-10 05:50:05 AM  
Honestly I don't see that the ads are mocking people of a certain social or working class.  All I take away from it is that people who aren't full-time professional tax experts are less likely to be good at correctly preparing your taxes.  To see some kind of class warfare in these commercials is a bit silly, and probably not at all what the ad designers intended.
 
2013-02-10 06:00:35 AM  
Been using TurboTax for 6 years now, absolutely no complaints. Dead simple.
 
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