Walmart Asks You To Come For The Free Tax Prep, Stay For The People-Watching

In what seems to be an effort to lure customers, especially those in the mood to spend after procuring a sizable tax refund, Walmart is offering free tax preparation services for those whose finances aren’t complicated.

In a press release, Walmart announced it’s teaming with Jackson-Hewitt and H&R Block to offer help with preparing 1040EZ forms. What’s in it for the companies, you ask? As the AP notes, Walmart, Jackson-Hewitt and H&R Block all allow customers to receive their refunds in the form of their own prepaid debit cards.

To file with a 1040EZ, you must have no dependents, make less than $100,000 in taxable income and take the standard deduction.

Americans Can Save More Money at Walmart This Tax Season [Walmart]

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  1. Cat says:

    Yes, it’s free.
    But it’s H&R Block, and they will push their “Rapid Refund” on everyone.

    And you could file a return that simple in 5 minutes online and get your refund direct deposited in a about week. FOR FREE.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      I heard that their ‘free’ tax return service will deposit your refund directly onto a Wal-Mart gift card, basically locking you into spending your refund at Wal-Mart.

      Yikes.

      Avoid.

      • Darury says:

        If somone already knows that they will be basically be spending their tax return at Wal-Mart, I don’t see the big deal. What if they have a TV or other large purchase planned? It seems like a good way to get your tax return done for free without a special trip to another location.

      • George4478 says:

        Using a Walmart card is an additional option for the filer, not a required option.

        “Customers who have their taxes prepared at Walmart will have the usual options for receiving a refund: direct deposit into a bank account or to a prepaid card, or a mailed check.”
        From MSN Money.

      • Dreadcthulhu says:

        The refund goes onto a Walmart pre-payed debit card, which can be used anywhere, not a Walmart gift card. Walmart’s pre-payed debit cards are pretty benign, in terms of fees and such, compared to other such cards.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I should use them. We always have to pay at the end of the year, so we’d get ours totally free (I’d rather pay than let someone else borrow our money for the year.)

      • rpm773 says:

        Yeah, but the “EZ” at the end of 1040EZ is cryptic code for “easy”, meaning you could probably file your own. Easily, and for free.

    • TomClements says:

      I do my own free taxes at home

  2. msky says:

    or you can do it online

  3. FreeMarketFan says:

    Or you could just do your taxes yourself.

    Seriously the 1040EZ is so easy a mental midget can do it. You buy the software, put it on your PC and then it asks you for the numbers from the different boxes. Then you get the part where it asks about different deductions…then you submit the form and you’re good to go.

    You don’t need someone to look stuff over until you’re dealing with the nightmare of living in 3 different states in 2 years – buying & selling stocks (in a short period of time) and not taking the standard deduction

    • Cat says:

      No need to buy a damn thing. It’s free online.

      http://www.taxact.com/ and several other places.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I suspect the big appeal is with those who don’t have checking accounts and will be able to get refunds on Walmart check cards vs. waiting for a refund check.

    • theblackdog says:

      It hasn’t started up for the 2011 tax year yet, but the easiest way is to just use Free Fillable Forms because then it goes right to the IRS without any middle man. http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118986,00.html?portlet=106

    • George4478 says:

      I don’t think people who would buy software and install it on their own PC (or even use their own PC to access free Internet taxsites) are their target market for this program.

    • huadpe says:

      While I don’t suggest this service, having someone competent look it over can be helpful. I’ve done it for a number of my friends, one of whom had not claimed the making work pay credit, and another of whom was taking the hope credit, as opposed to the american opportunity credit. Both of these were on quite simple returns, mind you.

    • lvdave says:

      What the heck do you mean “Buy the software????” .. I’ve been using TaxAct for the last 6 years and you don’t even need to download anything.. its all done via the web, plus it includes free eFile. You *can* download their installable program which works the same way, also with free eFile.

  4. elangomatt says:

    Do people really use tax preparers if they only have to fill out the 1040EZ form? Sheesh, I did my own taxes when I got my first summer job at 15 and I was amazed at how easy it was then. And that was still filling out a paper form and mailing it in, nothing online back in those days.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Judging by how many people do so, I would say a significant portion of the population feels uncomfortable doing it themselves and/or want access to a refund anticipation loan.

      • tbax929 says:

        The refund anticipation loan is what, I think, draws people to these services. I’ve never understood why it’s so hard to wait the short time it takes to get a refund back (at least these days), but some people can’t stand knowing there’s money coming to them and actually waiting for it to arrive – just so they can blow it on some bullshit anyway.

    • caradrake says:

      I remember doing that, too. I was so excited when I got back like $150 or so from a summer job working like 10 hours a week. I was rich!!

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i used to do the phone file 1040EZ. took about 20 minutes if you include the dialing

  5. tape says:

    “Walmart announced it’s teaming with Jackson-Hewitt and H&R Block to offer help with preparing 1040EZ forms.”

    Perhaps they could also offer help wiping my butt and flying the airplane into the hangar.

  6. Jelly says:

    Oh god this is sick. Seriously, they’re exploiting people who don’t already know how to do their taxes properly to make money for themselves. Everybody’s already pointed out you can do it online for free, but ignore the fact that people who need free help on their tax returns don’t have reliable Internet access either. But every city has free tax centers sponsored by the IRS and non-profits and you get your money as CASH in a direct deposit, check or savings bond. Not hand it directly over to Wal-Mart. Ugh.

    • George4478 says:

      Your information is bad.

      “Customers who have their taxes prepared at Walmart will have the usual options for receiving a refund: direct deposit into a bank account or to a prepaid card, or a mailed check.”
      From MSN Money.

      There is no requirement for these poor, exploited people to “hand it directly over to Wal-Mart”. They could take the prepaid debit card, walk down the street, and hand it directly over to Target or Kroger or Publix or etc.

    • homehome says:

      Why is every money making idea an exploitation. What about the people who just don’t feel comfortable doing it, don’t want to take the time to do it or just flat out don’t want to do it. Why is it so horrible to give another option. As it is an option.

  7. speaky2k says:

    I never used any tax software or preparers when I could file an EZ. I did it by hand and mailed in the forms. That was several years ago. Now since I need to itemize (house, car, donations, etc) I have been going to a tax service and they were doing it all for one set price, about the same as buying the tax software. But this year I was thinking of trying to do it myself again since I don’t have anything different than the past few years and I think I can figure out how to fill out the forms now. If I try and can’t figure it out, then I still have time to go to a tax preparer My girlfriend on the other hand will need to go to a tax preparer since she quit a job, and cashed out some stock options and did something with her 401k, took a new job, then quit that job and went back to the old one at a different location. With the stocks and some 401k and transfers of things I don’t even want to look at how complicated her return is going to be this year, all I know is she is going to have to pay someone.

  8. [redacted] says:

    I remember when I was 16 and afraid of effing up my taxes. My parents kept freaking me out telling me not to mess them up. I went into one of those pop up prep places for the first and last time. 100.00 for asking me 5 questions and a signature. After that, I did the paper form myself and now use TurboTax for my taxes. Even when not taking the standard deductions, the software is very user friendly.

  9. ChaiChat says:

    It’s the rapid refund/refund anticipation loan that will make those tax prep companies rich even if the EZ form itself is free. The majority of the people who use these companies are eligible for the earned income tax credit which for most of them means a refund of several thousand dollars. Most of them also don’t have bank accounts so direct deposits of the refund are out. So they can wait three weeks or more for their refund check to arrive in the mail or they can pay several hundred dollars and get their thousands the next day or even the same day. And even better that RAL fee can be taken out of their refund (for about a $20 additional fee) and they will have no out of pocket costs. Most will take these extra fee options because they can’t wait (either due to inability to delay gratification or rent that is due or a car that needs to be repaired).

  10. kranky says:

    I made good money in college doing 1040EZ forms for other students. Charged $5. The trick is not to do it in front of people so they can’t see that it takes less than 2 minutes.

  11. SporadicBlah says:

    WalMart has EVERYTHING! You can get your taxes done, your hair cut, your nails done, your eye exams, your prescriptions filled, your banking and basic health care. I can’t wait for the day when they start renting out apartments above the stores so I never ever have to leave home.

    • diehllane says:

      Unfortunately, they will be putting housing BELOW Wal-Mart, not above the stores… and it will be for the slaves they employ. Basically, you will be able to live there, get your groceries and all other necessities at Wal-Mart and never have to leave.

    • Not Given says:

      You forgot printing photos, getting tires or battery install on your car, buying a cell phone plan.

  12. dush says:

    If people can’t even fill out an “EZ” form what hope is there for this nation?

  13. Conformist138 says:

    I always hated that student loan interest deductions can’t be done on the EZ form. It is the ONLY reason I have to fill out a standard 1040A. With so many people having student loans these days, it would be nice if this one line was added to the EZ.

  14. sirwired says:

    If you need help filling out a 1040EZ, I weep for your future. Even if you don’t have internet access, getting a hold of tax forms isn’t exactly difficult. I’d say a high-school frosh could do one without difficulty.

  15. Froggmann says:

    Sorry the people that shop at walmart are the reason why I stay away.

    • shepd says:

      And the people that don’t shop at Walmart are why I love going there!

      Also moved into a nice blue collar city beside the white collar city I work in. Relaxation is at its finest when nobody cares that you fix your car in your driveway or that you let your grass grow to (gasp!) 4 inches tall!

  16. yurei avalon says:

    Personally I wish there was a way to keep employers from waiting until January 31st to mail out the W2s… /sigh. I just want to do my taxes and get them over with and get my refund back but I am sure I won’t have my 1099 or my W2s until late Jan-early Feb.

  17. Ed says:

    There are lines to fill out on the 1040EZ?

  18. Nighthawke says:

    And 1040EZ’s don’t take into consideration unemployment, IRA’s, medical, and other deductibles. If you have any of those, then the EZ form is pitched into the shredder and the long form (attached to some large dollar signs) are pushed onto the taxpayer. HR block is just ripping people off when it comes to that.