H&R Block Lures College Students With $10 In "Pizza Cash"

Kevin sent in this ad for H&R Block trying to market to college kids by giving them $10 in “pizza cash” if you file through H&R Block. This sounds tasty, except that due to their low income, most college kids won’t have to pay any taxes and it’s pretty easy to do with FreeFile through the IRS.gov website, for free, natch. But file through H&R Block and you’ll probably be paying at least $60. So, you could buy yourself $10 of pizza, or pay $50+ for H&R Block pizza. They still teach math in college, right?


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  1. Bladefist says:

    if your dumb enough to do that, you deserve it and you should go to a better college

  2. anonymousryan says:

    I’m dumb enough to put it on my parents’ credit card! FREE PIZZA!

  3. Quellman says:

    H&R Blockheads!

  4. flugelhorn says:

    My girlfriend was worried about having to file in two states, so she went to H&R Block. Despite that she makes less than $30k/yr and doesn’t have any complicated filings involving investments, etc, her trip to H&R set her back $140. What a racket!

  5. sven.kirk says:

    @Bladefist: Well put.

  6. Televiper says:

    Popular culture conditions us to believe that preparing our taxes is something that’s complicated, and wrought with legal pitfalls. I remember the first time I prepared my taxes and thinking: Ok, where’s the hard part?

  7. j03m0mma says:

    @Televiper: Dood same for me. I just hope they paid the poor schmuck in the picture more that $10 in pizza cash for that horrible photo.

  8. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Are they still doing the “instant refund” that has sky-high interest rates? If so, it wouldn’t surprise me if the students would buy that just as easily as the pizza.

  9. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Like $10 would even buy you a decent pizza.

    If today’s college students can’t figure out how to file the 1040EZ, we’re all doomed.

    Doomed, doomed I tells ya.

  10. kamel5547 says:


    I had a similar thought on my first tax form though I’ve changed my mind a bit. It can get a bit rough if you have shares that undergo an aquisition which pays out a some and gives you the rest in shares. Any transaction that is less than straight forward on the gains end tends to be somewhat complicated and if you had more than a couple of these in a year I could see not wanting to deal with it.

    Fact is though, if you have a fairly straight forward income (wages, interest, capital gains on simple transactions) it isn’t that hard. On the other hand if you are dealing with more complex transactions it may well be worth your while to go to a tax preparer.

  11. Eilonwynn says:

    We’ve been getting a $20 deal advertised from h&r block, for dominoes, which I won’t go to anyways. Really, I personally could use a $10 gift card to the freaking bookstore, even IF my books are tax – deductions.

  12. Miguel Valdespino says:

    @Televiper: Taxes range from the easy to the ridiculously complicated. If you don’t itemize and simply take the standard deduction it’s pretty easy. If you have several sources of income, and many types of deductions etc it can be a nightmare well worth paying a qualified tax expert. Which exculdes a lot of the H+R Block people.

  13. canerican says:

    And most colleges offer free tax prep anyway… at least mine does

    But for a student like myself, I have alot of taxation through investments, and alot of writeoffs through giving to my church and business writeoffs… so I just pay $30 and get it done.

    Big deal, a business advertises… what else should they do, they’re out to make money.

  14. CuriousO says:

    If you are a College student and cannot even do your own taxes then I do not feel sorry for you for falling into this scam. Idiot!!!

  15. clevershark says:

    Well at least they didn’t resort to a tired cliché!

  16. weg1978 says:

    I love it…it’s a tax on stupidity. Like lotteries, but gentler.

  17. jen06850 says:

    More scary than being ripped off by H&R Block? Being in college and not knowing that “a lot” is two words.

  18. forgottenpassword says:

    I havnt trusted H&R block since they implemented their payday-loan-esque “advanced refund” scam they got in trouble for doing years ago.

  19. Coelacanth says:

    Heh, it’s no worse than the Citibank goons setting up a tent right across from campus offering a free medium pizza if you apply for one of their student credit cards.

  20. Craig says:

    I still haven’t run across something that I can’t handle easily with TurboTax.

  21. Christy says:

    I’ve filed for free with H&R block every year…

  22. Craig says:

    Also, the irony in this section of the article is rich:

    “But file through H&R Block and you’ll probably be paying at least $60. So, you could buy yourself $10 of pizza, or pay $50+ for H&R Block pizza. They still teach math in college, right?”

    “At least $60” means $60+, not $50+…you don’t deduct the $10 worth of pizza. (Unless you want to say $50+ extra.)

  23. morganlh85 says:

    I’ve been doing my taxes for FREE through H&R Block online for years. What a horrible trick.

  24. tande says:

    Why anyone goes to H&R Block is still one of those great mysteries to me.

    If you are in a position where your taxes are complicated enough that you can’t do them yourself pony up the money and pay a professional. Thats not a person that took a weekend class and is using effectively the same software you can free online.

    When I was working at Sears (whole ‘nother mystery) I was reading through some of their stuff when they were setting up. The intrest rates on the refund anticipation loans are down right criminal. I’m surprised they aren’t covered under loan sharking laws. On top of that we would take another percentage when we cashed the check.

  25. Rando says:

    I file with H&R and it only costs $10…..online

  26. Televiper says:

    @Miguel Valdespino:

    That’s a given. Naturally, there are circumstances where income tax gets considerably complicated. But, I doubt this is the case for the average student.

  27. Nithwa says:

    I file with H&R Block online as well and it only costs me $10… It takes about 15 minutes.

  28. Skiffer says:

    @Christy: That’s what I was thinking. I remember H&R Block waiving filing fees if your AGI was less than a certain amount. This was a couple yrs ago – I just checked their website, but couldn’t find anything on that though.

  29. newspapersaredead says:

    @tande: I’d wondered the same thing until a few years ago I walked past an H&R Block set up in a mall for tax season. The people who were lined up, well lets just say they didn’t appear to be Nobel Laureates. It’s the same folks who go out and invest their refund in scratch off lottery tickets.

  30. shortergirl06 says:

    @tande: Yeah, but what if you can’t afford the CPA’s in the area, and you’ve worked in 3 different states in the past year?

    H&R Block seems like the best offer for me. $50 Bucks is much better than the $200 that the CPA’s charge. And with the different state tax laws than I’m used to, what else am I supposed to do?@tande:

  31. psm321 says:

    @Craig: Where are you getting your math from?

    Me buying pizza: $10
    Me buying “H&R Block pizza”: $60 fee – $10 coupon = $50

  32. psm321 says:

    @psm321: Heh, I take that back. Craig was correct.

  33. TechnoDestructo says:

    I’ve been using TaxSlayer.com for the last 4 years (it was free when I was in the military), and I’ve had no problems.

    Looks like they’re charging 20 bucks for multiple state returns.

  34. theblackdog says:

    I used to use TurboTax online, until they only allowed free filing if you made under $27,000, I used H&R Block’s free filing last year and it was nice, let’s see if they offer it this year.

    If not, I’ll find another place to free file through.

  35. disavow says:

    @theblackdog: I don’t know the direct link to HRB’s freefile page, but it should show up on the IRS website’s list in a week or two.

    @SaveMeJeebus: The current plan is to keep offering RALs afaik, but the IRS may stop that.

  36. InternMary says:

    @canerican: Interesting…which colleges offer free tax prep? Is that pretty common?

  37. Haltingpoint says:

    I’d hope some college students would have a bit invested in stocks/mutual funds…however if they do they might do well to seek out a tax preparer (not necessarily H&R block, there are better, cheaper independnt preparers out there) to ensure they are doing things correctly and good preparer can save you a lot of money.

  38. goodkitty says:

    What I want to know is where people are buying these magical $10 pizzas. Tostinos? The last time I went out for pizza without an armful of coupons it was a $30 tab.

    College students don’t just suck at tax math, they suck at food bill math too? :)