Last month the Internal Revenue Service said H&R Block had bungled over 600,000 tax returns, potentially causing refund delays for those customers. The tax preparation firm says to make up for that glitch, it’ll be sending out $25 gift cards to any customers who filed their taxes at company-owned H&R Block locations and were impacted by the processing delay.
Many of us find the Internal Revenue Service’s income tax return pretty darn difficult to figure out, which is why companies like H&R Block exist — ostensibly, to help customers maneuver the complicated forms and get them a nice tax refund if possible. But it seems H&R finds those forms confusing, too.
We’ve been warning people for years to steer clear of the “refund anticipation loans” that get you your tax refund ASAP but at the cost of usurious interest rates and fees. And between growing consumer awareness that RALs are a bad deal and the bigger banks dropping out of the business, only one bank has been backing the loans — and that’s all about to end.
Bambi has been getting her taxes done by H&R Block for decades with no problem. But when a recent audit turned up a small error that required Bambi pay $725 in additional taxes, folks at the tax-preparation service seemed to go out of its way, including telling her complete falsehoods about why her claim was being denied, to not make good on its guarantee to reimburse her for the $725.
The Department of Justice has blocked the proposed merger between H&R Block and TaxACT on the grounds that combining the two tax-software giants would “substantially lessen competition in the tax preparation software market, resulting in higher prices, lower quality, and reduced innovation,”
It probably goes without saying that I love a good cat fight, that’s why I’m licking my paws and purring with delight over the news that Jackson Hewitt has bared its claws to take on the biggest feline of them all, H&R Block.
Dustin provided a case study in why it’s a good idea to attempt to do your taxes on your own before shelling out money for professional help. And at that point, it’s smart to get an estimate about how much services will cost. After going through an hour of hassle and spending $250, he discovered he could have saved himself time and money by going it alone.
If you had a pulse and/or a mailbox in the ’90s, you received some AOL disks in the mail. They promoted a free trial, but everyone knows their real purpose: to have their labels peeled off and to be used for file storage. AOL eventually switched to read-only CDs, then switched to total irrelevance. But their familiar promotional tactic is back: adopted by tax preparers H&R Block to distribute their income tax software.
We’ve been warning readers for years against “refund anticipation loans,” where tax preparers like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt give you a pre-paid debit card now loaded with your expected return (minus fees and interest). And yet, these cards have continued to appeal to some lower-income taxpayers who don’t have bank accounts for direct-deposit of their returns. Now the federal government is providing these people with an alternative — a debit card that will accept the direct deposit.