For most people, the IRS now has all the information it needs to estimate how much you owe in taxes, or how much of a refund you are due. So why is the burden on you to tell the federal government this same information? It may have something to do with the millions of dollars that H&R Block, Intuit (maker of TurboTax), and others have spent lobbying to maintain their exclusive arrangement with the IRS. [More]
One of the many innovations that ride-hailing service Uber has given the world is that it popularized the phrase “surge pricing,” which means raising the price for something as demand for it goes up. Lots of industries do this, but filing taxes is something that everyone has to do. [More]
For many low-income consumers, tax time provides an opportunity to catch up on bills and get back on track financially. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous companies out there that aim to make money of these same consumers by pointing them in the direction of high-cost tax-refund-anticipation loans. That appears to be the case for the owner of New Mexico-based H&R Block franchises and a tax-time loan company operating an alleged illegal tax-refund scheme. [More]
Tax returns contain some pretty sensitive information. You would think that when a tax preparer collects your e-mail address, they might verify to make sure that it is your correct e-mail address. If that’s your assumption, clearly you are not H&R Block, which doesn’t particularly care whether they’re sending your personal information to you or not. [More]
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.
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.
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.
Consumerist reader Kevin had done his taxes online through H&R Block, but when he found out he might have accidentally included something he shouldn’t have, he turned to the site’s automated answering system for help. And when the discussion got a bit heated, well… let’s just say that H&R Block’s artificial intelligence has some very real emotional responses.
Tax Cat here with a reminder about using a free service to prepare your taxes. Beware sneaky upsells on “free” tax preparation options for people with simple tax returns. We’ve already seen a Consumerist reader get charged for this unawares with TurboTax, and now reader Shane reports that If you miss an option on H&R Block’s form, you’ll be paying extra for access to your own data.
Tax Cat here! Calling it a “game changing event for the tax system”, the IRS announced in a press conference call, that they invited me, a tax cat, to that they’re launching 6 sweeping regulatory reforms to clean up the paid tax prep industry. The IRS is not naming names but I’m growling at you, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt. Numero uno:
Poor Sam didn’t take our advice. He let H&R Block do his taxes and then took out a refund anticipation loan. The money, which was deposited on an H&R Block Emerald Card, is now tied up by several inexplicable holds for transactions he didn’t make. The companies supposedly holding the funds have no clue who Sam is, or why they’d be holding his money. H&R Block’s only response is to charge Sam $2 whenever he calls their customer service line for help.
It’s too late for this year’s tax season (unless you’re doing it wrong), but H&R has issued an apology of sorts by announcing it will give a $100 coupon or free TaxCut software to gay couples who were shut out of their online programs this year due to a programming oversight. Don’t expect to take advantage of the offer if you were turned away online and went elsewhere, though—the offer is only good for “civil union, domestic and same sex partner clients, who started with TaxCut online and then completed their returns in one of our retail offices.” If you fit that requirement, you can request the coupon or software here.