that unbelievable H&R BLOCK ad?!?!

chery2February 7, 2004

Has anyone seen the TV H&R BLOCK ad that says they start by looking at last year's taxes to see if they can find money you were owed but didn't get? And that the AVERAGE finding is $1500????

SIL has been doing our taxes, and we've paid through the nose. Here are my questions:

1. What if H&R BLOCK discovers that you OWE more?

2. How much does this extra service cost?

3. How much does their REGULAR service cost?

4. Am I being naive to believe what they say?

5. Do I have to have every single receipt for every little expenditure in a small business venture? [I bought materials to make bridal headpieces almost every time I entered a store; kept some receipts, not all]

Thanks in advance, chery-va

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I work for Block and would like to try to answer your questions.

1. If Block reviews your return and discover that you owe, we will offer to do an amended return for you. If you choose not to do an amended return; in a year or two, you will probably get a letter from the IRS about the problem. Penalities and interest may be due if you owe, but the earlier the problem is corrected, the smaller the penalities and interest. It is cheaper to go ahead and correct the mistake as soon as it is discovered.
2. The review of an already prepared tax return is free. We will review prior and current year tax returns.
3. Block's regular tax preparation fees depend on the complexity of the tax return. If you want an estimate, please take your tax documents to a local office and ask for an estimate. That is a pretty common request in the tax offices this time of year.
4. You are not naive if you are questioning what the ads say. I'd rather believe that you are a good consumer to not believe everything that is in the ads. Remember that $1500 is an average, so not everyone gets that much. I have checked many returns that are completely correct and many that have mistakes.
5. If you are audited by the IRS, they will ask for every receipt. If you do not have the receipts, then the IRS auditor will disallow the deduction. If you come to Block to do your taxes, it is a good idea to add up all your expenses before you come. We will not ask to see every receipt, but will ask you if you have the documentation to support your expenses.

I am in VA and would be happy to review your returns if I could figure out if we are close to each other.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2004 at 10:15PM
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chery va,

You get knowledgeable advice around here.

And quickly.

And free (except for the Gardenweb fee - but this site is costly to operate).

Can you beat that?

Just one proviso - when you know something that will help others who have questions, it's your responsibility to put brain in gear and fingers to keyboard.

Tax evasion gets you a jail term (unless you're CEO of some companies that were supposedly valued at billions, a few months ago).

Tax avoidance is the responsibility of each taxpayer - to him/herself.

What do they say - if, short of funds, you owe the bank a million - you've got a problem.

If, short of funds, you owe the bank a hundred million - they've got a problem.

Good wishes to you and yours.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 11:20PM
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I work for H&R Block too, and my Mom owns an office, and WE feel that ad is misleading too. Not that it isn't correct (the average), but it makes people feel like they can bring in old taxes and we will "find" them more money.

jlhug answered your questions really well. We do check taxes you prepared yourself for free, and can tell you if they are correct. We can't tell you what is specifically is wrong unless you want us to correct or amend (if you haven't filed) and yes, that costs. Generally they are talking about taxes prepared by other tax offices.

Something to note here, not all offices train their employees. I worked for another office, very similar, and they had employees preparing taxes that HAD NOT gotten through the tax classes. I am serious. I thought maybe it was just our office until I talked with the district manager, who believed if you just read the questions, you could do taxes. That is not always true. I cringe to think of people taking their taxes to them, expecting an expert but only getting a receptionist basically doing their taxes.

I can honestly say our office trains all employees. You have to get a passing grade on the finals or you don't work. Doesn't mean we don't make mistakes...heck, look who we are dealing with, the IRS that changes the tax laws every year.

Too bad they don't ask the employees for suggestions on ads....we could give them a mountain of ideas.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2004 at 8:01PM
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I called our local HR Block to see how much it would cost to e-file a self prepared return, their answer...$100. So if thats just a basic fee then how much if you had them prepare it??...If you have them pepare it for the 1st time they do offer a POM youcan purchase so if there is a mitake they have an authorized person to be the go between for you and IRS. But ultimately the tax payer is responsble for making sure they have all things in/on hand when you walk in to any tax preparation office.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 10:51AM
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"... 2. How much does this extra service cost? "

It costs the customer nothing.

And it costs H&R Block nothing ... because the tax preparer looking over your return does not get paid for reviewing it! Sometimes the return is simple and the review can be done in less than 15 minutes. Sometimes the review can take an hour or more.

The tax preparer pays the cost for this service. The tax preparers only get paid commission for preparing returns (not reviewing returns).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 12:23AM
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like to learn,

Sounds like your rather usual major corporation - why pay for something if you can arrange to get it (force someone to provide it) free?

Tax preparer doesn't even get a tip, I'll bet, either.

Oh, well.

Have a joyful holiday weekend, all.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 2:09PM
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Garden Mama, everyone can efile for free this year, go to and you'll find out how.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 2:08AM
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I'd be skeptical about H&RBlock and here is a valid reason in my opinion. My wife and I went to Wal-Mart yesterday to purchase tax preparation software and after reading all of the packages we settled on the (Do-it-yourself tax software H&R Block At Home Deluxe Investors/Homeowners edition) for just under $40. We chose this product because on the front of the packaging it reads Federal + e-file + State and this information is also listed on the back of the packaging and it states further that this "State" download is a $36.95 value which we mistakenly believed would include a state e-file. Turns out we were "wrong." I called customer service to inquire why we were being asked to pay an additional $39.90 plus tax and they informed me that only the preparation software is included but you can't e-file it without paying an additional $19.95+tax fee per person. Now it does state on the packaging that "one state program download included" so I was expecting that they were going to charge us for one of our state returns even though we're filing jointly, that I thought was a cheap shot but to then say we both have to pay; that's deceptive advertising in my opinion. If they're willing to deceive their clients so blatantly in writing for $40, what would they do to get you to pay hundreds. My wife and I were paying H&R Block nearly $300 each in previous years to prepare our taxes in their office but now that we're married we attempted this alternative to save money. $40 was a welcomed alternative even though I had to go through the hassle of doing everything myself but now they just doubled the cost so deceptively, I'm upset. Had I known from the get go that it would be $80, I probably would have done it anyway but I wouldn't have been angry about it, I wouldn't have felt deceived. Now, I plan to post this on as many forums as I can find to provide a public service to anyone interested in purchasing software to file their own taxes. My advice, purchase any other software than H&R Block, don't perpetuate this act of deception. Additionally, if you plan to have your taxes prepared by a tax professional, don't go to H&R Block.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 8:45PM
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John, I used the same exact program you mentioned. We've used this and Tax Cut before for 6 or 7 years. Not once did I think it included the STATE efile. Perhaps because I've used it before and was aware of it. I've thrown the box away so I can't check what it says on the cover.

It does include 5 free FEDERAL efiles. You can do unlimited returns that you print off and mail. Cost a couple of bucks to mail a large manila envelope.

I think you're in a little bit of a hurry to condemn them. While it's not cheap for me it's the best alternative. I would think there's probably thousands of people that could use it(or Turbotax etc) that are paying way too much by walking into the H&R's, Jackson Hewitt etc and paying through the nose for filing an 1040 EZ or the basic 1040.

Most people with taxes more complicated than these programs can handle probably already use a real tax accountant and not a seasonal worker filling in the blanks on software.

The best part about these programs is that after the first year they import your previous year's information. Then it's just a matter of filing in the blanks with the current years information.

For what it's worth I filed my state on paper. I'm getting a refund, can't see the rush to get it or the need to pay extra to efile. In the years that I owe I always file on paper anyway. It almost seems your complaint is due to a lack of foreknowledge and not deception by the company.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 12:00PM
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