Pros: Hmmmm...nice folders.
Cons: Outrageous fees, inept employees.
I have been tortured this year when processing my tax return. I have been going to H & R Block for the last five years and understandably I wanted to save on their charges by filing my return myself on-line. However, after going to three different sites, my return had three different totals. One said that I owed taxes; another calculated a $200 plus return and the other, a $600 plus return. Funnily enough, their tax return calculators all gave me a $2000 plus figure as an estimate.
As a result, I shied away from this process and marched down to my local H & R Block with an attitude in tow.
Sitting in the waiting room, I noticed little signs indicating that H & R Block goes to great lengths to make sure you get what you are entitled to. This year, I had two 1099s and one W-2. Twenty minutes later, I was ushered over to a semi-private desk and I handed over my documents to a middle-aged competent-looking woman in a blue business suit.
Sylvia was very pleasant as she happily took my personal information and entered it into the computer.
Okay, she said, Would you like to know the amount you are due?
Yes, I would. I replied, Does this include our telephone excise tax refund also?
Yes, it is a standard $40, she replied.
But, I brought all my phone bills, shouldnt you add that up? I asked, a little confused.
Oh, sure, if you want me to, she flustered. Of course, I wanted her to, what a stupid question.
And what about the sales tax refund we are due? I quandered.
Er, you have to have all your receipts to qualify for that, she replied a little haughtily.
Wrong! I knew from a very reliable source that you didnt need the receipts this year. Next year, however, you would. It required a practical board meeting for the staff there to come to the conclusion that, yes, I was entitled to that. So, finally, I had my refund calculated correctly, I think.
The charge?: A whopping $275.00! She spent about 15 minutes with me aside from the board meeting. That means that H & R Block earned $1,200.00 per hour for processing my return. Maybe I should have charged them back for the information I gave them.
Needless to say, I didnt file electronically and let them take even more charges out of my return, anywhere from $100 to $200 depending on how I would have filed. I would rather wait. Nor did I fall for the worry-free audit charge.
Am I satisfied with their service? Well, er, no! I could have been one of the poor souls who has been screwed out of their sales tax refund (mine totaled $343.00) because of people like Sylvia who was obviously not aware of some very important details. Who knows what else I may be entitled to that I know nothing of.
Do I think that their fees are fair? Again, no! I think their fees arent even competitive. After a little research, I have found that H & R Block charges a lot more than most companies and have long been criticized for them. It's no small wonder that I have been unable to find an itemized list of these fees either. Sylvia certainly couldn't produce one.
As I closed the transaction, I thought, Wouldnt it be nice if the scratch off ticket I was awarded as a gift for doing business with them would reveal a $25,000.00 prize. In my dreams, of course! H & R Block does issue your papers in a nice little green and white folder for your convenience. I now have six of these. The colors will definitely change next year.