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Getting your income taxes prepared: Watch out for H&R Block

H&R Block IMG_1666Income taxes are due this year on April 18. Have you sent in your return yet? I mailed mine today.

Last year, I had a bad experience with H&R Block. I couldn’t get an estimate from the receptionist on how much it might cost to get my income taxes prepared, nor could I get an estimate when I took my draft forms in and showed them to a tax preparer.

The tax preparer said he’d give me an estimate when he finished my return. Then, I could accept or reject his work. I was shocked when he said the fee would be $472. I was worn out dealing with my taxes, so I paid the high fee.

It looks like H&R Block charges about $100 per schedule. They should just tell you that.

I think H&R Block uses a form of bait and switch marketing.

This year, I bought TurboTax again. I tried it a few years ago and didn’t like it. It has different categories from those I’ve used, so I spent a lot of time going through my expenses again, putting them in different categories, and adding everything up again.

Then, the next year, I bought TurboTax again, but I had to return it. It wouldn’t work on the Snow Leopard operating system of my Apple computer. Since I had 100,000 photos on my hard drive, I didn’t have time to move the photos to an external hard drive and update to El Capitan.

I did better with TurboTax this year. Aware of the category and other problems, I took steps to avoid them. And, whenever I had a problem, I called the TurboTax support.

Most of the representatives were helpful. One was uninformed and kept insisting he was correct. I asked again and again to talk to his supervisor, and finally, after a 45-minute delay, a more experienced person helped me. Another representative was rude and hung up on me. He wouldn’t listen to what the problem was and wouldn’t transfer to someone who would listen. The woman I talked to next was very helpful.

Anyway, it’s a relief to have my income taxes completed. Maybe some year I’ll start early and not be checking the calendar nervously to make sure I’m done on time.

Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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