Friday, January 9, 2009


Well they have started – the tax season television ads I mean.

Once again Turbo Tax ads lie and tell you that using their tax preparation software is “easy”. Let’s face it – taxes ain’t easy. If they were there would not be 1 Million + professional preparers out there. To say that using a specific tax software package makes a complicated subject easy for the uninitiated is nonsense!

I suppose it could be easy, but that does not mean that it will be accurate or prepare a correct return with the least possible tax if you don’t know the tax law. Remember the basic rule of software - Garbage In–Garbage Out.
I say it each year, actually several times a year – no software package is a substitute for knowledge of the Tax Code, and no tax software package is a substitute for a competent, experienced tax professional.
The ads for Henry and Richard so far stress the fact that if you go to H+R Block you have “people”. Big deal. People like this you don’t need! I will take a competent, experienced, ethical “person” over H+R’s “people” any day.

One of Henry and Richard’s ads touts the “paystub RAL”. Bring your last paystub for 2008 to H+R and walk out with a check for $1,000!

No ethical preparer will suggest that he/she can tell if you will be getting a tax refund solely by looking at your final paystub. So you could end up owing money to Uncle Sam, your state, and Henry and Richard (in addition to their excessive fee) when the final return is prepared.

Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) in general are bad – and paystub RALs are much worse. If you need money that bad take a cash advance from your credit card. It will probably be expensive, but I doubt it will be as expensive as getting a RAL from H+R, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty, or any of the other “fast food” chains.

Ignore all these tax season ads and seek out a real, competent, experienced, ethical tax professional who you will be able to ask questions face-to-face and, more important, have him/her ask you questions. You will certainly save time and aggravation, and you will be a lot more sure that the finished returns are done correctly and accurately, and that you are paying the least amount of federal and state tax possible under the law, than if you did them yourself using tax software.
If you need to find a tax professional in your area you can go to Don’t come to me – I do not need any more 1040 clients.


Trish said...

Actually the pre-season money Block is offering is even worse than you explained. That type of program was ended in 2007 when the banks involved realized how much money they lost with the pay stub loans.
What Block is offering now is a credit card that is loaded with up to $1000 (less the annual fee.)While a paystub and prior year returns are needed, much of the decision is based on their credit rating. I have not seen the fine print this year, but last year it was a pre-paid type card with a 9% interest. If it was paid back by the date in the paperwork, the rate stayed the same but if it wasn't the rate went to @26%. Since this was a pre-paid card, you had to not only pay back the advance but also bring the card back to a fully prepaid level. If you had received $1000 advance and used all of that, you would pay back $2000 to keep the lower interest rate. Then you could be subject to a bunch of little fees for just using the card.

Robert D Flach said...


Thanks for the word.

The dirty bastards!

The IRS, or Congress, should ban tax preparers from issuing any kind of RAL, credit card, debit card, etc.

Another reason to avoid Henry and Richard.


Anonymous said...

I actually lost a new client because of the Crap HeRBert is doing.

They want their money fast with the rals. SO She is going to them, Her fiance' is still coming here.

One new client instead of two. I knew I lost clients because of that but to be told that is why kinda blew.

But can't complain pretty sure They'll be here next year. Seldom do I lose a client once I get them.

Robert D Flach said...


Every now and then a client will "stray" from the fold for a year or two - but I, too, find that they usually return after they experience the level of service and amount of fee elswehere. I call these clients "lost lambs" and generally welcome them back.