Friday, February 15, 2008


I just had to break from my tax season hiatus again to comment on the requirement that individuals with no income other than Social Security, Railroad Retirement or Veterans benefits will have to file a “0” Form 1040A in order to receive their $300 (or $600 for a couple) rebate check.

As the Acting IRS Commissioner made the announcement I could hear the corks popping and imaging the Champagne flowing at the headquarters of Henry and Richard and other “fast food” tax preparation chains of their ilk.

This new requirement will give Block and friends another way to continue their policy of soaking lower income individuals with excessive preparation fees, usurious Rebate Anticipation Loans, and other scams and schemes like their fee-loaded debit cards. The greedy bastards!

To anyone out there reading this who will have to file not because you have taxable income but solely to report your Social Security or other benefits in order to get a rebate check – whatever you do, do not go to Henry and Richard to have your return prepared. Look for a free service like VITA or the program run by AARP.

Now, back to work!



Anonymous said...

And you are doing these returns for free yourself ? At what income level do you start to ask for a tax prep fee ? I would be interested to hear ?

Robert D Flach said...


I have been charging those members of my client "family" who had to file "0" liability returns just to get the rebate (would not have to file otherwise) $10.00. It only takes about 5-10 minutes.

Income level has nothing to do with my fee. It is based on the work done and the time involved. I have no set policy.


Anonymous said...

I wish you would not paint all Block tax preparers with such a broad brush. I am sure some are guilty of everything you say, but others do their best to discourage people from Refund Anticipation Loans and other foolishness. Block tax preparers often do quite a lot of work for little more than minimum wage.

Block tax preparers are not that keen to prepare these "0" liability returns because it will artificially boost productivity statistics for 2008, and preparers wonder if Block will understand when productivity drops to normal in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Actually HR Block is doing most of these "not required to file" returns for free unless something with tax consequences is discovered during the interview process.

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