Monday, January 18, 2016


Yesterday while heading toward a business client in Jersey City NJ I passed a storefront office of Liberty Tax Service, a “fast food” tax preparation chain of the same ilk as Henry and Richard. 

The window was plastered with pictures of $50 bills and signs with statements like “Come in and walk out with $50.00” and “Come in and walk out with $750.00”.

Except for the name of the business, I saw no indication in the window that this was a tax preparation business and its employees were educated, competent, and current in 1040 preparation.  There were no signs saying “We know taxes” or “Pay the least amount of tax possible”.  Just come in and walk out with money.

I looked to the Liberty Tax Service website for more information on the offers and was “told” -

Visit your local store, file your taxes with us, and you will receive up to $50 cash with your paid return!

I don’t understand – don’t you have to pay Liberty for preparing your return?  The fee will certainly be more than $50.00.    

And found -

Get $750 at no additional cost if you qualify.”

This is a “Tax Refund Advance Loan” – an infamous “RAL”.  However there supposedly is no interest or processing fee.

Liberty is in business to make as much money as possible.  They ain’t giving money away.  If they are going to give you $50.00 cash when you leave the office and an interest and fee free loan of up to $750.00 the cost of these items is going to come from somewhere – and the only source is the fee they charge to prepare returns.  So an already disproportionately high fee, considering the value and quality of the service provided, is even more inflated to cover these costs.

Like Henry and Richard, I expect Liberty ain’t cheap.  You will do much better using a competent and qualified independent tax professional to prepare your taxes who doesn’t have to rely on a stupid gimmick to get clients.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greetings, maybe you should wander less and research more. Your comments about the Liberty services are clearly bias and unproven. You say in regards to the $750 Advance Refund Loan that "there supposedly is no interest or processing fee". You are nearly right, take out the supposedly. There are no fees nor interest. Again, you should do your research prior to publishing. Then you say "already disproportionately high fee". What is basis of this comment? Where is your research? Who are you to say what fees are appropriate?

As to "plastering" the front window with pictures of $50 bills during first peak, and? Do you have your resume posted on the front window of your tax office, if you even have a tax office? Clearly this appropriate marketing towards the first peak client who values these services.