I have been using the same accountant to file my taxes for last 15 years. few years ago he retired and I had to find someone else. Silly me, I decided to go to H&R Block. Last year, they filed my taxes for a fee of $284. Since it was joint tax return with my wife and for my business, I was OK with the amount paid. However, this year was different; I no longer own a business and as such, my return was fairly simple. Two W2's and a 1098 form from my mortgage company. Since this return did not require writing off items for my business, it was very simple. In less than half an hour, my accountant was finished...and here came the surprise. After he informed me that I owe some $100 on my taxes, he told me that today's charges were $290. I attempted to imply logic into the strange pricing. I asked how come that when I do business taxes and personal taxes, the charges were $284 and if I do only personal taxes, the charges were $290. He explained the pricing went up a bit but he had no answer as to how can I possibly pay the same when no complicated itemizing for business was applied. The answer was "I don't know, I do not set the pricing..." I asked if I can speak to someone who has the answer as "I don't know was no exactly what I was hoping for. He called the store manager. The manager listened to my inquiry and stated "I wish I have the answer..."
Obviously, no one was able to explain the "logic" how come I pay the same for preparation of personal and personal and business taxes together. As such, I answered the question to my self; I was being taken advantage of as they (incorrectly) assumed because I paid that amount last year, I am going to pay it again. Wrong assumption. The accountant attempted to clarify that there is charge for every form they complete. Essentially, I have been charged for every sentence he typed in ... after I gave him every information he needed.
The store manager repeated "I don't know" so, in return I told her "when you find out, let me know" and I collected my documents and walked out.
I don't meant to be cheap and I always pay for the services I receive but enough is enough. Whatever "logic" H&R block is using to justify their pricing, there is none. It can't be. There is no way that simple individual return can cost the same as individual and business combined. Business requires lot of extra work and itemizing. The answer is simple: H&R block is taking advantage of their customers by simply scr****g them. There is no other way to say this.
When I got home I went to IRS website and used one of their approved services called "Free Tax USA" It wasn't completely free since the free service is only for those making $57,000 and less. I made a lot more so, there was a fee ... $9.95! I used the same documents and same information as I presented to H7R Block accountant. I followed the very simple instructions. all I did was to copy information from our W2's and the form from our mortgage company. There were no write-offs; it took me probably 30 minutes. To my surprise, there was no amount due to federal government. It appears that I paid enough during the year from every paycheck and the result was simply shocking to me: The "professional at H&R Block stated I owe $127. The service I used resulted in return of $152...
Not only I saved $290 for preparation but $127 that I was supposed to pay. If I went with what H&R block said, I would spend $417 for preparation of 2011 tax return. By using IRS website and filing on my own, I paid $9.95 and received $152 return. Therefore, after paying the little fee,I spend nothing and received $142.05.
Simply amazing how H&R block operates. If you have simple return, I recommend going on IRS website and filing yourself. Not only they made mistake in return, they ridiculously attempted to overcharge me. I have learned something new. H&R Block NEVER again!
Mike, Las Vegas, Nevada