Like the title says, from the filing process and tax questions to tax policy and reform, you can search and share All Things Tax here. This is the place to find answers to all your general questions that don't fall under the other categories. And just a reminder: questions about software or online filing should be posted in DIY Products.
04-28-2018 08:33 AM
I went to H&R Block yesterday with the intention of filing my taxes. The woman who helped me gave me no information with regard to price or how I would pay even though I asked. She quickly jumped from one aspect of my financial history to the next and never actually said anything until I insisted. She finally waved her hands in the air and said "I think this will be around 500 dollars." I said I read it should be around 150 and she continued on her way, working on the computer asking me questions and never addressing my questions about price. She went on to explain how close she lived to me making it a point to say several times she knew right where I lived which seemed redundant to me by the third time she mentioned it. At one point she asked me a complicated question and as I was answering, pushed a signature pad towards me and said "this is for permission to view your finances", which she was already so I assumed signing didn't mean much and as we had not yet agreed on a price, I was certain it could not be anything financially binding.
We went through my taxes, all of my information, but there was something having to do with my sons college information that I could not answer. At that point I was in the office for 2 hours already in which time she took a very long phone call and even stepped away and sat down at another table with a walk in leaving me sitting there for almost 30 minutes. I was eager to wrap things up and asked her if she needed payment and she told me, "no, not now" and as I headed out the door we agreed I would call with the college info and make an appointment then to come back and actually file my taxes and square away with regard to payment.
That evening, I got a phone call from her at almost 9pm which is late for my phone to be ringing. To my surprise it was the tax preparer pressuring me to make an appointment for next Tuesday. "Are you the one I made an appointment for on Tuesday?" I told her no, when I left we agreed I would contact you with the college information and make an appointment then. I was not sure when I would get the information and told her so, but she continued trying to put me on the calendar and I finally said, "I will get back to you when I have it, I dont know when or who I will need to speak to yet." It was a Friday night. She finally hung up.
Now that I have had time to think, I am not feeling comfortable with this person and was wondering if I am under any obligation to continue. After doing some research online I am wondering now what it was I even signed and why she needed my drivers license when we had not discussed anything about payment and only had an estimate thrown out in the air.
Am I obligated to return and continue to file my return with her? The office does not open again until Tuesday and I am getting really concerned that I have unknowingly obligated myself to something because of how insistent she was on the phone.
04-28-2018 03:52 PM
I was hoping maybe someone could clarify for me exactly what the process is for filing with H&R Block, perhaps through experience so I can understand if what happened to me was as unusual as it seems.
04-28-2018 09:00 PM
I'm not familiar with H&R Block's process, but I can offer the following:
1) It's likely she needed to see your driver's license to verify your identity. This is pretty normal.
2) It's my understanding that most H&R Block employees get paid on a commission basis-- could explain why she's so insistent that you come back.
3) I don't know exactly what you signed, but it could have been what she said. I'm not familiar with H&R Block's process so don't know if it would have been more than that.
4) Assuming you didn't sign the acceptance of your return, which is unlikely since you didn't have all of the information needed to complete it, and assuming what you signed wasn't a contract of some sort that said that you would pay H&R Block to prepare and file your return, you're under no obligation to go back and have H&R Block file your return. Do you still have all of your documents? If so, you're welcome to go ahead and file your taxes yourself, or find someone else to do your taxes. Or did you leave your documents with the H&R Block person? If you left them, I'd go back and tell her you want them back and that you've decided to have someone else do your taxes. With the persistence of the person you were working with, you might want to be prepared for her to give you a hard time. But, if you haven't signed anything committing you to having them do your taxes for you, they're your documents and have the right to get them back. If she says that you have to pay them, ask what you signed that says that. I wouldn't hesitate to ask for a supervisor if you have any trouble.
04-29-2018 09:17 AM
Thank you for your response, I cant get a hold of her until Tuesday and I am starting to get nervous about what I signed. I went away with all of my papers, she has nothing of mine but if that was in fact some kind of agreement that was signed would I still at this point be able to reverse that? The taxes are not finished so I would not expect that it is, I am just now wondering if this person had me sign something obligatory without telling me. So I guess my question is, if the preparer prematurely, and without explanation, had me sign something that said I was getting it done there, can I still choose to do my taxes another way or am I going to be forced? Perhaps someone has experience with this? I would really appreciate any information.
04-29-2018 09:28 PM
If you have all of your documents and left knowing the return was not complete (which the preparer would be hard pressed to argue since she's pressing you to come back to finish), there's no way she would be able to legally e-file the return on your behalf, because you wouldn't have been able to sign the e-file Signature Authorization.
You should read the information on the IRS's website here: here: https://www.irs.gov/e-file-providers/signing-an-electronic-tax-return , According to that information, what you signed early in the process, even if it was some sort of authorization to e-file your return would most probably have been invalid by the time the rest of the information was entered. (FYI... ERO stands for Electronic Return Originator.) The third paragraph on the link says "Taxpayers must sign a new declaration if the electronic return data on individual income tax returns is changed after taxpayers signed the Declaration of Taxpayer and the amounts differ by more than either $50 to "Total income" or "AGI," or $14 to "Total tax," "Federal income tax withheld," "Refund" or "Amount you owe."" Since it would seem that all of those would have changed after she had you give your signature, there's no way you could have authorized her to file your return for you.
I can't guarantee that what you signed didn't obligate you to have your taxes done by them, but I don't really see how it could. If you didn't give them any money or a credit card number or blank, signed check, and they can't file your return for you since you couldn't have signed that authorization (so they could take their fee from your refund), I can't see how they can expect for you to pay for something you didn't receive (a filed return).
Hopefully someone else with more direct H&R Block experience/knowledge will chime in. It would probably ease your mind to contact the office on Tuesday. (Or maybe even call a different H&R Block office tomorrow and ask them what the process is, and what happens if you have them start your return, and you're not happy or confident in your preparer so change your mind-- they might be more apt to give you a straight answer.)
05-01-2018 06:58 PM
Hello, rockmother, and welcome to the community.
I'll answer your last - and biggest - question first. No, you are under no obligation to continue your return with the preparer you have been working with up to this point. There doesn't even have to be a reason - anything which makes you uncomfortable with the preparer is a valid enough reason to request the return of your paperwork.
It sounds as though the preparer you worked with is slightly on the aggressive side - usually, if there's a missing form that clients don't have, we'll call about a week later to check on the status, and see if the missing forms/information has been received. Since you obviously hadn't had time to get the information in the short time since you left the office, that seems a bit over-the-top for pushing to set an appointment to finish the return.
You didn't mention what state you live in - some states require driver's license information as a way to help combat identity theft. It has become fairly common for tax preparers to request to see your ID early in the tax interview process. The form you signed on the signature pad is most likely our Client Service Agreement; that lays out some of the details of what you can expect from the tax process in the office. The reason we have clients sign it is because there is a section that states you agree to go to an arbitrator instead of taking us to court if there is a major disagreement about your tax return and the accuracy with which it was prepared.
I certainly hope that your experience hasn't soured you on H&R Block, and is only directed toward the particular preparer who you saw.
If you have more questions, don't hesitate to throw them at us - no matter how small they may seem.
Hope that helps clear things up a little!