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Old 07-21-2014, 05:54 AM   #61
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We sign the returns and each return has our PTIN. We ( especially those who are enrolled agents) are under strict guidelines and ethics rules when we sign a return. There are monetary penalties for violating the rules. ( ie: helping somone claim fraudulent expenses for example) We also give a signed copy of the return to the client.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:00 AM   #62
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We sign the returns and each return has our PTIN. We ( especially those who are enrolled agents) are under strict guidelines and ethics rules when we sign a return. There are monetary penalties for violating the rules. ( ie: helping somone claim fraudulent expenses for example) We also give a signed copy of the return to the client.
How does professional liability work if you are sued by a client? Do you have to have some sort of insurance for that?
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:04 AM   #63
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Thanks rothley. I told you I was crazy.

You're right, it might make sense for me to do something like Block's class and see if I can pass their muster first. It would be cheaper for starters, and that would also give me mental stimulation I fear I may miss, and if motivated enough, a possible job path. EA could come next year if discovered it was something I wanted to do during retirement.

Glad to hear the IRS stopped the refund loan madness. That always disturbed me.
That is exactly how I approached it. However I had 0 background and did not know what an enrolled agent was. Block payed the fees and bought the study materials. I am very much an introvert so I like least the sales component of the job. The fees also disburb me, especially the earned income credit tax return fees. But it is what it is and people do have choices in where and how they complete their taxes.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:08 AM   #64
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How does professional liability work if you are sued by a client? Do you have to have some sort of insurance for that?

We can be left hanging in the wind depending on what BLOCK thinks . I have no direct knowledge of anyone who actually was sued. BLOCK tells us to follow the rules or they won't back you up. There is no insurance.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:53 AM   #65
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We can be left hanging in the wind depending on what BLOCK thinks . I have no direct knowledge of anyone who actually was sued. BLOCK tells us to follow the rules or they won't back you up. There is no insurance.
HRB is most likely the target of lawsuits, not preparer. It is possible that an individual preparer would get named, but just seems highly unlikely. If a preparer makes a mistake and it is brought to the attention of HRB, the return would be checked and amended if necessary. There is probably an arbitration statement in the contract that is signed before HRB will prepare taxes.

I think it is unlikely that an unbalanced or incompetent individual would get through the training each year. I know that the instructor I had back in 2005 was very much on the ball, and keeping notes.

There must be insurance of some kind. Whether it goes to the extent of E&O for you, probably not.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:22 AM   #66
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HRB is most likely the target of lawsuits, not preparer. It is possible that an individual preparer would get named, but just seems highly unlikely. If a preparer makes a mistake and it is brought to the attention of HRB, the return would be checked and amended if necessary. There is probably an arbitration statement in the contract that is signed before HRB will prepare taxes.


There must be insurance of some kind. Whether it goes to the extent of E&O for you, probably not.

All true, clients sign an artbritation clause, thou they can opt out. Most do not pay any attention to the form. The guarentee covers errors. However should a preparer wind up in hot water with the IRS, I am not sure how much or if at all BLOCK will back us up. The IRS monitors preparers for questionable returns, as well they should.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:25 AM   #67
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The more likely issue would be the IRS assessing penalties against the preparer that we would have to pay out of pocket.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:28 AM   #68
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I think it is unlikely that an unbalanced or incompetent individual would get through the training each year. I know that the instructor I had back in 2005 was very much on the ball, and keeping notes.

.

BLOCK is pretty ethical. We do not do fraudulent returns. We are told to not file any returns wherein we suspect fraud. However there are plenty of unbalanced and or incompetent people who do do tax returns and are quite capable of maintaining their PTIN's and training requirements. We often get the letter that follows and the client has no idea where those numbers came from.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:30 AM   #69
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Another important point: Clients must sign their tax returns. They are told up front that they are responsible for a true and correct return, It is on the 8879
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:04 AM   #70
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Just a curiosity question on people who work for Block... do you have to sign the return as preparer or do they put down Block
The preparer signs the return.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:54 AM   #71
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Wow! All this talk about "W*RK" is making me dizzy!
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:19 AM   #72
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BLOCK is pretty ethical. We do not do fraudulent returns.
I don't think that "not doing fraudulent returns" is a measure of "ethical-ness." It's a measure of covering their butts so they don't get in trouble with the IRS.

Acting as a fiduciary to clients and not selling them any products or services not in the client's best interest would be an example of acting in an "ethical" manner.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:15 AM   #73
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Charging folks a 36% APR for Emerald Advance loans is not my idea of being ethical. Throw into the equation of charging anywhere from $250-$400+ for returns that have EITC isn't my idea of being ethical either. In my way of thinking Block as well as many other tax prep firms take advantage of those who can least afford to be taken advantage of. If you step back and look at the whole situation in a wider perspective these firms are taking your tax money that was intended for those with lower incomes.

Not bashing Block, just telling it the way it is.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:58 AM   #74
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Learning and doing taxes is my post-retirement hobby. I volunteer through the VITA program, which is great. When clients receive a free service, they love you.

Taking tax prep to the next level, I gave H&R Block a try. The office that I worked in had limited walk in traffic. Therefore, I spent a lot of time not preparing tax returns. It got a little boring. Also, the tax returns they let you prepare the first year are too easy. The long term tax prepares get the more complex returns because of experience and higher commissions. The clients can get a little rude and annoying at times too. And last but not least, I only made $10 per hour.

In order not to rush to judgment, I went back to H&R Block the second year. With the commission structure and the number of clients I had, I was still only going to make $10 per hour. My tolerance for rude clients and petty office politics diminished as time went on. Without getting into the details, I had a disagreement with the Office Manager and I ended up walking out (take this job and shove it!).

It was not for me. Too much down time, not challenging enough, awful office politics and extremely low pay.

If you have the right attitude, need the money and are willing to spend a few years building a client base, this could be a viable part time retirement job. For me, I sticking to the VITA program.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:27 PM   #75
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Charging folks a 36% APR for Emerald Advance loans is not my idea of being ethical. Throw into the equation of charging anywhere from $250-$400+ for returns that have EITC isn't my idea of being ethical either. In my way of thinking Block as well as many other tax prep firms take advantage of those who can least afford to be taken advantage of. If you step back and look at the whole situation in a wider perspective these firms are taking your tax money that was intended for those with lower incomes.

Not bashing Block, just telling it the way it is.
This is exactly why I stopped doing tax returns for money and went the volunteer route.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:33 PM   #76
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Charging folks a 36% APR for Emerald Advance loans is not my idea of being ethical. Throw into the equation of charging anywhere from $250-$400+ for returns that have EITC isn't my idea of being ethical either. In my way of thinking Block as well as many other tax prep firms take advantage of those who can least afford to be taken advantage of. If you step back and look at the whole situation in a wider perspective these firms are taking your tax money that was intended for those with lower incomes.

Not bashing Block, just telling it the way it is.

In 2002, I saw them advertising Efile and get your money quickly. Well I thought it would be cool to get my money fast. So I went in there with my forms all completed. All they had to do was type in the numbers as I already had them written out in the correct forms. This process took maybe 15 minutes. I had to pay $150. And I did all the work! Needless to say, I just went back to snail mail, and now onto Turbo.


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Old 07-21-2014, 12:34 PM   #77
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This is exactly why I stopped doing tax returns fit money and went the volunteer route.
Me too.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:03 PM   #78
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Charging folks a 36% APR for Emerald Advance loans is not my idea of being ethical. Throw into the equation of charging anywhere from $250-$400+ for returns that have EITC isn't my idea of being ethical either. In my way of thinking Block as well as many other tax prep firms take advantage of those who can least afford to be taken advantage of. If you step back and look at the whole situation in a wider perspective these firms are taking your tax money that was intended for those with lower incomes.

Not bashing Block, just telling it the way it is.
Frayne - On those points I agree with you. I wish they would lower the fees especially so on the earned income credit tax returns. The loans are gone, when we had them because they were two week loans the finance charges wound up being about $15. It is all the other charges that bother me . If I do leave those will be the reasons. If someone balks at the fees, I will tell them they have other options. Reality is the lower income folks rarely complain about the bill.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:34 PM   #79
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As an HRB grad I am outraged! But seriously, their ethical-ness is improving because it had to. You could spend a long week reading through the evolution of their business, but why bother? The course is good, and you can decline the job which will pay you a bit more than minimum wage for the first few years.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:46 PM   #80
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When I worked for Block they pushed the EA loans starting about Thanksgiving and the fee 36% APR, for a thousand dollar loan worked out to about a dollar a day. Then there were upfront administrative fees of around $45 and then if for some reason their tax return was held up by the IRS for some reason they would end up paying late fees as well. Most of the people who get these loans as well as the one that have their prep fees withheld are glad to get the money as soon as they can and realize that they have very few other options.

Block has excellent training and is probably one of the better national tax prep firms as compared to Liberty and JH. That said they all take advantage and rip off the poor and unsuspecting.
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