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Thoughts - Tax Preparation as PT Work?
Old 07-19-2014, 10:19 AM   #1
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Thoughts - Tax Preparation as PT Work?

I officially gave notice - entered resignation into corporate portal. My last day is 8/1 I had originally planned to work through the end of this year, but quite frankly the BS bucket was overflowing and I just couldn't get excited and passoniate about embracing the "new" culture advocated by our new SVP. Been down this road too many times to count and just can't fake required enthusiasm.

Have followed all suggestions from this board to ensure we are financially and emotionally prepared. Been tracking our expenses and will be debt-free when primary home sells next spring. All calculators give 100% and since we are Admiral status with Vanguard, had them provide an thorough analysis as well as an outside CPA/FP - again good. DH will join me in June 2016.

I have a bucket list a mile long and also have an aging mother and in-laws that I will help care for. So there are no worries about getting bored!

However, I have always earned a paycheck since 14 and am already feeling some unease about depleting rather than saving. I know that is not unusual.

A friend of mine earns "fun money" by working for H&R Block during tax season and suggested I check it out. They have a class starting in August and with success and luck, I could be picked up this coming tax season. I live in western WA and tax season would be a good time to pick up some work.

Anyone out there have experience with doing tax returns as PT work?
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:36 AM   #2
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Not me.

One of the administrative assistants where I used to work, also worked part time for H&R Block during tax season. She said it was boring, too easy (because I guess they train you and then you use their software too? I'm not sure), and that the clients were stupid, rude, scary, and no fun to help. She was doing it to see if this might be a good part time retirement job.

After a few years of seasonal part time work at H&R Block, she switched to being a part time tour guide at an old plantation on the river, on the weekends.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:46 AM   #3
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I've worked for Block for 5 years in a franchise setting. It's OK. Good training program compared to the others IMHO. Keeps me thinking and it helps with management of my finances.
It is not all plugging in numbers to a computer. Many situations fall outside of the realm of software. Clients come to a commercial tax preparer for many reasons. I find it interesting and at times stressful. I enjoy trying to help people. The best part is that it ends April 15th or there about.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:48 AM   #4
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I would check into your local H&R Block starting pay rate before you put the time into taking the class.
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:12 PM   #5
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I do tax returns as a volunteer with TaxAide. Prepare or review approximately 500 returns a year. I don't know what the pay is at Block or others. I have some volunteers who used to work at Block who got pretty disgusted with how they treated clients - especially taking advantage of lower income clients. Could be a local problem, I really don't know. Doing taxes isn't for everyone. It isn't difficult once you train for it but it takes concentration. You do have to train every year prior to the season.

Doing it in WA would be less complicated because you wouldn't have state tax returns to do. At my site we do Federal and two states so we get a lot of non-resident and multi-state filers - adds to the confusion.
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:46 PM   #6
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Not me.

After a few years of seasonal part time work at H&R Block, she switched to being a part time tour guide at an old plantation on the river, on the weekends.
I remember visiting Smithsonian's National Air and Space museum in Washington DC. Older...what looked like retired Air Force pilots were working as the guides in the museum. Probably did not pay much (if anything), but that looked to me like kind of work one wants to do when FIRED.

I remember how that crossed my mind when I saw those guys having fun.
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:08 PM   #7
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I remember visiting Smithsonian's National Air and Space museum in Washington DC. Older...what looked like retired Air Force pilots were working as the guides in the museum. Probably did not pay much (if anything), but that looked to me like kind of work one wants to do when FIRED.

I remember how that crossed my mind when I saw those guys having fun.
She thought it was fun. They had her all decked out in clothes of that era, and she was encouraged to speak with an exaggerated Southern accent and act the part. Not my cup of tea. She liked it, though, and she got to learn a lot about local history. I doubt it paid much, but from what she said, neither did her tax job.
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:19 PM   #8
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I looked into doing this. I looked at H&R and Liberty (both have offices near my home.)

My issues: - you pay to train. So it starts out being a cost.
The local pay is $10/hour. Not exactly exciting.

Ironically, the liberty tax office that's near my house pays $10/hour to the guy who dresses like the statue of liberty and flips signs around to draw in business. He doesn't have to pay to train.

I decided the benefit (pay) was less than the cost (time and training expense.)

Maybe it's just a local thing having to pay to train... But it's $199 for a 3 month course to become a preparer here in San Diego.
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:22 PM   #9
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Thanks for feedback.

Free To Canoe, Would you recommend that I contact the local office to see what my chances are of getting employment if I pass the course? I will be living on island and there is only one H&R Block (also a Hewitt office). Are there any other costs involved? I prefer not to invest the $ and time if there isn't much chance of getting employment on the island (doesn't make sense to commute off the island for PT work).

I have lots of years in customer service, sales and am good with software and numbers, so this could be a good fit. Plus it would end at just the right time of year and provide some "mad money".
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:38 PM   #10
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I took H&R Block's course in 2011 and worked for them a year before going independent with my own tax + money mgmt business.

Their course was excellent. Their books are some of the best, clearest books I've seen on a complex subject.

The teacher was excellent also. Very knowledgeable and a good communicator. Here your mileage may vary, though.

Working at Block was a great learning experience. I did about 200 returns, including some complex ones with investments, rentals, and Sched C. The pay is very low, though, in your first year. Close to minimum wage, as I remember.

After your first year you make commissions. Though they guard the info closely, I believe the experienced tax preparers in the office were making $10-20k per tax season. I did hear of one superstar in another office that supposedly made $30k.

There was A LOT of politics in the office among the tax preparers, mgrs, and franchise owners.

The tax preparers are expected to do phone work, including calling all last year's clients. This was the worst part of the whole experience for me.

If you're doing it primarily to learn, I recommend it strongly.

If you're doing it primarly to make $$, there might be better ways to spend your time.
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:51 PM   #11
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A friend of mine earns "fun money" by working for H&R Block during tax season and suggested I check it out. They have a class starting in August and with success and luck, I could be picked up this coming tax season. I live in western WA and tax season would be a good time to pick up some work.

Anyone out there have experience with doing tax returns as PT work?
In 2005 I took the course, and it was $150. My instructor was very good, yours may not be. I sat next to a retired IRS agent, who had his own tax prep business, and took the course to review yearly changes. He actually used carbon paper and went to your house to do the prep. When he left, it was done.

At that time I think I calculated that I'd make about $15 per average client. She offered me a position, but I made about $30 per client working for my brother.

I've never heard a positive thing about H&R, but the course was beneficial for me.
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:11 PM   #12
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I work for Block. I took it up as a retirement career, and it works fine for me. Like any job it has its pro's and con's. On the negative side is explaining fees to clients. The fees are high, and there is a sales component to the job. However with time the pay goes up to be very acceptable, and I do enjoy doing taxes and working with people. This ties me up for a good 3 months. Pre season it is up to me how much or whether a work at all. Block payed all my fees for training for the enrolled agent exam. Block does a good job on training , and most of us appear to be retired professionals of one kind or another. I am a retired special ed teacher, so taxes was completely out of the box for me, and yet a good change, and a good fit.
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:21 PM   #13
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Are there any other costs involved
No, Block will pay for your PTIN. They are a cheap outfit and the first years pay won't be much. I did not have trouble hiring on after passing their class. once commisions kick in the pay goes up, if you are studious and can take all their certification tests you can advance rapidly. This isn't a high $ career type thing, but it keeps your mind engaged, and you can make some money. I like the puzzle factor involved in doing a tax return.
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:43 PM   #14
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Like many others have said.... the pay is not worth the trouble...

For the kind of money that is being talked about, I would rather substitute teach than do taxes.... you get to choose which days you want to work and which ones you do not...

You need to check the requirements of being a sub... in my local district they have enough people with teaching certificates they require them... in the big city close to us they do not..

BTW, NO SS tax is taken out...
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:17 PM   #15
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She thought it was fun. They had her all decked out in clothes of that era, and she was encouraged to speak with an exaggerated Southern accent and act the part. Not my cup of tea. She liked it, though, and she got to learn a lot about local history. I doubt it paid much, but from what she said, neither did her tax job.
Did she get to talk about the "special helpers" who worked for the plantation owners? My daughter was teaching elementary school in Mississippi and when she took her class (all black) on a field trip to a plantation, the guides referred to the help as "special helpers." My Yankee daughter was somewhat puzzled how to handle the situation.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:34 PM   #16
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Good timing- this is something I've been considering. One question: a nephew is getting married in March and DH and I plan to drive there. We'll probably be gone for a week. I know that would cut down on my income; would it be a deterrent to getting hired in the first place? Also- what's your expected work week? If you don't want to work 12-hour days 7 days a week from April 1 to April 15, is that a problem? What's the "expected" number of hours during tax season? How much flexibility do you have?

Just realized that since the father of the groom is my brother, a CPA and tax partner at a major firm, I could tell him I'm in the business now. He'd probably fall over laughing.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:39 PM   #17
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Like many others have said.... the pay is not worth the trouble...

For the kind of money that is being talked about, I would rather substitute teach than do taxes.... you get to choose which days you want to work and which ones you do not...
Quote:
You need to check the requirements of being a sub... in my local district they have enough people with teaching certificates they require them... in the big city close to us they do not..
For me subbing was not worth the time and trouble and the pay was pretty low. Every job has its pluses and minuses. I get my work done in 3 months and earn more than I could earn subbing .
But subbing was one of the options I explored. Keeping certified , getting called at 6:00 in the morning, and dealing with poor lesson plans and unruly students, not for me. Each to his own.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:46 PM   #18
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We'll probably be gone for a week. I know that would cut down on my income; would it be a deterrent to getting hired in the first place? Also- what's your expected work week? If you don't want to work 12-hour days 7 days a week from April 1 to April 15, is that a problem? What's the "expected" number of hours during tax season? How much flexibility do you have?


Block is used to working with retirees that have issues, trips and medical emergencies. We usually have enough staff on hand to deal with it. They are also reasonably flexible as far as scheduling. The more flexible you are the more hours you will get, and the more $. The first year or so, depending on the office you may not get as many hours as you want. It builds up. They will ask you to work more hours during PEAK, a couple of weeks at the begining of tax season and a week at the end. It is up to you.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:14 PM   #19
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I worked for part of a tax season preparing taxes. Never again. Volunteering is much more rewarding with VITA program.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:30 PM   #20
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Hi Rothlev, do you think I have a good chance to be hired by the location/office where I take the training? The time of year, nature of work do appeal to me.


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