So in response to my post Should I hire an accountant or do my taxes on my own? I got a response back from Michelle Shildkret from H&R Block letting me know that I may have been making a few misconceptions about the level of service I’d get there. I’m all about giving people the benefit of the doubt and I mentioned I’d be happy to let her post a guest post rebuttal on the issue, so here we are! Michelle had Gary Lundberg (Director of Marketing for H&R Block’s Digital Tax Solutions) craft up the rebuttal post.
My initial post had mentioned:
“Those were the first basic questions I asked just to get a feel for the person I was hiring. Most of the time the H&R Block tax people aren’t that in depth with the questions; most of the people I’ve talked to (including the one I interviewed) said that the person they used from H&R Block was a 23 year old fresh out of school that had book smart, but not so much tax smart; which isn’t conducive to question #1.”
Gary’s rebuttal says:
Great post! For complete transparency, I’m Gary Lundberg, the Director of Marketing for H&R Block’s Digital Tax Solutions. You’ve made a lot of points here that are very common and problematic for American taxpayers, but I’d like to weigh in with some comments.
For users of “do it yourself” tax software or online solutions, your position that if you do something wrong, you only have yourself to blame isn’t entirely true (at least for our customers). Additionally, it isn’t necessarily true that if you’re a customer of a CPA, they’ll be there to catch all of the heat from the IRS for you either. By pure coincidence (and I know you’re thinking “Yeah, right” — but it’s true), I was recently speaking with a friend who is currently undergoing an audit of their 2003 taxes. He was lamenting the fact that they had used the same CPA for several years and, though expensive, had always gotten them “good refunds.” But now that the IRS has come calling, their CPA has effectively abandoned them. It’s a story I’ve heard before. I’m not suggesting that this behavior is the norm among CPAs, I’m saying it happens. And it’s not uncommon.
Conversely, if you e-file through H&R Block, you’re covered by our Worry-free Audit Support. Even as a customer of our digital products, in the event of an audit, you would receive real audit protection from a real person. Really. You would not be left out in the cold to fend for yourself, or pointed to a static website or FAQ page and told “good luck.” Nope. You would be assigned a real IRS-licensed Enrolled Agent with specialized training in audit defense.
But getting back to the assertion that if you file with software or online, you’re doing it in a vacuum by yourself, this is not true for customers of H&R Block’s digital tax solutions. We took this very aspect — or more accurately, perception — of the traditional software/online experience, and have pioneered the blending of digital convenience and empowerment with live support from H&R Block tax professionals. By pairing a software or online interface with H&R Block’s unrivaled legacy of return preparation experience and tax code knowledge, we are able to remove this sense of going it alone. And as mentioned, this includes after you file if necessary.
The extreme application of this seamless tax pro integration can be found in the newest member of our Digital Tax Solutions family, Tango. With Tango, we enable you to have a pro virtually “by your side” every step of the way (click play below for a YouTube demo of the setup).
Tango was built around the incorporation of access to a pro for any tax or technical question 24/7 — via phone, chat, or e-mail. We recognized the need to make it as easy and convenient as possible for users to get the help they need, anytime they need it, through the channel of their choice. Coupled with an innovative UI, and language and personality that take the drudgery out of doing your taxes, Tango makes tax preparation enjoyable. And that’s not marketing spin, that’s what customers are telling us. This is all baked into the all-inclusive price of $70. Whether you have 2 questions, 20, or 200, all you pay is $70.
So with Tango, we’re crossing the lines and shattering perceptions of what “tax software” is by embedding unlimited live support from a trained professional so you’re not alone. And combined with Worry-free Audit Support, you never have to wonder “Will my CPA be there for me?”
Any and all feedback welcome!
Thank you Michelle and Gary – It is nice to see that “the Block” is willing to look to the Personal Finance blog realm to see how they’re doing in the blogosphere. Keep an eye out, you may see another post or 2 pop up about it.
Does anyone have any questions or comments for H&R Block and their tax services? Feel free to post them here, they’ll be watching the post here to reply!