Friday, September 15, 2006

Second class at H&R Block

This class went a lot more smoothly - although some people weren't there and some new people came. I guess since every class runs on the same schedule, you can show up at any class on the appropriate day and they'll be covering the same material. Our "new hire coordinator" also came - she's the person whose job it is to shepherd us into working for H&R Block. Apparently if you don't get good grades she will call you up and encourage you. No mention of any tutoring or anything like that though - I know it's not that hard but some people might just not be good at it, and it didn't seem like she was offering to do anything that might actually help someone who wanted to do it but was struggling. I didn't put down my phone number on the card because I don't particularly want to be shepherded.

Another thing the new hire coordinator did was basically shoot herself in the foot by telling us about how the new people were basically eaten alive by the more experienced tax preparers - wow, that really makes me confident and want to work for your company! She then kind of lamely wrapped it up by saying that it was her job to make us feel warm and cuddly.. not so hot a job there. The teacher tried to kind of clean up after her when she left, saying that he'd applied to be a manager at the office where our class is held, and that sort of behavior would not go on in any office he managed. He did say that his office is very different but it really depends on the manager, and whether the same manager is there from year to year. H&R Block seems to have a lot of people-shuffling going on; nobody seems to stay with their location for long, or even their state, if you want to move up in the organization.

In actual material-related stuff, we mostly went over filing statuses, income requirements to file, and the W-2 again, but we spent probably half the time listening to the teacher's stories about people whose taxes he'd done. He mentioned that a woman who was arrested last year for having a brothel in a nearby city had been filing as such with the IRS for years - she had actually written down on her taxes that she was the owner of a brother. The IRS doesn't care, because you're not breaking tax law, and what you submit to them is confidential - only a subpoena would bring it to light, and they probably did subpoena her tax records after the police started looking into her operations. I imagine they were very surprised.

The teacher also had a lot of negative things to say about Jackson Hewitt and the other tax preparers - evidently, their employees are not given a class on taxes, but a class on how to enter crap into the computer, which isn't particularly useful. And their fees are also higher than H&R Block's, and their loans cost more, etc etc. He did say though that when people come in who are clearly trying to do fraudulent things with their taxes (such as a guy he cited who said he was a small business owner, and recited numbers for income and expenses and what not out of his head - ie no receipts or anything) the people at H&R Block will usually just tell them they won't do their taxes - and then they go to Jackson Hewitt which is evidently happy to do them. H&R Block pretty much figures that those people are going to get audited lickety split and doesn't want to be involved.


pat said...

I have to say, your class experience could not be more different from mine, though mine was two years ago. We focused on the course material, with some real-life anecdotes thrown in. There was no pressure to become a preparer, just a sign-up sheet if you were interested, near the last day of class.

The later chapters do get to be a bunch of work - they told us to plan on spending 2 hours outside of class for every hour in class - I found it to be about half of that, but it wasn't easy.

John said...

I was a multi-office H&R Block franchisee for a long time. I taught the Basic tax class you describe probably 50 times (I tried to count once).

If you need a question answered or some extra help with the class, send an email and I will be happy to help.