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Author: CitizenH One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 121095  
Subject: is H&R Block worth the money? Date: 2/23/2006 2:17 PM
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hi,
we did our taxes last weekend and according to TurboTax we will get $2k back from uncle sam this year. we had a kid last year which probably contributes a to this return. now we are thinking of going to H&R block - we never used a tax advisor and always did the taxes with TurboTax. someone told us that they basically do the same that TurboTax is doing (typing in numbers) so there is really nothing to gain there.

any recommendations?

thanks,

- holger
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Author: TMFPMarti Big funky green star, 20000 posts Home Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 84309 of 121095
Subject: Re: is H&R Block worth the money? Date: 2/23/2006 3:56 PM
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we did our taxes last weekend and according to TurboTax we will get $2k back from uncle sam this year.

That's a lower-case foolish amount to lend interest-free to the gummint all year. Get a W-4 and go through the worksheets to determine how you should adjust your withholding allowances in order to have that in your pocket earlier.

we had a kid last year which probably contributes a to this return.

Congratulations! There are three quick checks to make sure you've properly accounted for your bundle of joy (form 1040 line numbers):

1. Make sure the child's name and SSN are properly entered on line 6c.

2. Box 6d should be one more than on your 2004 return.

3. Line 52 should be $1,000 unless line 57 is zero (assuming this is kid one).

now we are thinking of going to H&R block - we never used a tax advisor and always did the taxes with TurboTax. someone told us that they basically do the same that TurboTax is doing (typing in numbers) so there is really nothing to gain there.

There's not enough information in your post to tell whether some sort of advisor is superfluous or you should hire the best tax lawyer you can find. The baby alone would be worth $1,000+ in reduced tax as compared to 2004. If you didnt' change your withholding, that would account for more than half your refund. If everything looks in line and you've done the TT interview, I don't see the point of paying more.

Phil

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Author: CABob Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 84317 of 121095
Subject: Re: is H&R Block worth the money? Date: 2/23/2006 4:47 PM
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I have always done my own taxes either by hand or using software so I may not be the best qualified to answer, but ...
In my view the only difference might be that a professional may ask the right questions to determine whether there are any changes to what you already have done or things you may have overlooked. This would most likely be in the area of additional deductions unless there are some complexity to your return. The questions then become what are the likelihood that they will uncover something of this nature and will the additional tax savings pay for the cost of the professional.
I have always felt that the hardest part of doing taxes was assembling the information that I would have to do whether I were doing them myself or having someone do them for me. So once I have that information I have felt it was cost effective to do them myself with the help of tax preparation software.

YMMV
Bob

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Author: khaar Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 84320 of 121095
Subject: Re: is H&R Block worth the money? Date: 2/23/2006 5:51 PM
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That's a lower-case foolish amount to lend interest-free to the gummint all year.

While I agree that it's better to be closer to the right amount, sometimes it's just not worth the effort. I would have had to change our withholding 3 times this year to get ours to be right on, and I doubt that Payroll would like that much. And that doesn't count keeping up with whatever is going on with changes in the IRS--that may be implemented at the last minute.

And then there are sometimes surprises when 1099's (for mutual funds) come out--I keep up with most of these (as to what they are going to be), but some don't announce until November or December. Not that these are huge, but we had a couple this year that were just over a $1000--that's an additional $400-$500 in taxes, not counting further reductions in Child Credit and what not. They've been around $50 for the last several years. And we're still working on the fall-out from a Section 1031 exchange earlier this year.

4% of $2000 for a whole year is $80--and the government doesn't have it all year. Nothing to ignore, but also need to keep in perspective. (4% seemed like something roughly in between what mortgages are going for and what you could get on a standard savings or money market account.)

Kathleen



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Author: CitizenH One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 84321 of 121095
Subject: Re: is H&R Block worth the money? Date: 2/23/2006 5:59 PM
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thanks for the help with this. i just spoke with my wife and she mentioned that TurboTax costs about $60 and H&R block will be around $150 - so we might just try and use them - maybe they have some advice for us.

i agree - i should have more money on my paycheck this year so i need to change my witholdings. does this IRS calculator do a pretty good job?
do you have experience with it?

http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html

thanks again for all the help,

- holger

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Author: DWSZ Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 84358 of 121095
Subject: Re: is H&R Block worth the money? Date: 2/24/2006 12:39 PM
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CitizenH;

You just might want to read this before letting H&R Block do YOUR taxes.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/23/news/companies/hrblock.reut/index.htmmight

Best regards,
Duane


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Author: DWSZ Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 84360 of 121095
Subject: Re: is H&R Block worth the money? Date: 2/24/2006 12:44 PM
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OPPS! My bad!

Here's a good one (I hope!).

http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/23/news/companies/hrblock.reut/index.htm

Best regards,
Duane

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Author: Fletch52 One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 84468 of 121095
Subject: Re: is H&R Block worth the money? Date: 2/27/2006 9:38 PM
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I just thought I would add my two cents to the whole discussion. I have worked at H&R Block for four years and there is a good and bad side to everything. When you go to Block you want to select an experienced preparer. You won't have to pay more for this privilege. Don't let them give you a rookie. If your return is not complicated your software can handle it quite easily I would think.

Block specializes in doing the rapid refund during peak season for people who need cash quickly. These clients will always exist and if Block doesn't do their return, some other company will happily do so. Also some people establish a good relationship with their H&R Block preparer and come back to the same individual year after year. They happily pay for the peace of mind they receive knowing that everything is taken care of.

If you ever run into a problem in the summer, such as receiving a letter from the IRS, Block will have a permanent office open 12 months a year in your area. Also if you are doing your return online and have a question you can call your local office and get your question answered free of charge. I liked to answer phones and see what kind of questions people had. Sometimes it may be one or two questions that prevent you from completing your own return. This way you can get professional advice and save some money at the same time.



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