Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's in my wallet?

Certainly not 1700 bucks, I can tell you that.

For years I have been doing my own tax returns, first by paper then in recent years I have been using Ufile. I loved it, very easy to do, all the calculations are done for you and it is a very reasonable filing fee if not free for some people.

But then you hear the hype how a professional preparer will get you more of what you are entitled to. Blah, Blah, Blah.

When you take your tax info to a professional tax preparer. What exactly do you expect? I expected that the return would be, at the very least, correct.

Last year I decided, foolishly as it turns out, to go with that big tax preparation outfit. H & R Block.(tag line (ironically) is Get it Right) I have to say, what hooked me was the guarantee. When it comes to taxes, you are always worried that mistakes can be made and you really don't want the government on your case. And I confess, I did not read the fine print. I thought the guarantee meant that if they fucked it up, it was on them not me.

Wrong. So wrong.

Long story short, what my 'professional tax preparer' recorded as a three should have been an eight and the return was off five grand.

One year later, the government checks the return and catches the error and sends me a letter. Now I am on the hook for $1700.

So, I call up H&R and get Bob. Bob apologizes and offers to cover my interest and penalties but not the $1700 mistake.

"Ah...what about the hundred and eighty three bucks I paid you to prepare this in-cor-rect return?" I split the syllables so 'Bob' understands my displeasure.

"Hmmm...I can probably get you a refund for that as well."

"Ya think?"

Don't get me wrong, I realize that I got $1700 last year that I was not entitled to but that was only because I trusted H&R Block to 'get it right'. Given the choice I would not have 'borrowed' (which is essentially what I did) $1700 from the government. In the same vein, I dont' have a credit card because I don't like to spend money I don't have. Now I have to deal with a new year and I am already $1700 in the hole.

The moral of this story is read the fine print. The H&R Block guarantee isn't really any better than what you would get from your paper boy. He fails to bring the paper, you get your money back.


Unknown said...

Just damn. (Crayons are *everywhere*.)

kelly said...

i do the ufile thing too, actually i think you told me about it!